Reffett & Associates Recruits 13th Architect of the Capitol

July 8, 2024 – After an intensive, nation-wide search a bipartisan coalition from the United States Congress has named Thomas Austin as the nation’s 13th Architect of the Capitol . Seattle, WA-based Reffett & Associates assisted with the search. The assignment was led by Marshall Reffett, managing director in Seattle, and Washington D.C., along with assistance from the entire Reffett & Associates staff. “The Architect of the Capitol may be the most important, non-elected individual on Capitol Hill. The Architect of the Capitol preserves and maintains the Capitol complex ensuring that Congress has a safe place to conduct its business, visitors have a welcoming experience and the American people, for generations to come, are able to enjoy the heart of our democracy.”

The bipartisan hiring committee comprised of top House and Senate leadership released the following statement about their unanimous decision to appoint Thomas Austin to be the next Architect of the Capitol: “The Architect of the Capitol plays a vital role welcoming millions of visitors to our nation’s Capitol and ensuring it is a functional workplace. Thomas Austin has managed construction projects and facilities of all sizes, maintained one of our nation’s most hallowed landmarks, and served our country in the military. We are confident that with his extensive experience, Thomas Austin will be an adept and capable Architect of the Capitol.”

This appointment follows the passage of the Architect of the Capitol Appointment Act in December 2023. This legislation, led by Senators Klobuchar and Fischer and Representatives Steil and Morelle, empowered a congressional commission to appoint and remove the Architect by a bipartisan, majority vote.

Mr. Austin has 30 years of engineering and facilities management experience, including four years as director of engineering for Arlington National Cemetery and previously serving as chief of the facility programs division for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. In 2023, Mr. Austin retired from the U.S. Army as a Colonel, having served for nearly three decades in engineering and leadership roles, including serving overseas in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Bosnia, and as a battalion commander in the 18th Engineer Brigade. He is currently a senior program manager for the construction consulting firm McDonough Bolyard Peck.

First created by President Thomas Jefferson the Architect of the Capitol is responsible for the United States Capitol complex. Mr. Austin will be responsible for the experience of the millions of visitors that annually visit the U.S Capitol and related federal buildings; he will ensure the preservation and protection of the country’s most august and venerated sites; and he will lead the team of 2,000 federal employees that keep the Capitol building and related grounds running smoothly allowing Congress to conduct its important legislative work.

The Architect of the Capitol serves as the steward of the landmark buildings and grounds of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The first Architect of the Capitol was appointed in 1793 by President George Washington and made a permanent office under the legislative branch in 1876.

Reffett & Associates is a nationally recognized executive search firm. The boutique talent provider has extensive experience in retail and consumer packaged goods, private equity, commercial and federal services, government sectors, and associations and non-profits. Its team is made up of executives with tangible industry experience, possessing real world, relatable knowledge about the challenges executives face in managing talent in a competitive marketplace.

Related: Reffett Associates Retained by New Mexico Military Institute to Find New President

Mr. Reffett has spent the last 15 years recruiting talent for the federal government and numerous private companies nationwide. He joined the search firm after having worked for former U.S. Rep. David G. Reichert of Washington State. Mr. Reffett has conducted private sector searches for the Seattle Mariners, Bartell Drugs, and Metropolitan Market, in addition to his other federal work for the Department of Transportation, the Department of Commerce, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Air Force Research Laboratory.

Searches for the Federal Government

Reffett Associates has been enlisted to help fill a series of key senior executive roles in technical and hard-to-fill positions for the federal government. Since 2022, Reffett has assisted the U.S. Army Material Command at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL with recruitments for three highly qualified expert (HQE) positions.

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To be considered an HQE, individuals must possess “uncommon and recognized knowledge, skills, and experience in a field of expertise, and judgment that is accorded authority and status by peers or the public,” said the firm. HQEs are considered on par with senior executive service (SES) positions. HQE roles inside of the armed forces carry the status of a lieutenant general.

Reffett Associates also recently filled the position of provost for the Naval War College. This placement, said the firm, is the latest in a string of academic recruitment for the nation’s military institutions of higher learning including:

  • Chief learning officer of the Air Force for Air Education and Training Command.
  • Dean of the Aerospace School of Medicine.
  • President for the Naval Postgraduate School.
  • Provost for the Naval Postgraduate School.

Related: Reffett Associates Recruits First Woman Superintendent of the United States Merchant Marine Academy

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief and Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor  – Hunt Scanlon Media

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