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Lawrence Simons, FAIA
Founder - Chairman

Larry Simons, a graduate of California Polytechnic Institute in San Luis Obispo and a registered architect, established Lawrence Simons & Associates in Santa Rosa in 1966. The organization was incorporated as Lawrence Simons & James Brecht Incorporated in 1981 with the addition of fellow Cal Poly graduate/architect/developer, James Brecht. The company name was changed in 1992 to Simons & Brecht, Inc. Sadly, James Brecht passed away in 2001, and Joan Woodard took over his functions. In 2006, Joan became Mr. Simons partner and the firm changed its name to Simons & Woodard Inc.

On May 6, 1989, Larry Simons was invested in the College of Fellows in St. Louis at the AIA Convention, along with forty-four architects from across the nation. Larry's fellowship is in the category of "Design" which entitles him to the honorary initials "FAIA," the Fellowship's highest honor that can be bestowed on any member, with the exception of the Gold Medal.

The buildings and designs produced by Larry Simons have earned over 50 awards for Environmental Enrichment, City Beautification, Outstanding Design, and Exceptional Service, from the City of Santa Rosa, the Civic Arts Commission, the Design Review Board and the American Institute of Architects.

Larry's love and respect for the Redwood Empire is evident in every building he designs. He incorporates the natural contours of Sonoma County in the way he places a building on the site. His designs make the best use of the natural sun and shade for energy efficiency. Larry incorporates indigenous stone and redwood because of its beauty, endurance and cost effectiveness. He masterfully integrates water features with interior and exterior landscaping. He then studies the results created by each building and improves the next one from what he learns. And by investing in and owning many buildings over the years, he has personal experience with the success or not of each design decision he makes.

Examples of Larry's work include:

  • Stony Point Lake
  • Fountaingrove Inn and Equus Restaurant
  • State Office Building
  • Chamber Plaza
  • Santa Rosa Square
  • Stony Point Office Park
  • Fountaingrove Medical Building
  • 3333 Mendocino Avenue
  • 3536 Mendocino Avenue

Joan C. Woodard
President and CEO
Lic. #01348825
2001 Present

Joan Woodard joined Simons & Brecht, Inc. in late 2000 as a result of a long-standing business friendship with Jim Brecht and his desire to be relieved of day-to-day management in order to pursue interesting expansion opportunities for Simons & Brecht, Inc. In July 2006, Joan took an ownership position in the company and it was renamed Simons & Woodard Inc.

Joan's experience with entrepreneurial real estate companies dates back to the early 70's in Georgia. While working on an undergraduate degree in Finance at the University of Georgia, Joan's obtained her Real Estate Salesperson's license, sold residential real estate, and worked in the office of a construction company as well as an investment real estate advisory firm. Upon graduation, she signed on with the development arm of John Portman's architectural firm in Atlanta. After several years working on far-flung architectural and development projects with Portman and obtaining her MBA from Georgia State University, Joan came to the attention of David Rockefeller, and in 1980 became the manager of an investment entity in Atlanta for Rockefeller and others. Her most notable project for this group was the 250-acre Interstate North Office Park, which she managed and developed until asked to manage its disposition, which she accomplished in 1985.

From there, Joan moved to California and the west coast real estate office of The Disney Company. While there, she developed short and long-term plans for the company's use of real assets, among which was the planning process that resulted in Disney's corporate headquarters in Burbank and Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim.

But the lure of a 14-block urban redevelopment project in Oakland was enough to cause Joan to move north and with the Canadian development concern Bramalea, she guided the City Center project until its ultimate sale to The Shorenstein Company in 1997.

With other veteran real estate development professionals, she formed a private development and consulting firm that kept her occupied until her move to Simons & Brecht. This group, collectively and individually, worked with a wide array of clients, including Pacific Gas and Electric, Pacific Bell, Dermody Properties, Corning Inc., and Toronto Dominion Bank.

Throughout her real estate career, Joan has been active in the National Association of Office and Industrial Properties (NAIOP), serving its chapters and in 1994 as its national president. She has also served on the boards of a variety of arts and education oriented organizations. Currently, she serves on the Board & Executive Committee of the Community Foundation of Sonoma County.

As President and Chief Executive Officer of Simons & Woodard, Joan devotes her time to building and nurturing an excellent team of individuals who carry out the mission of the organization. She is also the primary contact for the company's development practice and holds the firms real estate brokerage license.

In the course of her real estate career, Joan's experience has included all types of real estate and all aspects of the development/ownership process, from concept to acquisition, planning, financing, ownership structure, development, leasing, property and asset management, and disposition.


James Brecht, AIA
Simons and Brecht Inc
Founder - Deceased
1976 - April 7, 2001

It is with immeasurable respect and pride that we recognize the contributions that James Brecht made to this firm and to this community while he lived.

Jim joined Larry Simons' architectural practice in 1976, bringing not only his education and training as an architect but also his ideas about how architecture might result in better building environments when blended with development skills. Jim believed that developers should look at the end user - how buildings are used and what the requirements of the end user are - and design around these needs. This philosophy shaped the architectural work that Jim and Larry undertook and resulted in buildings that performed well for users as well as owners/investors.

Jim Brecht had an abiding interest in the economic vitality of Sonoma County. He was active in the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce, Go Sonoma, Leadership Santa Rosa and City Vision. Prior to his death, he was instrumental in helping the City create a vision for the Railroad Square area, and chaired the effort to create the Food and Wine Center.

Jim served the real estate development industry through NAIOP, he was an avid cyclist, and a devoted father and husband.

His vision, energy and spirit are missed by all.


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