Michael Toolis is an Operating Partner of Kinzie Capital Partners and serves on the Board of Chelsea Lighting, a Kinzie portfolio company.
Michael is an architect and entrepreneur who built 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, Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, the Walt Disney Organization, the Chicago Cubs and Virgin Hotels, in addition to major hotel brands, banks and corporate entities.
As 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 acquisitions and hires, geographic expansion and 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.
Presently, Michael serves as a Director of the Concord Group, an owner’s representative and cost management firm with offices in Chicago and Dublin, Ireland, and as a director of Navy Pier, Illinois’ number one tourist destination, where he serves on the Strategic Planning Committee. Michael is on the Board of Advisors to the Graaskamp School of Real Estate at the University of Wisconsin, and is a member of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) and YPO Gold.
While growing VOA into an internationally recognized design firm, Michael also took 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. During his seven-year tenure on the Board, he was active on the Actuary and Finance Committees. 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 CEO’s whose mission was to improve results through the sharing of ideas and business practices.
He served as a Director on the Boards of the Chicago Architecture Center, Catholic Charities, Little Company of Mary Hospital Foundation, Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau and Magnificent Mile Association, among others.
Michael received his undergraduate and graduate education at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, where he earned a B.S. in Architecture, a Master of Architecture and an M.B.A. His continuing education includes classes at the Harvard School of Design and Cornell School of Hospitality, where he received a Certificate in Hotel Management. He continues to be involved in the University of Illinois Architecture program as an advisor.
Michael lives in Chicago with his wife, Theresa, and is an avid golfer with a passion for travel.