Weber Thompson Announces Eight Promotions in 2020

We are excited to announce the promotion of eight staff members to new leadership positions in the firm. Susan Frieson, Lissa Goetz and Aaron Swain have been promoted to Senior Associate. Erik Doran, Emily Evenson, Fanny Idoux, Brittany Porter and Burton Yuen have been promoted to Associate.

Learn more about the new leaders in the Q&A below:

Susan Frieson AIA, NOMA, LEED AP
Senior Associate

Q: What influenced you to pursue architecture?

I actually stumbled upon architecture, or the thought of it, as a kid. Like most girls my age at the time, I wanted to follow in my mother’s footsteps and become a nurse. I didn’t really know what an architect was or did, but I had an interest in reading about the floor plans, remodels (before & after), etc. in my mothers’ magazines. My father was instrumental in pointing out the profession, so I decided to pursue it and I haven’t looked back.

Learn More about Susan

Q: You’ve worked on some complex projects in the High Rise Design Studio. What projects are you currently working on?

Currently, I am Project Architect / Manager on 1000 Virginia, a 45-story residential project set for the corner of Terry & Virginia.

1000 Virginia rendering

Q: What are you looking forward to both personally and professionally in the coming year?

I’m looking forward to continuing to contribute to the culture here at WT, as well as the community at large, while continuing to personally grow and learn as much as possible within the profession.

Senior Associate Susan Frieson (center) with the AIA Seattle Diversity Round Table members. (Photo credit: AIA Seattle)

Q: You used to live in Chicago, do you have any memories of the architecture in the city?

There is one project that always makes me smile. I would often make a trip to drive past it when I needed a pick me up: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Winslow House in River Forest, Illinois. It’s perfectly symmetrical – an absolute whimsy, full of beauty.

Lissa Goetz AIA, NCIDQ, LEED Green Assoc.
Senior Associate

Q: What do you enjoy most about working at Weber Thompson?

My favorite thing about working here is the supportive, healthy leadership culture.  The firm supports employees maintaining work/life balance and is really invested in helping team members move into positions where they thrive.

Learn More about Lissa

Q: What kind of projects are you currently working on?

I am the Interior Designer on the 1001 John high rise project (architecture by CollinsWoerman) and Trailside I & II, the student housing projects located near the University Village Shopping Center.

Trailside I rendering

Q: Do you have any memories from your childhood about what inspired you to pursue architecture and interior design?

I loved real estate from a very young age.  I would use the little money I had to buy those cheesy home plans magazines at the grocery store, then obsess over the floor plans and house renderings.  This led me to begin drawing a series of my own floor plans in my sketchbook just for fun.  My mom suggested that I might want to be an architect when I grew up, and a light bulb went on – it was perfect. I haven’t really changed course since then.  As complex and challenging as architecture and interiors can be sometimes, I really can’t imagine doing anything else.

Q: Are there any architectural designs that stand out to you?

That is a hard question because there are so many pieces I love for different reasons. The one that stands out the most is Insel Hombroich, which is a sprawling site based museum in Western Germany.  It is made up of a series of very simple but experiential pavilions that are scattered throughout a large site, so you wander through this beautiful landscape and stumble upon these little follies full of art as you explore.  The feeling of discovery combined with the relatively simple, but innovative, deployment of architecture and landscape colliding makes for a memorable experience.

Image courtesy Insel Hombroich Museum website

Q: What are you looking forward to both personally and professionally in the coming year?

I am personally looking forward to having my first baby this spring, which is a huge, wonderful, exciting thing.

Professionally, I am looking forward to continuing to promote progressive design concepts within the firm and our Interior Design Studio. I also look forward to the learning and growth that will happen as my projects progress through the course of the year.  No two projects are the same and there is so much knowledge to be gained through every stage of every project.

Aaron Swain AIA, CPHC
Senior Associate

Q: You were recently promoted! What does this mean to you?

It means a lot to be recognized by the people you enjoy working with. It’s an acknowledgement of my professional successes and alignment of my personal ideas and goals with those of Weber Thompson.

Learn More about Aaron

Q: What projects are you currently working on?

