Hooker De Jong Adds A GR Office

January 23, 2004
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MUSKEGON — After designing a strong market position in Muskegon, Hooker/De Jong Architects & Engineers is moving into Grand Rapids with a new office and into the future under a new management team.

David Layman, an architect who joined an affiliated company 11 years ago, has succeeded Ed De Jong as president of the firm. Joining him in the new management team are fellow chief architects Alan Majeski, who continues as vice president, and Lisa Maycroft, who now oversees production.

"We've had a real history of success. We just hope to perpetuate that," Layman said. "We have planned carefully for this transition and I am confident the company will soar to new heights."

In the planning stages for three years, the leadership transition comes as Hooker/De Jong is preparing to open a new Grand Rapids-area office, at Forest Hills Avenue and Cascade Road, by Feb. 1. Partners in the full-service architectural and engineering firm want to use the new office to further tap into the larger Grand Rapids market and grow the business.

"We hope to really put a push and a fair amount of commitment there," Layman said. "It's a starting point on which we want to build — and will build it as the work justifies."

Layman, 34, started with the firm in 1993 as an architect at Angus-Young Associates Inc., an architectural and engineering firm in Janesville, Wis., that's affiliated with Hooker/De Jong. A Grand Rapids native, Layman moved to the Muskegon firm a year later.

Prior to succeeding Ed De Jong on Jan. 1 as company president, Layman served as head of business development for seven years. He was named to Hooker/De Jong's board of directors in 1999, at which point he became a partner.

In planning his retirement, De Jong took a deliberate approach, delegating responsibilities during a three-year transition period.

"I've got a real good team in place and we've been working at this for a while," De Jong said. "The guys are in a great position to take it from here and really soar."

At 60 years old, De Jong wanted to cut back on his schedule and pursue others interest such as traveling.

"It's time to do some other things," said De Jong, who was with the firm for 35 years. "I'm not going to just sit around, I'll tell you that."

But he won't retire completely from his profession, either. De Jong will continue working with long-time clients of the firm and on projects in which he's been involved, like the new $5 million library planned for Muskegon Community College.

During his tenure, Hooker/De Jong tripled in size and became a diversified, full-service firm. De Jong has been heavily involved in community organizations over the years, serving on the boards of Love Inc., YFCA Camp Lendalouan, the Salvation Army and the West Shore Symphony.

Ed De Jong worked on and led numerous high-profile projects. Most recently he was involved in the planning and development of Grand Valley State University's Water Resources Institute and the Lake Michigan Center, and the renovation of the Amazon building into a residential complex — all of which are key components to the revitalization of downtown Muskegon.

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