Allllllllll aboard! We are happy to introduce you to our newest crew members; the Californian-at-heart Evan Ward (EW) joins the Arizona team, along with three Texas crew members; say hello to Texan Admin Controller Heather Lewis (HL), Cali-Hongkonger Architect Richard Gan (RG), and from 30°11′31″N 98°05′07″W (30.191998, -98.085382), designer and maker Nelson Smith (NS). To all four of you; welcome to Nelsen Partners! We are excited to begin a new decade working with you!

Take 90 seconds and find out which of our new crew members has a Duck Tape + cardboard Doctorate, who might be strolling for gold in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, and last, can you guess who is bringing Doraemon to a deserted island to help build a bug-free oasis?

2020 is the start of a new decade full of new chapters. We asked Evan, Heather, Richard, and Nelson about their major goals for this year. Kudos to one of our new guys that will become an Architect this year. (Spoiler alert: Good luck Evan!)

Read below to find out more about the crew and what they said in their interviews!


Where are you from?

  • EW: Originally from Northern California. Grew up in Seattle and Michigan

  • HL: Texas

  • RG: Hong Kong/California

  • NS: Dripping Springs, Texas

Where did you go to school?

  • EW: Arizona State University

  • HL: The University of Texas at Austin

  • RG: Calpoly

  • NS: Texas State University and The University of Houston

What building are you excited to see completed in the upcoming decade?

  • EW: Our Greektown project in Salt Lake City

  • HL: A cabin at our farm

  • RG: My dream home …someday (might take a life time… or two)

  • NS: The Avenue at 721 Congress

When not at work, what are you doing?

  • EW: Working on projects at home, playing with kids and riding my bike

  • HL: Spending time with my husband and son enjoying great food & wine…and constructing engineering masterpieces with cardboard & Duck Tape

  • RG: Traveling/listen to music (but in reality, 95% time with kid and house chores)

  • NS: Swimming in Barton Springs and designing/making furniture

Favorite Pen?

  • EW: Lamy fountain pen, Staedtler F pen, or ChartPak AD markers

  • HL: Any one that slows smooth & doesn’t smear!

  • RG: Pilot Razor Point; Now: Paper Mate Flair Medium (so much better)

  • NS: Paper Mate Flair - Medium

You are stuck on a deserted island with only three things, what three things would you have and what would you build?

  • EW: With a hatchet, flint, and a ridiculous amount of rope you could probably build anything

  • HL: Cardboard, Duck Tape & kitchen shears…I could build anything!

  • RG: Family, my dog (perhaps it's selfish to have them stuck together on this island) & Doraemon; build a bug-free Oasis

  • NS: Fishing pole, knife and a 1 gallon jug. I would build a shelter

What's the one thing that makes architecture fascinating?

  • EW: How space affects human behavior.

  • HL: The details that draw your eye in to the beauty of a space and its surroundings, not just the function.

  • RG: It's special & uniquely fitted for each individual/culture with endless possibilities (thou so are the headaches)

  • NS: The Human-Building Interaction

Did you light fireworks or break a peppermint pig?

  • EW: Fireworks. (P.S. after 90 seconds was up I researched the peppermint pig, and will definitely be doing that next year!)

  • HL: Fireworks

  • RG: Firework (what's a peppermint pig?)

  • NS: Fireworks

Your spirit animal?

  • EW: A polar bear making do

  • HL: Otter

  • RG: Dogs

  • NS: Toad

Hidden Talent?

  • EW: Sound effects

  • HL: …and constructing engineering masterpieces with cardboard & Duck Tape

  • RG: I can see with my eyes closed …well, at least others think they're close.

  • NS: Strolling

Share one of your major goals for this 2020.

  • EW: Licensed Architect

  • HL: Try something new each and every day

  • RG: Adapt and fit into the new Austin's culture and fix all broken things at home.

  • NS: Finish more books

What are you thinking about right this second?

  • EW: Taking exams

  • HL: The weekend!

  • RG: hmmm… (I think a second just passed)

  • NS: How deserted is a deserted island?

In a world full of buildings and developments, what would you do to make it better?

  • EW: Merge architecture with landscape

  • HL: Create unique, versatile spaces that will continue to be used…not to become empty, abandoned boxes

  • RG: More care & kindness… and better public transit (sorry just moved from Bay Area)

  • NS: Mandatory 200 year design lifespan

What are you doing 10 years from now?

  • EW: Sailing at the coast or sitting on a beach

  • HL: Sending my kid to college…then taking a long, relaxing trip!

  • RG: Still trying to lose weight with hamburger, fries and coke in hands

  • NS: Enjoying the weather