SMMA Announces New Promotions to Associate and Senior Associate

Newly promoted SMMA Senior Associates and Associates in 2023

From top L-R: Chase Gibson, Shahe Nalbandian, Sarah Sopelak, Daniel Clasby, Emily Ehlers, Marisa Fryer, Kelly Sanborn, Ronald Wassmer


SMMA has announced eight new promotions, including three new Senior Associates and five new Associates.

The promoted group is drawn from a diverse range of specialisms across SMMA’s multidisciplinary model, including architecture, civil engineering, interior design, MEP, and project management.

Ara Krafian, President and CEO, confirmed the news at a company all-hands meeting in June. Promotions at SMMA are overseen by the Promotions Committee, which is led by the firm’s directors.


New Senior Associates


Charles “Chase” Gibson, a mechanical engineer, was promoted to Senior Associate. “Chase stands out for his leadership in many areas that support the firm, his colleagues, and his local community,” said Andy Oldeman, Director of Engineering at SMMA. “Just a few months ago, Chase was named Young Professional of the Year by ACEC Massachusetts, an accolade that speaks for itself.”

Shahe Nalbandian, a designer and lab specialist, was promoted to Senior Associate. “Shahe is the epitome of collaboration at SMMA,” said Nick Koulbanis, Director of Architecture. “From cleanrooms to data centers, he combines his passion for design and solving our most complex problems with creative and innovative solutions. Shahe is deeply respected by his peers and his knowledge and collaborative working style is greatly valued by his teams.”

Sarah Sopelak, an interior designer, was promoted to Senior Associate. “Sarah’s passion for design, dedication to her craft, and unwavering commitment to clients is evident in every project she is involved in,” said Marie Fitzgerald, Senior Vice President. “She runs a tight ship, expertly supporting all aspects of the design process while pushing us as a firm to design healthier work environments for our clients.”


New Associates


Daniel Clasby, a civil engineer, was promoted to Associate. “Dan works across a diverse range of projects and is a valuable and flexible member of the site group,” said Erin Prestileo, Director of Site Design. “He confidently communicates technical aspects of civil engineering to both project teams and clients. Dan’s mentoring skills are second nature—he is a reliable mentor to interns and younger staff at SMMA and to students in the ACE Mentor Program.”

Emily Ehlers, a mechanical engineer, was promoted to Associate. “Emily has been a wonderful addition to the Mechanical team at SMMA”, said Oldeman. “She has excelled across a wide range of project types at our firm including corporate, K-12, and government work. Emily communicates well with her project teammates, is an enthusiastic mentor to students in the ACE Mentor Program, and is always eager to learn and be challenged.”

Marisa Fryer, a civil designer, was promoted to Associate. “Marisa’s problem-solving skills are unmatched,” said Prestileo. “There are no challenges she will not take on, fully understand, and clearly communicate to teams and clients. Marisa has an organized approach to project work, managing long-term project needs and quick deadlines without skipping a beat.”

Kelly Sanborn, a Project Manager, was promoted to Associate. “From her start as an intern at SMMA, Kelly has consistently demonstrated tenacity, diligence, a passion for team collaboration, and a focus on excellent client service,” said Steven Vincent, Director of Project Management. “She has a very engaging managerial style that keeps projects and people moving forward with great success.”

Ronald Wassmer, an architect, was promoted to Associate. “Ron brings his creativity and passion to our Government work at SMMA, including a wide range of construction, addition, and renovation projects,” said Koulbanis. “Ron’s passion for architecture, mentorship of younger staff, and leadership role in our internship program makes SMMA a better place.”