Rooted in our Diversity

MWA was founded in 1988 as a minority owned firm. We are currently 41% minority-owned, 55% of our technical staff members are women and 33% are minorities. Our diversity is our strength. It allows us to understand, empathize, and communicate with people whose experiences differ from our own — this is essential in working with the variety of communities we engage with.


We approach design inclusively. Informed by our history, we embrace social equity as a foundation of sustainable design. From housing to civic infrastructure, we are committed to designing built environments that strengthen our communities, and consider the health and well-being of the planet.

  • 1988

    Michael Willis founds Michael Willis and Associates, Architects in San Francisco

  • 1988

    Michael hires the first employee, a fresh faced Jeff McGraw

  • 1988

    Our first project, Roble Hall Architectural and Seismic Renovation on the Stanford campus

  • 1989

    Loma Prieta Earthquake shakes the Bay Area, MWA begins a series of historic restoration work

  • 1991

    MWA wins two projects, the Upper San Leandro and El Sobrante Ozonation facilities. These projects set the stage for what has become a core of our practice, public infrastructure.

  • 1993

    Begin work on the quake damaged historic Greene Library transforming it into the African American Museum & Library at Oakland

  • 1995

    Carlton Smith joins the firm

  • 1996

    Begin design of the New International Terminal Building San Francisco International Airport with Skidmore Owings & Merrill

  • 1996

    Begin design of Moscone West Convention Center Expansion

  • 1997

    MWA was the local architect working with design architect HOK Sport for the new San Francisco Giants baseball stadium, Pacific Bell Park – now AT&T Park

  • 1998

    Self Sufficiency Center at Eastmont Town Center – MWA’s first project for Alameda County –transforming a declining shopping mall into a hub for government and community services

  • 1999

    Construction completed on The Cecil Williams Glide Community House in SF, MWA would later design the Glide Pavilion, our first high rise

  • 2000

    Jeff McGraw moves from the Bay Area to establish our Portland office

  • 2002

    Begin design of the Thomas Berkley Square office building in Oakland

  • 2003

    Embark on design of the affordable New Columbia Multifamily Housing, the first of MWA Portland’s work with Home Forward

  • 2005

    Joseph Jensen Treatment Plant Ozonation Building opens, wins local AIA award

  • 2007

    LOTT Hawks Prairie Reclamation Water Plant and Water Park in Lacey, WA is completed

  • 2008

    Begin design on the rebuilding of New Orleans post Hurricane Katrina on phase one of Faubourg Lafitte Redevelopment

  • 2010

    MWA begins design on the Oak Harbor Clean Water Facility which when complete will be a key feature of this community as
    integrated civic architecture in a public park

  • 2013

    MWA turns 25 and announces that the ownership torch has been passed to Jeff and Carlton

  • 2014

    MWA wins Mayor's Award for Design Excellence, American Institute of Architects Portland for Stephens Creek Crossing – a multifamily affordable housing development in Portland

  • 2016

    Michael Willis retires from MWA

  • 2017

    MWA heralds a new era of strong leadership by announcing the addition of Amy Perez and Bill Lanning as new Principals

  • 2018

    A Milestone Year for MWA – 30 years in business and 30 years at MWA for Jeff McGraw

  • 2019

    Oak Harbor Clean Water Facility and Windjammer Park are complete. This project demonstrates that it is possible for a treatment plant to not only provide an essential service, but can be a centerpiece and point of civic pride.