Jay Barnes, FAIA
Since founding BGKA in 1985, Austin native Jay Barnes has built the practice into one of the most community-minded firms in the city. Advocating a collaborative process, Jay has built a solid reputation for client service, award-winning sustainable architecture, and stakeholder engagement, creating design that enriches communities. His project experience is varied and diverse, from civic and community efforts to campus planning and architecture for education. Jay’s most recent work centers on the role architecture plays in supporting innovative approaches to the delivery of education and student success outcomes. His research with such universities as The University of Texas at Austin focuses on how architecture can impact graduation rates and the quality of the student experience. His work with Austin Community College explores new paradigms for delivering developmental math education and rethinking the traditional campus. Jay is a frequent speaker at industry and community conferences and has distinguished himself as a leader in architecture for education. An outdoor enthusiast, Jay enjoys spending quality time with his family and friends.
Carl Gromatzky, AIA
Carl is an architect, urban planner, and design partner at BGKA. Over a 41-year career, Carl’s diverse work has spanned commercial, educational, institutional, and residential sectors. Over the last two decades, Carl has distinguished himself as a leading practitioner in campus planning. Select work includes campus master plans for Texas A&M University, Austin Community College, The University of Texas at San Antonio, The University of Texas–Pan American, The University of Texas at El Paso, and most recently, a student life campus plan for The University of Texas at Austin. Clients appreciate his effective leadership approach and ability to solve problems. A frequent speaker at local, regional and national industry and community conferences, Carl also served on the Board of Directors for the Mexic-Arte Museum in Austin. His work has been honored with awards for excellence from such organizations as the American Institute of Architects, the Texas Society of Architects, Boston Society of Architects, Congress for the New Urbanism, and The Public Arts Network of Americans for the Arts.
N. Thomas Kosarek, AIA
A respected constant in Austin and Texas, Tommy’s work is rooted in an understanding of community values, history, culture, and people. His designs exceed his clients’ vision and expectations, providing a connection to the authenticity of each place. Tommy’s work for the iconic Palmer Events Center turned a simple box in the middle of a beloved park into a graceful pavilion. He helped transform the Texas School for the Deaf’s neglected campus into a model for deaf education and a treasured presence along Austin’s famous Congress Avenue. His design for the Lower Colorado River Authority became an educational tool for environmental stewardship, and his work for Austin Community College transformed an abandoned mall into a national model for 21st Century learning and sustainability. Tommy’s projects consistently earn recognition from such organizations as the American Institute of Architects, the Texas Society of Architects, Urban Land Institute, Congress for New Urbanism, and World Architecture News. Drumming with his friends since high school, Tommy is also passionate about music.
AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Since joining BGKA in 1996, Lauren has led some of the firm’s largest and most iconic projects. Known for her straightforward and process-driven approach, she has a long list of clients that sing her praises. Lauren leads our sustainable design practice and has over 25 years of project experience combining award-winning design with sustainable solutions. Over the past two decades, Lauren has focused her work on higher education spaces and collaborative learning environments. Her recent work includes Austin Community College’s Highland Campus—devoting over six years to its transformation from an abandoned mall into an innovative campus while achieving LEED Gold Certification—Texas State University’s Health Professions I Building and St. David’s School of Nursing, and Texas A&M University’s Commons renovations. Originally from the Washington D.C. area, Lauren is also a skilled dog trainer and has adopted several rescue dogs over the years.
AIA, LEED AP BD+C
A native of Kentucky, Todd made his way to Texas to join BGKA after living in Japan and Chicago. Todd’s professional experience includes 10 years at CallisonRTKL, leading teams on complex international and domestic projects. He advocates for thoughtful designs and seeks inspiration from unexpected places. He has been instrumental in building the firm’s commercial mixed-use market sector practice as well as leading some of the firm’s high-profile educational projects, always with a strong spirit of design collaboration. Most recently, Todd has led large teams on the transformation of Austin’s Highland Mall into the new and exciting innovation campus for Austin Community College. Todd serves as a mentor with the Urban Land Institute Hines Corporation, working with graduate students at The University of Texas at Austin. Todd is not only active in the community but also an active cyclist that loves long Hill Country bike rides.
