For over forty years, Bill Gustafson dedicated his exceptional talent and collaborative leadership style to Ballinger. In July 2019, after a career of great accomplishments, Bill retired from the firm. We are grateful for the many early years that Bill diligently guided Ballinger to a strong collaborative foundation that has led to our current national stature and culture of excellence. We have valued his friendship, mentorship, and partnership and look forward to building upon his legacy.
Bill’s first day at Ballinger was in the summer of 1976 and after the July 4th fireworks, Bill settled in and worked tirelessly to build up Ballinger’s client base, its people, and its reputation for quality design. Now in the firm’s 141st year of practice, up until 1986, Ballinger was led by just two families: the Ballingers (three generations with the last Ballinger retiring in 1973) and the DeMolls (two generations). The DeMolls decided to retire in the mid-1980s, turning the practice over to a group of investors led by Bill. At the time, the firm’s roots were deeply anchored in corporate America with such mainstay clients as IBM, Campbell’s Soup, Sperry-Univac, and Smith Kline.
Under Bill’s leadership, new partners were brought on board, leading to an expansion of market direction and quality design work – in addition to corporate clients, Ballinger’s higher education and healthcare projects flourished. Today, Ballinger’s practice thrives on designing complex technical buildings with sophisticated engineering systems.
Bill was a proponent of well-organized design workshops and a key to his and Ballinger’s success has been the continuation of the Quaker style (consensus) decision-making inherited from the firm’s founding families. He spent an extraordinary amount of timing getting to know people in the office and among clients, for as he says, “if you understand them, you can lead them.”
Bill has received numerous awards, has been widely published, and has been a frequent presenter at forums nationwide. He earned a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Michigan and his Master of Architecture from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.
A teacher at heart, Bill is developing a series of lectures on Cope and Stewardson, the Philadelphia architecture firm (1885-1912) best known for its Collegiate Gothic buildings.