Sasaki principals Elizabeth von Goeler, Tao Zhang, and Victor Vizgaitis join Sasaki’s board of directors to serve a 2020-2022 term.
“Sasaki’s governance model is designed to be flexible to ensure that a broad spectrum of voices are at the table making key decisions about the strategic direction of our global practice,” explains James Miner, Sasaki CEO. “Sasaki’s partnership developed this unique governance model to ensure that leaders cycle through the board as needed to keep perspectives fresh and give emerging leaders opportunities to learn from their more seasoned peers. This kind of careful succession planning is what has kept Sasaki thriving through generations of leadership since our founding in 1953.”
Sasaki’s eight board seats include three chairs overseeing each of Sasaki’s core disciplines, four interdisciplinary chairs charged with overseeing specific spheres important to the firm’s success, as well as the CEO.
Sasaki moved to this model in 2018, adding the four interdisciplinary leadership positions to broaden firm governance. This year, Sasaki welcomes the following new and returning chairs to serve on the 2020-2022 Sasaki board of directors:
Chair of External Relations
Elizabeth von Goeler
Elizabeth von Goeler will focus on business development, public relations, thought leadership, and branding initiatives that shape Sasaki’s reputation and market position. She has long been involved in the built environment community throughout Boston and will continue to help the rest of Boston, and the world at-large, to understand Sasaki’s unique value proposition. Von Goeler specializes in commercial interior architectural design, with decades of experience reimagining and repositioning workplaces, multifamily housing developments, retail environments, and restaurants. Some of her current and recent clients include Cambridge Biomarketing, Vynamic, Oxford Properties, Boston Properties, PepsiCo, Microsoft, toast, and Frequency Therapeutics.
Chair of Design Culture
Tao Zhang, ASLA, PLA
Tao Zhang will work with broad firm leadership and various experts to oversee design quality, sustainability, research, and design technology at Sasaki. A deep believer in collaboration and equity, he will continue to foster an engaging and inclusive design culture across the firm. Zhang plays a key role in the growing presence of Sasaki’s global practice, especially in Asia. As a landscape architect and ecologist, Zhang leads complex and award-winning projects that position Sasaki at the forefront of ecological design, including Wuhan Yangtze Riverfront Park, Shanghai Suzhou Creek Urban Design, and Xinyang University South Bay campus. Zhang also serves as a trustee of the Sasaki Foundation. He is well-published and has lectured widely at universities in the United States and overseas.
Chair of Architecture and Interior Design
Victor Vizgaitis, AIA
Victor Vizgaitis, who has previously led the firm’s Urban Studio and Commercial Architecture practice, will steward the direction of Sasaki’s architecture and interior design practice. Vizgaitis is a celebrated architect best-known for innovative commercial architecture and workplace design within Boston, but has worked on projects in education, arts and culture, sports and recreation, all over the world, including the new lab/office development at 401 Congress Street in Boston, Akamai’s Technologies Global Headquarters, and the Bruce C. Bolling Building in Nubian Square.
Chair of Landscape Architecture, Civil Engineering, and Ecology
Michael Grove, ASLA, PLA
Michael Grove was re-elected to serve a second term as discipline chair. Grove works to position Sasaki as a leader at the cutting edge of issues concerning landscape architecture today, including climate change and resilience, equitable access to parks and open space, and actively diversifying the profession. He champions the integration of landscape architecture, civil engineering, and ecology across project types. Grove’s practice is global, leading landscape architecture and urban design projects around the work including the Chengdu Panda Reserve, the 798 Arts District, and Jiading Central Park. He is widely recognized as a leading expert in climate change adaptation, biodiversity and ecological restoration, food systems, and landscape-centric urban design.
Chair of Planning and Urban Design
Tyler Patrick, AICP
Tyler Patrick is serving his second term on the board leading Sasaki’s planning and urban design practice. He will explore new markets and promote innovation within existing markets—with special focus on how technology and research can continue to expand Sasaki’s planning and urban design capabilities. Patrick is a campus planner with decades of experience working with institutions to bring mission to life in their built environments. Some of Patrick’s most celebrated plans include the Emory University Campus Framework Plan, the Northwestern University Campus Master Plan, and the University of Nevada Las Vegas Campus Master Plan.
Chair of Employee Engagement
Caroline Braga, ASLA, PLA
Caroline Braga will focus on equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives, Sasaki’s professional development strategy, and strategic and cross-disciplinary staffing. In collaboration with Caitlyn Clauson, Chair at Large, Braga will lead Sasaki’s planning efforts to realize Sasaki’s commitment to be an anti-racist organization internally and externally. Braga is a landscape architect specializing in campus landscape architecture and commercial development. Her recent projects include the Emory University Campus Framework Plan, the Texas Facilities Commission Phase 1 Landscape, and several ecologically-focused landscapes at Lehigh University and the University of Rhode Island.
As the Chair At-Large, Caitlyn Clauson will lead major initiatives and priorities requiring special attention. Her role provides the Board with the flexibility to address needs and focus areas as they emerge. Clauson is a campus planner currently working with clients from coast to coast in the United States. Some of her recent projects include the UC Berkeley Campus Master Plan and Long Range Development Plan, the University of Washington Campus Master Plan, and the development of a new campus for CSU Sacramento State.
Chief Executive Officer
James Miner, AICP
James Miner has served as the Chair of the Executive Committee since 2012, and as Sasaki’s CEO since 2018. His key efforts in recent years have included rebranding the firm to elevate its collaborative and inclusive approach to design, renewing Sasaki’s commitment to being active members of the Boston design community, growing Sasaki’s commercial design practice, establishing a firm-wide research grant program, and adding new expertise around technology and fabrication. Miner is also chair of the Sasaki Foundation Advisory Council, which brings together leaders across sectors from Greater Boston to help shape the work of the Sasaki Foundation, housed in the Incubator at Sasaki. Miner is a seasoned planner and continues to offer strategic direction on a select number of planning projects. Some of Miner’s past and recent clients include Zidell Yards, NBCUniversal, and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources on the award-winning Gulf State Park Master Plan and Implementation.