BNIM Announces 2020 Promotions

BNIM Announces 2020 Promotions

Kansas City, Mo. (February 24, 2020) – BNIM is pleased to announce the promotion of new Associate Principals and Associates in its Kansas City, Des Moines, and San Diego offices.

These individuals join BNIM’s existing leadership in a collective effort to support the firm’s core purpose to “…deliver beautiful, integrated, living environments that inspire change and enhance the human condition.” In BNIM’s 50th anniversary year, they have distinguished themselves as leaders, mentors, innovators, and collaborators who embody the firm’s values.

“BNIM has such a wealth of incredibly talented professionals across our three offices,” said James Pfeiffer, BNIM Principal. “The individuals we are elevating this year are making outstanding contributions to the practice. They are leaders and collaborators. They are recognized by peers and clients for excellence, creativity, and technical expertise. They show real commitment to our community – both professional and civic. They are solving real global issues that will impact our society for generations to come. They represent the future of our practice and our industry.”


Associate Principals

(left to right)

Tom Feldmann, AIA  DES Moines, Associate Principal

Tom has made many significant contributions to Studio North and beyond in his four years with BNIM, taking on leadership roles in many projects including the University of Iowa Seamans Engineering and Nursing buildings and currently on the Stanley Museum of Art. He is a resource within Studio North for his vast technical expertise and its intersection with design excellence as well as his ability to facilitate the often-times challenging process of managing the construction phase. Quite frankly, Tom knows how to get the work built, and he puts in tireless effort to ensure that it is done in alignment with BNIM’s and our client partners’ highest expectations and vision. Tom routinely juggles leadership roles on four or more projects simultaneously, yet still takes the time to serve as a resource to the full team. He genuinely wants to make all of our work and process better - leading efforts to streamline, improve, and unify our documentation. He has certainly done this at the studio level but also at the scale of OneBNIM, where he has worked on several larger-scale firmwide efforts. 

Jeff Shaffer, AIA  DES moines, Associate Principal
Jeff Shaffer has been a leader and advocate for design excellence across OneBNIM from his first days at BNIM in 2011. His impacts are exemplified in the leadership role he demonstrated on projects such as the Pacific Center Campus, for which he split his time between Des Moines and San Diego for nearly two years; BNIM's Studio North offices, which received the AIA National Interior Honor Award under his guidance; and the MCC Center for Advanced and Emerging Technology, which has garnered multiple design awards. Jeff’s direct design leadership contributions have continued on Rowat Lofts, 418 E Grand, and Miesblock. When he is not directly working on projects, Jeff contributes to design discussions for One BNIM as part of The Work Group, Symposium committees, and contributes to design excellence on many projects in our studio indirectly through his critique and assistance implementing the “3 Rs”. Jeff is currently serving the profession in Iowa and expanding the BNIM brand through his positions on the Iowa Architectural Foundation Board and the IA Architect Magazine Editorial Board.

Ruthie Harrison kansas city, Associate Principal

Anyone who has worked with Ruthie knows that she is continually pushing us to be better, especially with regard to demonstrating how we value our people. As Director of Human Resources, Ruthie thoughtfully approaches each situation to understand the various points of view, counsel those involved, and help resolve issues to provide the best outcome for the firm, the employee, and any others who are impacted. Through her leadership within BNIM's People Group, Ruthie leads the strategic planning and prioritization of initiatives that impact the firm’s goals and mission. In her role, she has the opportunity to learn about all of our people, helps them to develop the things they are passionate about, and advocates for them in those areas of strength. Ruthie gives back to the community through her service to the immigrant community, her involvement in ArtsKC, and other community service work. These are things she does out of a true passion, not for the sake of checking a box or fulfilling a need of the firm. Ruthie’s role and her dedication to positively impacting our firm and our people demonstrate the core values Ruthie holds, which are strongly aligned with the firm’s values.

Jeremy Knoll, AIA  kansas city, Associate Principal

Jeremy Knoll is a leader by any measure, and his passion for sustainability is deeply aligned with BNIM’s core values. In his eight years with BNIM, Jeremy has pushed us to be more innovative and accountable in our work, while helping us gather and synthesize performance metrics that measure the impacts of our work. Jeremy is an industry expert in green building rating systems, such as LEED, and excels at integrating sustainable strategies into projects of all sizes. He is Chair of the US Green Building Council’s Central Plains Board, and he is a significant contributor and newly appointed Executive Board member of Climate Action KC. Starting in 2018, Jeremy collaboratively developed BNIM’s Sustainable Action Plan, an ongoing effort he co-leads which includes establishing performance metrics for every project across all offices, paired with a firm-wide education program focused on growing sustainability leadership and expertise. He reports our annual project energy goals to the AIA’s 2030 Challenge, and maintains detailed comparative data reports to help us understand how our energy goals are changing over time; where we are strongest, and where we have the most room to improve. Indeed, Jeremy’s efforts at BNIM have played no small part in the firm achieving ARCH 50's #1 in Sustainability in 2019. Last year Jeremy was named LEED Fellow by the Green Building Certification Institute..

