Mischa Haramia

Venue Sector Entertainment Practice Director, Principal | Henderson Engineers

Mischa Haramia describes the state of the live entertainment and sports business in one word: bustling. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine, there has been an appetite for projects, whether it’s new venues or renovations, she said.

“It’s the natural outcome of everything being put on hold during quarantine,” said Haramia, venue sector entertainment practice director and principal for Henderson Engineers. “As with other aspects of life, people are eager to get back out there, which for developers means embarking on new projects.”

Henderson Engineers was the lead engineer for SoFi Stadium, work that Haramia calls a highlight of her career.

“Moving into my role as the entertainment practice director has also been a high point,” she said. “It’s fulfilling to be able to help mentor and develop up-and-coming engineers. Finally, coming out as a transgender woman and using my platform as a leader within the AEC industry to bring visibility to the LGBTQIA+ community is an incredible privilege. I’m fortunate to be where I am and to have a strong support system at Henderson. It’s my hope that my continued success shows that authenticity isn’t just a buzzword. There’s a real concrete benefit to empowering employees to live their true, authentic selves.”

Challenges still abound. Inflation and supply chain issues are causing sticker shock throughout the industry. Adding to that is a labor market in flux as engineers, architects, operations staff and beyond switch jobs at a high rate, she said.

“These factors call for a lot of flexibility on our part to successfully deliver projects on time and on budget,” she said.

The year has seen positive change for Henderson Engineers. Kevin Lewis was tapped as chief executive officer of the now-100% employee-owned business.

“We also reorganized our operations into a vertical market model rather than a regional market model,” Haramia said.

“The restructure repositioned our sports, entertainment, aviation, convention center and fitness practices under one umbrella that we call the venue sector,” she said. “This has made it easier to collaborate and share our depth of expertise to better serve our clients. As with any major change, ironing out the kinks that come from working in a new structure is the biggest challenge but we’re settling in well as time goes by.”

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