Recent Promotions Expand Hafer Leadership

For 46 years, Hafer has created places with true purpose, impacting people’s lives with thoughtful, inspirational design.

Of course, this is only possible with our outstanding team of architects, engineers, and interior designers. That’s why we are thrilled to announce four promotions to Hafer’s leadership team.

Jennifer Kissel and Eric Rang have both accepted a new role of principal. As new stakeholders of the firm, they provide diversity of thought and perspective while ensuring long-term growth and sustainability for Hafer. In addition, Rebecca Brady and Clay Ellerbrook were promoted to Associate, also joining the leadership team. Each of these four incredible designers have demonstrated a steadfast commitment to fostering creativity, continuing development, and striving for excellence—a clear sign of devoted designers that have truly found their calling.

In fact, all four of them found that calling at an early age.

Jennifer Kissel found it when she would ride her bike with her grandmother to see the new houses built in her subdivision.

Eric Rang says it was the first time he saw the Chicago skyline.

Rebecca Brady and Clay Ellerbrook both attribute it to their fascination with creating, whether that be with building blocks or by making art.

With this shared passion for design, the firm is thrilled to see these four individuals continue to flourish at Hafer.

Jennifer Kissel, AIA
Principal, Architect

Jennifer Kissel has been with Hafer since 2017. As soon as she was hired, it was clear her personality and wealth of knowledge would be an asset to the firm. In fact, it did not take long for her to rise through the ranks at Hafer as she was promoted to senior associate in 2021 and now, she offers her skillset to the firm as a principal. In her new role, Jennifer will continue to focus on designing community projects while also taking a lead in the firm’s efforts for employee relations and retention.

To date, her favorite project is Deaconess Aquatic Center because of the massive, positive community impact it created for the Evansville, IN community.

Completed in 2021, the aquatic center was designed for swimmers of all abilities. It boasts a stretch 50-meter pool for competitive swimming and diving, a mezzanine for 960 spectators, and a recreation pool with a zero-depth entry, play features, and space for swimming lessons.

The project was well received by the community. In addition, the facility is set to host the NCAA Division II men’s and women’s swimming and diving national championships in 2026.

“Years later, I am just so happy to have been a part of that project.”

As a new principal, Jennifer plans to provide the space that true creativity requires—by always asking the question, “what if?”

“I never settle for the way it’s always been done. In this industry, you have to be able to learn, relearn, and unlearn.”

This methodology has propelled her success, but so has her natural ability to be a champion for her clients’ project visions and values—making sure they come to fruition.

Jennifer is also very passionate about her community. When she is not working or spending time with her family, she is volunteering her time with a number of nonprofit organizations. She is the board secretary for the Indiana American Institute of Architects as well as a board member for Wesselman Woods, the Old Courthouse Foundation of Vanderburgh County, and she is on the Southern Indiana Career and Technical School Engineering Advisory Committee.

Eric Rang, AIA, LEED AP
Principal, Architect

Eric Rang has also accepted the role of principal at Hafer. Eric will continue to design for Hafer’s K-12 clients, but also, now as a principal, he will help lead the firm’s efforts for continued excellence through improving Hafer’s standards, procedures, and project deliverables.

When Eric joined the firm in 2015, he brought with him unmatched experience from his time working in New York City, Tampa and St. Louis. His knack for details and technical design skills results in beautifully crafted buildings that are often applauded for their appearance, sustainability, and efficiency in construction.

All of those qualities can be found in one of Eric’s favorite projects.

“The first project I worked on at Hafer, McCutchanville Elementary School, was a pivotal point in my career,” Eric said. “Jeff Justice and I worked with EVSC to create a truly unique and collaborative learning environment that was both inspiring for students and energy efficient.”

The student-centered design features 21st Century learning spaces that are much different than the conventional classrooms of previous generations and fits the needs of different teaching strategies and learning styles. There is a learning commons for collaboration, a roof top garden for science experiments and an outdoor classroom, just to name a few.

