George Athens

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"Conversational" is how George describes his style of leading the Workplace Studio in SmithGroup’s Detroit office. "In today’s world of increasingly complex projects, it can be a challenge to include all of the diversity of voices involved," says George. As a business leader who fosters open dialog with team members and clients, he strives for new approaches to business practices by assembling, mentoring and encouraging forward thinking and innovative project teams. "Thinking about the process as a conversation helps to maintain connection to the work for everyone," George adds.  He recalls receiving some wisdom that has stuck with him: "Perfection is the enemy of excellence. Once you have advanced an idea to an excellent outcome, there can be a paralyzing chasm between that and the pursuit of perfection." That might prove to be good advice for George himself, should he ever get around to pursuing his desire to collect and restore vintage automobiles. "Top on my list would be a 1967 Pontiac GTO."