AIA, LEED AP
Working as a design leader on projects of all scales, Jason is committed to architecture that engages and activates its surroundings physically, socially, culturally, and environmentally. His professional experience includes 11 years at CallisonRTKL in Chicago, where he worked on projects in Japan, China, India, and throughout the United States. His work has focused on large-scale mixed-use developments as well as urban multi-family residential, commercial office, and higher education projects. Originally a Pittsburgh native, Jason joined BGKA in 2016 and appreciates being able to bike to work. Clients enjoy working with Jason who goes out of his way to help. He has been instrumental in growing the firm’s commercial markets as well as supporting our higher education practice. Always working to engage his community, Jason participates in the Congress for New Urbanism, the Real Estate Council of Austin, and the Urban Land Institute.
Rick Moore joined BGKA in 1991 and is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. Over almost three decades, Rick has established an impressive portfolio of work, including civic, housing, transportation, independent school, and higher education projects. Gifted in technical detailing and documentation and advanced computer technology, Rick introduced the firm to CAD systems and software in 1991 and is our Building Information Systems (BIM) manager, thus impacting every project in our office. His recent work includes a new campus for Austin Community College, Health Professions I Building and St. David’s School of Nursing for Texas State University, the Commons renovations for Texas A&M University, and two new residence halls for Texas Tech University. Outside of work, his involvement in Road Rallies takes him on adventures both domestically and internationally each year.
Born and raised in Laredo, Texas, Art’s inspiration to become an architect came from a junior high reading assignment about Frank Lloyd Wright. Once he knew architecture was his calling, he never looked back, and after graduating from The University of Texas at Austin, he began his 35-year career. Since joining BGKA in 2003, Art has managed many of the firm’s most complex projects and recently completed two residence hall communities for Texas Tech University. Clients appreciate his project management approach and technical expertise while the BGKA team appreciates his sly sense of humor. In fact, The University of Texas at Austin presented Art with an award for his outstanding contributions as a team player managing the Almetris Duren Hall project for having gone above and beyond expectations in order to benefit the greater cause of The University.
Senior Project Manager
A native of Laredo, Texas, Ray Vela is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin and joined BGKA in 2011. Over his 30-year professional career, Ray has managed a full range of project types, including educational, medical, dining and food service, recreation, major renovation, and civic projects. His broad experience has been a valuable asset to the firm and our clients. Ray also played an active and major role in overseeing construction for Texas A&M University’s Commons renovations and The University of Texas at Austin’s Bellmont Hall renovations. His technical knowledge, construction practices expertise, and communication style have won the respect and appreciation of many Owners and Contractors. Outside of architecture, Ray is an accomplished ballroom dancer, Road Rally enthusiast, and dog lover.
AIA, ALEP, LEED AP BD+C
Meredith joined BGKA in 2018. A native of Houston and a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, she is a thoughtful and detail-oriented designer with a passion for improving education through architecture. She brings extensive K-12 and Higher Education experience to the firm and is interested in crafting spaces for learning along with discovering how architecture can respond to the ever-changing needs of the modern classroom. In addition to her design experience, Meredith served for several years as chair of the AIA Architecture Schools Program—an outreach program for grades K-5—in both Austin and San Antonio. She is also an active member of the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE) and was elected to the Central Texas Chapter board of directors as an at-large member in 2018. In her free time, she enjoys Pilates, running and biking Town Lake, hiking, and playing the violin in local community orchestras.
Skilled at illustrating and design, Keith is a creative problem solver with exceptional digital abilities. He approaches each project with passion and purpose and enjoys the challenge of working on large and complex projects with multi-disciplinary teams. Having grown up in Lawrence, Kansas, Keith graduated from The University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Architecture. After a stint with El Dorado Architects, he made his way to Austin to join BGKA. His recent projects include the Student Life Master Plan for The University of Texas at Austin and the Highland Campus for Austin Community College. Design and building comes naturally to Keith, whose woodworking projects include a canoe and kitchen renovation. When not building in his workshop, his three active sons keep him busy and on the go.
