Jeff Hazard, Koch Hazard Visionary, 1955-2019

Jeff Hazard Principal for Koch Hazard Architects

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of our beloved CEO, Jeff Hazard, to leukemia on August 30, 2019. Koch Hazard Architects has lost a visionary, talented architect, mentor and friend.

Jeff joined Koch Hazard Architects in 1988 and, over 32 years, with a talented, dedicated team, built a great practice on an already solid foundation by producing thoughtful architecture projects at a variety of scales, approaching each design with an earnest inquiry into the character of a project’s purpose, place and personality. His preservation work spans across the state but can most clearly be seen in downtown Sioux Falls.

Jeff’s work with Koch Hazard has been recognized at the local, state and national levels. The Prairie Commons (Howard, SD) received an Environmental Protection Agency National Award for Smart Growth Achievement in 2011 and most recently, Sanford Imagenetics was featured in the August 2018 issue of Healthcare Design Magazine. Nearly 50 projects have been recognized by juries of national and regionally acclaimed architects through the AIA South Dakota Design Awards program. Not one for the spotlight or personal recognition, Jeff always appreciated awards for the awareness they bring to clients and their efforts.

Jeff’s leadership in the profession and community included putting his creative skills to work building innovative organizations and events to elevate architecture and the industry of design in the state. Several examples include the Idea Exchange events that occurred with a purpose of creating the best possible futures for downtowns, he Sioux Falls Green Project, the Plain Green Conference (a partnership with South Dakota State University) and the South Dakota Architecture Foundation, which created the Sioux Falls Design Center. In addition to building these innovative organizations, Jeff served on over 30 public or non-profit boards or committees over his career. Under Jeff’s leadership, Koch Hazard was one of four firms to found the Architecture Department (DoArch) at SDSU.

His contributions to the architecture of South Dakota, and parts of Minnesota and Iowa, the profession and especially to the community of Sioux Falls will be felt for generations. Jeff had a relentless pursuit of doing better and he inspired and mentored those around him to do the same.

He will be greatly missed.

After months of planning, many hard conversations and lots of emotions, we feel we have transitioned to a great leadership team to carry the firm through its next 30 years. Stacey McMahan, AIA, LEED AP BD+C will serve as Principal/Director of Design Operations, Keith Thompson, AIA, LEED AP BD+C will serve as Principal, Director of Architecture and Brooke Wegener will serve as the Chief Strategy Officer (CSO). Each of us is uniquely suited for our roles within the company, with Jeff having mentored us along the way during the span of our careers. A formal announcement will be issued regarding the firm’s leadership transition at a later date.

We want to thank our clients (past and current), consultants, other team members and friends for being a part of the legacy Jeff created at Koch Hazard Architects by celebrating his career and the projects. A Celebration of Architecture Open House will take place on Thursday, September 26, 2019, from 5:00-700 p.m. at our office. We hope you will come and celebrate the work and life of Jeff with us.

If you would like to share your thoughts, memories and condolences in the interim, you can simply email

Additional News of Jeff:

Jeff’s Obituary

Jodi’s Journal: Honoring the Architect of Modern Sioux Falls

Keloland: Friends, colleagues call Jeff Hazard a “visionary” behind Sioux Falls

Jeff Hazard honored with AIA South Dakota Legacy Award

Sioux Falls Business Journal: Life remembered: Jeff Hazard was a force for downtown Sioux Falls

INTRA-VIEWS: Jeff Hazard