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Joining Forces to Revitalize a Local Community, Sustainably

April 13, 2021

In this episode of I Hear Design, the teams at Citizen HKS, Boaz & Ruth and i+s sit down to talk about their collaboration on Benefield, a community based project that revitalizes the Highland Park corridor in Richmond, Virginia, that will become a place that anchors and supports the community’s youth, serving as a catalyst for change and hope.

About Our Guests:

Nick Cooper, AIA, principal and design director, HKS Richmond

Nick Cooper, AIANick is a principal and design director for HKS Richmond who leads the design of projects and the pursuit of new work across the entire Mid-Atlantic Region.  His nearly 20-year career has focused on Mixed Use, Commercial, Multifamily, Adaptive Re-use, Healthcare and Civic projects emphasizing a cross-sector influence where the most innovative solutions emerge.

Nick is known for his award-winning design around the world but is most proud of his community-based work through thought leadership and service to Richmond’s Storefront for Community Design and as a Co-Director of Citizen HKS, the firms’ public interest design and community engagement initiative.

Richmond’s Style Weekly honored Nick with a 40 under 40 Award in 2018 for excelling professionally and serving as an example of innovation, leadership and service to the community.  He is just one of two architects to be awarded the honor since Style launched the program more than 30 years ago.

Nick is most passionate about mentoring and empowering the next generation of critical thinkers at HKS and throughout Richmond as he serves as the Chair for AIA Virginia’s Emerging Leaders in Architecture program and continues to serve on AIA Richmond’s YAF Committee.

Megan Rollins, president and CEO, Boaz & Ruth

Meghan RollinsMegan Rollins, skilled in organizational management, is the president and CEO of Boaz & Ruth. She brings over 15 years of hands-on experience in volunteer management, event planning, and operations. 

Prior to working at Boaz & Ruth, Megan began her career in the kitchen and bath design industry at REICO Kitchen and Bath.  She gained nonprofit experience at Boaz & Ruth as a volunteer, volunteer coordinator, AmeriCorps Director and Chief Operations Officer prior to taking on the responsibilities of President and CEO. 

A graduate of Mary Baldwin College, Megan and holds a Certificate in Nonprofit Management and a Master’s in Public Administration from VCU. She is a 2015 graduate of Leadership Metro Richmond, received the 2012 Stettinius Award for Nonprofit Leadership and was named the Greater Richmond Volunteer Administrator of the Year for 2011. She is a graduate of the Emerging Nonprofit Leadership Program and Richmond Christian Leadership Initiative. 

Dorian Sosa, design professional, HKS

Dorian SosaDorian is a junior designer at HKS Chicago, who was previously based in Richmond, VA. He studied at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, from which he earned his BSA and M. Arch degrees. Apart from studying for his AREs, Dorian enjoys designing for speculative architecture competitions. He has earned several design awards from AIA Richmond, Rethinking the Future, and Boston Society of Architecture. 

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Robert Nieminen | Chief Content Director

Robert Nieminen is the Chief Content Director of i+s and BUILDINGS media brands, and an award-winning writer, editor and design industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience in the publishing industry.