Gensler San Francisco Co-Managing Directors Ben Tranel and Katie Buchanan
Gensler SF Co-Managing Directors Ben Tranel and Katie Buchanan
April 01, 2024

Katie Buchanan and Ben Tranel Named Co-Managing Directors of Gensler San Francisco Office

Former Office Leaders, Hao Ko and Randy Howder, Assume New Roles

SAN FRANCISCO — Gensler, the leading global design and architecture firm renowned for its innovation and transformative projects, announces the appointment of Katie Buchanan and Ben Tranel as the new Co-Managing Directors of its San Francisco office, effective April 1, 2024.

Katie Buchanan, a seasoned design director with over 20 years of experience at Gensler, brings a wealth of knowledge in workplace design and a passion for growing the next generation of designers. Ben Tranel, an accomplished architect and practice area leader, has over two decades of design expertise and longstanding client relationships.

Gensler’s unique co-leadership model promotes a dynamic and inclusive work environment where leaders collaborate across disciplines and share insights. This approach not only fosters innovation but also strengthens Gensler’s ability to respond effectively to the evolving needs of clients and markets. Commenting on their appointments, Tranel stated “Our culture of change is rooted in embracing new ideas, diverse perspectives, and continuous learning. As co-leaders, we are committed to pushing the boundaries of design and delivering exceptional outcomes for our clients.”

Buchanan added, “For this next chapter for Gensler San Francisco, we are excited to build on our transformative design achievements. The built environment is undergoing an exciting evolution, and we are working with our clients to drive positive change in our communities.”

Recognizing its innovation in developing an algorithm that quickly assesses office buildings for potential residential conversion, Gensler was recently ranked #6 overall, and #1 in the Urban Development and Real Estate category on Fast Company’s most innovative list. The 2024 list shines a spotlight on businesses from all sectors of the economy that are shaping industry and culture through their innovations and achieving remarkable milestones. The algorithm has enabled the firm to evaluate the viability of over 1,300 projects in 130 cities for owners, developers, mayors, and government leaders.

Locally, Gensler committed to a 12-year lease at the Mills Building at 220 Montgomery Street in San Francisco last year and has been working with public and private initiatives to revitalize the city’s downtown. The office has been celebrated in national and regional press for future-forward workplace design focused on hospitality, sustainability, and choice. The space was designed as a working prototype for creating a destination for its employees.

Alongside this transition, former managing directors Hao Ko and Randy Howder will take on new leadership roles within the firm. Hao Ko will assume the roles of Global Director of Design and Regional Design Principal. In both roles, Ko will focus on raising the bar of design excellence and further elevate Gensler’s creative impact.

Randy Howder will transition to the full-time role of Co-Managing Director for the Northwest Region with Karen Thomas. In this capacity, he will oversee the firm’s operations across six offices, including Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose.

About Gensler
At Gensler, the value of our work stems from its positive impact on the human experience. We are a dynamic and collaborative design firm uniting creativity, research, and innovation to solve complex problems for our clients. Our work challenges conventional ideas about architecture and the built environment. We aren’t just designing buildings — we are reimagining cities and places that make a difference in people’s lives. Founded in 1965, Gensler has built a team of 6,000 professionals who partner with clients in over 100 countries each year. Everything we do is guided by our mission: to create a better world through the power of design.

For more information, please contact:
Sonia Roll
Regional Public Relations Manager, Gensler