Philanthropic Foundation Board of Governors

Tricia Esser

Tricia Esser ’91

Chief Executive Officer
KTGY Architecture + Planning


Tricia Esser is the chief executive officer of KTGY Architecture + Planning, one of the nation’s leading full-service architectural and planning firms. KTGY currently has more than 350 professional team members working in seven offices: Chicago, Denver, Irvine, Los Angeles, Oakland, Tysons, and Pune.

Esser assumed her role of CEO in 2006 at the start of the financial crisis that saw the demise of more than an estimated ten percent of architectural firms across the country. Despite the economic downturn, under her leadership, the firm took on no debt and never reported a loss. Her strategic insight, direction and supportive leadership contribute significantly to the firm’s ongoing growth, stability, and profitability. As a result, KTGY’s growing performance figures have helped attract and retain the industry’s best architects and planners.

Esser joined the firm as controller in 1991, just one month after it opened its doors. In 1995, she was invited to become a partner, and three years later was promoted to chief financial officer where her responsibilities included all the firm’s real estate acquisitions and leases and shareholder stock transactions. In this role, she designed a series of innovative contractual changes, which led to simplified, and more efficient negotiating terms that opened the doors to previously restricted areas of opportunity. As CEO, Esser is responsible for setting the vision and direction of KTGY, managing day-to-day operations, and playing a significant role in new business development both domestically and overseas.

Esser is a member of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB); NAHB Professional Women in Building, and the Building Industry Association of Orange County. She also serves on the Board of 211OC, an organization that helps those in need to identify and access social services in Orange County. She is a member of Vistage-CEO leadership development.