Testimonials & Letters of Recommendation

I am writing this letter on behalf of the noted architectural firm that has completed two branch library buildings for the Chicago Public Library – The Humboldt Park and the Toman Branch buildings. Said buildings will, no doubt, be described by Steve Rankin in his application to your office.

I wish to state that I would look forward to working with this firm on a third library project if such was to be awarded to the firm. I have been with CPL system since 1972 and have had my hand in a majority of new and renovated buildings – probably 75 in number. Having worked with numerous architects, I do believe that I can make a judgement on a quality organization.

Morton Coburn
Former Director, Library Building Programs
Chicago Public Library

I am very pleased to write this letter of recommendation for you and your firm. The Chicago Public Library was so fortunate to have you and your associate Brian Hirami as our architects of record on the renovation, reconstruction and addition project that resulted in the creation of the Toman Branch Library of the Chicago Public Library system.

Your expertise and Brian's made that project work. I know that the contractor's inexperience made your assignment doubly challenging. Despite the many obstacles that the contractor placed in your way, you and Brian and your team ensured that the project was completed cost effectively for the City and the Library. Additionally, your creativity and design resulted in the construction of a handsome and very functional public building.

The Toman Branch is one of our busier branch libraries. Yet, the building design and materials hold up to the heavy foot traffic and use beautifully. I especially appreciated the personal interest and care which you and Brian brought to the project. The results are beyond anything we could have hoped for. It is one of my favorite branches to include on tours for private philanthropists and funders.

Mary Dempsey
Former Commissioner
Chicago Public Library

Please accept this letter as Bovis Lend Lease, Inc's formal letter of commendation for Stephen Rankin Associates, PC. for its outstanding performance as the Architect of the "Columbia Gateway New Five Story Office Building" Project, located in Columbia, Maryland. From the commencement of the Project to its conclusion, Brian Hirami, Stephen Rankin, Michael Salud, and Takemasa Okugawa provided an exceptionally high level of responsiveness, attention to detail, and ethical/factual decision making. The Stephen Rankin Team was always accessible and keenly focused on the pertinent issues of the Project.

The Columbia Gateway Job is one that our team is very proud of, and reflects upon fondly. Working with them and their teammates was an enjoyable professional experience, and we eagerly look forward to an opportunity to complete a Project with Stephen Rankin Associates in the future.

Maya M. Kai Kai
Project Manager
Bovis Lend Lease, Inc.

It has been a pleasure to work with Stephen Rankin and their associates, Takemasa Okugawa and Brian Hirami over the last three years on capital improvement projects at the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center that resulted in the renovation of nearly half of the 60,000 square-foot outpatient health center. It is with equal pleasure that I write this letter of recommendation for their firm.

While the CORE Center is a beautiful building and one of significance (built in 1998) that brings care and hope to the thousands affected by HIV the Cook County health system, advances in HIV care and treatment had rendered many areas underutilized or unnecessary. At the same time, the CORE Center's patient population had more than doubled during the 10 years of operation, and we were faced with finding ways to meet increasing patient capacity and improve patient care. When the CORE Foundation, the nonprofit entity that owns the CORE Center, embarked on this project, Stephen Rankin Associates listened to the needs, studied, and brought to us a design plan to reconfigure existing space in a cost-effective approach that incorporated all the elements.

There were several challenges to this project: creating as much functional space as possible while keeping with the original concept of the facility; having the clinic be operational during the entire renovation; being cognizant of thousands of patient who utilize the Center; incorporating energy-efficient measures whenever possible; and planning for flexibility to meet future needs. There were many other challenges along the way, and plans had to be adapted accordingly.

The project was successful. Their cost-effective renovation plan, coupled with the CORE Foundation's ability to raise additional funds, resulted in the implementation of many more projects than originally planned. What I especially noted was the extraordinary collaboration among the project. I also appreciated the accessibility of Takemasa Okugawa during the entire project, and I know that this also was the sentiment of the general contractor. Furthermore, I have had many positive comments from CORE Center patients and staff, as well as visitors to the Center.

Esther Joo
Executive Director
The CORE Foundation

In the 1990's I was the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital and Care Network in Chicago, IL. As such, I was responsible for oversight of a construction project that added 80,000 square feet to our existing hospital building. This project approximately doubled our square footage adding 42 acute inpatient rehabilitation beds, new in-patient therapy space for physical and occupational therapies, speech and language pathology and psychology. It also established new out-patient therapy space, physician examination rooms, a therapeutic pool and converted existing nursing units to a pediatric unit and two subacute rehabilitation units and existing therapy space into subacute therapy space and education and conference space.

Stephen Rankin Associates were the architects for the project. Steve had previously done work for the Sinai Health System and was chosen for this project base on our satisfaction with the previous project. My experience was primarily with Steve, Brian Hirami and Tia Manolakas. Steve and Brian met weekly with staff members representing the various rehabilitation disciplines as well as the engineering and materials management, listening to their needs and wants for the new facility. Concept drawings were brought back to each group demonstrated an excellent ability to provide needs in an innovative and creative way. Steve and Brian also displayed sensitivity to the need to keep over project costs in check due to our budget constraints. The project was financed with Federal HUD money and following the final HUD approval, the project proceeded on time and on budget with one exception. Underground tanks were found with the initial excavation causing considerable expanse and time delay. The final project is functional and physically attractive.

