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been approached by schools to do similar housing plans for their teachers. TZL: Your firm has experienced fast growth. What’s been the greatest challenge here and how have you met it? NT: Acquisition integration. It’s a challenge in all areas from processes and cultures to geographic locations. We don’t want to turn into a large corporation. When we acquire a new office, we try to get someone who has been with the company for some time to relocate to that office in order to help speed integration. “Hire the right people and give them the tools they need and get out of their way. Being a good matchmaker helps too. Pair the right people with the right position. I really enjoy doing what I do.” TZL: Trust is essential. How do you earn the trust of your clients? NT: Being authentic and interested are the most important. You also need to make it about the client – not about yourself. Be up- front and work to solve problems together. TZL: What role does your family play in your career? Are work and family separate, or is there overlap? NT: We are a firm that focuses on family events at work. We also send packets out to staff spouses on Valentine’s Day thanking them for their patience, etc. On Father’s Day we send out six-packs of beer, in addition to other small tokens of appreciation throughout the year. TZL: Your professional focus is on thought leadership in healthcare, senior living, and working in Native American communities. How do you think these sectors will change over say the next 10 years? I know you don’t have a crystal ball, but in your opinion, what’s going to be different compared to how these communities function today? NT: There are more and more casinos being added to support Native American communities. When thinking about senior living, COVID was not kind to these communities. People started wondering if these settings were actually safe and healthy due to the spread of COVID and isolation. Are these good places to be during a pandemic? We’re working on ways to mitigate that

and coming up with ways for residents to communicate and be safe without having to be so isolated. COVID was a wake-up call that we have to do better. TZL: What skills are required to run a successful practice? What do you wish you knew starting out that you know now? NT: People skills and a willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done. You have to be willing to step forward and not wait for an assignment. “It’s not my job” has no place. I picked up many of these skills as I grew in my career. When the other managing partner and I took over in 2008, I thought, “OK. What now?” I worked on my business development skills and set expectations to a reasonable level. You’re likely not going to close a deal over one lunch. TZL: Your sustainability action plan is a work in progress. What updates have been made recently? Why? NT: A sustainability action plan should be an overarching goal for all. We’re constantly updating it with new programs and systems being offered in living buildings, working with the Green Building Council, and blending it all together into one healthy living concept with the end goal being a “well community.” The challenge has always been cost and then finding ways to convince companies/people that the cost outweighs the life cycle benefit. TZL: What type of leader do you consider yourself to be? NT: A gung-ho one! Hire the right people and give them the tools they need and get out of their way. Being a good matchmaker helps too. Pair the right people with the right position. I really enjoy doing what I do. “We’ve been very fortunate to have founding partners from 50 years ago who came up with a clear path forward to ensure longevity through a performance bonus system. A buy-in to ownership started in 1995.” TZL: As managing partner, take me through a “typical” day. Do you focus more on firm management or specific projects? NT: It really depends on the day. Business development is my top priority. I also follow-up See MATCHMAKER, page 8


Phoenix, AZ






■ ■ Education

■ ■ Healthcare

■ ■ Senior living

■ ■ Hospitality and


■ ■ Forensic architecture


■ ■ Architecture

■ ■ Design planning

■ ■ Interiors

■ ■ Creative services

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EMBER 12, 2022, ISSUE 1456

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