Stephen Epstein Joins CO Architects as Chief Financial Officer

New CFO Helps Architecture Firm Sustain Successful Business Model While Fostering Creative Design


Stephen Epstein, Chief Financial Officer. Image courtesy of CO Architects. Click here for high-resolution images.

Stephen Epstein, an expert in leadership and management practices, has joined CO Architects of Los Angeles as its chief financial officer. Epstein leads the business and human resources operations for the practice, developing effective solutions based on his more than 25 years of experience helping firms to become profitable while still fostering creativity.

“I joined CO Architects because of its commitment to design and the ability of the firm to achieve design solutions that consistently transcend the potential constraints of building typology, client culture, site challenges, and construction budgets,” Epstein says.
Epstein brings real world experience to solving the challenges faced by design firms. His practice management expertise has helped firms implement meaningful changes to improve productivity, efficiency, and the bottom line.

“What sets Steve apart from other CFOs is his unusual combination of design sensitivity, leadership skills, and interest in professional development—in addition to his business background,” says Scott Kelsey, FAIA, managing principal of CO Architects. “His values and experience support our culture of discovery and collaboration.”

From 2014 to 2017, Epstein was a strategic advisor with Strogoff Consulting, a management consulting firm that works closely with architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, and specialty design firms throughout the country. In this role, Epstein provided guidance on ownership transition, practice management, and leadership development training for small, medium, and large firms.

Prior to that, he was a principal with Los Angeles-based Pfeiffer Partners, a successor to Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates. During his 16-year tenure, he guided strategic planning, finance, operations, human resources, and project management initiatives.

Epstein combines a passion for design and the built environment with business acumen and skills in organizational and behavioral management. He earned a bachelor of science degree in design (1991), a master of architecture degree (1993), and a master of business administration degree (1995) from Arizona State University, Tempe.

Throughout his career, Epstein has been enthusiastic about professional development and embraces the opportunity to serve as a mentor and a coach to firm leaders, emerging leaders, and design and administrative professionals at all experience levels. Epstein has led seminars and panel discussions on such topics as leadership development, attracting and retaining talent, and operational and project financial management. He will present a town hall session, “Developing the Next Generation of Leaders,” at the AIA National Conference on Architecture 2018.

Los Angeles-based CO Architects is nationally recognized for architectural planning, programming, and design in the higher education, science and technology, and healthcare sectors, and works with leading institutions from coast to coast. CO Architects’ specialized expertise includes transformative schools of medicine and health professions, advanced research and teaching laboratories, and innovative clinical facilities on higher education, healthcare, and urban campuses. CO Architects is the recipient of the American Institute of Architects, California Council’s prestigious 2014 California Architecture Firm of the Year Award.