bios-rich-hilerRich Hiler, LEED®AP



Rich has worked for Essential Design + Build and has been a member of the ATCO Organization since 1999. His commercial and residential interior work spans projects both large scale and intimate from warehouse-to-office conversions, corporate interiors and elaborately designed residential homes. Rising through the ranks of the organization his experience and leadership now steers the ed+b team- a position he has held since 2013.

Rich holds a BS in Construction Management from Roger Williams University, and is an active fundraiser for several charities throughout the NYC community. Passionate about interior design and sustainability, he is a LEED Accredited Professional, a NYC Home Improvement Salesperson and a Certified Passive House Tradesperson. He is President of his condominium board of directors and resides in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.

Alison Lang

Design Director


Alison oversees the design side of Essential Design + Build’s projects with a specialty in high-end residential renovations and commercial interiors. Synthesizing her background in both interior design and architecture, Alison believes in a holistic approach of design that matches the client, space, form, and function.

Alison holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design from the University of Missouri – Columbia and a Master’s degree in Architecture from Washington University in Saint Louis.

Peter Cruz



Peter has 17 years of experience working for Atco, and 19 years of overall knowledge of the construction accounting industry.  He handles accounts payable, accounts receivable and collections for the department.  He insures that all subcontractors are properly licensed, insured, and paid on a timely basis.  He oversees the preparation and processing of purchase orders and change orders and helps ensure that all projects remain within budget.   His project management experience allows him to support the construction team in the field and in the office whenever the need arises.

Peter has an AA in Business Administration from BMCC and is a licensed New York real estate agent and notary public.

bios-katie-finleyKatie Finley



Katie has been studying her passion for 5 years at one of the nation’s top design schools, the New York School of Interior Design. She feels grateful for the opportunity to have been taught by top Architects and Interior Designers in the field and to have spent these past years experiencing New York City’s melting pot of design styles, cultures, and museums.

Katie has been using her skills professionally by working for renowned Residential Interior Designers Victoria Hagan and Jared Sherman Epps, assisting their teams with computer modeling, space planning, and developing schemes of furniture and materials. She is excited to bring her knowledge of the most current design software and newest interior trends to Essential Design & Build.

Renee Franzo

Project Manager


Renee is a Project Manager for EDB and has been working in the construction industry since 2005.

After graduating from the University of Florida with a Bachelor degree in Architecture she joined Marriott Vacations Worldwide working with the Architecture and Construction team as an owners representative coordinating architects, contractors and vendors. During this time she relocated and worked at resort developments under construction in Hilton Head, SC; Panama City Beach, FL and Las Vegas, Nevada with focus on managing the interior development and construction at each property.

In 2010 Renee moved to the northeast and began working in NYC managing a mix of renovation projects on the General Contractors side, focused mainly on interior residential and commercial renovations.

bios-paddy-loPaddy Lo

Cost Estimator

Paddy has worked as a senior cost estimator / quantity surveyor for more than 30 years for a variety of establishments. These establishments include cost consultant firms, general contractors and developer in U.S., UK and Hong Kong and have a wide experience in both building and civil engineering. During the period of his employment he has been involved in offices, residences, hospitals, schools, hotels, churches, retails, marine work and BP oilfield development.Paddy has a bachelor’s degree in Quantity Surveying from the University of Westminster in the U.K.

bios-chris-pettusChris Pettus

Senior Project Manager


Chris brings to Essential Design + Construction 21 years of experience with Atco Construction and over 38 years of experience overall, having worked as a laborer, carpenter, foreman, field supervisor and project manager.  He has extensive knowledge of new construction and commercial and medical facilities renovations, and has overseen the lobby renovations of 630 3rd Avenue and 20 West 57th Street, the gut renovation of Atlas Cafe on Central Park South, and high-end residential renovations and commercial build-outs in properties throughout the city.

Gwenaël Kerlidou

Project Manager


Born and educated in France, Gwenaël Kerlidou came into the construction world via sculpture fabrication. His trajectory started with work as a finish carpenter, then as a site super and finally, after a project management degree from NYU, as a Project Manager. For the last 18 years he has been honing his skills on high-end residential interior renovations, coordinating teams of architects, designers and engineers. He has also developed close relationships with the trades and is equally comfortable on traditional and modern designs. His past projects range from loft renovations in Tribeca, Soho or Chelsea to luxury apartments and townhouses on the upper east and west side.

Esther Torres



Esther has 17 years of experience working for Atco and 26 years of overall administrative experience.   She supports our entire office staff and field crew.  Esther handles all administrative duties on all jobs including payroll, correspondence, filing, Submittal Logs, scheduling appointments and more. Esther is the glue that keeps our team together.