Architects Lewis + Whitlock Announces Promotions; Appoints Emily Ely, Matt Persinger, and Ryan Sheplak to Vice Presidents

Architects Lewis + Whitlock (ALW) proudly announces the promotions of three team members in recognition of their professional excellence and contributions to the firm’s success. The company has elevated Emily Ely, Matt Persinger, and Ryan Sheplak to the position of Vice President.

“We continue to grow, and the breadth of projects continues to expand; elevating these associates speaks to our culture,” says Rodney Lewis, AIA, principal, and co-founder of the firm. “We’re committed to our team member’s growth and professional development, and these three associates exemplify the collaborative leadership needed to mentor the next generation of architects and designers.”

Emily Ely is a licensed interior designer with 17 years of dedicated expertise in commercial architecture and design. Her portfolio highlights high-profile interiors with extensive regional experience in institutional, workplace and educational design. She’s executed many notable projects such as the TCC Center for Innovation Renovation, North Florida Innovation Labs, and the new City of Tallahassee Senior Center. As Vice President of Interior Architecture, Emily will lead the interior team in developing research-based solutions that demonstrate an unwavering commitment to the client’s vision and programmatic needs. Emily’s human-centered and empathetic design approach fosters long-term relationships and a collective appreciation of the project’s value by all stakeholders. She consistently delivers beautifully crafted spaces founded on creative expression, function, and innovation.

Emily is actively involved in the community through her service on the TEMPO Foundation Board and the Tallahassee Senior Center Foundation Board, through various Leadership Tallahassee committees (Can’t Outshine 39!), and formerly the Wish Upon a Star committee for Children’s Home Society. She is a former Knight Creative Communities Institute (KCCI) Catalyst, having served as chair for the Red Hills Rhythm project in 2019. Her dedication to the profession and the broader community is a testament to her exceptional leadership and high standards of excellence.

“The gifted designers who’ve built ALW and those who’ve shaped me as a professional all share a conviction and fondness for quality design,” shared Emily Ely. “I look forward to broadening this passion and pursuing artful creation in a new leadership role. Joining my colleagues on the executive team at ALW is quite an honor. I trust we’ll each remain committed to our investment in the community, our clients, and quality design.”

Matt Persinger is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional with 14 years of architectural experience in Chicago, IL and Jackson, MS where he led a variety of successful projects in the institutional, community focused, private sector and historic preservation markets. As Vice President of Operations, Matt will leverage his project management experience and honed communication skills to ensure each project reaches its greatest potential. His management style skillfully provides detail-oriented guidance to the design team while responding to the unique needs of our clients.

Matt sees each project as a search for the next iteration of a better place, town, or community. Still new to Tallahassee, he has become the driving force and project architect behind a number of projects under construction that will impact the area, such as the Tallahassee Police Department Safety Campus, the new Capital City Bank office on Apalachee Parkway, and the new Dawn of Hope Family Center at the Refuge House. Matt is also working with the 2024 KCCI Catalyst team, developing the Tallahassee Bicentennial Park in honor of the city’s 200 years of history.

“It’s a privilege to join the leadership team of ALW. This team is 100% the most talented and caring group of people I have had the honor to work with,” stated Matt Persinger. “ALW’s quality of design work is initially what brought me in the door, but it’s ALW’s reputation for combining exceptional service to each client with the mission to inspire and transform our community for the better that I am honored to help carry forward!”

Ryan Sheplak, a native Tallahassean and creative visionary with over a decade of experience crafting spaces that inspire, harmonize, and elevate the human experience, has a unique talent for storytelling through architecture that engages users on multiple levels. He has a proven track record of creating award-winning projects like the Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion in Sarasota, FL, the Florida State University (FSU) Student Union, Envision Credit Union, and Tallahassee National Bank. Recently, Ryan led the design team for the new Rosewood Memorial Pavilion, receiving the Honor Award in the Unbuilt category from the AIA Florida 2024 Design Awards. As Vice President of Architecture + Design, Ryan will continue to set the stage for the creative direction for the firm, mentor design team members, and maintain brand consistency.

Ryan engages in the architecture community as a member of AIA Tallahassee and a past graduate of the Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (FAMU) School of Architecture and Engineering Technology (SAET). He serves as the Vice President/President-Elect for AIA Tallahassee and annually participates as a jury member for end of semester student project reviews at the FAMU SAET.

“I am deeply honored to step into the VP role at ALW, working alongside our remarkable leadership team. Over the past decade, I’ve had the privilege of contributing to ALW’s growth and transformation while also evolving into the leader I am today, thanks to the invaluable mentorship of Cam and Rodney,” says Ryan Sheplak. “Together, we are committed to fostering innovation and maintaining strong relationships with long-standing clients, delivering impactful and visionary solutions that drive our industry forward. I am truly fortunate to be part of such an extraordinary team, and I look forward to future achievements.”

Principal and Co-Founder Cam Whitlock, AIA, had this to say, “These individuals have consistently demonstrated a high level of dedication, strategic vision, and leadership to our company’s mission and values. They have steered projects that contribute to our community and enhance the built environment. Elevating these team members speaks to our confidence in their ability to shape our strategic direction and drive future success.”

About Architects Lewis + Whitlock
Architects Lewis + Whitlock (ALW) is an award-winning architecture, planning, interior design, and graphics studio based in Tallahassee, Florida. The firm’s business approach is based on the tenants of attention to detail, innovative project design, and client satisfaction. Founded in 2000, ALW showcases a diverse architectural portfolio of projects in higher education, hospitality, commercial offices, healthcare, recreation, retail, multi-family and residential housing, banking, and civic and cultural work. Through research and discovery, we create environments that benefit people and their communities and advance the profession.

# # #
For more information, contact Kris McCaffrey, Director of Marketing at 850.942.1718, x 314 or by email at