I’m currently the Project Manager for the Waverly Apartments, as it progresses through construction – the mat foundation was recently poured!

The mat foundation being poured at the Waverly site in South Lake Union.

Q: What inspired you to pursue architecture?

In high school my parents remodeled our family home, and the construction process and details fascinated me. After living in numerous sub-par apartments, I knew I could improve upon these conditions. After a couple years working construction, I went back to school to learn the architectural side of the process.

Q: Do you have any hobbies that not many people know about?

I dabble in woodworking, inspired by the minimalism and efficiency of materials inherent in Scandinavian Furniture Design.

Q: What excites you most about the future of the industry?

I am very excited about the momentum and direction sustainable design is moving in right now. Passive House strategies are proving achievable and valued in the marketplace, there is an increasing interest and knowledge in Embodied Carbon and our industry is taking major steps to seek solutions toward curbing climate change.

Erik Doran AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Q: What drew you to architecture?

I’ve always been fascinated by construction and the process of turning drawings into buildings.

Learn More about Erik

Q: What projects are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on 1400 Madison as Senior Project Architect. The project is Seattle’s first affordable high rise in over 50 years. This is a really special project to be a part of!

1400 Madison Tower

Q: You were recently promoted! What does this mean to you?

It’s an honor to be recognized by my peers and firm leadership. It’s great to feel appreciated for the effort of cultivating a learning culture within the firm through the Postcards from the Field sessions, and for maintaining a healthy client and contractor relationship on my projects.

Erik receiving his WT BIM certificate.

Q: We know you like to stay involved in your community, are there any ways you are looking to get more involved in the coming year?

Definitely. This year I hope to be selected to the City of Shoreline Planning Commission which will provide a valuable insight into the evolving city.

Emily Evenson RA, AIA, CPHD

Q: What do you enjoy most about the design process?

I love designing with my colleagues. Whether it’s via formal large group presentations or more informal “Hey, come look at this… at my desk” kind of charrettes, the collaboration is key.  The moment you feel a little lost or stuck, getting a project in front of one, or many, of these brilliant people and immediately realizing how many more options are out there than you ever thought possible is a great experience.

Learn More about Emily

Q: Tell us about the path that led you to architecture.

Let’s be honest, I was a bit of a math nerd and an avid artist growing up, so looking back at 8-year-old-me perspective sketching the inside of every room in our apartment, I should have known.  But, I started my official journey into architecture near the end of high school with a passion for archaeology, historic preservation and adaptive reuse – and my way into that field was through architecture.

Emily at an archaeological site in Menorca.

I was really interested in how people used buildings in their daily lives, how it made them feel, and how the architecture affected them (for better or worse).  So I began the undergraduate Architecture program at the University of Oregon and jumped right into both architecture and historic preservation classes. It didn’t take long to realize how much I loved the creativity behind architecture, and I never looked back!

Q: What are you most excited to be currently working on?

I’ve just been added to the Commercial Office Design Studio as a Project Architect and Designer for a renovation/re-skin of two office buildings that will be connected and function as one building.  The client is committed to innovative sustainability, which I’m particularly excited about as this aligns with my Passive House background and values around climate change.

Q: What does this promotion mean to you?

I’m thrilled to be recognized as one of the emerging thought-leaders in the firm, as well as honored to have my design, technical, and interpersonal skills highlighted to my peers – it makes me excited to push forward as a leader in my own way. I hope to continue to make a positive impact in the firm and beyond through advocacy in affordable housing and sustainable design.  I’m excited for 2020!

Associate Emily Evenson leads a tour through Solis with Associate Noelle Galicia.

Fanny Idoux LEED Green Assoc.

Q: What inspired you to become an interior designer?

I have always been attracted to the built environment. Growing up in Europe surrounded by incredible architecture and interiors, I quickly built a fascination with design and that inspired me to pursue this career path.

Learn More about Fanny

Q: Do you have a favorite piece of design or architecture?

