ENR is pleased to announce that Joyce Polhamus, vice president and director of the San Francisco, Sacramento and Portland offices of Smith Group is the 2023 Legacy Award recipient for ENR California.

This awards program recognizes industry veterans with many years of experience and long lists of contributions to their profession and community. In choosing this year’s recipient, ENR editors weighed several criteria, including each nominee’s history of innovation, career highlights and an engagement within the industry and the surrounding community.

Polhamus has more than four decades of experience in the AEC industry. In her current role she is responsible for nearly 200 staff among three offices, including an all-female studio leadership team in San Francisco. She directs efforts topping $100 million of annual revenue.

Previously at SmithGroup, Polhamus founded the firm’s Healthcare Interiors Studio and served as its head. In that role she directed the planning and design process for a wide range of health facilities. Her focus with these projects was threefold: enhancing quality of life, elevating the design aesthetic, and providing cost-effective design for the aging. Perhaps most importantly Polhamus pioneered the firm’s pursuit of alternative delivery methods such as Integrated Project Delivery, which were not common in the industry. 

Projects she has overseen include:

  • The Sutter Health California Pacific Medical Center Van Ness (an ENR Best Project winner)
  • Kaiser Permanente, Los Angeles Medical Center
  • The Trousdale Assisted Living and Memory Care project
  • The US Dept. of Veterans Affairs, Polytrauma and Blind Rehabilitation Center

She is the past chair of the AIA’s National Design for Aging Knowledge Community and a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. An ardent animal lover, Polhamus serves on the Muttville Senior Dog Rescue Board of Directors. 

To read more about Polhamus and her achievements, check out the Feb. 20 print issue of ENR California.