An Open Community of Ideas: Bios and Blurbs

Tim Van Meter, AIA

Partner
Architect /
Urban Designer
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bio
pdfresumé

Rick Williams

Partner
Architect /
Urban Designer
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bio
pdfresumé

Fred Pollack, AIA

Partner
Architect, LEED AP
415-974-5352 x202
bio
pdfresumé

Karen Murray

Senior Associate
Architect /
Urban Designer
LEED Green Associate
415-974-5352 x207
bio
pdfresumé

Michael Kloefkorn

Associate /
Architect,
LEED AP Homes
415-974-5352 x209
bio
pdfresumé

Ben Chuaqui

Associate /
Architect, LEED AP
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bio
pdfresumé

Matthew Baker

Architect
Project Manager
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bio

Brett Jacques

Architect
Project Manager
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bio
pdfresumé
chris

Christopher Sensenig

Urban Designer
415-974-5352 x210
bio
pdfresumé

Lauren Daley

Architect
Job Captain
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bio

Elitsa Shepherd

Designer
415-974-5352 x211
bio

Corina Dumitrescu

Designer
415-974-5352 x205
bio

Alexander Person III

Urban Designer
Project Manager
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bio

Rena Ramirez

Manager
415-974-5352 x201
bio

Andrew Faulkner

Urban Designer
LEED Green Associate
415-974-5352 x217
bio
pdfresumé

James Hart

Designer
LEED AP BD+C
303-298-1480 x15
bio

Mary Haywood

Designer
415-974-5352 x213
bio
jpg

Laura Shagalov

Job Captain, LEED AP
415-974-5352 x208
bio
pdfresumé

Josefina Lanza Castelli

Designer
303-298-1480 x13
bio

Sarah Vargas

Designer
415-974-5253 x204
bio

Alesha Romero

Controller
415-974-5352 x201
bio

 

 

 

 


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Tim Van Meter, AIA

Partner
Architect / Urban Designer
303-298-1480 x18

Tim Van Meter, a firm partner and founder, is a leading architect and urban designer whose work has focused on green architecture and sustainable urban design. Tim heads the firm’s Denver office, which he established in 1999. He has led the design team on many of the firm’s complex and award-winning architecture and urban design projects in Colorado, Hawaii, Texas, New Mexico, and California. He is experienced in a wide range of architecture and urban design projects at various scales, focusing on transit-oriented development, neighborhood design, mixed-use urban infill, and affordable housing. On the national level, Tim is the Urban Design Adviser for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Smart Growth Program. He also is co-chair of CNU XVII, the 2009 national conference of the Congress for the New Urbanism. A licensed architect in Colorado, California, Hawaii, and Utah. A graduate of the University of Colorado School of Environmental Design, Tim has traveled extensively worldwide, studying design, planning, and environmental issues and their effects on communities. He is a community design consultant for numerous communities and organizations, and has extensive experience achieving consensus through the public process. He lectures on issues of urban and sustainable design and development across Colorado’s Front Range and throughout the West and Hawaii.


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Rick Williams

Partner
Architect / Urban Designer
415-974-5352 x203

A partner and founder of Van Meter Williams Pollack, Rick Williams is a leader in urban design and transit-oriented development. Rick excels at using his architectural development background--understanding building types and the architectural realm--to inform urban design projects. The scale of his work ranges from residential and mixed-use neighborhoods and urban infill multifamily affordable and workforce housing in inner-ring Bay Area communities to new town plans. His diverse experience also includes designing commercial and institutional projects. Rick has worked extensively with public agencies, cities, and nonprofit organizations, and is adept at negotiating the regulatory framework and writing codes for mixed-use and transit-oriented development. Rick handles project management and construction administration for the firm’s building projects, and has enhanced the firm’s reputation for implementing projects that are successfully completed because they work on all levels of design, financing, and development. Rick earned a Masters degree in architecture and city planning from the University of California-Berkeley, and a Bachelors degree in architecture from California Polytechnic State University. He is licensed as an architect in California. Rick has lectured extensively on issues of contemporary urban planning, and his urban design projects have been published in books and leading design and planning journals.


