Fellow of the American Institute of Architects
Yen Ong, FAIA, is a founding partner of 5G Studio Collaborative. He is instrumental in the development of 5G’s widely published award-winning portfolio, covering projects in the United States, China, Vietnam, and Indonesia. He directs 5G’s architectural research, is a contributing writer to design publications, and frequently serves on design award juries. Leading a practice culture that promotes curiosity, celebrates inclusivity, and empowers personal autonomy, Yen enables the discovery and application of the extraordinary into project conditions, entwining matters of context, typology, and craft into emotive works that are lucid, uplifting, and tactile with a nudge towards fantasy. He has twice led 5G, in 2017 and 2018, to be ranked 31st in the Design category among the Top 50 US Firms in the ARCHITECT 50 program run by the official publication of the AIA. In the past nine years, Yen has won 12 AIA Design Awards at national, state, and local levels. In 2023, Yen was elevated as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects honoring his distinguished work that has broad recognition for its design excellence at the national level.
Founder and President
Gary Cunningham, FAIA, the founder and president of Cunningham Architects, has led the firm for 42 years, consistently challenging the conventional role of architecture and its impact on the goals of his diverse clientele. Rather than imposing a standardized architectural style, Gary, recognized as a humanist, deeply immerses himself in his clients’ cultures. His approach involves questioning their aspirations to craft a distinctive architectural solution for each project. This pursuit results in a portfolio where each endeavor stands apart, aiming to create a fresh architectural experience by melding cultural insight with pragmatic sensibilities.
Cunningham Architects, under Gary’s guidance, has spearheaded a wide array of projects across Texas and the surrounding region, amassing over 70 prestigious honors and awards. Noteworthy accolades include the 2019 O’Neil Ford Medal for Design Achievement and the 2015 AIA Dallas Firm of the Year recognition.
Gary is an active figure in the architectural community, sharing his expertise through teaching, lectures, and contributions to numerous architectural publications. His invaluable contributions to design and architecture led to his induction into the College of Fellows of the AIA in 1992.
Beyond architecture, Gary’s interests span diverse realms, from collecting vinyl records and art to delving into aerospace science and technology.”
Director of Sustainability
Natalie Terrill launched her career as a Sustainability Analyst at Steven Winter Associates in 2005 after earning her Bachelor of Architecture from Iowa State University. Prior to joining The Beck Group, she was a Senior Associate at Vidaris, Inc., where she served as a group manager and provided technical leadership. Natalie’s project management helps create innovative solutions and drive behavior change by translating complex technical issues for diverse stakeholders across the built environment, real estate, and construction sectors. Natalie has achieved over 60 LEED Certifications totaling 15 million square feet of built space under multiple rating systems. Her experience spans the globe with cross-functional project teams from the UAE, France, Mexico, and Turkey.
Her environmental issues management covers land use, water use, waste diversion, air quality, sustainably sourced materials, and energy efficiency. Natalie has been a LEED AP and an AIA Associate since 2006. As part of the USGBC LEED Implementation Advisory Committee, she co-developed the LEED v4 Rating System.
Arne Emerson is a Partner at Morphosis with more than 27 years of experience in the field. Since joining Morphosis in 2009, he has led the design and construction of a broad range of buildings, competitions, and planning projects in the U.S., Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. He has worked on a variety of international project types and scales throughout his career, including museums, residential, mixed-use, master planning, retail, and healthcare facilities.
Arne served as Project Architect on the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas and is currently serving as Design Partner for two new US Embassies in Beirut, Lebanon and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the new headquarters for ENI in San Donato, Italy, a new arts district at The University of Texas at Dallas, and the new headquarters for lululemon in Vancouver, British Columbia. Prior to working with Morphosis, Arne was a design Principal with Daniel Libeskind for nearly ten years, where he played pivotal roles in the design, management, and realization of several award-winning buildings.
