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EFCG Introduction for Steve Lefton, 2023 CEO of the Year

EFCG is proud to announce that the 2023 CEO of the Year Award goes to Steve Lefton, the President and CEO of Kimley-Horn.

EFCG presents the CEO of the Year Award to a CEO who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the industry. Past recipients include Kate Harris (Stanley Consultants), Mike Carragher (VHB), Chris Vincze (TRC), Hisham Mahmoud (Golder), and Bob Gomes (Stantec).

Chris Nelson

In Mr. Lefton’s 26 years at Kimley-Horn, he has progressed from a staff landscape architect to President and CEO of one of the most respected design firms in the country. Since Lefton took the reins as President and CEO in 2018, the firm has gone from being an $800M company to an over $2B company. The firm cracked the top 20 of ENR’s Top 500 AEC Design Firms for the first time in 2018 and now sits at #9. Today, Kimley-Horn is a multi-billion-dollar enterprise with more than 7,500 engineers, planners, landscape architects, and scientists in over 120 offices. 2023 marked the firm’s sixteenth time on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list—a testament to Lefton’s passion for company culture.

Lefton’s consensus-driven leadership style consistently produces exceptional results in the development of staff, clients, and communities. He is widely praised as a visionary leader who has built interdisciplinary design teams that have tackled some of the nation’s most complicated design and infrastructure challenges.

In his current role, Lefton has embodied Kimley-Horn's core purpose, which is to provide an environment for people to flourish. As Adrienne Ameel, P.E., of Kimley-Horn D.C. expressed, “I have witnessed firsthand how influential Lefton is in recruiting, promoting, and mentoring women in STEM. He has the unique ability to identify the potential in someone that they may not yet see in themselves.”

During Lefton’s tenure as President, Kimley-Horn has introduced a series of Employee Resource Groups and hired a Diversity & Inclusion leader. Lefton was awarded the National CREW Catalyst Award in 2021, which recognizes a senior-level executive who has consistently demonstrated a commitment to advancing women, serving as a catalyst for change in their company and throughout the industry.

Lefton graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor's in landscape architecture and later received his MBA from the University of Miami. His commitment to the future of landscape architecture led him to establish the Marvin Adleman FASLA Scholarship at Cornell, now in its tenth year. Lefton sits on the Board of Directors for ACEC’s Research Institute and was named an ASLA Fellow in 2021.

Steve Lefton, EFCG

Lefton has demonstrated his dedication to the profession by creating and funding an internship scholarship, funding lectures and student travel, and positioning the AEC industry as leaders shaping the built environment.

For his transformative leadership, passion for equality, and commitment to the AEC industry, EFCG is proud to recognize Lefton with our 2023 CEO of the Year award.

About EFCG

EFCG is the leading advisor to Architecture, Engineering, and Consulting (AEC) firms with the mission to provide a data-driven and strategic edge to firms to advance the innovation, sustainability, and success of the industry. In the last 34 years, EFCG has served as a retained advisor to over 500 firms, developed a proprietary database of financial and business metrics, held nearly 100 executive conferences, and advised on 190+ M&A transactions. For more information, visit or email

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