David J. Calkins

Regional Managing Principal

Gensler

2023

Outstanding Leaders in Asia

David J. Calkins

Outstanding Leaders in Asia

2023

Regional Managing Principal

Gensler

about David J. Calkins

“Designing Excellence”

Having worked at Gensler for almost three decades, David Calkins invests his energy and expertise to foster further growth in the APME region for the largest and most admired design and architecture firm in the world.  

David Calkins is the Regional Managing Principal of Gensler’s Asia Pacific and Middle East (APME) region. Having moved to Singapore to assume his position there in 2018, he leads the senior management team in setting strategic priorities and oversees growth initiatives and client activities in APME. An award-winning architect with a highly valued combination of experience in strategic planning and design, he is well-placed to oversee a region that spans across Southeast Asia, Japan, India, Australia, and the Middle East.

Gensler itself is a global name. It is by far the largest and most admired design and architecture firm in the world.  Founded by Art Gensler in 1965, who grew a small practice into the biggest and most renowned practice it is today, Calkin says he is inspired by Art’s entrepreneurial spirit. 

“His determination, passion and the ability to build something remarkable from the ground up serves as a constant reminder to me that with unwavering dedication, hard work, and perseverance, great achievements are possible,” says Calkins. 

Extensive Operations

Operating across 53 offices worldwide with a workforce of 7,000, Gensler collaborates with large corporations and enterprises known for their widespread global presence. This allows them to connect with a diverse range of clients and cater to each of their unique needs and requirements. Their clients include businesses, government agencies, non-profit organisations, real estate developers, and many other sectors, covering areas like hotels, restaurants, sports centres, healthcare facilities, and retail spaces.

Success begets Success 

“The establishment of Gensler in the APME region marked a significant milestone in our journey,” says Calkins of his present role in Singapore. “Securing projects abroad enabled us to work on a global scale, collaborating with clients from diverse cultural backgrounds. This expansion not only broadened our expertise but also reinforced our reputation as a trusted design partner worldwide.”

As Gensler gained recognition for its innovative and impactful projects, they garnered multiple industry awards, reaffirming their dedication to excellence and motivating them to continually push the boundaries of design.

“The recognition we received,” says Calkins, “not only elevated our brand but also inspired us to continually strive for exceptional results.”

A pivotal moment for Gensler was broadening their client base. 

“As word spread about our capabilities and the successful projects, an increasing number of clients sought our expertise. This growth allowed us to diversify our portfolio and collaborate with organisations from various industries and sectors. Each new client engagement represented a milestone toward becoming a trusted design partner to a wide range of businesses.”

Gensler reached a milestone when they established themselves as thought leaders in the design industry. 

“Our publications, like the Gensler Design Forecast, gained widespread recognition as trusted sources of design insights. This recognition attracted clients and researchers seeking our expertise, propelling us to the forefront of design trends and research.”

“Being acknowledged as industry leaders not only solidified our position but also led to exciting collaborations and research opportunities, further propelling our growth and impact.”

Strong Leaders facilitate Growth

Recognising the importance of capable leadership, Gensler is intensifying efforts to recruit talented individuals who can contribute to their success. 

Calkins says, “It is crucial for us to convey our capabilities, define our brand identity and ensure a clear understanding of who we are as a company. Addressing these aspects is among the challenges we actively pursue to foster growth and maintain our competitive edge.”

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