Trivers Expands Ownership Group with Two Associate Principals

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Trivers has expanded its ownership group to include senior project manager Neil Chace, AIA, LEED GA, WELL AP and senior project architect Martin Padilla, AIA, LEED GA. As associate principals, Chace and Padilla will help lead the firm alongside principals Joe Brinkmann, AIA, LEED AP; Joel Fuoss, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP; and Amy Gilbertson, FAIA, LEED GA.

“The health of Trivers relies on growth, new energy and evolution,” Brinkmann said. “Adding Neil and Martin to our ownership group will enable us to continue building a stronger, enduring firm.”

Brinkmann, Fuoss and Gilbertson assumed ownership of Trivers in 2015 from Andrew Trivers, FAIA, who founded the firm in 1975. With the goal of creating ample career development opportunities for others within the firm, the three principals developed a strategy to add new owners over time.

“Martin and Neil bring valuable experience and skills to Trivers’ ownership group,” Gilbertson said. “Martin is a people person with a proven track record of successfully mentoring others and fostering a positive workplace culture. Neil is uniquely skilled at analyzing and improving processes and procedures to benefit our employees and clients.”

After earning his bachelor’s degree in architecture from Drury University in 2002, Chace worked with several firms on projects ranging from education to multi-family development. In 2010 he co-founded ModernSTL, a nonprofit organization striving for the identification, education, preservation and celebration of St. Louis modernism and served as its president from 2014 to 2019. Since joining Trivers as a project manager and associate in 2015, Chace has led numerous nonprofit projects at the firm, including the master plan and renovations for Lift for Life Academy Elementary and Lift for Life Academy Middle School, DOORWAYS’ new campus, and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge locations in cities including St. Louis; Omaha, Nebraska; and Jackson, Mississippi. He is currently a member of the City of Crestwood Public Works Board and a former board member of Healthcare Hospitality Network.

“It is an incredible honor to help execute the vision that Joe, Joel and Amy have set forth, especially during such an exciting time in Trivers’ history,” Chace said. “I am excited to lead a firm where people can grow personally and professionally while also positively impacting communities through their work.”

Growing up in Chicago with aspirations of becoming an architect, Padilla obtained his bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and his master’s degree in architecture from Washington University in St. Louis. Padilla was a project designer at Trivers early in his career from 2003 to 2008, gained experience at several other firms, and returned to Trivers in 2017 as a senior project architect and associate with a focus on civic, housing and higher education projects. He is currently a licensing advisor for the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards and a member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis. From 2011 to 2022, Padilla served as the assistant director for career services in architecture at Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts.

“I am overjoyed to be a part of this group of owners that I respect, admire and believe in,” Padilla said. “My goal is to continue creating an environment where people can flourish through mentoring, professional development and a nurturing company culture. I want Trivers to be a place where every team member can grow into their best future self.”

Over the years the principals and associate principals hope to continue expanding Trivers’ ownership group.

“We look forward to offering ownership opportunities to others who demonstrate a deep commitment to the firm and prove themselves to be trusted strategic partners,” Fuoss said.

Left to Right: Neil Chace, Joe Brinkmann, Amy Gilbertson, Martin Padilla, Joel Fuoss                  Photo credit: Johnny Pelhank