Design Manager

Location: Irvine, CA, USA
Added on: 16 Oct 2023, Job offer expires on: 30 Dec 2023

DAHLIN is an award-winning architecture, planning and interior design firm with 170+ multi-cultural professionals located throughout the Western United States. We offer more than 45 years of experience building communities where we live and work, driven by the vision of creating places that promote human fulfillment and well-being. This same Passion for Place®  starts with our own working environment—a positive community where people thrive. Please visit our website ( to learn more.

We are currently seeking a Design Manager who will lead and deliver a variety of project types and sizes, primarily from front-end design, planning & entitlement through schematic design. This individual will act as the main point of contact for the client in all work produced, understanding the importance of listening to the client, while collaborating and influencing all internal staff with a broad focus to ensure successful execution of project deliverables. The Design Manager will draw on their extensive knowledge of the design and delivery process while mentoring staff to ensure the highest level of design and client satisfaction.

This position is based at our Irvine, CA office.


  • Define, monitor, and maintain control of the scope of work and services for the project including project schedule, team staffing, and work plan.
  • Prepare and negotiate client and consultant proposals, fees, schedules, and contracts, including consultant agreements.
  • Serve as the primary coordinator of all communication between the client and the firm (including Principal-in-Charge and Design Director) ensuring timely resolution of client concerns and management of business issues including contracts and additional services.
  • Develop and nurture positive relationships with existing client contacts, optimizing all potential opportunities.
  • Maintain an awareness of existing clients’ business objectives, plans, target audience and market trends.
  • Establish, maintain, and document regular project related meetings including client, internal team and consultant meetings.
  • Lead and facilitate the day-to-day performance of the cross-functional project team, ensuring projects are delivered on time, on budget, and in alignment with the firm’s quality standards and design goals.
  • Focus on the smooth management of the project process, ensuring clarity of requirements, deliverables, timelines, and visibility against fees throughout the project life cycle.
  • Prepare, communicate, and monitor project work plans, budgets, and deliverables.
  • Manage multiple aspects of client, team, and project coordination, including full documentation and coordination with consultants.
  • Actively take ownership of problems and successful resolution planning in consultation with Principal-in-Charge and Designers.
  • Support and contribute to new business development with both current and potential clients.
  • Contribute positively to project reports and staffing meetings with concise and accurate information to continually improve the team’s delivery and financial objectives.
  • Establish, maintain, and document regular project related meetings including client, internal team and consultant meetings.
  • Assure a positive teamwork atmosphere, supporting the development and retention of quality staff including training/development/mentoring.
  • Initiate, document, and maintain project set-up, including contract review, project process and filing procedures, and work authorizations; review internal project accounting documents and collaborate with accounting in timely distribution of invoices.
  • Ensure the orderly transition of projects to the Design Development and Construction Documents team, remaining available to assist with design intent and deliverables.
  • Follow through with post contract administration requirements, such as follow-up phone calls to ensure client satisfaction and source additional project opportunities.
  • Work with the Principal-in-Charge and the Marketing Team to ensure that the project story is documented, and that photography/videography is arranged as needed.


  • Understand all aspects and phases of the design, production, and deliverable process.
  • Understand and respond to the technical implications of design decisions.
  • Extremely proficient in writing design and planning documents.
  • Strong understanding of Planning Entitlement packages.
  • Strong leadership, organizational, and communication skills.
  • Knowledge and experience in all phases of planning /architectural / interior design projects
  • Proven ability to provide excellent client service and leadership.
  • Proactive and adaptable with strong initiative to drive results in a fast-paced environment.
  • High level of design competence with knowledge of building and zoning codes.
  • Proficiency in Revit, Sketchup, Enscape, Bluebeam and Adobe Creative Suite.
  • Experience managing consultant teams and resolving complex technical and design issues.


  • Design Management and Project Management experience required.
  • Bachelor’s Degree or higher in Interior Design, Urban Design, Planning or Architecture.
  • 8+ years of relevant experience.
  • Registered Planner, Interior Designer or Architect preferred.
  • Commitment to their own professional growth.
  • Must be legally authorized to work for any employer in the United States without any restrictions or visa sponsorship.

We offer a competitive compensation package based on experience and qualifications. Excellent benefits include medical, dental, and vision coverage. We also offer the opportunity to participate in a pre-tax Flexible Spending plan, Employee Stock Ownership Plan, and 401k.

Salary range: $105,000 to $120,000 depending on qualifications. We believe in the importance of pay equity and consider internal equity of our current team members as part of any final offer.

Please Note…

Qualified candidates are invited to apply online at Including a link to an online portfolio is a huge plus! Real people review every application, so we regret that due to the large volume of inquiries, we are unable to accept phone calls regarding the status of applications. We’ll be sure to contact you if we need more information. Apply now!

DAHLIN is committed to welcoming and supporting a diverse community of professionals. As such, women and people of color are especially encouraged to apply.

DAHLIN is an Equal Opportunity Employer and participates in E-Verify.

We do not accept resumes from recruiters, placement agencies, or other staffing vendors who have not signed an agreement with us. Unsolicited resumes will be ineligible for referral fees.

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