The namesake founder and owner will be retired, but the Richard L. Bowen + Associates architecture and engineering firm will keep the name as employees conclude their purchase through an employee stock ownership plan. “There’s a brand there. Why would we want to change it?” said Allan Renzi, the prominent firm’s new president.

The transfer of the last 60% of the Cleveland firm’s ownership is scheduled to close on Monday, April 1.

The ESOP has been long in the works as staffers started it in 2007, when employees were allocated their first share of the firm. Bowen founded the company in 1959 and retired March 20. Selling to all the firm’s employees with more than five years of service goes against the trend in the industry, which is typically an acquisition by a larger firm or a handful of principals buying a firm over time. “We’re happy, to be honest, we did not go that route,” Renzi said, adding he was thankful Bowen pursued the ESOP.

Renzi, who was president last year of the Cleveland chapter of the American Institute of Architects trade group, has been with Bowen for 25 years and served most recently as vice president of operations at Bowen to prepare for the transition. The firm has five staffers who are named principals — essentially its executive board — and who select the president. “We have a very good and strong core of people who have been working here more than 20 years,” Renzi said.

The firm provides both architecture and engineering services because many clients like having them paired together, he added. Through a separate subsidiary, Richard L. Bowen Management LLC, the company also provides general contracting and construction management services. David Bowen, Richard Bowen’s son and a longtime staff member, has become president of the construction concern. Renzi said the focus of the new owners is to continue the work the firm has provided in the past but also to build a “creative, inspiring environment that employees really want” and continue efforts to build a diverse, inclusive staff.

Read more at Crain’s Cleveland Business