San Francisco-based design firm Gensler has named Dan Grubb as its new director of aviation, based at its Los Angeles office. Grubb, previously vice president and director of operations for Jacobs’ Global Buildings & Infrastructure practice in both the Middle East and Morocco, is an experienced architect with and has three decades of experience in the architecture, engineering and construction industries.
Grubb brings a unique skillset to the job, including leading operations during programming, planning, design, engineering, construction management and design-build delivery of projects. He is a LEED-accredited professional, certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Board, and is a member of the American Institute of Architects.
Grubb practiced in the Washington, D.C., area between 1981 and 2001, with the last eight at St. Louis-based Sverdrup, where he got into aviation by doing work for the FAA. After the company was acquired by Jacobs in 1999, he was asked to move to Los Angeles and run the company’s western office.
“I stayed with Jacobs until 2005, when I left to join Fort Worth, Texas-based Carter & Burgess,” said Grubb. “Jacobs bought them in 2007, so that brought me back, and I was asked to go to the Middle East for three years and then Morocco for two years.”
But during that time Jacobs went through a massive reorganization, said Grubb. “It allowed 450 people to take early retirement packages. Jacobs is an excellent company, but it’s not the best for architects because it’s not their core business,” he said. “The package gave me a chance to pause and reassess what I wanted to do. I wanted to work for the best of the best, which is Gensler.”
Grubb had relationships at Gensler, including CEO Andy Cohn and other architects there. “I elected to finish the last 10 years of my career on a high note, which is what brought me to Gensler.”
Gensler’s general philosophy and approach with architecture is what made it so attractive, said Grubb. “They are heavily client focused rather than architecturally focused. This means it’s more about the experience of the individual, occupant or passenger, enhancing that experience and bringing more to the table than what would be done at traditional architectural firms,” he said. “I’ve seen Gensler’s work for 40 years and seen how they have elevated the experience in the build environment.”
Today’s aviation industry is seeing how the role of terminals is evolving, said Grubb. “They are becoming more holistic business centers, hospitality centers and retail centers,” he said. “Thousands of passengers pass through a terminal daily, and enhancing that experience in what is a complex operational environment is what makes it exciting.”
Grubb’s past projects include the air traffic control tower at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Boston-Logan International Airport’s Terminal E and work at John Wayne Airport, San Diego International Airport, Los Angeles World Airports and Oakland International Airport. He’s currently focused on the international terminal in San Diego, which is an addition to the western end of Terminal 2.
“This project, a joint venture with Turner, is being delivered in an accelerated design-build method, from conception to operation in only 13 months,” sad Grubb.