Elisabeth Battle, AIA Lis Battle headshot

Elisabeth Battle, AIA
Senior Associate/Project Manager

As Senior Associate, Elisabeth (Lis) collaborates on Operations Strategies for the firm.  As Project Manager, she leads the team from the preliminary design stage through construction. She manages project communication and serves as a liaison between the client and the project team to ensure all parties are kept current of pertinent information. With reliable responsiveness and a passion for client satisfaction, Lis ensures that the project is managed efficiently. She collaborates with the team to develop and present ideas to the client and serves as a source of technical expertise working to find innovative solutions to challenges that arise in the field.

Throughout her tenure at Aria, she has worked on P.F. Chang’s China Bistro (both domestic and international), Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants, Dave & Buster’s, and True Food Kitchen in addition to several local independent clients.

Lis joined Aria Group in 2007, was promoted to Project Coordinator in 2010, received her license for Illinois and AIA accreditation in 2015, was promoted to Project Manager in 2016, and was promoted to Associate in 2017 and Senior Associate in 2023. Prior to joining Aria Group, she worked at The Carl Small Town Center (CSTC), a non-profit organization within the College of Architecture, Art, and Design at Mississippi State University. After leaving CSTC, Lis spent a few years with Craig & Associates, a predominantly residential architecture firm working in and around Chicago.

Matthew Clarke, AIA

Matthew Clarke, AIA
Senior Associate/Project Manager

As Senior Associate, Matt collaborates on the Financial Strategies for the firm.  As Project Manager, Matt oversees all aspects of the design and construction process of his projects, including navigating complex challenges which often include structural modifications, new HVAC systems, specialized acoustics, and working closely with lighting consultants. Matt’s professionalism and level-headed approach to his work instills confidence in clients and contractors alike.

Some of his recent projects include Palmer House Hilton, Chicago Fire Pitch, Carmine’s, Tupelo Honey Café, Stanford Grill, and various Protein Bar locations.  Other notable projects include a mix of large and small entertainment and restaurant projects such as the Hawthorne Casino & Racecourse, Blue Chip Casino Music Club and Sports Bar, Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Foodease, Viper Alley – a concert and entertainment venue in Lincolnshire, IL; Lettuce Entertain You concepts Paris Club & Studio Paris, Bub City; various Chicago Hilton food and beverage projects, and small independent concepts like Old Republic, Alexander’s, Swirlcup & OMG! Brunch & Boutique.

Matt joined Aria Group in March 2008 as a Project Coordinator and was promoted to Project Manager in 2010. He was promoted to Associate in 2018 and Senior Associate in 2023. Matt is a licensed Architect in the State of Illinois and a member of the American Institute of Architects. Prior to his tenure at Aria Group Architects Matt worked for Wight & Company. He started there as an Intern Architect and achieved the position of Project Architect.  During that time he worked on several notable projects, such as the Atlantic Fleet Drill Hall at Great Lakes Naval Base where he acted in the role of Project Architect for the United States Navy project, a project which achieved Gold Certification with LEED NC 2.2.


Sean Irish, AIA Sean Irish headshot

Sean Irish, AIA
Associate/Project Manager

As Associate and Project Manager, Sean leads the project team from pre-design through construction. He ensures that communication with clients, contractors and in-house staff is constant and clear so that the project produces optimum results for all parties. Sean guides the team to fully integrate design intent and technical quality in each project he leads, while creating a collaborative environment for the team to succeed.

While at Aria, Sean has worked on a variety of projects both nationwide and internationally.  Sean has worked on multiple locations for Perry’s Steakhouse, Carve American Grille, Rick Bayless Tortazo, Dave and Buster’s, Capital Grille, and Nando’s Canada.  In addition to clients with multiple locations, Sean has had the pleasure of working on Bar Sotano with Rick Bayless as well as Roanoke with Weber Grill.  Sean has also worked on the non-profit project for Sarah’s Inn.

