Staff

Ellen F. Stoner / AIA, LEED AP / Architect / Principal

As the founder of and Preservation Architect at AltusWorks, Ellen leads a team of diverse professionals in the holistic approach to the restoration and rehabilitation of existing and historic structures. Through Ellen’s profound understanding of historic and new building materials, technologies and systems, AltusWorks excels at problem solving related to the complexities of working with existing and historic structures. With such expertise, Ellen facilitates the implementation of a variety of projects from facility assessments and program management to additions, building renovation and restoration, envelope repair, and adaptive reuse.

Carolyn Isaacson / Architectural Designer / Principal

While earning her Master of Architecture degree at Tulane University, Carolyn gained a deep understanding of community engagement, contextual design, and small-scale construction. She has worked on projects ranging from mixed use residential and education to retail projects, with extensive knowledge of BIM software and a strong interest in how technology helps move design forward. Carolyn excels in our collaborative culture and participates in all levels of the design process from pre-design evaluations and code analysis to construction documentation and contract administration while actively participating in business development and strategic planning of our practice.

Kylie Fitzgerald / Business Manager / Principal

Kylie manages AltusWorks’ financial and business administration functions including office operations, human resources and accounting/billing activities. Armed with a Bachelor’s degree in interior design, Kylie found her calling in the business and financial aspect of our industry.  Her attention to detail, superior organizational skills, and focus on both internal resources and external clients and partners makes her instrumental in our advancement.

A. Joakim Bäckström / AIA, LEED AP / Architect

Joakim (Joa) offers a diverse project experience in new construction and additions as well as complicated adaptive reuse and repositioning projects. Joa has designed and managed a wide range of project types including breweries/distilleries, commercial, residential, and religious, with specific focus on retail in Sweden, France, Canada, and throughout the United States. As an innovative Brewery Architect, Joa interprets the owners’ vision into unique and vibrant experiential environments.

Mary Begley / Architectural Designer

Mary earned her Master’s in Architecture from the University of Minnesota and has gained experience in the industry as a designer, researcher, teacher, and historian. Her specific interest is revealing architectural history which developed through her education and experience across the Midwest. Her diverse background includes experience at all phases of design and construction, from pre-design research to carpentry. Mary is interested in the environmental and cultural capacities of preservation and adaptive reuse, the shifting scales of architectural design across history, and collaboration as a design method.

Anney Grish / Planner/Cultural Resource Specialist

Anney earned her Master’s Degree in Urban Planning and Policy from University of Illinois at Chicago to better understand how historic preservation can benefit cities and communities as a whole. She brings diverse experience in architectural research, including Section 106 & Historic American Building Survey (HABS) and Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) documentation; preservation advocacy; comprehensive planning; and transportation analysis. She also has a passion for Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping and communication design, and seeks to incorporate these skills into the preservation field. Anney’s experience bolsters the team’s capabilities in historic preservation documentation and planning.

Marty Kelly / Façade Assessor

Marty’s concrete and masonry restoration experience and expertise in the repair of high-rise building enclosures expands over three decades. Marty was employed at several of the most prominent restoration contractors in Chicago. He has previously supervised the concrete and masonry restoration work at several projects designed by AltusWorks and has an established relationship with our staff. Marty’s attention to detail, commitment to quality control and safety makes him an asset to our practice.

Heather Kneezel / Architect

Heather is a licensed architect in the State of Illinois with a focus in Historic Preservation. Having worked on a variety of significant historic projects, Heather enjoys the challenge of preserving, restoring or renovating each unique building.  Her projects have included the restoration of a historic spaces, design of home additions, restoration of existing exterior building facades and building renovations to accommodate modern systems such as MEP, fire protection, life safety, or accessibility. Heather enjoys this work because it allows the historic character and fabric of the building to be preserved and upgraded as needed so it can be appreciated by future generations.

Chelsea Medek / Architect

Chelsea’s experience in restoration and rehabilitation of building envelopes for multi-family residential and commercial buildings demonstrates her advanced skills in architectural design and detailing, historical research, site inspections, field documentation, preparation of construction documents, cost estimating, and project management.  Her background and passion for historic preservation inspires her to provide inventive solutions to preserve and sustain our built environment.

David R. Periolat / Architectural Designer

David approaches each project collaboratively to ensure the highest quality results. David has been responsible for the planning, design, and construction administration for new construction and interior renovations of residential, educational, and commercial projects. With a focused attention to detail and an understanding of building systems and integration, he fosters strong working relationships with clients and the construction team and has the capability to successfully manage various project needs.

Katherine Pohl / Architectural Designer

Katherine earned her Master’s Degree in Architecture with a Certificate in Historic Preservation from SAIC, gaining a knowledge of historic and contemporary building design and technology.  Her experience consists of completing documents and models from predesign to construction as well as historic assessment and report preparation. Her attention to detail is exemplified by accurate architectural restoration and adaptive reuse plans, comprehensive archival research and creatively written historic structures and assessment reports.

Melissa Smith / Architectural Designer

Melissa graduated with a Master’s in Architecture from the University of Kansas where she completed the University Honors Program, was Vice President of Architecture Student Council, and earned certificates in Historic Preservation, Health & Wellness, and Global Awareness. Melissa studied sustainable design and adaptive reuse in Copenhagen, Denmark and won the 2020 Architects Foundation / John McAslan + Partners Fellowship. Her professional experience is based on large scale multi-family projects. Melissa was part of a team that published a study about the benefits of a hybrid community hospitals in rural American towns.