In addition to his professional career, Arne is a committed educator and lecturer. He is a frequent guest professor at Montana State University, the Young Architects Academy in Italy, and as a studio critic at Washington University in St. Louis. He currently serves on the President’s Committee for Art and Architecture at Montana State University.
David Hotson received a Bachelor of Environmental Design degree from the University of Waterloo in southern Ontario Canada and Master of Architecture degree from the Yale University School of Architecture. He is a registered architect in the state of New York.
David Hotson_Architect is an architectural design firm based in New York City.
Founded by David Hotson in 1991, the office works on private cultural, institutional and residential projects located anywhere in the world with current projects in New York City, the Hudson Valley, Vermont, Texas, and the Caribbean.
The firm focusses on architectural space as the primary medium of design, shaping figural spatial volumes filled with natural light.
The office has been featured in The New Yorker, the New York Times, Architectural Record, Interior Design, Detail, The Plan, Architectural Digest and many other publications, and has been featured on architecture and design websites in over thirty countries.
The office has been recognized by the international Architizer A+ Awards program, and has received a ‘Best of Ten’ Award from the editors of Interior Design Magazine, who selected the SkyHouse penthouse as the single most extraordinary apartment project from a decade of ‘Best of Year’ Award program winners.
In January 2023 the Saint Sarkis Church complex was designated as the 2022 ‘US Building of the Year’ on the influential ‘World-Architects’ web platform.
Laurel Stone is the Founding Principal of StoArc Studio, an architectural consulting practice based in Dallas, Texas. As a registered Architect and LEED accredited professional with over 18 years of professional experience, Laurel focuses on a niche scope of services for developers, architects, general contractors, and attorneys. Her scope can include due diligence and feasibility, design phase oversight, project management, owner’s representation, contract and drawing review, code analysis, and expert witness consulting. Laurel grew her career with the Dallas firm 5G Studio Collaborative where she was a Principal for the last half of her tenure. During her 15 years with 5G, she managed 40 percent of the company’s revenue and completed over three-quarters of a billion dollars in construction value, primarily in large scale hospitality and multi-family projects. Her portfolio of high stakes urban infill projects ranging from $20-400 million in construction budget includes over 5,000 dwelling units, 1,600 hotel keys, 8,000,000sf floor area, and $1.8 billion in total construction value.
Mark Lamster is the architecture critic of the Dallas Morning News and a lecturer and Loeb fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. His biography of the late architect Philip Johnson, The Man in the Glass House (Little Brown, 2018), was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography.
Michael Bessner, AIA
Michael Bessner, AIA
Michael’s career began with a passion for art, photography, and furniture craftsmanship, laying the foundation for his enduring fascination with design. Viewing architecture as an intricate tapestry of individual elements woven into a broader canvas of societal impact and responsibility, he has continuously embraced this dual perspective.
His aim is to conceive projects that echo the values of those he serves, while fostering creativity through exploration—a sentiment echoed by O’Shaughnessy and immortalized by the words of Willy Wonka:
“We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams.”
With over 21 years of expertise in architecture and construction, Michael possesses practical insights into project design, management, and hands-on construction. His diverse background has empowered him to make meaningful contributions across a spectrum of residential and commercial endeavors.
Michael’s professional journey includes roles at esteemed firms like Max Levy Architect in Dallas and Richard Meier & Partners in Los Angeles.
VP of Sales
Tim Nass has nearly 30 years of experience in the architectural glazing industry. As the Vice President of Sales at SAFTI FIRST, leading USA-manufacturer of fire rated glass and framing systems, he brings his extensive knowledge and expertise when working closely with architects, consultants, general contractors and glaziers to deliver a code-compliant glazing solution that meets all the aesthetic, performance and budget requirements of the project. Tim also oversees SAFTI FIRST’s global network of architectural sales representatives.
Tim Nass is a dynamic presenter and speaker who has been delivering educational presentations to various architecture firms, AIA local chapters, CSI local chapters, at the CSI National Convention and other architectural and glazing industry events.
