Four Populous Leaders Honored by Alma Maters

October 21, 2020

Kansas City-based global design firm Populous announced today that four company leaders have been honored with distinguished achievement awards from their alma maters. Earl Santee, Founder and Senior Principal (School of Architecture & Design 1981) and Todd Voth, Founder and Senior Principal (School of Architecture & Design 1982) received the Distinguished Alumni award, and Eddy Tavio, Senior Associate (School of Architecture & Design 2012) received the Young Architect/Designer award from the School of Architecture and Design at the University of Kansas. Sherri Privitera, Senior Principal (University of Nebraska – Lincoln 1996) was named to the Council of Alumni Ambassadors for her alma mater.

“The remarkable team at Populous is always committed to leading by example,” said Bruce Miller, Managing Director Americas. “We are extremely proud to see so many of our leaders recognized by their alma maters while paying homage to the incredible education that set them on their path to greatness in the design world. They are part of a terrific team and I’m excited to see their accomplishments recognized by the University of Kansas and the University of Nebraska.”

Populous associates were recognized for their experience, impact and career accomplishments throughout the design world by creating spaces where people want to be together, ranging from professional and collegiate sports stadiums to esports venues and convention centers. Each of the honorees have shown incredible dedication to the study and practice of architecture and urban design.

After graduating from the University of Kansas with his bachelor’s degrees in architecture and environmental design, Earl Santee, FAIA, became one of the most widely acclaimed sports designers in the world, creating some of the most iconic, world-renowned stadiums to date and earning him the moniker of the “Godfather of Ballparks.” He joined global design firm Populous (formerly HOK Sport) in 1985, and throughout his 35-year career he’s become known for his intuitiveness and insightfulness, developing a portfolio of award-winning projects that have helped bring urban life back to cities across the nation, including Minneapolis, New York, Pittsburgh, Houston, Denver, Miami and St. Louis. His leadership throughout the firm’s 37-year history has helped build it into a $40 billion practice, with his projects directly impacting more than $20 billion in sports venue design and construction around the globe.

Todd Voth, FAIA, achieved remarkable success in advancing practices at three large firms, realized through his commitment to programs, practice leadership and mentorship. He has dedicated himself to the advancement of the profession throughout his career, contributing and engaging in local, regional and national American Institute of Architects programs and committees, as well as in the development of architects within the firms where he has worked. In his current role at Populous, he has elevated the firm’s convention center market share from zero to 70 percent within a decade. Each year, more than six million people visit convention centers that Voth helped design and deliver. As a thought leader and change driver, he has transformed the design language used for convention centers, which has in turn impacted the entire industry and the destination cities convention centers serve. His approach has developed a new model for convention center design that is now considered the standard in this market.

Eddy Tavio was born in Venezuela and spent his childhood influenced by the contrast between the Caribbean country’s Spanish colonial roots and the modern architecture utopia it began to build in the 1950s. Eddy’s passion for architecture evolved from a deep appreciation of art and technology, which ultimately fueled his career interests when he made the move with his family to Kansas in 2000. Despite a passion for architecture, Eddy initially found his home in the University of Kansas School of Architecture & Design for a different reason – gaming & animation. Originally, he started the architecture program to pursue a career in video game design and animation; however, the camaraderie of the studio and his newfound appreciation of how buildings came together eventually won over and he switched to architecture as a profession. At Populous, Eddy has proven himself as an emerging market leader in the future of live events and entertainment through his design role in arenas, esports, and flexible performance venues across the country.

Sherri Privitera, NCARB, is a Senior Principal and Americas regional board member at Populous with 24 years of experience. Since graduating from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, her primary focus has been on developing collegiate sports facilities. Sherri has impacted more than 50 universities through her involvement in more than 70 projects, which qualifies her as one of the leading architects in sport facility design. Her hard work, dedication and positive attitude have positioned her as an influential professional within the firm and in the industry. Sherri currently serves on the University of Nebraska College of Architecture Professional Advisory Committee and in 2019 she was recognized with the prestigious Nebraska Alumni Master honor. Serving as the Principal-in-Charge, Sherri is currently involved with projects at the University of Texas, UTSA, Baylor University and University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

For more information on the University of Kansas awards, visit their website.


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