WDM Architects

WDM Architects Announces the Retirement of Founder Wes Darnell, AIA

After 45 years in architecture, Wes Darnell, AIA will retire from WDM Architects on July 31, 2015.


Wichita, KS -- (ReleaseWire) -- 06/15/2015 --Wichita-based WDM Architects P.A. today announced that one of the firm's founders, Wes Darnell, AIA, will be retiring from the practice. His last day will be July 31. Darnell's decision will bring to a close a remarkable 45-year architectural career, the last 35 with the firm he co-founded in 1980.

"Wes is a wonderful mentor to all of us here," said President of WDM, Matt Schindler, AIA. "Through his leadership he has taught us how to be first-class design professionals dedicated to the quality of our work. Through his personal commitment he has also taught us how to be trustworthy people who are focused on the aspirations of our clients."

Last January, Darnell and co-founder Dan Wilson passed over the majority ownership of WDM to the next generation of leaders; Schindler and principals Stan Landwehr and Scott Ramser. The ownership transition completes a multi-year plan to ensure the long-term viability of the firm. Dan Wilson plans to remain at WDM for the foreseeable future.

According to Wes, "It will be difficult to leave behind a job and a profession that I still enjoy every day, but it is time to move on. Carol and I want to travel more, paint more, and I have a long list of projects in my shop. I am really proud of what Dan and I have accomplished in this community. One of the great rewards of our profession is to be able to drive through our town and see some great buildings that we are responsible for."

Born in Hutchinson, Kan., Darnell graduated from Kansas State University in 1970 with a Bachelor's degree in Architecture. He began his career with Wichita architecture firm Law Kingdon upon graduation. He would spend the next 10 years crisscrossing the country managing the design and construction of retail shopping centers. On November 1, 1980, he and Wilson partnered to open Wilson Darnell Associates with an eye on serving the design needs of local Wichita-area clients. In 1992, Wilson and Darnell merged with a local landscape and planning firm led by H. Stewart Mann, to form Wilson Darnell Mann. In 1993, the firm moved to its current location by renovating the historic W.A. Dye Chili Factory in Old Town. The project was the firm's first of many historic renovation projects WDM would become known for. Grievously, Mr. Mann passed away in 1997. In 2007, the firm's name changed to become WDM Architects.

Darnell has been involved with many significant projects in Wichita including being the Principal-in-Charge for the Intrust Bank Arena, the Ambassador Hotel, Eaton Place, East High School renovations in 2002 and 2010, as well as many historic restoration projects in Old Town and across the central state region.

Said Wilson, "If you want a colleague to be a business partner with, you can't ask for someone better than Wes Darnell. We complement each other extremely well by bringing different talents and viewpoints to projects. We not only respect each other professionally, but we have a great friendship as well, which dates back to the earliest days of our partnership. It's going to be strange not seeing him in the office every day."

About WDM Architects
Established in 1980, WDM Architects is a Wichita-based architectural, interior design and landscape architectural practice. The 23-person firm is composed of client industry-focused practices serving the commercial workplace, healthcare, senior living, financial, faith, historical renovation and zoological markets.