Business Development Manager
Will has lived in Allen, TX since 2014, after living in Louisiana his entire life. He has been in the building materials industry for 7½ years, almost 2 of those have been with Longboard. He enjoys working with architects daily as they design and specify their projects, as well as installers as they bring projects to life. When he’s not chasing his boys around for Club, High School, or soccer he spends what’s left of his time outdoors. You would find him hunting, fishing, or getting prepared for hunting season.
Curtain Wall & Facade Specialist
Curtain Wall & Façade Specialist for the Strategic Accounts Division of STI Specified Technologies, covering the central United States and Canada.
Aaron joined STI Specified Technologies in 2015 and has over 30 years of experience in construction materials. He has conducted firestop trainings for STI, The International Firestop Council and to a variety of groups including; architects, engineers, consultants, code officials, inspectors and all types of trades. He is certified at Level 2 of Firestop Instructional Training (FIT II).
Director of Architectural Systems
Prior to joining GATE Precast, Marc served as an Outside Sales Engineer for nine years serving the industrial market, oil & gas, chemical, aggregates, cement manufacturing and power industries. His sales management experience is invaluable in his current role working with architects, contractors and owners in the early stages of design.
Education: University at Albany, Bachelor of Arts: Mathematics (2006)
Leo William Zahner III is the CEO of Zahner, an architectural metal company known for their contribution and execution of high-profile structures such as Sofi Stadium, Google Bay View Campus, and the de Young Museum. Bill is credited with transforming the company from a regional sheet-metal contractor into the acclaimed architectural metals and facades producer it is today. He also guided the company towards advanced manufacturing, technical innovation, as well as producing works by celebrated artists across the globe. Zahner has authored seven books on architectural metals, including the Architectural Metal Surfaces and Architectural Metals: A Guide to Selection, Specification, and Performance.
Zahner was inducted as an honorary AIA member in 2007. In 2013, Zahner was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to the Manufacturing Council, where he represented Missouri’s Fifth District. Zahner holds over five patents which pertain to the Architectural Metals industry he serves as the Industry Liaison for the National Architectural Committee of SMACNA, and in 2006, was awarded the Copper Medal, Associazone Italiana di Metallurgia.
Regional Branch Manager
Bryan Blume is the Regional Branch Manager at YKK AP. In his role, Blume is responsible for expanding sales goals and ensuring service excellence. He leads with a people-oriented management strategy, while setting high expectations for business growth and customer satisfaction. Blume’s experience and expetise lie in coordination between sales and operations.
Before joining YKK AP, Bryan was employed by Oldcastle Building Envelope for nearly 13 years and earned his bachelors of science from Texas A&M University.
Global Projects Director
Global Projects Director at NEOLITH, Alejandro has an extensive expertise on Rainscreen systems and solutions. Leading NEOLITH’s international expansion since 2021, he played a key role in the company’s growth. With dual master’s degrees in architecture from Valencia and the Illinois Institute of Technology, Alejandro transitioned from independent architect roles to the Construction Materials industry in 2016. His career spans Valencia, Munich, Chicago, New York, and Dallas, understanding of architectural intricacies on a global scale.
Associate Director of Interiors and Architecture
With diverse experiences in art, interiors, and architectural design, Lauren excels at providing thoughtful and unique solutions from conception to construction. Born in The Netherlands, Lauren received her Bachelor of Architecture from Oklahoma State University with a quadrimestre at the Université Catholique de Louvain. With over twelve years in design she has worked in the U.S. and internationally for firms including 5G Studio, HKS and Corgan Associates, and is currently at the multi-disciplinary Swoon the Studio. Her practice has included typologies ranging from sculptural and fine art installations, boutique hotels such as the Virgin Hotels Dallas, retail experiences, lounges and international aviation design and competitions, and historic renovations.
VP, Brand Partnerships
Dionne Darling has been with The A|N Media Group for over six years. As A|N’s Associate Publisher, she manages A|N’s Texas headquarters and handles accounts in the West, Southwest and Europe territories. Dionne has over 28 years of direct B2B sales, management and business development experience.