Sean joined Aria Group in 2012 after working at Advanced Technologies Group and Hylan Design. He was promoted to Project Coordinator in 2017 and Project Manager in 2021. Sean is also a licensed architect in the state of Illinois. When not working or volunteering with Aria, Sean enjoys all things sports in his free time.

Joe Junius, AIA, LEED AP Joe Junius headshot

Joe Junius, AIA, LEED AP
Senior Associate/Project Designer

As Senior Associate, Joe collaborates on the Client Experience Strategies for Aria Group, as well as leading our Social Purpose efforts. As a Project Designer, he enjoys the many challenges of a project by leading design from concept to completion. He values a collaborative effort with the client, contractors and the rest of his team to create unique and inspirational spaces. Joe takes a comprehensive approach in the details of a project to help maintain the focus of bringing ideas to fruition within the project budget and timeline.

Some of Joe’s recent client work includes Amy’s Drive Thru, Sancerre Hospitality, Quartino, Hawthorne Racecourse & Casino, Protein Bar & Kitchen, and Barrel Club. He has also brought his socially responsible aspirations into Aria Group, collaborating with our team on reduced fee or pro-bono projects for local organizations: Oak Park/River Forest Food Pantry, Rush Hospital Occupational Therapy, House in Austin and Sarah’s Inn. Joe feels that everyone needs good design and is happy to help where he can.

Joe joined Aria Group in 2006.  He was promoted to Project Designer in 2017, Associate in 2020, and Senior Associate in 2023.  Joe is a licensed architect, LEED AP and member of the American Institute of Architects. Joe is passionate about social issues and co-founded the non-profit food.empowerment.design.  He uses his commercial kitchen design knowledge to empower individuals by creating design solutions to better deliver food to the hungry.  Joe is a runner and avid water-skier in his free time.  He looks for the best side in everyone and is a lifelong optimist.


Kristin Mrozinski, AIA LEED AP Kristin Mrozinski headshot

Kristin Mrozinski, AIA LEED AP
Associate/Project Manager

As Associate and Project Manager, Kristin oversees all aspects of the design and construction process of her projects.  This includes successfully navigating complex challenges which often include structural modifications and nuanced process management. Charged with streamlining all scheduling and budget planning, Kristin’s diligence and commitment to her work instills confidence in clients and contractors alike.

Some of Kristin’s recent projects include Gordon Ramsay North America, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, Mastro’s Santa Clara, Topolobampo by Rick Bayless, and Amy’s Drive-Thru.

Kristin joined Aria Group in 2009 and was promoted to Project Manager in 2020.  In 2022, Kristin was promoted to Associate, joining the firm ownership team.

Ilias Saoukbaev, AIA, LEEP AP Ilias Saoukbaev headshot

Ilias Saoukbaev, AIA, LEEP AP
Associate/Project Manager

As Project Manager, Ilias’ responsibilities include directing the project from inception to opening with special emphasis on schedule management, personnel management, and cost control. His organization, persistence to push projects forward, and attention to detail have been instrumental in delivering successful projects. His ability in providing open and clear communication with clients, staff, contractors, and consultants ensures that project goals are consistently met.

Ilias has worked on and managed multi-unit clients such as P.F. Chang’s, BJ’s Brewhouse, and Cooper’s Hawk, with restaurant locations throughout the country.  He lead LEED certification for projects such as P.F. Chang’s in Corpus Christi, TX, which received a LEED-Gold certification.  He also works with restaurant and entertainment clients such as Hacienda Colorado, Harkins Theatres, and Flight Club.

Ilias joined Aria Group Architects in June, 2007 as an architectural intern.  In 2022, he was promoted to Associate.  In 2016, Ilias became a licensed architect in the state of Illinois, and became a member of AIA.  He has also received his LEED AP certification in 2010. On his days off, Ilias enjoys shooting architectural photography throughout Chicago.  During the summer season he also crews on a sail team in various regattas on Lake Michigan.

