This spring, we've opened our Austin doors to a couple of talented Texan folks! We are happy to introduce you to Senior Architect and motorcyclist (vroooooom, vroom...) Chris Rice (CR,) along with UToA Longhorn fan and designer (and musician?) Leo Sanchez (LS.) We'd like to shake their hands, but we'll keep some distance and stay safe (so, we send a virtual shake 🤝). To both of you, welcome to Nelsen Partners! We are thrilled to have you around as part of our team; let's plan, draw, design, and make exciting things together!

Take 90 seconds to find out which of our new crew members is painting Easter eggs while drinking a glass of wine, and which one is using his camouflage to hide from this pandemic virus.

All things bloom during spring so we asked Chris and Leo about things that are actually blooming this month; their favorite trees, design, and yes, the virus! I forgot to mention, one of them can actually quote an entire movie, can you guess who?

Read below to learn more about these two and see what they said in their interviews!

PS. Wash your hands.


Where are you from?

  • CR: Born in Alabama, but claim Texas, as I really grew up in Dallas from age 13.

  • LS: McAllen, Texas

Where did you go to school?

  • CR: Duncanville HS, University of Texas Arlington (UG-Architecture), University of Maryland (Masters-Architecture)

  • LS: University of Texas at Austin

What's the one tree (in bloom) that goes with any architecture?

  • CR: I don’t know much about flowering trees, but I do know that we don’t have an overabundance of them to choose from here in Central Texas. So I’d have to say the flowering Bradford Pear might be a good option, at least in Texas. (I’m sure all my LA friends will be calling me to tell me how wrong I am on this….)

  • LS: Palo Verde

When not at work, what are you doing?

  • CR: Going to Wineries with my wife or riding my motorcycle

  • LS: Making/recording music or studying for the ARE exams.

Favorite Pen?

  • CR: I like a versatile pen that I can draw fine lines or slant to get thicker line weights, is great for taking notes, and it’s cheap enough that I don’t have to worry if I miss-place or lose it (which happens a lot!) – so I’m going with the tried-n-true: Paper Mate Flair / Medium

  • LS: Pilot razor point

All-time favorite book?

  • CR: “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” (AKA: Blade Runner) by Phillip K. Dick

  • LS: Boy's Life

Do you rather paint Easter eggs, hide them, or smash them?

  • CR: Paint of course!

  • LS: Definitely hide them.

Your spirit animal?

  • CR: I’ve always had a fascination with flying, having amazing eye sight, and being a hunter, so I’d have to say the Bald Eagle.

  • LS: Chameleon.

Hidden Talent?

  • CR: I’ve never really thought about what “Hidden” talent I have, but a long-time client once wrote this in a reference letter: “Due to your insight and ability to help teach others the importance of planning and design, I now find myself looking through a very different lens as I walk around my campus, as well as other campuses I visit. You have truly impacted the way I see the world around me and I want to personally thank you for that.”

  • LS: I can quote the entire movie of School of Rock.

Why is architecture fascinating to you?

  • CR: For me, it’s less about the architecture and more about how to create cleaner, safer, and more inviting public spaces. Buildings and architecture become the backdrop that help frame the environment that ultimately creates a memorable “sense of place”.

  • LS: The smallest of details in design can have large impacts.

What are you thinking about right this second?

  • CR: How to answer the next question…..

  • LS: What I am going to eat for dinner.

In what ways is the spreading of the COVID-19 virus is affecting Architecture and Design?

  • CR: As this is a moving target, it’s a tough question to answer. I think the influence of this situation will impact how we think about anti-bacterial materials and possibly how to make sure that air quality designed into our buildings can be more effective and efficient to keep the spread of such viruses at a minimum in the future.

  • LS: Well China built a 645,000 square foot hospital in 10 days! So there is that.

What are you doing 10 years from now?

  • CR: Retired – traveling around the U.S. with my wife camping in various National Parks in an RV with our mini-cooper and motorcycle.

  • LS: Looking for the next song idea and design solution.