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Fred Pollack, AIA

Partner
Architect, LEED AP
415-974-5352 x202

As a partner and founder of Van Meter Williams Pollack, Fred for over two decades has worked at the forefront of mixed-use pedestrian and transit-oriented planning and urban design. His focus as a leader in green and sustainable architecture has been designing urban infill on a scale that ranges from individual buildings to blocks, and includes mixed-use communities, adaptive re-use of buildings, and multifamily affordable housing. Fred has led many of the firm’s larger and award-winning projects through the entire design and development process. Fred also manages the firm’s business practice. A LEED-Accredited Professional, Fred has worked closely with municipal and nonprofit organizations to implement sustainable building practices. He is a technical advisor for Global Green USA, and serves on several technical advisory committees for developing green and sustainable architecture, including the Multi Family Green Building Guidelines Committee for the Alameda County Waste Management Authority and the steering committees for the Green Affordable Housing Coalition and the Zero Net Energy Housing Project in California. Fred is a licensed architect in California and Hawaii. A graduate of the University of Colorado School of Environmental Design, he has traveled extensively worldwide, and for two years studied and worked as an architect in Denmark on a variety of highly published projects.


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Karen Murray

Senior Associate
Architect / Urban Designer
LEED Green Associate
415-974-5352 x207

As an Associate at Van Meter Williams Pollack, Karen provides firmwide leadership and direction for projects ranging in scale from from the neighborhood to the individual building. Her unique blend of architecture and urban design skills allow her to act as a bridge between the two disciplines, providing implementable design solutions, feasability studies and prototypical building design for many of the firm’s projects. Weekends find her chasing her two boys around Golden Gate Park wondering when she can get back to work for some peace and quiet.


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Michael Kloefkorn

Associate /
Architect, LEED AP
415-974-5352 x209

Mr. Kloefkorn brings a mixture of experience in California, Colorado and Australia including furniture, interior design, commercial/retail, mixed-use, residential, multi-family residential and adaptive reuse and construction. He joined VMWP in San Francisco in 1998 and relocated to Colorado in 1999 to assist in establishing the new Denver office. He has been involved in projects ranging from Belmar, a 104 acre redevelopment of a failed 1960’s suburban mall, Valencia Gardens Hope VI, Civiq, to Railyard Lofts, an adaptive reuse of an 1880’s warehouse. As an Associate at VMWP, Mr. Kloefkorn specializes in green urban architecture with a focus on sustainability and community. A resource on sustainability at VMWP, he has sought to push the envelope on every project. Mr. Kloefkorn is a graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a B.Arch degree; his areas of study focused on Sustainable and Urban Design. He is a registered architect in Colorado, a LEED Accredited Professional as well as a Certified Green Building Professional and GreenPoint Rater. He is a member of the Northern California Chapter of the USGBC and currently serves as a Chair for the Residential Green Building Advocacy Committee. Mr. Kloefkorn is active, professionally and in the community, to promote better human environments while decreasing the human impact on the natural environment. In his spare time Michael enjoys snowboarding, hiking, backpacking and flyfishing.


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Ben Chuaqui

Associate /
Architect, LEED AP
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As a project architect at VMWP since 2002, Ben has managed the design and construction of multiple housing types and sizes. These projects include affordable as well as market rate housing, ranging in size from 19 to 116 units, a  convent (which is LEED Gold) as well as numerous feasibility and schematic architectural studies for sites of various scales and densities.  Prior experience includes eight years of commercial and institutional architectural work as well as professional experience in city planning.  Ben’s academic interests are in the social aspects of housing as well as the technical and idiosyncratic aspects of wood construction; these have influenced his work in the office. Happily married with three kids, family life takes up most of Ben's time when not at work but, somehow, he manages to find time to play tennis regularly and coach soccer on the weekends.



Matthew Baker

Architect
Project Manager
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Matthew has been a member of the design team at VMWP since 1999. Prior to joining VMWP he gained a wide range of experience in architectural practice, by working for such firms as SMWM and Arquitectonica. Matthew received a BArch degree from the California College of the Arts (formally CCAC) in 1996. His project experience at VMWP has included Piedmont Avenue Lofts in Oakland, Adams Avenue in Fremont, West Rivertown Family Housing in Antioch, FCSN in Fremont, and Bella Monte Apartments in Bay Point. Matthew had been a participant in the Bay Area Young Architects, a committee of AIA San Francisco, from 1997 to 2005. He has been a member of the San Francisco chapter of Architecture for Humanity since 2008 and has served as the chapter director since 2012.




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Brett Jacques

Architect
Project Manager
303-298-1480 x11

Brett received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona where his education consisted of a strong balance of the theoretical and technical aspects of architecture. In his fourth year at Pomona, Brett took his studies abroad to Florence, Italy where he focused on expanding his perception of cultural and social influences on architecture around the world. After receiving his degree, he worked in California with focused efforts on affordable housing with emphasis on quality sustainable design in the San Francisco Bay area. Since joining Van Meter Williams Pollack, Brett has utilized his experience in sustainability and multi-family urban housing design as project manager of multi-family housing projects in the Belmar and Stapleton New Urban Centers. Brett enjoys the diversity and collaboration of sustainable urban design and architecture and looks forward to continuing a tradition of pushing the boundaries in a broader sense of stewardship of people and the environment. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his young family, serving in his church, playing guitar, drawing, spending time outdoors, snowboarding, and playing volleyball.


