Washington, DC, is an international city, absorbing and influencing global culture from its home on the Potomac. Our DC office is similarly diverse—an eclectic mix of people whose nationalities, cultures, ages, and experiences, are united by their passion for timeless design. Many of our most culturally important projects come out of DC, from landmark airport terminals like Reagan National, to prominent memorials like the National World War II Memorial and the Saint John Paul II National Shrine. Located walking distance from the White House and Metro Stations, the DC office also specializes in office space transformations, and has renovated 2.5 million square feet of office space in the last 10 years alone.


Emmett B. Ahearn
Senior Associate, Director of Business Development


1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W.
Tenth Floor
Washington, DC 20036-2683
P 202.861.4600
F 202.872.8530

Washington DC Leadership

David N. Zelig

David N. Zelig, ASLA, LEED AP

Vice President

Director of Operations


A LEED-accredited, licensed landscape architect with more than 30 years of experience, David Zelig has held the role of Washington, D.C.’s director of operations since 2009. He leads and manages overall operations and profitability of the office, and as such has responsibility for professional services for project delivery, risk management, design quality and technical processes, along with financial management.

David is responsible for day-to-day operational management, keeping all aspects of the Washington, D.C., office connected, including IT, human resources and facility management. He also works with corporate leadership and leadership in all LEO A DALY offices to communicate, support and achieve overall business goals and aspirations. 

A passionate community volunteer, David is involved with the DC Central Kitchen, Capital Area Food Bank and AARP’s 9/11 Celebration of Service, Million Meals.

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Emmett B. Ahearn

Emmett B. Ahearn, RA

Senior Associate

Director of Business Development


With design and delivery of over 80 federal projects, Emmett has delivered a wide range of project types specified in the RFP, including GSA projects at SSA Woodlawn and the Fallon Building. His other federal projects include the National Archives at College Park, renovations at the US Naval Academy, and GSA projects in Suitland, Avondale, Maryland. He has led similar IDIQ design task orders contracts for GSA (Regions 2, 3, 4 and NCR), Social Security Administration (nationwide), the Army Corps of Engineers (Baltimore District), US Navy (NAVFAC), and National Park Service. By facilitating exceptional technical design solutions, he brings competence to communication, negotiation, BIM delivery, and sustainable innovations. His experience on design-build projects makes him an exemplary IDIQ leader uniquely suited to this sort of contract where coordination and collaboration are critical.

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Melissa B. Bennett

Melissa B. Bennett, AIA, NCARB

Market Sector Leader - Education


Library Programming and Design




Melissa Bennett’s 30 years of design experience include a variety of higher education projects for public and private institutions, with a focus on library programming and design. She brings a passion for the design of community-serving facilities, integrating team and stakeholder relationships and practices, understanding core functions and developing the foundation for successful design solutions with a unique vision. Melissa also has experience in K-12 schools, and has been active with the American Association of Architects, American Library Association and the Society for College and University Planning’s Advisory Council.

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Ruth Jansson

Ruth Jansson, CID, IIDA, LEED AP

Principal - Director of Interiors


Ruth is part of a corporate commercial leadership team that specializes in working with developers and asset managers. She has worked with prominent Washington DC developers for 26 of her 30 years practicing in the design and architecture field. She is an award winning designer who has had several projects published in Interior Design magazine, and has long been considered one of the most talented colorists in Washington, DC by her peers as well as her clients. Ruth has worked on a variety of project types, including base building public spaces, airports, hotels, law firms, financial institutions, fitness centers, core restrooms and professional theaters. She has a gift for maximizing floor plate efficiency for corporate clients, and continually enhancing the planned space for end users and property managers alike.

Ruth is also very involved with Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) DC. In 2017 she was named the co-chair of its sponsorship committee, and continues to have a position on its membership committee. A member of CREW for 28 years, Ruth was also on its board of directors, focused on programs.

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Irena Savakova

Irena Savakova, RIBA, LEED AP BD+C

Vice President

Director of Design


Irena is an award-winning architectural designer with 25 years of experience developing projects for federal, commercial and educational facilities in the US and internationally. She enjoys an industry-wide reputation for her creativity, passion, and knowledge in managing complex core and shell developments, interiors, and space-planning projects. Over the past seven years, Savakova has led or contributed to the architectural design of new signature facilities for the US Department of State, Social Security Administration, the National Guard Bureau, the Air National Guard, the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, and NASA. She began her design career in Bulgaria. In 1991 she graduated with a Master of Architecture degree and began practicing in the European Union, where she is licensed as a registered architect. In 1995, she earned a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Maryland at College Park.

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Mark Woodburn

Mark Woodburn, AIA, LEED AP BD+C



Mark is part of a corporate commercial leadership team that specializes in project design and management of corporate commercial and highly technical facility projects. He and his team work closely with developers and asset managers providing innovative designs that incorporate Building Information Modeling (BIM), strategic planning and sustainable building practices. Mark has 20 years’ experience, is a licensed architect in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia, and is a member of the National Capital Region Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.

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Inside Washington DC

LEO A DALY Washington, DC, is a long-time supporter of Restore Mass Ave, which re-establishes trees along Embassy Row.
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Irena Savakova discusses her fascination with the urban fabric of cities in this Design Short.
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For more than 50 years, we have designed intelligent, client-driven solutions across the DC metropolitan area and the world.

Emmett Ahearn at the DBIA Awards, where Intelligence Community Campus-Bethesda won a merit award.
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Watch Melissa Bennett's journey from small town to designer.
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