Ed, a California native, completed his undergraduate degree in pre-architecture at Stanford University in 1965 and received his Master of Architecture degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968. He joined Gensler, Architecture Design and Planning Worldwide, in San Francisco in 1969, opening the firm’s Los Angeles office in 1976. During his tenure at Gensler he established the firm’s successful practice areas in entertainment, transportation, urban and master planning and strategic facility consulting. In 1995 he was appointed President and, in 2000, Chief Executive Officer of the firm, leading its development as one of the most successful and influential design firms in the world. Ed had responsibility for the firm’s strategic development efforts as well as business operations in 24 Gensler offices around the world.
As President & CEO, Ed helped transform Gensler’s offices into a seamless platform for global delivery. He co-created the firm’s management structure, an Executive Council comprised of the next generation of leadership. In addition to mentoring this core leadership team, Ed led the integration of the four components of the Gensler community, offices, practice areas, design and delivery teams, and firm wide supporting resources to harness their full power to deliver high value to the firm’s clients.
He formed Friedrichs Group, LLC in 2003 to pursue his interest in guiding the development of high performance organizations and places, focusing on strategy, culture and values, organizational issues, sales and marketing design. In addition to strategic consulting, he continues to provide planning and design leadership on selected building and planning projects around the country.
Ed teaches and motivates using real life examples. He applies core business and architectural skills to a wide range of organizational and project related issues. Ed adheres to an ego-neutral approach, helping to develop collaborative teams based on integrity and mutual respect. A highly sought after speaker, he educates and inspires audiences by connecting them with trends impacting their businesses, using the lessons of the design process to build highly effective organizations and places. His book, Long-Cycle Strategies for a Short-Cycle World, describes his strategies for the creative enterprise.
He is well respected for his leadership and contributions to the design profession. He has served on the Executive Council of the Large Firm Roundtables for both the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and one of a very few people in the profession to have been recognized for his leadership as a “Fellow” in both professional societies.
Ed is a member of the Board of Miyamoto International, a multi-office structural and seismic engineering firm. Since relocating to Reno Nevada in late 2014, Ed has become active in the community as a mentor to startup companies through Summit VMS, a part of the Economic Development Authority of Northern Nevada (EDAWN). He is a member of the Reno Streetcar Coalition, which is providing leadership to construct a streetcar line connecting the University of Nevada Reno with downtown, mid-town and the convention center along Virginia Street. Ed serves on the board of Secundo Vita, LLC, a development company formed to redevelop a large section of the west side of downtown Reno.