Industry Leader Brings Extensive Experience Developing Relationships, Ensuring Performance
Cuningham Group is pleased to announce the appointment of Christine Cavataio to President and COO. Cavataio, who joined the firm in mid-February, will oversee and closely collaborate with leaders of each of Cuningham’s Studios and Practices, and work with CEO Tim Dufault to guide the strategic vision for the firm.
Dufault, who joined Cuningham Group in 1992 and previously served as President and CEO for 13 years, will focus on the CEO role spearheading the growth, long-term strategy, external representation, and new ventures of the firm.
Cavataio, who has 30 years of experience in the architectural design industry, says she has been especially inspired by the firm’s commitment to its staff and its agility to stay engaged and drive value to its clients during the current COVID-19 crisis.
“It was clear when I first started meeting with staff throughout the organization that culture is an integral part of Cuningham Group, and this became even more evident when we moved to 100 percent working-from-home just a month after I started in my new role,” Cavataio says. “Cuningham is a visionary firm, both in its innovative design work and in the way they foster a true sense of trust, open communication and collaboration with their clients, partners, and their teams. This leads to innovative solutions that take inspiration from the firm’s mission of uplifting the human spirit – both internally and externally.”
Dufault praises Cavataio’s leadership skills and her deep experience developing relationships with clients and ensuring performance by building and leading superior collaborative teams. “She has been unwavering in her leadership style since she started and we are honored to have her join our team,” Dufault says. “She brings extensive experience optimizing management structures and processes, as well as a true talent for bringing people and their strengths together to accomplish great design.”
“It was clear when I first started meeting with staff throughout the organization that culture is an integral part of Cuningham Group, and this became even more evident when we moved to 100 percent working-from-home just a month after I started in my new role.”
– President and COO Christine Cavataio
As the industry and specific markets are impacted in an unprecedented way, Cavataio’s top priority has been making sure that morale remains high among staff, communications are clear, and the firm continues to provide greater value to serve our clients effectively.
“We are adapting our practice on a daily basis as our clients’ businesses and institutions depend on our work to solve their future needs,” she says. “We are holding virtual planning and design sessions and using new digital tools to help in that process. Part of what I enjoy about architecture is its focus on the future and how what we design today is resilient enough to last for generations. Cuningham is focused on this future horizon and I’m excited to do my part to lead us forward.”
Recognized Firm and Project Leadership
Cavataio has extensive industry, firm and project leadership experience. One of her most notable projects was the $2.1 billion Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM), a 3.6 million-square-foot healthcare complex serving Montreal, during her time as Senior Vice President at CannonDesign. She led the project and the 180-person architectural design team, comprised of team members from six CannonDesign offices as well as four consultant firms. To date, the project has been awarded over 30 international awards for design excellence and healthcare innovation.
During her time with CannonDesign, Cavataio also served as the Business Practice Leader for both the New York City and Montreal offices of the firm.
“[Christine] has been unwavering in her leadership style since she started and we are honored to have her join our team.”
– CEO Tim Dufault
Previously, Cavataio served as director of operations for Jacobs Southern California Design Division, a 140-person full-service architectural and engineering team. Cavataio was also Vice President and Director of Operations for the international headquarters of Leo A Daly Company, where she managed a 120-person full-service architectural / engineering office while mentoring satellite offices in Hong Kong and Miami.
In addition to CHUM, Cavataio has successfully led teams on a number of large complex projects including the Vdara tower at CityCenter in Las Vegas, the World War II Memorial in Washington DC, and Microsoft’s $2 billion Global Data Center Program.
Cavataio is an associate member of American Institute of Architects (AIA) and holds a Bachelor of Science, Architectural Engineering with an Emphasis in Construction Management from the University of Kansas, where she has served as an Advisory Board Member for the School of Architectural Engineering since 2004.