Shannon Sterne, AIA, LEED AP BD+C Shannon Sterne headshot

Shannon Sterne, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Associate/Project Designer

As Associate and Project Designer, Shannon directs and oversees the design for projects within her studio which include many national, multi-unit clients as well as working with independent restaurateurs.  Shannon’s primary responsibility includes directing the design team to deliver effective and creative designs for the client through a collaborative teamwork environment.

Shannon has recently been involved in the new design direction for Asian Table – the European Asian concept by P.F. Chang’s as well as the re-concept of Panera Bread in all US locations. She has been integral in the design for large scale projects such as Hawthorne Casino & Racecourse and Supercharged!. On a smaller scale, Shannon developed the brand identity & design for local startups Tangled Roots Brewing and Limitless Coffee + Tea of which has received multiple design awards. Shannon has also led the design team through multiple design competitions that were awarded and recognized for its innovative design solutions.

Shannon has been with Aria Group since 2009. She became a licensed Architect in the state of Illinois in 2014. She was promoted to Project Designer in 2015 and Associate in 2022. Prior to her employment at Aria Group, she was at Esyn Design working alongside the design lead on award-winning & nationally published projects, as well has worked at Fitzgerald Associates on multi-family housing projects.

Neal Thompson, AIA

Neal Thompson, AIA
Senior Associate/Project Manager

As Senior Associate, Neal collaborates on People Strategies for Aria Group.  As Project Manager, he is responsible for the overall progress of his projects from early design stages through construction, managing internal staff and working with clients, designers, consultants and contractors to address code requirements and budget constraints while maintaining design intent. Neal’s favorite part of the development of a project is the construction details.  He enjoys figuring out how to assemble a building which addresses the design intent of the project but still efficiently addresses construction concerns, code issues and is weather-resistant. Prior to working at Aria Group, he worked part-time for CCJM Engineers in Chicago, IL. He became a Licensed Architect in the State of Illinois in December 2011.

Neal has completed projects across the country for a number of multi-unit and independent clients including: Topgolf, Shake Shack, Fieldings, Tap In Pub & Carvery, Firehouse Restaurant Chicago, McCormick & Schmick’s, and Tavern at the Park in Chicago. IL.

Neal started at Aria group in 2002. He was promoted to Project Coordinator in 2006 and to Project Manager in 2011. He was promoted to Associate in 2018 and Senior Associate in 2023.

Brian Zielinski, AIA, LEED AP Brian Zielinski headshot

Brian Zielinski, AIA, LEED AP
Associate/Project Manager

As Associate and Project Manager, Brian oversees the orchestration of a project from the initial start of pre-design through opening.  Special focus is given to the design process, schedule, budget, and communication which are instrumental components of a successful project.  His relaxed demeanor exudes a sense of comfort during the project that allows for clear communication between the client, contractor, consultants, and staff.  Furthermore, Brian believes in a holistic approach to design and project management that integrates Aria’s team with the project consultants and maintains a steady dialogue with clients to keep them involved throughout the process so their vision can become reality.  Most importantly, he leads with a positive and inclusive approach that cultivates team ingenuity to deliver the best product to the client in the most efficient manner – all the while exceeding the client’s expectations.

Brian has experience on a wide variety of Aria Group projects of all scales nationally, internationally, in-line, ground up, new, and remodels. Such multi-unit clients include Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille, Topgolf, Nando’s Canada, Dave & Buster’s, and California Pizza Kitchen.  He was also part of the team that designed Ikram in Chicago where his efforts contributed to the design and detail of the exterior façade for this upscale retailer.

Brian joined Aria Group in 2006 as an architectural technician where he established his attention to detail and efficiency.  He was quickly promoted to a Project Coordinator a few years later and was promoted in 2018 to Project Manager.  Brian was promoted to Associate in 2022.