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COVER STORY
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Tricia Esser

CEO – KTGY, Irvine

OC METRO's Hot 25 for 2011Published: November 01, 2011

Something few people know about you: I love NASCAR. There. I said it for all of Orange County to hear!
Hot Factor: Tricia Esser’s business savvy guided architectural firm KTGY through the difficult recession and positioned the company for growth.

While the national architectural firm KTGY, based in Irvine, had to dramatically cut staff during the recession, it survived when many others did not; an estimated 10 percent in the industry went belly up. CEO Tricia Esser has guided the company to a comeback, hiring some 50 employees in the past year alone. For some, the economy continues to appear stalled, but not so at KTGY.
    
Esser’s key to success running a large architectural firm may be that she is not an architect. Her background is in business. She started out with KTGY as an accountant when the company was formed in 1991, then worked her way up to comptroller and then to chief financial officer. Five years ago, she was appointed to the top post. The architects, she says, needed someone who understands the business world first. Now she sees a bright future for the company.
    
“We were diligent not to take on any debt during those difficult years,” she says. “That’s given us a solid foundation for growth now.”
    
The firm was just awarded a new student housing project on the USC campus. It has two apartment projects working in Las Vegas. The good news keeps coming: The company has been asked to present preliminary concepts for a 5-star hotel in West Beijing.

Editor’s Note: To see who made our “Hot 25” lists in prior years, visit our Archives page.
   
And, we’re now on the hunt for exceptional women who are impacting O.C. If you know someone who deserves to be on our 20 Women to Watch list, please let us know at our Nominate page.