Joyce Raybuck,  AIA Kansas city, Associate Principal

In the three years since Joyce joined BNIM, her leadership has been far-reaching, and her impact can be seen at every level of our design practice. She has 15 years of professional experience in design and sustainability, including extensive national and international experience on innovative projects in higher education, embassy design, and urban development. Currently, she is the project architect for the U.S. Embassy renovation in Nouakchott, Mauritania that addresses issues of security, resiliency, and eco-diplomacy. She is also leading the Strata office project, a high-performance speculative high-rise in downtown Kansas City, which examines the workplace of the future through issues of health, wellness, and community building. Alongside her design leadership, Joyce is a Studio Director and co-leader of BNIM’s Women in Design Group focused on empowering women at all stages in their careers. Additionally, she co-leads the BNIM’s Sustainability Group that developed a strategic and aspirational action plan that redoubles the firm’s commitment to the next generation of sustainable design. This plan marks a significant step in the firm’s holistic agenda to advance metrics on all projects in order to build positively and shape a better future for everyone.




(top to bottom, left to right)

Sarah Murphy kansas city, Associate 

Sarah has eight years of experience, all at BNIM. Most recently, Sarah completed her role as BNIM's local representative for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts expansion, on which she served from the spring of 2015 through fall 2019. Having volunteered to move to Washington, DC to serve that project, Sarah’s role eventually changed to full-time on-site construction administration, where she faced the very challenging task of observing, documenting, and coordinating an extremely complex project of national civic and cultural significance along with navigating numerous project challenges alongside our client, owner’s representative, and two different contractors. An added complexity was championing the design vision and expectations of Steven Holl’s team, inherent to the iconic profile of the project and customary to their design philosophy. Through it all, Sarah was an excellent representative of BNIM, and our approach relative to design quality, collaboration, and advocating for transformational human experience. Sarah consistently exhibits leadership qualities and is highly regarded as a passionate, caring, thoughtful designer. She is an accountable, productive, and trustworthy teammate, who also happens to be extremely skilled in 3-D modeling. Sarah’s experiences over the last eight years have prepared her for larger project leadership roles and also warrant larger recognition of her accomplishments at a firm level.

Elvis Achelpohl kansas city, Associate

Elvis has been practicing architecture and design for 11 years, nine of which have been at BNIM. Throughout this time, Elvis has demonstrated significant leadership through his projects and firm contributions and in the many ways he represents BNIM daily to our clients, collaborators, in academia, and to the artist community. Elvis has served as a key team member on a number of important projects, including the Princeton University Lewis Center for the Arts and the Kennedy Center, the 10th & Wyandotte Garage, Tarrant County Community College, West Bottoms Flats, and most recently the Zhou Brothers Art Center. Externally, Elvis also serves on the Charlotte Street Foundation Board, maintains long-term involvement with the BNIM K‐State architecture studio, and serves as a frequent guest critic at the Kansas City Design Center. A valued critic at BNIM and in academia, Elvis helps foster new talent for the next generation of architects while also identifying potential talent to be a part of the BNIM family. To all of his efforts, Elvis brings a truly unique voice and perspective that are tied directly to his passion for the arts. His deep connection to the arts is central to his professional and social life outside of BNIM.

Ashley Perrin kansas city, Associate

Since joining BNIM in 2014, Ashley has emerged as a strong project leader, designer, and mentor, as well as a significant contributor to BNIM’s culture and talent pool. Ashley has grown significantly in the past few years through her contributions to projects like OBO – Tunis, OBO - Bogota, the University of Missouri School of Music, and one of her first projects - our Building Positive project at 1640 Baltimore in Kansas City, which quickly transitioned to work on our current offices here in KC. More recently, Ashley has been leading our Habitat for Humanity Kansas City renovation project and has gained the confidence of the client team, our consultants, the general contractor, and even the specialty contractors. Through all this, Ashley has demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities that have earned her the regard and trust of her project teams. With clients in particular, Ashley demonstrates confidence, openness, and professionalism that establishes rapport and trust with them after just one or two meetings. Ashley is helping to lead BNIM’s Women in Design initiative and plays a key role in the firm’s talent recruitment efforts. 

