LCM Architects promotes five to associate principal

LCM Architects has promoted five associates to associate principal: Randy Ifft, AIA, John Ritzu, RA, Robert Taras,  Michelle Winnecke, CASp and Robert Zimmerman.

Ifft has nearly 40 years of experience in architecture and accessibility consulting. Before joining LCM in 2013, Ifft worked with contractors, architectural firms and developers on multifamily housing projects. He also had his own architecture firm designing award-winning historic renovation and adaptive reuse projects. Ifft understands a project from various perspectives. He takes a holistic approach, from the architect to the tradesman, and provides valuable, actionable guidance about design and construction requirements of the Fair Housing Act (FHA).

Ifft helps LCM’s clients understand not only the “what” and “how” of compliance issues but also the “why.” He explains that our recommendations make the built environment more usable for everyone. A natural educator, Ifft also mentors and trains LCM’s younger professionals. In his current role as associate principal, Ifft focuses on field work, often in California and Massachusetts where local and state codes are particularly stringent, to identify noncompliance early when corrective measures are less expensive or disruptive.

Ritzu has more than 40 years of experience in the architecture industry and has been at LCM since 2007. Ritzu’s many talents—including research capabilities and substantial experience interpreting design and construction FHA standards—has contributed to his pivotal role at LCM. He oversees the program management of Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST, a nationwide initiative of the Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide technical assistance and training to the public about design and construction requirements of the FHA. John has taught at Carnegie-Mellon University and University of Illinois at Chicago and is a frequent lecturer on architecture, planning and architectural criticism. He is an active member of the Society of Architectural Historians.

Taras joined LCM in 2000 as a successful manager with a focus on accessible design for new and existing school buildings through experience in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Capital Improvement Plan for substantial new construction and renovation initiatives. Through his leadership role in LCM’s ongoing accessibility work at CPS, he has provided years of technical assistance, accessibility training, standards development and code compliance plan and construction review services to CPS and project partners such as program managers, architects of record, design managers, general contractors and facility managers. His knowledge of products, systems and design solutions that support accessible education environments, combined with his background in architecture and construction, reinforce his expertise. But his most valuable contribution to LCM and the CPS program is a deep compassion for young people who struggle to navigate physical barriers to educational programs.

Winnecke has 20 years of experience focusing on the design and construction requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). She spent much of her career working with local municipalities, including the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities for permit expediting of accessibility improvement projects. She developed ADA Assessment Data Management for CPS for accessibility improvements implemented at facilities throughout the district. Most recently she focuses on the private sector and in her role as associate principal at LCM Architects she is overseeing the staff and projects in the firm’s commercial/hospitality plan and construction review department. Michelle is a member of the Certified Access Specialist Institute.

“Michelle has shown incredible initiative and leadership over the years with plan and construction reviews. She is dedicated to high quality service for LCM’s clients,” said LCM partner Doug Anderson.

Zimmerman has over 30 years of architecture experience. He joined LCM Architects in 2007 to manage accessibility plan reviews, construction reviews and third party certification for the Chicago Housing Authority, which he has been managing ever since. Zimmerman also specializes in transportation. He manages a multi-million dollar reconstruction and expansion of Houston METRO, including universal design and bus rapid transit, and the Chicago Transit Authority All Stations Accessibility Program which will make the rail system 100% accessible for riders with disabilities. In addition, Zimmerman leads surveying and plan review work for numerous healthcare facilities and presents his expertise in Title III barrier removal and the healthcare industry at numerous conferences. Zimmerman is currently on the Mayor’s Pedestrian Advisory Council.

“Bob takes a curious approach to the urban built environment and mixes in his appreciation of art and nature,” said LCM partner Jack Catlin. “This makes him a true problem solver for accessibility design.”