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Christopher Sensenig

Urban Designer
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Chris Sensenig, an Urban Designer, has been with VMWP since 2005. Chris has a Master of Architecture, a Master of City Planning in Urban Design from the University of California, Berkeley and an undergraduate degree in Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis. Chris’s research has focused on creating livable neighborhoods and increasing opportunities for participation and social interaction in the neighborhood landscape through projects that include street design, mixed-use multi-family housing, transit oriented development, and neighborhood planning. In his spare time, Chris lives a happy life in Berkeley with his wife, Kate and his German Shepherd, Blitz. They enjoy cooking, camping, gardening, and entertaining friends. Chris has recently been published in PLACES Journal and ArcCA and is currently lecturing in the Department of City and Regional Planning at Cal.


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Elitsa Shepherd

Designer
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A Bulgarian native, Elitsa moved to the United States during her late teens. After living in Las Vegas for 7 years and having had enough of the desert sun and pompous architecture, she relocated to San Francisco. Elitsa has always been an architecture devotee but her professional experience has taken numerous directions: before joining VMWP, she worked as a master control operator at a TV station, office manager at a financial network and a customer relations manager for a wealth management company. Elitsa is currently pursuing a degree in Architecture. She and her husband Andrew like spending their free time playing foosball with friends and working on independent film projects.

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Corina Dumitrescu

Designer
415-974-5352 x205

Born and raised in Romania, Corina moved to the US at the age of 16. The culture shock of suburban living awakened a passion for good design, quality public space, quality homes, and their successful integration. After 4 years in Columbus OH, a Bachelor of Science in Architecture, and a Bachelor of Art in French, she moved to San Francisco. Another 4 years later she pursued a Master in Architecture at the Academy of Art University, and gained experience working in architecture and related fields. These days Corina is polishing her thesis project: suburban rehabilitation through the redevelopment of foreclosed lots, engaging in many creative little projects, and enjoying life in the Bay Area. She thanks her family for their hard work and sacrifices, and her closest friends for being there.

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Lauren Daley

Architect
Job Captain
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Lauren, a licensed California architect, joined VMWP in 2012. She came to the Bay Area to earn her Master of Architecture at UC Berkeley and can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. She loves the vibrancy of the city, the richness of diversity, and natural beauty that surrounds her. With her past experience in multi-family housing, student housing, and sustainable design, Lauren brings a strong architectural background to VMWP. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys community advocacy, playing her guitar, and making lamps.

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Laura Shagalov

Job Captain, LEED AP
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Laura has a range of design and research experience in energy-efficient, healthy and accessible housing. She received her Master of Architecture degree from UC Berkeley in 2008 and has an undergraduate degree in Urban Studies from Cornell University. Before joining VMWP in 2013, Laura spent a year and a half at a community design studio in coastal Mississippi, where she designed homes for individuals recovering from Hurricane Katrina and conducted research on energy-efficiency and temporary disaster housing. Laura is a LEED AP and has worked on LEED Platinum multi-family housing in the Bay Area. In her spare time, Laura is likely hiking around the Bay with family and friends, playing with clay and learning tunes on the accordion.

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Alexander Person III

Urban Designer
Project Manager
303-298-1480 x 22

Prior to joining VMWP, Alexander worked at a small ten person firm, a large one-hundred plus person firm, and an architectural research center which has continuously evolved his understanding of the built environment. Through a decade of experience he has come to understand architecture as only a vertex of a larger built environment network and decided to challenge his ideology in a Masters of Urban Design at University of Colorado Denver. Rigorously dissecting and reassembling the methods, techniques, and languages of urban design he tested his expertise in a most foreign place, Nanjing China. There, with no contextual advantage he let the layers of the urban environment (people, history, infrastructure, architecture, and policy) lead to a successful design solution. At VMWP he uses urban design and architecture to create aesthetic and functional connections between people and places, form and movement, and the natural and built environment. Passionate for his local community, Alexander is currently building a LEED Gold home for Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver. In addition he has also taught a Green Building Workshop at Summit Ridge Middle School every semester since 2008. On the weekends, you can find Alexander meandering through museums, training for the Tough Mudder, spending time with his loved ones, watching college football, and sprinting his Kawasaki through the canyons.