Dan Johnson, AIA kansas city, Associate

Dan exceeds all of the prescriptive guidelines for advancement. Since joining BNIM in 2016, he has become a key contributor to the culture and work of BNIM and is increasingly recognized for his leadership as a Project Architect. Dan has contributed significantly to a number of successful projects, including the FADS and CTE buildings at Johnson County Community College, and he is just digging into his role as project architect for BNIM's project at the MCC Blue River Campus. Dan is known for his remarkable work ethic. Not only does he excel in his work, but in everything he does, Dan deliberately creates a collaborative environment for others, helping them to perform at their highest levels as well. He is a people-oriented person and exudes a spirit of warmth and inclusiveness both in and out of the office, a quality that brings great value to his relationships with clients and consultants. Within the BNIM community, Dan is one of those “linchpin” people who incites social enthusiasm in an office full of serious introverts. Outside of the firm, he contributes his time and talent to Hope Builders and is continuing to grow professionally as BNIM’s current AIAKC Pillars class members.

April Trotter, AIA kansas city, Associate

For all who have had the pleasure of working with April, it is clear that she makes our projects and the firm, better. She is enthusiastic, smart, curious, and always driving toward excellence. In the past year, April has had experiences that have accelerated her growth and presence on project teams and within the firm. In particular, she has championed the MSU Ecology Center project through documentation and construction, gaining the respect of her colleagues, the client, and the contractor. Internally, April has been instrumental in developing the BIM Core objectives and work plan, coordinating with other efforts in the office, and meeting with different subgroups under BNIM's Work Group to ensure all their needs are considered. April is a natural mentor, reaching out to less experienced staff to help them with everything from ARE test strategy to Revit troubleshooting and connecting them to resources where needed. April’s servant leadership style, integrated approach to design excellence, and generosity in her mentorship all align with BNIM’s core values and leadership traits.

James Baker kansas city, Associate

Over the course of four and a half years, James Baker’s role, responsibilities, and value to BNIM have grown tremendously. Starting as an administrative assistant, his role grew to serving as a studio coordinator, contributing to research, project work, writing, and internal communication. James has contributed to several project efforts, including the London Cultural Significance study; 31st and Troost Revitalization Scenario; and contributing to every OBO project in some way. He also served as lead construction administrator on several projects including the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University, the Water Services project, and North Kansas City High School Addition and Renovation. As BNIM’s Facility Security Officer, James completed a rigorous training program that allowed him to support BNIM’s government and infrastructure work as the point person for security protocols and compliance, which is critical to maintaining these clients and projects. Additionally, he co-leads BNIM's Research Group and coordinates the Business Group. James’s value to BNIM has come in many different forms, but it is all driven to support BNIM’s core purpose and support his colleagues, our clients, and the communities in which we work.

Hyeonji 'Claire' Im  san diego, Associate

Hyeonji “Claire” has experience in a wide range of scales, locations, and functions such as high-rise residential buildings in Chicago and Korea and institutional projects in Chicago and San Diego. Her experience expands from all over the world, featuring projects in Germany, Russia and Turkey. Claire is especially interested in the interdisciplinary design approaches using computational design methods and robotic fabrications. She brings strong management and critical thinking skills to projects at BNIM, where she has been instrumental across projects in and around San Diego, including JCNI P7 Apartments, the CSU San Marcos Wellness & Recreation Feasibility Study, and Ivy Senior Apartments.

Jeff Marsch, AIA  san diego, associate

Since joining BNIM in 2018, Jeff has contributed to the success of many projects, most recently the Moffit Seismic and CSUSM W+R projects. A creative problem solver, Jeff is thoughtful, proactive, and exhibits a high level of emotional intelligence with his communication, resulting in positive feedback from both clients and consultants working with him. In his work, Jeff is inquisitive and works to ensure the team is addressing the client’s needs in addition to implementing design excellence. He is adept at creating visualizations that captured the human purposed integrated design intent of our work. And he is also consistently mindful of project profitability to focus the project team’s efforts, reduce travel costs, and streamline the project deliverable. In his time with the Pacific Studio, Jeff has emerged as a mentor and a valuable resource, and we have come to rely upon his broad skill set and knowledge.

Mathew Kella kansas city, Associate

Matthew Kella is one of those rare designers who exhibits an extremely high design IQ. He possesses that intuitive, initial spark and resolve to ever tighten and protect the design integrity of each project he works on, while working diligently alongside internal teams, external collaborators and clients to turn complex issues into simple, impactful solutions. Leveraging his meticulous and well-honed workflows in numerous design applications, Matthew has developed an incredibly effective voice for storytelling that brings design concepts and project narratives to life. In his three years at BNIM, Matthew has positively impacted a number of projects, including OBO ‐ Kampala, Marquette University, Johnson County Community College FADS and CTE, OBO – Bogota, Springfield Art Museum Master Plan, Ellis County Historical Museum, The Kansas City YMCA, and currently the KCI garage. On every project, Matthew has pushed us further to design excellence, presenting balanced, rigorous design solutions that elevate the human experience and integrate exterior environmental conditions to inform design solutions.