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We're celebrating our amazing employees during our 50th anniversary year, highlighting team members who have helped make KEPHART who we are today.

This month we're introducing you to Principal and Director of Strategic Ventures, Doug Van Lerberghe.

What brought you to KEPHART?

An article in Pro Builder back in 1992 inspired me to move out to Colorado. The housing market in San Deigo was tanking at the time, so I moved and got interviews at two architecture firms. Once I walked into my interview at KEPHART, I saw that same magazine that inspired me to move here hanging on the wall. I pulled out that same article, only to realize Mike Kephart was the one who wrote it. I had no idea. I’m not a big believer in fate, but it all just seemed like destiny.

What was it like when you started in ‘92?

The office was in a 2-story house a couple of doors down from our old office at 770 Sherman Street. I started working on the main level and ultimately ended up in the basement under the stairs. It was tight, but it was quaint. I was employee number seven at the time, and I think the house could only hold 10.

What was your first project?

My very first project was for a series of single-family homes that were built in Cleveland and Chicago. Mike would do the preliminary designs, and I’d have to figure out how to make them work and then put them into AutoCAD or do hand drawings. In the early days, I was primarily working on production single-family projects when my biggest opportunity came with Del Webb and their Sun City communities.

What do you love about KEPHART?

Mike and Paul were champions of our culture, which is a huge part of who we are today. Mike and Paul allowed me to do what I do best: work hard. We work hard, but we still play hard. When I came from San Diego, everyone would leave after work, so I tried instilling a ‘play hard’ mentality, where we could spend time together as a team even after the work day was done. As time moved on, KEPHART also recognized the changing needs of our employees, allowing us to have more flexible schedules. I’m also incredibly proud of the educational opportunities KEPHART offers employees, allowing them to grow professionally, which allows us to deliver incredible sets of drawings that can be built.

What are your favorite KEPHART projects you’ve worked on over the years?

My favorite of all time is Rendezvous. I did the original design pass-through and love how it turned out. From the Winter Park Chamber & Visitor Center being located on the front corner to the townhomes thoughtfully overlooking neighboring Hideaway Park, it’s a good-looking project and one that I’m very proud of for our company. The second project I think I’m most proud of is Vallagio because of the sheer size of it. The community has five different product types spread over 30 acres, and it took a large amount of teamwork. I had to ensure it was executed correctly to get built.


This is the philosophy that drives KEPHART to create thoughtful homes and communities that positively change people’s lives.

KEPHART is a nationally recognized, award-winning architectural design and planning firm with 50 years of housing expertise. Our passion for designing well-designed places to live, work, and play has driven us to create more than 500,000 homes across the country, ranging from single and multifamily homes to workforce housing, senior living, LIHTC communities, and everything in between. We have a deep bench of talented staff to design and deliver innovative and practical solutions to meet the unique requirements of every project.