SchenkelShultz Architecture Proud to Announce Next Generation of Leadership; Desai, Laggan, Torbert, and Chandler

SchenkelShultz Architecture Proud to Announce Next Generation of Leadership; Desai, Laggan, Torbert, and Chandler

ORLANDO, FL - SchenkelShultz Architecture is pleased to announce that it has named the next generation of firm leaders - Ekta Prakash Desai AIA, Daniel C. Laggan AIA, J. David Torbert AIA and Michelle Chandler effective immediately. These leadership changes reflect a thoughtful and strategic approach to continued growth and succession planning as the firm’s legacy heads into the future.

“The new leadership team has consistently delivered excellent results and has significant and unique knowledge of our business,” said J. Thomas Chandler, CEO at SchenkelShultz who will remain in this role. “We have been grooming these leaders for quite some time and we are thrilled to include them in the next generation of leadership at SchenkelShultz.”

Ekta Desai brings 15 years of local, national and international experience. She first joined SchenkelShultz in 2006 as an architectural intern. After graduation, she cultivated her creative roots working for international design firms in New York City and Mexico City. She rejoined the firm in 2018. In her role as the firm’s Design Lead, Desai is responsible for spearheading SchenkelShultz’s design process to enrich the firm’s portfolio of work. Desai believes that by drawing from personal and unique perspectives, architects can create physical and emotionally connected spaces. In an increasingly interconnected world, Desai leverages the diverse ideas of her team to offer clients local insights and broad perspectives to create customized design solutions. 

She has the distinct honor of receiving the Design Excellence Award from the Public Design Commission of NYC and has served as an Academic Juror at Parsons School of Design. Desai graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Design and she received her master’s degree in Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis with the AIA Henry Adams Gold Medal. 

“The vision of the firm is to inspire our community through impactful design,” says Desai. “As designers of all kinds, we offer smart solutions that are reflective of our clients’ goals as well as their individual stories.” 

Daniel Laggan joined SchenkelShultz in 2007 with a portfolio of diverse project experience, including performing and cultural fine arts, workplace environments, and education. With this skill set, he reinforces the firm’s growing portfolio while also providing keen strength in firm management and strategic operations. Laggan is a Registered Architect in 30 states, and his clients range from high net worth private individuals and corporations to a variety of public sector clients. Laggan received his Bachelor of Architecture in Environmental Design from Kent State University.

David Torbert joined the firm in 1994 and has consistently led SchenkelShultz’s education market for 27 years. He has been at the forefront of more than 23.1 million SF of education projects, including managing the firm’s work with Orange County Public Schools. Beginning in 2011, Torbert has been an integral member of the firm’s contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Norfolk District and the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) to support their mission to rebuild their educational infrastructure by creating 21st century, high performance educational environments. He has been featured in Orlando Magazine as one of the “Best Architects.” Torbert received his Bachelor of Architecture and his Master of Science in Building Construction from the University of Florida.

“We have been fortunate to grow together and build a solid firm with a dynamic culture,” said Torbert. “We strongly believe in the future of SchenkelShultz and are committed to expanding our relationships with both current and new clients as we inspire our community through impactful design.”

Michelle Chandler, who has spent over 18 years rising through the ranks at SchenkelShultz, is primarily responsible for the firm’s strategic growth and business development efforts. She works closely with the firm’s financial and operational leadership on overall firm strategy and oversees the firm’s marketing, public relations, and philanthropic efforts. In 2017, Chandler became a founding member of the Board of Directors for the Orlando Economic Partnership, a role she continues to hold today. Additionally, Chandler serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Kissimmee/Osceola Chamber of Commerce. Chandler has been named to the “Women to Watch” and “Forty Under Forty” lists by the Orlando Business Journal. Chandler graduated from Saint Mary’s College with a bachelor’s degree and she received her Master of Business Administration from Rollins College. 

About SchenkelShultz Architecture 

SchenkelShultz Architecture has built a legacy of success through continued focus on design excellence that responds to the distinctive needs of our clients. The firm remains committed to delivering relationship-driven design that is rooted in critical thinking, research, collaboration, and personal experiences, balanced by fiscal responsibility. SchenkelShultz’s focus is ever forward, centered around a diversity of talent, meaningful community partnerships and a commitment to inspire the community through impactful design. For more information, visit:

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