Jo-Ann C Gruber
Former Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer
Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital

It is my pleasure to write this letter on behalf of Stephen Rankin Associates.

In my capacity as Vice President & Chief Nursing Officer, at both the Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital, in Wheaton, and before that at the Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital in Chicago, I worked closely with Steve and his staff to program, design and build state of the art, quality health facilities.

The Marianjoy project was for a 120 bed, 174,000 square foot replacement hospital, which included both in-patient and skilled nursing services. The Schwab project was for an 80,000 square foot addition to an existing hospital, which included 42 new beds, with both in-patient and out-patient services.

I am particularly appreciative of how Steve Rankin, Brian Hirami and his staff worked with us to get things right. They listened to us, they were patient with our decision making, and they were tireless in their attention to detail.

Their inventive design and their understanding of our needs resulted in two serene healing environments that increased patient satisfaction, and improved our ability to tend to the wellness of our patients.

I hope that we will again have an opportunity to work with them in the future.

Nancy Cutler
VP Nursing Services & CNO
FHN – Health Care Systems

It is my pleasure to write a reference for Stephen Rankin and Associates.

Over the past several years, Steve and his team have worked on numerous projects for NuCare and have exceeded all expectations in every realm of those interactions.

Steve is a highly professional, honorable, and creative team worker who has suggested ingenious design solutions after listening to our issues.

He is also the leader of a team that reflects his personal qualities. They are intelligent designers who are fantastically easy to work with, who hear client's needs and adapt their thinking and work accordingly. In short, they are both visionary and responsive.

Steve and his team are "plug and play". Give them a task and they are on top of it from conception to implementation.

It is not often that write a letter such as this – so enthusiastic about a vendor. However, it is truly a pleasure to reward top-tier people and firms with appropriate praise.

David A. Gendel
Director of Special Projects
NuCare Services Corporation

I am happy to provide this letter of reference with respect to the Stephen Rankin Associates' work as the architect for the Columbia Gate Office project in Columbia, Maryland. I couldn't have been more pleased with the building they designed. Their team provided an excellent building design, timely documentation, and prompt construction administration support which helped insure a smooth process from start to finish. We even got complements from the contractor on how responsive their team was during this process!

I was especially impressed with the way the design team worked on the coordination issues to be seamless despite the relative differences in location. As the national head of development for ORIX Real Estate Capital, Inc. during the duration of the project, I was responsible for the success of this building and I am pleased to have completed this project on time, on budget and as a handsome addition to the Columbia Gateway office park.

I would recommend their firm for future projects or to other owners based on their performance.

Kurt Pairitz
Developer, former national head of development
Orix Real Estate Capital, Inc.

I have known Stephen Rankin for many years as an architect and collaborator. It is with great pleasure that I recommend his work, and that of Stephen Rankin Associates.

Stephen is a visionary who can execute the most improbable projects with hear and brilliance. When, together with UNICEF, V-Day (the worldwide movement to end violence against women and girls which I founded in 1998) committed to building a large facility for survivors of sexual violence in war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo called the City of Joy, we received numerous offers from architectural firms to help. But it was Stephen Rankin Associates' pro bono proposal that most captured what the women on the ground needed and deserved.

Stephen and his talented team spent weeks communicating with our staff and colleagues in San Francisco, Santa Fe, New York, and Bukavu (Congo) to come up with an extraordinary architectural plan for the City of Joy. No details were overlooked. Stephen Rankin Associates researched Congolese culture – village architecture, wind patterns, eating and gathering customs, livestock management, soil quality and water sourcing, etc. What resulted is an extraordinary plan that is being built as I write to you. (Completed in 2009) Because of Stephen, 200 women a year will have a home that not only provides them with a roof over their heads, but a nurturing environment in which true healing will be possible. The setting will mimic that of a typical Congolese village, including a cluster of 10 small houses where women will live and sleep, an orchard, an area for livestock, and many communal places to gather and learn. The City of Joy will be a model for work with women in other war zones around the world, and in this way Stephen Rankin Associates' impact will continue in the years ahead.

I have had the profound honor of traveling the world, meeting people from all walks of life and I can say without a doubt that Stephen Rankin is extraordinary. He is an excellent collaborator, asking the crucial questions, always finding a way to make things work. I believe that any client that enlists him and his team will be the luckier for it.

He is a true leader, a trailblazer, a creative force who knows how to gently lead his clients to the building of their dreams.

Eve Ensler
Founder/Artistic Director
V-Day/ UNICEF (the worldwide movement to end violence against women and girls)

I would like to thank Stephen Rankin Associates for the terrific job Brian Hirami, Tia Manolakas and Mike Salud did for me and IBJI (Illinois Bone and Joint Institute) on the most recent completed projects.

I started doing construction again for IBJI a few years ago. I "inherited" several already in-progress projects, working with different architects. I was faced with huge obstacles and managing these architects became the most difficult part of my job. It is with sincere honesty that I can say that working with Brian and his team has been an absolute pleasure. What stands out about all of Stephen Rankin Associates and their culture is just how hard they work. They continuously take initiative with the projects and show so much pride in their work. The expectations were high and the deadlines tight. Because of their excellence, all the projects were completed on time (even ahead of time) with a minimal amount of change orders.

Annelise Blom
Covenant Project Management, LLC