From retail and restaurants to tech and media, contractors to coworking spaces, large, small, and everything in between, a diverse array of businesses call Alexandria home. In our blog series, Growing in Alexandria, we sit down to talk with businesses around the City to learn more about who they are, what they do, and why they love it here. Have an idea for a business in Alexandria to talk to? Email us!
PGAL is an Alexandria-based international design firm that has proudly called Old Town home for the past 25 years. This week, we virtually chatted with Veronica Enders, Associate Principal, and Molly Statler, Director of Business Development, to learn more.
AEDP: Let’s get started- please tell us a little bit about your business and what you do.
Molly: Founded in 1946, PGAL is an international design firm specializing in architecture, interiors, engineering, and planning for a diverse portfolio of public and private sector clients. PGAL has over 200 architects, engineers, designers, and planners across 12 offices nationwide. Our Alexandria office consists of a staff of 25 people that primarily focuses on aviation projects, including the design of terminals, concessions, airline operation spaces and lounges. PGAL’s portfolio includes more than 15 million square feet of airport terminal space, both new construction and renovation, at over 50 airports across the nation and internationally. With our projects nationwide, our team has developed a growing interest in diversifying our portfolio locally and engaging more within our community. Within the past couple of years, PGAL has expanded our portfolio of corporate interiors projects in the region. We hope to continue to establish more relationships in our local community while still maintaining our aviation expertise nationwide.
AEDP: How did you get started?
Veronica: When PGAL – a Texas-based A/E firm – established the Alexandria, Virginia office in 1989, the staff already had a major assignment: design and program the $400 million, one million-square-foot Terminal B/C at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).
The venture into Alexandria was a bold move for PGAL, which had not expanded outside Texas since the firm’s founding in 1946. Many of the nation’s leading aviation firms were competing to design the Washington National project, and while PGAL had a considerable aviation portfolio, at the time, it was not as nationally recognized as the competition. PGAL, determined to pursue the long-shot opportunity, recruited world-renowned architect Cesar Pelli to join the proposed project team. To the surprise of some industry watchers, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority short listed and ultimately awarded the contract to PGA. It was PGAL’s aviation know-how and Pelli’s design credentials that proved to be a winning combination.
Since the successful completion of the DCA Terminal in 1997, aviation design specialists in the Alexandria office have continued to lead other major PGAL aviation projects across the nation. These include the $140 million Washington Dulles International Arrivals Building Expansion; the $325 million Philadelphia International Airport Terminal A West; the $242 million Consolidated Rental Car Facility at Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta; the $250 million International Arrivals Building at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston; and the $2.4 billion Terminal 3 at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. In addition, with continuing assignments at both Reagan and Dulles airports, PGAL is currently involved with major aviation terminal design projects at Newark Liberty International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
AEDP: How do you and the team measure success?
Veronica: Our success is based on a talented and dedicated team that has worked together for many years sharing a passion for quality design and client service. Most of our staff started their families while at PGAL and have gone from youth soccer moms and dads, to proud parents of high school and college students. “Family first” is our culture; we represent all local counties and are actively involved in supporting numerous community programs.
AEDP: And how would you describe the company culture at PGAL?
Veronica: Tenured. Creative. Passionate.
Our culture mirrors our work product. With a diverse practice and projects that span the globe, PGAL is an ideal place to build a career and develop skills in entrepreneurship, project delivery, leadership, and life. Many of our team members have spent significant portions of their careers with PGAL, working their way from entry level to leadership positions. We invest in our employees, providing mentorship, training workshops, and the latest technology.
AEDP: Do you have a favorite charity to support?
Molly: Since 2015, PGAL’s Alexandria office has participated in AIA Northern Virginia’s annual Canstruction® competition which benefits the Arlington Food Assistance Center. Each Fall, we host the “PGAL Classic”, a mini golf tournament that transforms our office into a 9-hole miniature golf course designed by our team. Sponsorship proceeds from the event help fund PGAL’s participation in the annual Canstruction® charity competition. PGAL raised over $28,000 and provided more than 26,000 canned goods to Arlington Food Assistance Center over the last five years. Additionally, as a firm, PGAL regularly donates to the Wounded Warrior Project, a non-profit organization that honors and empowers injured veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces
AEDP: Finally, can you share with us why PGAL chose Alexandria?
Molly: Establishing the Alexandria office provided the geographical reach PGAL needed to successfully develop a national presence and the success of the Alexandria office has been a significant factor in the firm’s growth over the past 25 years.
Our office has been located along the Old Town Alexandria Waterfront at the Torpedo Factory Office Building since 1989. Our location in Alexandria is within close proximity to both Reagan National and Dulles Airports as well as Washington, DC; allowing our team to be extremely responsive to our airport authority, airline, and commercial interiors clients.
To learn more about PGAL, visit their website or visit their office at 201 N Union St Suite 500, Alexandria.