better together

About GDA

The Global Design Alliance is an international network
 of design, planning and construction firms who are committed to fostering dynamic growth and change. We are a living 27-year experiment in transparency, resource- sharing, authenticity and creativity that builds trust and develops not only people, but whole companies, who truly are “Better Together.” The GDA intentionally brings together a diverse group of companies to facilitate trusted partnerships and knowledge sharing amongst the most forward-thinking leaders in the AEC industry. Our vision is to:

skate to where the puck is going;
nurture familiarity by prioritizing trust and respect;
engage in provocative and inspiring dialogue;
seek out diversity of thought;
and create a safe place to explore new ideas and initiatives

What our members say

“What I love most about the GDA are the personal relationships. I’ve had the opportunity to develop with inspiring practice leaders from across North America. I learn something new whenever we come together. And whenever I need advice, I know that I can pick up the phone or send out a quick note, and within the hour I’ll have the benefit of their friendly, practical wisdom. Extremely rewarding, both personally and professionally!”

– Jeff DiBattista, DIALOG

“Alliiance has been a long-term member of the GDA. Throughout the years, our firm has formed strategic partnerships and we have benefitted from many collaborations with other GDA member firms – and I personally have gained many deep friendships. We constantly have been able to access a deep bench of experience in all practice areas because of the diversity of members within the GDA. Even more so, I have had shoulders to lean on and people to look to for advice during these uncertain times.”

– Tom Hysell, Alliiance

“I am fascinated and enriched by all of the different ways that the companies within the GDA have chosen to organize themselves. While addressing the same big-picture industry issues, we are each working in a different organizational model. That combination of similarity and diversity enables us to have both well-informed and changeful conversations, tackling topics such as leadership, diversity and inclusion, structure, succession planning and culture in unique ways.”

– Melissa Marsh, Plastarc

GDA by the numbers

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Virtual Symposium

October 07, 2020 - October 08, 2020

GDA member firms will explore critical issues surrounding the built environment at our first-ever virtual symposium. The semi-annual symposium of the Global Design Alliance is an intimate gathering where firm leaders from across North America collaborate to seize opportunities and tackle challenges related to the AEC industry and the strategic practice of our firms. In the upcoming symposium, we come together to seek understanding; prepare to pivot; and to connect for the future.

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Past Events

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Knowledge Communities
Leadership & Human Capital

Members meet monthly to discuss critical leadership and human capital issues that our firms are facing. Topics range from transition and succession planning to professional development to talent recruitment and retention.

Diversity & Inclusion

This knowledge community shares in the deep commitment and fervent desire to bring diversity, equity and inclusion into each of our member firms. The group meets monthly to openly discuss best practices, challenges and also set collective goals that can be brought back in-house of our individual member firms.

Professional Training

Employees of member firms have access to key training opportunities organized by the Global Design Alliance. Recent workshops have included: Total Leadership by Stew Friedman of the Wharton School of Business.

Contact Us
Executive Director

Saskia Dennis-van Dijl joined the GDA as Executive Director in 2016. Saskia has served as a practice management consultant to the AEC industry for the past two decades advising firms around the US in the areas of marketing, practice management and strategic planning.  In recent years, Saskia has focused extensively on leadership development in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry including a deep commitment to concerns related to diversity equity and inclusion. She was a founding member of the 2014 Equity by Design research project sponsored by AIA San Francisco and now works with companies around the nation on culture and policy development to achieve goals of diversity and inclusion in all aspects.   

Associate Director

Brook Wyntergreen first joined the Global Design Alliance in 2014, having served as former Chair for the GDA Marketing & Business Development Community. In 2016, she accepted the role of Associate Director for the GDA, supporting the Board and Executive Director to manage the day-to-day operations of the consortium. With nearly 15 years in the design industry, Brook has led marketing & business development departments and also worked in project management & project scheduling for large healthcare and public projects. Brook holds a Masters in Business Administration and Bachelors of Architecture. "The people that make up the GDA are genuine friends as well as inspirational leaders. I continue to learn new ways of thinking and interacting with the built environment through the many different lenses of our consortium."

Chair of the Board

Steve Frei is a Managing Principal with AEI and currently serves as the Chair of the Board for the Global Design Alliance. Over the past decade AEI has reaped the benefits of the vibrant and forward thinking culture of the GDA and its member firms. “During this 'Age of Accelerations', the informed and transparent discussion between the GDA members has impacted our organization today and even more importantly helped to create the foundation for our recently completed Strategic Plan. Particularly important to our planning efforts were GDA topics of digital transformation, AI and DEI. Beyond the practice enhancing role of the GDA, the significant opportunity to enhance existing relationships and create new relationships has created new business success for AEI. Lastly, during the COVID-19 Pandemic, the GDA has become a valuable resource and support to AEI, as we are all navigating through uncharted territory."

sfrei@aeieng.com
608.209.1739