Hit the ground running: Petro Megits

Mar 10, 2024

CEO of Kaas Wilson Architects (Bloomington, MN), an architecture and interior design firm specializing in all types of multi-family housing.

By Liisa Andreassen

Kaas Wilson Architects was started during the Great Recession in the kitchen of Link Wilson, one of the company’s founding partners. Petro Megits was its first hire. He was still in graduate school and had just returned from a study abroad trip to Istanbul. His interview took place on Wilson’s couch and Megits was asked to start the next day. With little time to unpack, he hit the ground running and never looked back.

Flash forward 17 years later and Megits was promoted to CEO. He admits it was a bit unexpected as he was not in pursuit of such a position – at first. It was during a leadership retreat where all the partners were analyzing each other’s strengths that the board elected Megits to the position.

“I’m very fortunate to have some amazing business partners who have shown confidence in my abilities to lead us into the next chapter,” he says.

In this fairly fresh role, Megits has a long to-do list of things he’d like to accomplish. They include:

  • Solidifying the business’ presence in the southeast and southwest states.
  • Developing a presence in one more market (currently in the research and development phase).
  • Establishing a self-sustaining succession program for future leaders across various markets.

The first to-do item has already been executed with KWA’s recent acquisition of Watts Leaf Architects in Charlotte, North Carolina. The acquisition was geographic in nature because Watts Leaf, which also specializes in multi-family housing, has decades old, deep-rooted relationships in the southeast. The synergy, cultures, and design aesthetics were all well-aligned.

Establishing an international housing opportunity is also a key goal. For example, Ukraine will need rebuilding and he hopes that KWA will be able to introduce the U.S.’s approach to production-based housing through new building techniques and technologies.

“Not only am I a proud American citizen, but I was also born in Ukraine and have many family members who still live there,” he says. “Many have been directly impacted by the war and I want to help them to rebuild and to have the ability to provide cost-effective housing for the masses quickly.”

Since being CEO, he says that one of his top challenges has been guiding incremental growth of the organization – building the organizational framework to allow for future growth while maintaining the company’s fundamental culture and core values.

“Making the switch from design and theoretical approaches to a more practical business mindset has been a learning process,” he says. “I recall many conversations in which the final design decision had to be brought back to the reality of financial feasibility. And this is where the challenge is – being flexible enough in your thinking and your design approach to still make the project financially feasible for all project/industry partners involved.”

Megits adds that’s he’s been lucky to have some strong industry/business partners, mentors, and even family members (his father has a PhD. in international business/economics).

“All of these people have helped me to hone my business thinking and approach to decision making,” he shares.

And he says that there have been many lessons learned along the way, but one that stands out in particular – learning how to slow down and listen.

“Listen to a colleague, client, contractor, etc. and really find out where that person is coming from,” he says. “As an architect I was under the impression that everyone was just like me, and that they’d do exactly what I said. Wrong. There’s not a single completed project that doesn’t involve a team of people who offer different perspectives and come from different cultural and professional backgrounds. We all need to work together to achieve our goals. Now our clients say, ‘You really heard us.’” 

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.