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Hames Sharley has paid tribute to four leaders from its past, with the national design firm keen to recognise the value of their combined 120-year professional contribution to the practice.

Paul Drechsler, Rachel Seal, Dean van Niekerk and Warren Kerr were last night celebrated at a ceremonial dinner in Perth for their work in shaping and guiding the growth of Hames Sharley over the past 45 years.

The four are the first cohort to be inducted into the ‘Fellows of Hames Sharley’, an initiative that aims to recognise previous leaders who have significantly contributed to the disciplines of planning, architecture and interior design.

“It is an honour to welcome these extraordinary individuals as our first Fellows of Hames Sharley,” says William Hames, Founder of Hames Sharley. “These individuals represent the highest level of leadership. Their range of experience and their expertise continues to be a credit to Hames Sharley. They have shaped and guided this practice, the industry and our communities through their work, and we are grateful for their past service to this practice.”

The four members presented with this prestigious honour are:

Paul Drechsler

Paul joined Hames Sharley as National Director, Research & Planning in 1986. After holding this position for 10 years, he was named inaugural Managing Director in 1997 and remained in this role for 16 years.

A founding member of Hames Sharley, Paul championed the importance of being a multi-disciplinary practice and the importance of ensuring innovation and social responsibility in design.

Through his connection to The University of Western Australia, Paul has continued to work with our team regarding conference abstracts and delivering keynote addresses.

Paul completed a PhD in Geography and Planning with The University of Western Australia in 2019.

Rachel Seal

Joining Hames Sharley in 1986, Rachel Seal continually promoted the value gained from the combination of urban development and architecture within the practice’s design solutions. In late 2018, Rachel was appointed Non-executive Director.

Beyond providing valuable insight and leadership within the Board of Directors, Rachel also plays an integral role at Hames Sharley in providing guidance on the practice’s Champions for Change initiative. She continues to support the professional growth of staff in a mentoring capacity.

Rachel is the longest-serving female at Hames Sharley.

Dean van Niekerk

Dean joined Hames Sharley in 1986, contributing to the growth and success of the practice until his retirement, as Director, 33 years later.

For much of this time, Dean led the WA Studio through a major growth period, from the mid 1990s to the early 2000s, after which he ran the National Commercial and Retail & Town Centre Portfolios.

Dean was also responsible for hiring and mentoring many of the current leaders of the practice, including current Managing Director Caillin Howard.

Warren Kerr

Warren joined the WA practice in 1996 as National Health Director. After 23 years of working within Hames Sharley, he officially retired on December 31, 2019.

Warren was instrumental in maturing Hames Sharley into a holistic practice through enabling public health architecture into education, research and public buildings.

Warren is now engaged with Hames Sharley in a consultancy agreement, offering support and building business connections within the remit of the Health Portfolio.