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Milwaukee architect EUA will grow to 250 employees through merger

John Chapman, Rich Tenessen and Kristin Dufek pose on the EUA Milwaukee terrace.
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Eppstein Uhen Architects, already Milwaukee’s largest architecture firm in terms of employees, will gain 50 more and add engineering to its in-house team through a merger with Performa Inc. in De Pere.

The two companies will merge on Jan. 31, 2022, and operate as EUA, creating a combined team of about 250 people with five offices, including in Atlanta and Denver. Performa, founded in 1995, has worked on projects including Green Bay’s Titletown District, Oshkosh Corp.’s headquarters and the expansion of Stella & Chewy’s Oak Creek manufacturing facility.

The financial teams of the merger were not disclosed.

The two firms have been both competitors and collaborators over the years, working collaboratively on a health care center for the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, for example.

“We’ve grown over the last four years and really just expanded our reach; from De Pere we’ve done projects in 46 states and five countries,” said Performa CEO Doug Page.

Page said a merger wasn’t on his mind until he was approached about a year ago by EUA CEO Rich Tennessen.

“What I was looking for at the time was alignment on really three things – values, vision and culture,” Page said. “We’ve spent 14 months probing that and it’s about as rich as you can get, pardon the pun.”

Tennessen and EUA president Kristin Dufek said the merger brings a lot of new talent to the firm, including in leadership roles. To this point, EUA has not had engineering staff in-house. Performa brings its team that includes mechanical, electrical, plumbing and structural engineers.

“We really respect the way Performa has done that in terms of truly being an integrated firm that puts equal value on engineering and architecture and interior design, and really think it has led to great results,” Tennessen said. “That provides additional opportunity for us to grow engineering in the right way with talented people and also be able to add it to our other offices as well.”

EUA’s portfolio includes projects with the Milwaukee Bucks, Komatsu Mining Corp.’s new Milwaukee headquarters and the Marriott Tribute Hotel in the 3rd Ward. The firm has also done substantial work on the Summerfest grounds in Milwaukee and recent renovations to Discovery World.

Page will join EUA’s board of directors. He and Performa’s other two owners, Brian Netzel and Matt Marek, will become EUA shareholders. Page said teaming with EUA brings Performa’s team access to more and larger projects.

Sean Ryan
Milwaukee Business Journal

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