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Rena Ramirez

Manager
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Rena Ramirez was born and raised in the Bay Area. She happily fell into the open arms of the VMWP family with an eagerness to learn and strive in her new position. She loves figurng out the "why's" of the accounting world, and is thirsty to learn anything new. Her expereince includes Accounting, Management, Project Management and Group Counceling. She loves learning new dishes to cook and as a diehard SF 49er, SF Giants, & Golden State Worriers fan, she loves watching the games with her little family. She enjoys spending quality time with her newborn Charlie and her loving husband Carlos.

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Andrew Faulkner

Urban Designer
LEED Green Associate
415-974-5352 x217

A former faculty member at Washington University in St. Louis, Andrew joined VMWP in 2014 after experience advocating for sustainable urbanism in the rust belt, entitling small residential projects in the Bay Area, and working at non-profit design center. His passions, are focused on the creation of communities that are walkable, inclusive, and sustainable. He is an occasional contributor to the TraceSF journal of Bay Area Urbanism and active SPUR member. Outside of work Andrew devotes his time to exploring cities and wilderness. When not hiking, biking, photographing, or bouldering he can also be found making furniture and gardening.

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James Hart

Designer
LEED AP BD+C
303-298-1480 x15

James has wanted to be an architect ever since he was a little kid, and he can’t imagine doing anything else! James loves the challenge of making a space that is truly awesome (design-wise), while at the same time ensuring that it is sustainable, functions well, and truly serves every need of it’s users. James received his B.ENVD from the University of Colorado, Boulder, where many of his design projects explored an interest in the experiential aspects of architecture. James completed his M.ARCH at the University of Colorado, Denver where his studies had an emphasis in sustainability and design-build. Before coming to VMWP in 2014, James worked for architecture firms in Las Vegas. James’ previous projects include a hotel/casino, a rec center, a public works facility, an office tower, and several large custom homes. When James isn’t working on some awesome project, you can find him outside. James love to snowboard, hike, camp, or do just about any other outdoor activity. James also loves to explore beautiful new places and take awesome landscape portraits.

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Mary Haywood

Designer
415-974-5352 x213

Mary, graduate of NC State University’s Bachelors of Architecture program, made the coast-to-coast leap from North Carolina to join VMWP’s San Francisco office in 2013. Previously she worked as a design fellow for the non-profit Design Corps and as a junior designer in Shanghai, China for a firm focused on large-scale mixed-use developments. Her interest in community process, adaptive re-use, and sustainable affordable housing make her feel right at home at VMWP. In her spare time, Mary enjoys camping, cycling, building furniture, standing on her head (in yoga class) and travelling. She recently signed on to lead a yearly volunteer trip to Asia to build houses for Habitat for Humanity International. Mary has studied and worked abroad in China, Spain, Czech Republic, and Peru and speaks Spanish fluently. Her experiences abroad sparked her interest in designing dense urban housing, walkable and transit-oriented communities, and inspiring public spaces.

 

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Josefina Lanza Castelli

Designer
303-298-1480 x13

Josefina is a native of Cordoba, Argentina where she got her B.S in Architecture from Universidad Catolica de Cordoba. She joined VMWP in October 2013 to support the architecture and urban planning projects in the VMWP Denver office. Josefina currently resides in Boulder, Colorado with her husband. Prior to joining VMWP, Josefina spent the last four years in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at EDSA, an international master planning, landscape architecture and urban design firm. At EDSA, Josefina helped design and lead resort planning projects in Central and South America. During her tenure, she focused on melding the architectural and land planning components, successfully transforming projects from theoretical ideas into award-winning built-environments. At VMWP she is hoping to expand further into the architecture practice and incorporate her previous experience in the master-planning world.

 

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Alesha Romero

Controller
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Alesha has been working with VMWP since February of 2008. Although her primary responsibilities are in management and accounting, her experience includes architectural drafting and project management. After going off to pursue a business of her own in 2013 Alesha now resides as an Outside Consultant in the capacity of VMWP’s Controller. On top of her love for crunching numbers, she is currently pursuing leadership development and focuses on being a more positive impact in all of her client relations. In her spare time she enjoys playing with her daughter Leticia, keeping up on her son Daniel’s collegiate wrestling career, and enjoying life with her husband Tedd.

 

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Sarah vargas

Designer
415-974-5352 x204

A San Diego native, Sarah received her Bachelor of Architecture from NewSchool of Architecture + Design with a focus in Design and Applied Arts. As a designer, Sarah is driven by the opportunity to creatively change the way people work, play and live through design. Prior to joining VMWP, she worked at a small firm where she acquired many skills through her experience in single and multi-family residential projects. During this time, she worked with architects and interior designers on the development of all phases for multiple projects. Additionally, she is currently pursuing her architectural licensure. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys hiking, photography, catching the latest movie, and traveling with family and friends.