Michael Toolis

Operating Partner


Michael Toolis is an Operating Partner of Kinzie Capital Partners and serves as CEO and Board Member of Chelsea Lighting, a Kinzie portfolio company.

Michael is an architect and entrepreneur who led the growth of VOA Associates, an international architecture and design practice headquartered in Chicago, from which he retired in 2020. The firm designed notable buildings in healthcare, higher education, hospitality, entertainment and workplace environments with eight offices in the U.S., China and Brazil. Representative clients included Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Google, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, the Walt Disney Organization, the Chicago Cubs, Virgin Hotels, as well as major hotel brands, banks and corporate entities.

As Former Chairman and CEO of VOA, Michael led the firm in its development of innovative strategies that enabled the continued growth of the firm during the global economic expansion of the past 30 years, overcoming recessions and economic downturns. This growth included strategic and talent acquisitions, geographic expansion and the creation of foreign entities. Under his leadership, VOA gained recognition as one of the leading design firms in the country. In 2016, Michael negotiated the strategic sale of VOA to Stantec, a NYSE publicly traded company, and stayed on for four years to integrate and transition the company.

In addition to his current roles with Kinzie and Chelsea Lighting, Michael serves on the Board of Directors and the Strategic Planning Committee of Navy Pier, the number one tourist destination in Illinois, and on the Advisory Board of the Graaskamp School of Real Estate at the University of Wisconsin. He is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) and YPO Gold.

Throughout his career, Michael has maintained an active role in industry and civic leadership. He served as a Director and President of the Design Professionals Risk Control Group of the Design Professionals Insurance Company. He served on the Large Firm Round Table of the American Institute of Architects and was a member and Chairman of The CEO Group, a select group of national architecture and engineering firm CEOs whose mission was to improve results through the sharing of ideas and business practices. He has also served as a Board Director of the Chicago Architecture Center, Catholic Charities, Little Company of Mary Hospital Foundation, the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau and the Magnificent Mile Association, among others.

Michael earned a B.S. in Architecture, a Master of Architecture and an M.B.A. from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, where he continues to be involved in the school’s architecture program as an advisor. Michael’s continuing education includes classes at the Harvard School of Design and Cornell School of Hospitality, where he received a Certificate in Hotel Management.

Michael lives in Chicago with his wife, Theresa, and is an avid golfer with a passion for travel.