Case Studies

Clark Patterson Lee Design Professionals

Excellence for 40 years

Clark Patterson Lee Design Professionals (CPL) will celebrate its 40-year anniversary in 2015. The architecture and engineering company was founded in 1975 by Phil Clark and currently resides in Rochester, New York.

“We started out as a full engineering firm,” explains Todd Liebert, president of CPL. “We did primarily civil and municipal-type work in the ’70s and then in the early ’90s Clark Engineers merged with an architectural firm to form the company today.”

Liebert details that he joined the company in 1994 and his primary responsibility, at that point, was health care design.

Health care and locations

CPL focuses primarily on private and public nonprofits. “We do health care; both hospitals and nursing homes,” he states. “We are also into education; both higher education and K-12, as well as some religious facilities, primarily in North Carolina.”

CPL has also done work on a few museums, including the Mint Museum Uptown in Charlotte, North Carolina, as well as the South Carolina State Museum.

Mint Museum Uptown in Charlotte required CPL to enter into a rigorous interview process and called for the addition of approximately 150,000 square feet of exhibition, as well as educational and administrative support space to exhibit and store collections of American art, contemporary art and contemporary craft.

In association with Mahcado and Silvetti Associates, CPL created an architectural design that accommodates the museum’s urban setting and includes a new office tower, retail space, condominiums and a second art museum to house a private collection.

The company is on the cutting edge with regard to project delivery. FirstHealth of the Carolinas, Moore Regional Hospital in Raeford, North Carolina, for which CPL successfully programmed, designed and constructed an 85,000-square-foot, fully equipped and turnkey ready new hospital and office building in 15 months.

The team, consisting of the owner, design team, construction manager and major trade subcontractors, worked together to transform the 30-acre site into a health care center that includes an eight-bed emergency department, a flexible eight-bed observation/inpatient unit and pharmacy.

“I think that the most important thing is that every project is unique and even though every project has its challenges, every project must come to a successful conclusion,” explains Liebert.

Liebert believes that the success of a project can be measured by the client’s ability to use the building. “It’s not our building, it’s their building,” he says. “We may be responsible to implement it for them and help them design it, but they are the users.” Part of the remodel process includes ensuring that the staff and team within the structure are efficient and functional.

CPL self-performs as much as it can on any given project unless the client requests that a subcontractor is used. “We do outsource some, but I would say probably 85 percent of our revenue is kept as net revenue verses outsource to separate subconsultants,” details Liebert.

Clark Patterson Lee Design Professionals

Architecture and engineering

Almost 65 percent of the company’s work is architectural; however, CPL does perform engineering, as well. “From an engineering standpoint, we were town engineers for a lot of municipalities in New York and in Georgia,” explains Liebert. CPL also has a highway team that does bridges, both in New York and Georgia, as well as a really extensive bridge inspection team.

CPL holds bridge inspection contracts with the New York State Thruway Authority and the New York State Department of Transportation, as well as multiple GDOT projects in Georgia.

CPL is definitely considered a full-service firm. “We have architects, mechanical-electrical plumbing engineers, structural engineers, landscape architects and civil engineers who support the building design projects and also interior designers,” Liebert states with pride.

The company also has civil engineers who focus on municipal infrastructure, such as water and sewer systems, site design and municipal support services. The firm has partnered with local governments and economic development agencies to identify growth opportunities, as well as build infrastructure and help identify potential funding streams.


Liebert states that the company has won numerous awards and accolades over the years. “We’re ranked among the top 100 health care design firms in the nation at No. 49 according to Modern Healthcare magazine and ranked No. 195 out of 300 in the country by Architectural Record,” Liebert details. “We were also named to the Top 500 design firms in the country by ENR.”

One of the more remarkable aspects of the company is that when CPL finishes a project the work is not over. CPL will discuss with clients how the project is working, if the work that was done satisfies the client and if there is anything the client wishes CPL had done differently. Liebert says that the reports CPL gets from clients allows the company to take what it has learned and use it toward the next project.

According to Liebert, his favorite thing about the company is the people who work for it and the outstanding and long lasting dedication each team member has for CPL. The future of the company remains positive. “We are always looking for controlled growth,” Liebert explains. “We are heading into an era with new leadership and my goal is to make sure the transition in leadership is smooth and that we’re making the right decisions.”

Clark Patterson Lee Design Professionals is a quality company specializing in architecture and engineering public and nonprofits, with a confident strategy to achieve consistent customer satisfaction

Published on: April 7, 2015

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