Erin’s passion is bringing creative interior design solutions to projects from concept to completion. Erin joined BGKA after graduating from Texas State University. A talented designer with an entrepreneurial spirit, she draws upon her experience in higher education, hospitality, and health professions to provide an integrated approach to projects. With each project, Erin considers quality, durability, and life cycle costs, always focusing on how interior design impacts the end-users. Known for delivering both design and service excellence to her clients, she has been integral to the success of many of the firm’s projects. Clients appreciate her attention to detail as she scrutinizes each and every design decision. Erin’s creativity extends to her personal projects. She and her husband often taken on creative projects from remodeling their home to renovating a boat.
Director of Quality Assurance
Fred Peebles has over 40 years of architectural experience with a broad range of clients and project types. He oversees BGKA’s technical contract review process and quality assurance program. Fred’s extensive knowledge and experience with building codes, materials, products, and construction practices bring great value to our projects and our clients. Viewing mentorship as a responsibility, Fred regularly shares his experience and expertise with office staff. He is a member of the Austin Shutterbug Club and draws design inspiration from his favorite hobby of photography. He is also a longtime member of the AIA Austin Design Awards Committee and a proud grandfather of three.
A native of Colorado, Eric is a creative professional, working in architecture, design, and production. He brings enthusiasm, intellectual curiosity, and passion to his work. His graphic and digital visualization skills, client-first attitude, and project commitment make him a valuable asset. After graduating from Kansas State University with a Master of Architecture, Eric joined the firm in 2015 and is one of our many bike commuters. His recent projects include work for Texas State University, Austin Community College, Texas A&M University, and The University of Texas at Austin. Growing up in Colorado, he loves skiing, cycling, and hiking as well as traveling.
Ashley joined BGKA in 2017 after graduating from The University of Texas at Austin with her Bachelor of Architecture. Born and raised in San Antonio, she was exposed to architecture in high school, where she developed a keen interest in design. A creative and skilled designer, Ashley is particularly focused on the importance of the individual’s experience moving through a space over time, which stems from her background as a talented ballet dancer since the age of three. She is also interested in sustainable design and green building, and her experience in UT Austin’s Design-Build studio fostered her affinity for working with her hands. Having settled in Austin after graduation, Ashley enjoys the downtown scene as well as traveling and spending time outdoors with her dog, Bam Bam.
Director of Business Development and Marketing
Since joining BGKA in 2016, Valerie has been instrumental in identifying market opportunities and elevating the firm’s brand identity. Bringing to the firm a diverse professional background in business development with private, non-profit, and service firms, Valerie is a natural connector of people and enjoys building and fostering relationships with clients and partners. Her broad academic background includes degrees in Engineering (BS) and Business (MBA) from The University of Texas at Austin, which makes for a natural fit in her role at BGKA. Valerie has travelled around the world and lived overseas. Along with volunteering when she can, Valerie is a busy mom and long-time runner.
Robert serves as the firm’s Marketing Coordinator. As a gifted writer and production manager, Robert helps to share the firm’s work through marketing materials, web design, social media, and brand development. Having earned a Master of Arts in English Composition and Rhetoric from Auburn University, he has a passion for writing and storytelling. In his spare time, Robert is a singer, songwriter, and solo acoustic musician. In 2017, he decided to move to the Live Music Capital of the World to combine both architecture and his passion for music.
As BGKA’s Office Manager, Staley brings leadership and management to human resources, finance and business operations to ensure the firm capitalizes on organizational efficiencies and capabilities. Detailed oriented and engaging, Staley’s positive sprit allows the architectural team to focus on architecture. Originally from Tyler, Texas, Staley graduated from The University of Texas at Austin and has called Austin home ever since. An avid cyclist and volunteer, Staley gives back to the community through such organizations as Helping Hand Home and Cavalier Rescue.