In addition, the school was designed to be a net zero school, so a solar field was included to offset energy usage.

The school’s design continues to be a success for the school administration, staff and students.

“More than anything, I value creating a unique solution with the project’s owner, listening to their needs and wishes, and creating a unique solution with them, together, as a team.”

When Eric is not working, you can find him traveling with his wife or venturing off to his family’s cabin that his great grandfather built in 1932.

Rebecca Brady, IIDA, NCIDQ
Associate, Interior Designer

New associate and interior designer, Rebecca Brady, has been integral to the success of many Hafer projects. With the firm for 15 years, she will continue to design for our healthcare, K-12 and corporate clients—providing a level of expertise that can only come with years of experience.

Rebecca offers all projects the opportunity of a blank slate as she designs from a philosophy of active listening and inquisitiveness. This philosophy coupled with her keen eye for design makes her a force to be reckoned with.

“When you walk in a room, most people see other people. I notice all the little parts and pieces that make up the space. All the textures, patterns, and materials. All the things that make the space what it is,” Rebecca said.

You can see this philosophy in her most recent work, the new offices for Wabash Valley, a leading United States egg processor and supplier of egg products. The goal was to turn the existing, small office space into a place where employees enjoy coming to work and where visitors understand their company’s brand and values.

“The size of the existing building was our biggest challenge. It had low and uncomfortable ceilings. We incorporated glass walls to remedy this in two ways. First, to let in natural light and second, to expand the space visually. It was a perfect solution that really made the most out of a small space.”

Little details and small nods to the client’s product, the small, but mighty egg, were woven into the design—something that Rebecca had a lot of fun incorporating.

Now complete, the renovation has received nothing but praise. That being said, Rebecca always returns to her own philosophy at the end of a project to measure success.

“I want my clients to say, ‘She got it. She understood what I wanted and needed.’”

When Rebecca is not with her family or soaking up some vitamin D, she volunteers for many nonprofit organizations. She is the Sponsorship Chair for the Evansville Chapter of the International Interior Design Association, the Treasurer of Indiana Southwest Chapter IFMA International Facility Management Association and is on the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of Southwestern Indiana.

Clay Ellerbrook, AIA
Associate, Architect

Clay Ellerbrook was also promoted as an associate. With the firm since 2021, Clay has risen to lead the Owensboro, KY office. His work is a testament to his thoughtful design process and profound appreciation of the transformative power of architecture.

He will tell you that he felt that transformative power himself when he designed his first major project, before joining the Hafer team. The project allowed him the privilege of exploring contemporary design ideas and concepts, creating dynamic and engaging spaces.

“This pivotal project not only solidified my passion for architecture but also ignited a desire to seek out opportunities where I could continue to work on transformative projects that push the boundaries of design innovation. It was this drive that ultimately led me to pursue a position with Hafer, where I saw firsthand that such projects happen every day.”

Now as an associate at Hafer, Clay has big plans to foster creativity and communication in the Owensboro, KY office.

“I believe that creativity thrives in an environment where ideas flow freely, where team members are encouraged to continuously learn and grow, and where there is a collective push to stretch our abilities and explore new possibilities.”

Clay’s skills extend into the community. He is a very civic-minded leader and is currently on the board for the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation.


Of course, these four individuals are a talented, effective team. In the office you can always find them working through a design obstacle or talking about their next big idea. But outside the office, they also have the privilege to call each other friends.

Eric and Jennifer grew up together. From daycare to high school, they were always close as their last names, Rang and, Jennifer’s maiden name, Rittenhouse, were right next to each other in the alphabet.

Jennifer and Rebecca are often together cheering on their sons on the sidelines at various sporting events—talking about the adventures of raising young boys.

The architects even have a monthly lunch scheduled for some workplace camaraderie and shoptalk.

With all this, we are excited for what the future holds. This leadership evolution demonstrates Hafer’s commitment to developing the next generation of leaders while strengthening Hafer from within.