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Bill Ayars retires from a lifelong career of architectural design excellence

September 12, 2022 // Announcements

It’s with mixed emotions that we announce the retirement of Bill Ayars, FAIA, FACHA, co-founder and Managing Principal of Perspectus, effective August 31. Bill has dedicated his 40+ year career to advancing the architectural profession and creatively fostering individual growth.

In 2001, Bill co-founded Perspectus Architecture with Larry Fischer, AIA, ACHA, whom he had worked with since 1979, with the vision to build an architectural design firm focused on design excellence and service. Today, Perspectus is a leading planning and design firm delivering creative solutions for multiple market sectors, with a focus on healthcare.

Bill has served as Principal in Charge for countless healthcare projects for Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth System, University Hospitals, LECOM, Louis Stokes VA Medical Center, Centers for Dialysis Care, and many other clients across the Midwest. In 2020, he was recognized for his contributions to the advancement of healthcare architecture through his elevation to the Council of Fellows for the American College of Healthcare Architects. In 2021, Bill was also elevated to the College of Fellows in the American Institute of Architects, the highest membership honor and a distinction enjoyed by only 3% of AIA members.

Bill and Larry strategically grew the firm through acquisition – adding top talent, more specialized market experience and diverse leadership to Perspectus’ service offering:  Wallis Architects in 2007, HFP Ambuske Architects in 2014, and Chambers, Murphy & Burge in 2016 (Historic Architecture). Larry retired in 2018 and continues to serve as Chairman of the firm’s Board of Advisors.

Bill and Larry also expanded the firm by promoting and mentoring architects to leadership roles as principal. Today, the firm is in the capable hands of Managing Principals Michael Lipowski, AIA, ACHA, LEED AP and Salvatore Rini, AIA, ACHA.

In 2020, Bill led Perspectus’ move from its original office space at Shaker Square to newly renovated studio in the heart of downtown Cleveland, offering room for growth, easier access to clients and more amenities for the firm’s staff. The firm also rebranded from Perspectus Architecture to Perspectus.

“Bill has met the challenge to address the ever-changing face of healthcare as it relates to technology, sustainability and flexibility,” said Lipowski. “His impactful support and commitment to the architectural community illustrates that Bill’s talents go well beyond design and will be a legacy we will continue.”

Bill’s proactive leadership and empathy was critical after the tragic loss of his daughter Jennifer Emerald Ayars in 2016. He felt the need to develop and create an online resource for families struggling to find help for their loved ones battling substance use disorder, and so he established The Emerald Jenny Foundation, which launched a website that assisted more than 200,000 individuals in locating help. The foundation’s efforts were recognized at the state and national level in addressing the substance use crisis. The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services requested a partnership with the foundation, and the federal government created a similar national resource three years after the EJF resource. The foundation was ahead of the curve in the efforts to address a national crisis. Bill’s compassion and commitment to this statewide initiative earned him an AIA Ohio Public Service Award.

A 1979 graduate of Kent State University’s School of Architecture, Bill co-created the first-ever sponsorship of “Lecture Laureates” at the University, which has connected the dots between practice and academic studies with distinguished guest lecturers. Bill’s achievements also include numerous speaking engagements, extensive national and local media coverage and countless design and business awards, including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award Finalist in 2010.

Outside of Perspectus, Bill became an author, publishing “My Journey Down the Big Muddy: Love, Heartbreak and Triumph Jet-skiing the Mississippi River” in 2017, which captures the personal story of his family’s two-part journey. 

Bill will remain engaged with Perspectus in an advisory role. He shared, “It’s been my extreme honor to work with our dedicated clients and staff as well as the many consultants and associates across the AEC industry. I look forward to maintaining these lifelong relationships and to contributing to the firm as it continues to grow and evolve.”

Rini added, “Mike and I will continue to lead with the firm’s culture of design excellence, honesty, and transparency in the forefront. Bill has brought his heart and soul to a career dedicated to providing best-in-class environments and experiences for clients in all market sectors.”

The entire Perspectus team is grateful for Bill’s stellar contributions, and we wish him all the best in his retirement!


It’s been my extreme honor to work with our dedicated clients and staff as well as the many consultants and associates across the AEC industry. I look forward to maintaining these lifelong relationships and to contributing to the firm as it continues to grow and evolve.


Bill Ayars, FAIA, FACHA