Meet Canvas: Carly Khanna

You are the CMO for AE Works Ltd.—why don’t we start with what AE Works Ltd. is and the kind of work you guys do?

We use our craft—architecture and engineering—to create built environments that support the social fabric of people’s lives. We take care of people by incorporating design details and features that enhance their work and their experience of a facility or space. We have the opportunity to make someone’s life better and help them do what they do best, or improve their experience, through design—that’s a really important responsibility and a big reason why we love being designers.


Does your SDVOSB (Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business) status influence the work AE Works does? How does it shape the company’s philosophy?

Our CEO and Founder, Michael Cherock, PE, started his career in the Navy as a nuclear-trained power plant operator aboard fast-attack submarines. He started AE Works because he thought we could do things a little differently. His time in the Navy provided countless examples of leadership and showed the value of acting with integrity. The Navy instilled in him a belief system that everything in the world, including business, is about people. That experience shaped our firm’s belief system. AE Works exists to create a world where everyone is relevant. That means we envision a world where everyone, no matter who you are or what you do, can contribute in meaningful ways.


You’re headquartered in Pittsburgh, but have had a space at Canvas for a while now—what does having a space in DC offer AE Works?

We do a lot of federal work and a presence in DC certainly supports our work, but beyond that we love being around ideas and the energy of small businesses and entrepreneurs.


AE Works seems committed to an ethical, transparent work model—why do you think this mentality is so important and how does it drive your company from within?

People are why we do what we do and central to how we approach our work. We’re always thinking about how we are affecting the environment, community, our team, and our clients. To measure this impact and demonstrate our commitment to using business for good, we became a Certified B Corporation. Being a Certified B Corp means we meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance. But it’s much more than a stamp of approval. Becoming a B Corp and maintaining that status challenges us to be the company we want to be.


Are there any projects you’re currently working on or have recently completed that you’re particularly excited about? Can you share a bit?

We’re very fortunate to have had the opportunity to do a lot of work with the Department of Veterans Affairs to serve and honor the men and women who are America’s Veterans. We’ve had the opportunity to give back to Veterans through design collaborations on projects like very unique and specialized Spinal Cord Injury Centers to create patient-focused healing environments.


Life outside of AE Works—tell us a bit about Carly. How do you like spending your free time?

Traveling and enjoying the outdoors—and of course, cheering on the Steelers!