My favorite building is the Unité d’habitation, a modernist residential building designed by Le Corbusier located in Marseille, France. My mom’s best friend resides in the building and I still remember the feeling of awe I felt when first visiting her apartment. The apartments were equipped with built-in furniture, and specially designed storage walls with various cupboards with sliding doors, it felt very magical as a child. The building also includes shops, restaurants, hair salons and even a children’s art school, something I had never seen before!

Q: What projects are currently keeping you busy?

I am the lead interior designer on the Willows Lodge refresh, Orenda and The Martin apartments projects. Additionally, I am co-lead interior designer on the Broadstone Meta mid-rise project (architecture by Encore Architects).

Willows Lodge lobby

Q: Tell us about one of your favorite hobbies.

I love to sing! I am always singing (even at work sometimes). I have stage fright so please do not ask me to sing in public – unless it’s karaoke!

Q: What do you enjoy most about working at Weber Thompson?

My favorite thing about my job is the opportunity to have fun while working alongside my colleagues.

WT interior design team at the 2019 WT Fall Festival. From left: Monica Knapp (and her daughter, Aubrey), Associate Fanny Idoux, Jill Myers, Carrie Hinshaw, Senior Associate Rachael Bauer, Principal Bernadette Rubio and Senior Associate Lissa Goetz.

Q: What are you looking forward to both personally and professionally in the coming year?

I am looking forward to more professional and personal growth. I intend on taking the LEED AP exam and exploring how to become a Fitwel ambassador. Personally, I want to keep putting my son and husband first, life is too short and fleeting!

Brittany Porter RA, AIA, CPHC, LEED Green Assoc.

Q: What drew you to architecture?

I was drawn to architecture because I wanted to make a difference, and the built environment is something everyone interacts with constantly. There are so many opportunities, big and small, for architects to effect positive change in the world around them.

Learn More about Brittany

Q: We saw this fun 3D model by your desk, is this a project you are you currently working on?

Yes! I’m currently working as the Project Architect on the Latona warehouse and office project for the Dunn Lumber family.

3D model of the Dunn Lumber Latona project that will be located in Wallingford.

Q: What’s your favorite part of the design process?

My favorite part of design is when simple, creative and careful thinking brings something innovative and new in place of something that might have been less efficient, functional or beautiful.

Q: How do you challenge yourself outside of the office?

I enjoy the challenge of long distance hiking / backpacking. Last year I hiked 80 miles of the Pacific Crest trail in 4 days and this year I’m planning to tackle 100 miles in the Scottish Highlands.

Q: What are you looking forward to both personally and professionally in the coming year?

I’m looking forward to learning what it takes to meet the Living Building Challenge Energy Petal on the Latona project. I’m also eager to help Weber Thompson quantify how much carbon their projects are using both in terms of operational and embodied carbon.

Burton Yuen LEED AP BD+C

Q: What kind of designs are you most inspired by?

This is not an easy question to answer with a whole world of design out there to take in. A few favorites would be the poster for the original production of the musical, Cats, designed by Dewynters. The Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado designed by Burnham Hoyt. Thorncrown Chapel designed by Fay Jones. Walden Studios by Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture. Costumes for the Broadway musical, The Lion King, by Julie Taymor. The Noguchi table by Isamu Noguchi. The Aalto Vase by Alvar Aalto. The list goes on!

Learn More about Burton

Q: We know you stay busy working on a variety of projects, what projects are you currently working on?

Currently I am working on finishing up construction administration on Nexus, Ballard Blocks II and Watershed. I’m also working on some design revisions for 2019 Boren.

Watershed is scheduled for completion in early 2020. Rendering by Kilograph.

Q: What drew you to landscape architecture?

What drew me to landscape architecture originally was the variety it provides in both media and execution.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working at a multi-disciplinary firm?

I enjoy being able to collaborate  and work closely with the architects and interior designers. The constant interaction with all the members of the design team keep ideas fresh and possibilities open.

WT Boren team at the ground breaking event in 2019. From left: Yaman Tezcan, Associate John Stout, Senior Principal Blaine Weber, Principal Brian Steinburg, Principal Rachael Meyer and Associate Burton Yuen.

Q: You were recently promoted! What does this mean to you?

It lets you know that you are valued and your contributions are appreciated; that you are making a positive difference and the office is better for it.


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