Brad Nelsen (circa 1988) on a site visit to select granite for
333 Collins in Melbourne, Australia.

To start off this 30-year celebration, we are taking a look back at the very beginning.

Brad Nelsen started his career in Dallas in 1980 with the firm of Shepherd & Boyd, where he became partner in 1986. As the Texas real estate market collapsed in the late 80’s, Brad’s role in business development and as a lead project designer took him to projects in Arizona, Hawaii, and Australia, where he eventually established offices.

In March 1990, Brad Nelsen founded Nelsen Architects International (now Nelsen Partners) through the acquisition of his former firm. Erston Senger, who had worked with Brad since 1981, was onboard from the beginning and they were soon joined by George Melara and Phil Crisara in the Phoenix office. After returning to Austin to be with his family, Phil came back to the firm to head up the new Texas location, now the company’s headquarters. Together, through Brad’s creative and strategic leadership, these four have grown Nelsen Partners to the successful organization it is today.

We hope you enjoy a photographic peak at the early days.

Erston Senger and Brad Nelsen arrive in Melbourne, Australia. (Notice the Texas pride?)

The drawings for the original Commercial Bank of Australia building were completed in 1891. Nelsen Partners completed the 30-story tower at 333 Collins Street in 1991, exactly 100 years later. This iconic 800,000 square foot office building is in the heart of Melbourne.

The main banking chamber is now a grand foyer off of Collins Street, with a stunning dome and long corridor that takes you through to Flinders Lane.

Visitors can enter during standard business hours and take in the architectural beauty and ambiance of a building that was almost demolished in the 1970s.

Nelsen Partners' early operations in Honolulu.

Erston testing the new drafting table.

The Courtyards at Punahou, a luxury high-rise condo development in Honolulu, Hawaii, was completed in 1992...

..along with some of its amazing amenities.

Original offices at 24th at Camelback, Phoenix, AZ (circa 1990).

Phil Crisara joins the team as Executive VP.

George Melara joins the firm in early 1991.

George takes over as VP in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Jeff Brand joins the Scottsdale studio (circa 1999).

Scott DeMont and Mike Martin join the Austin studio (circa 2004).

In 2006, Brad welcomed Phil, George, and Erston as partners in the firm, changing the name from Nelsen Architects to Nelsen Partners.