Cushing Terrell in Denver: These unicorns are for real

Hailing from diverse offices across the United States — from the mountain region to major metros — our teams showcase the very best in multi-disciplinary collaboration. Whether the expertise comes from one location or multiple, we work with our clients to design responsible, imaginative, first-of-their-kind environments. For a little local flair, we’re highlighting our office teams, showcasing their capabilities and culture.

Our Denver office is a story of the underdog: an experimental outpost in an area of the country where our firm was not well-known. However, it was a place that seemed to align with the creative juxtaposition that is CTA | Cushing Terrell. Pioneering, yet grounded, practical, yet adventurous, outdoorsy, but with a modern edge.

Mike O’Leary, a principal who’s been with the firm for 26 years and who leads our Seattle office, established the Denver location in 2007. He was looking for potential and talent, and chose to take a chance on Denver. The plan was to acquire a small, local firm with mixed-use experience as a practical way to enter the market there.

A microcosm of all skill sets and markets, Denver team members are poised to assist as both generalists and specialists with the ability to envision a project from all angles.

It was a bit of a rocky start, but the new Denver team was committed and led by a powerhouse: Denver office manager Laura Dougherty. They held fast and used the talent they had thus far attracted to support projects led by our other offices for clients across the country. At its roots, Denver is a hub for federal work, healthcare, and multi-family developments. However, in the last three years, the team has been expanding into additional service sectors and adding new disciplines.

The Denver team has proven itself to be extremely capable on a wide range of projects in places from Washington to Texas, and Montana to Oregon, as well as across Colorado. They’ve designed everything from breweries and ice cream shops, to hospitals and data centers.

“The story of this office is really about survival and transformation,” says Dougherty. An associate, architect, and project manager who’s been with CTA | Cushing Terrell for 11 years, she says her team has traditionally been known more for their work with national clients; however, that’s changing. Building a local client base is a top priority. With so many exceptional architecture and engineering firms in the area, the Denver team is working to gain a reputation and showcase the diverse, multi-disciplinary talent that exists under their roof.

A key transformational event happened in 2016 when the office added engineering to the mix and established an MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) department, overseen by electrical lead Greg Gedney. The next step was adding a site team focused on urban planning, community and stakeholder engagement, civil engineering, and landscape architecture. Not only was this group now equipped for comprehensive building design, but also for comprehensive site planning.

The Denver team’s motto: “Live big, work big.”

Our people are ‘slashers’ — people who’re exploring all their different passions. They may start with one skillset but morph into others, which makes this team incredibly flexible. We’re unique and scrappy, and like to have our hands in all market sectors. Our potential is unlimited.

— Laura Dougherty, Associate and Denver Office Manager

With their broad skill base and geographic reach, the Denver team’s clients include entities such as Chaffee County (comprehensive planning in Colorado), Centerstone (supportive housing in Indiana), Ritter Communications (soup-to-nuts data center project in Arkansas), Cheyenne Regional Medical Center (three-campus hospital in Wyoming), Rapha (an international retail and cycle club with locations in Colorado and Washington), Wray Amphitheater (historic preservation in Colorado), and a variety of architecture and engineering services for schools of all grade levels, from Chavez Huerta K-12 Preparatory Academy (Colorado) and Yuma High School (Colorado), to Laramie County Community College (Wyoming).

Originally an auto body repair shop that was vacant for a number of years, this space in Denver’s East Colfax area was renovated into a retail building featuring Cerebral Brewing, Humble Pie, and Machete Tacos. The goal was to create unique, durable spaces that would encourage a live, work, play vibe.

With a population of more than three million people and a growth rate that has consistently outpaced the national rate, our team is positioned to use their experience and love for where they live to help shape the future of Metro Denver’s built environment. This team is set on becoming one of the trusted, go-to problem solvers for the “Mile High City” and the state.

For us, it’s all about delivering the full experience. We not only have a sterling reputation for project delivery among our clients and partners, we also have a lot of fun while we’re doing it, and we ensure our clients are part of the process, enjoying the experience right along with us.

— Greg Gedney, MEP Lead

The Denver team supports community organizations such as the Food Bank of the Rockies.

80 years, 14 offices, one team. For more office profiles and firm news, visit: