Promotions to Associate

O’Brien Atkins is pleased to announce the following promotions to Associate. 

John B. Jarvis, AIA, LEED AP BD+C and NC, Senior Architect

John is a Senior Architect who has been with O’Brien Atkins for 6 years. His past professional design experience includes work with firms in Buffalo, NY, and Richmond, VA. John is an expert with architectural design technology and has contributed significantly to enhancing the firm’s project graphics and representations. In addition, his role as Senior Architect entails project organization and coordination, while contributing his design skills. Recent project experience includes the Durham Police Headquarters and the Karlin Parmer RTP Development conceptual planning and amenities park design and documentation.

James M. McKnight, IT Manager

James joined O’Brien Atkins in 1999 and serves as IT Manager with the prime responsibility to maintain and upgrade the IT network | server, hardware, software and training, always understanding that if the production technology and hardware go down, it harms the firm’s delivery capabilities. He is on call 24/7, is vigilant to not only counter security threats but to ensure the daily work flow remains uninterrupted.  He educates staff on security pitfalls and is on call to assist and solve a variety of computer-related issues as they arise.  James manages all of this with a positive attitude and patience while always being willing to assist with other administrative support tasks that need doing.

Thomas W. O’Brien, AIA, LEED AP, Senior Architect

Tommy joined O’Brien Atkins in 2006 after living in Atlanta and working for architectural firms there. He serves as a Senior Architect responsible for project coordination, facilitation and documentation. His significant projects include the NC National Guard Headquarters and State EOC, the UNC Greensboro School of Education, Honda Aero and Honda Power Equipment manufacturing expansions, a year on loan to a Saudi Arabia firm in Dammam, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and currently, a major manufacturing project for a confidential client.

Tran T. Ton, PE, LEED AP BD+C, Senior Mechanical Engineer

Tran joined O’Brien Atkins in 2010 and has 17+ years experience as a designer in laboratory, pharmaceutical, industrial and commercial HVAC, piping and plumbing systems design. He has designed mechanical systems for numerous high technology facilities in educational, research and development, production and quality assurance environments.  A Vietnamese immigrant who spoke no English on his arrival, Tran earned a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from NC State University.  His current projects include the new Student Center at NC Central University and the Catawba County Jail Expansion.


Promotions to Senior Associate

O’Brien Atkins is pleased to announce the following promotions to Senior Associate. 

Melissa C. Hemmingsen, IIDA, NCIDQ, Lead Interior Designer

Melissa joined O’Brien Atkins in 2011 and serves as Lead Interior Designer. Her nearly 20 years of professional experience have given her an in-depth knowledge of workplace trends and strategies. She has had a significant leadership role on every interior design project of recent years.  Whether being a part of an interdisciplinary design team, or leading interiors-focused projects, Melissa has demonstrated an ability to listen and respond to clients with creative, innovative, and appropriate interior design solutions.  Her interior design of the recently completed Duke University Trinity Residence Hall contributed to the University’s assessment that this residence hall has raised the bar for any of their subsequent housing. She has a demonstrated track record of creative, thoughtful design solutions and client management capabilities.

James E. Nichols, Business Development Leader

Jim joined O’Brien Atkins in 2003 and is responsible for helping build and nurture strong relationships with potential and existing clients. Prior to joining the firm, Jim worked for 17 years with the NC Department of Commerce. As O’Brien Atkins’ Business Development Leader, Jim works closely with economic development allies across North Carolina at the local, regional and state levels. As the firm’s “door opener” for new business, Jim’s role includes public relations and, many times, serving as the public face for O’Brien Atkins. Jim earned a Master of Public Affairs degree from NC State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics from UNC Chapel Hill.

Patricia R. Perkins, Director of Business Development Resources

A professional librarian and graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Library Science, Pat joined O’Brien Atkins in 1984 to manage the firm’s library and project records.  When an opportunity to transition to marketing in 1990 presented itself, Pat took advantage and became responsible for all things marketing and providing business development support. This realm includes proposal preparation, presentation strategy | graphics | support, website management, professional photography and overall direction of marketing resources. Pat has a proven track record in managing and meeting deadlines, working in an interdisciplinary environment in a collaborative fashion, demonstrating keen attention to detail and quality control, flexibility in working with colleagues and service partners, and the ability to get the job done in the highest professional manner.

Rita T. Whitfield, Director of Administrative Services

Rita has managed, and continues to manage, an absolutely critical role in O’Brien Atkins’ operations since 1977.  As Director of Administrative Services, she is responsible for Accounting, Human Resources, Benefits and regulatory compliance. She also serves as O’Brien Atkins’ Corporate Secretary. Her thoroughness, accuracy and management capabilities paired with a self-effacing work style, have been imperative to O’Brien Atkins’ growth and success. Without Rita there would be no O’Brien Atkins!


Promotions to Principal

O’Brien Atkins is pleased to announce the following promotions to firm Principal. 

Jeffery R. Bottomley, AIA, Senior Design Architect

Jeffery has been with O’Brien Atkins for 19 years and served as Senior Design Architect for the Durham Police Headquarters, Biogen BIO 26 Administration Building, NC National Guard Headquarters | State EOC and the State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) Downtown Raleigh Office Tower, among other projects. He also serves as Project Manager for the Durham Police Headquarters, which is currently under construction.  Jeffery is an award-winning designer whose talents include project management. His design career encompasses a variety of large-scale projects with an emphasis on science/high technology, mission critical, educational  and custom designed corporate offices. He is currently designing Wake Tech’s RTP Campus Classroom Building 2 and participating in the updating of the Wake Tech RTP and Southern Campus master plans.

Joshua C. Brady, AIA, Senior Design Architect

Josh joined O’Brien Atkins upon graduation from NC State University and has served the firm for 14 years. He is a Senior Design Architect and is currently collaborating with Durham County on the transformational renovation of the former Judicial Building into the Administration II Building, in Downtown Durham. Other projects in his portfolio are the most recent O’Brien Atkins’ office renovation as well as the Powhatan Human Resources Training Center for Novo Nordisk. Josh is also a talented space programmer and enjoys that phase of the design process as it sets the stage for a design solution. He served Duke University Development Group in this role for their Downtown Durham City Center One Building interior fitup. Josh’s strong understanding of county government has been gained through planning and design projects for Chatham, Durham and Wake Counties.

Andrew C. Cole, AIA, Senior Architect

Andy is a Senior Architect who has been with O’Brien Atkins for 16 years. His attention to detail, code knowledge and understanding of how to organize for successful outcomes, have been key factors in the firm’s successful design and delivery of the Raleigh Convention Center, the NC DEQ Headquarters, the State Employees’ Credit Union Downtown Raleigh Office Tower and currently, the new Student Union at NC Central University. Andy has served as Senior Architect on various O’Brien Atkins engineering-led projects as well. He has successfully coordinated projects from inception, through design documentation, code compliance and construction, to final completion and owner occupancy.

Steven B. Harris, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Since joining O’Brien Atkins in 2008, Steven has served on numerous high technology, educational and custom corporate design project teams. Currently, Steven is leading new classroom building projects for both Wake Tech and Durham Tech. His corporate experience includes multiple projects for Avaya, including their headquarters interior fitup in Durham, as well as test fits/space standards for Avaya global office locations. In addition, Steven is serving Karlin on its Parmer RTP Development (the former GSK campus) with conceptual planning and an amenities hub design | documentation | construction. As a Project Manager, Steven has an integral understanding of the firm’s staffing and billing projections process and was instrumental in a revamp and subsequent implementation of data input and analysis, which has led to more accurate projections.

Timothy A. Hillhouse, AIA, LEED AP 

Tim relocated from St. Louis and joined O’Brien Atkins in 2000.  Tim’s knowledge of project organization and his informational/technical expertise produce connected, informed and streamlined projects. Representative examples of his experience are many Biogen RTP renovation projects, Raleigh-Durham International Airport Terminal 2 and, most recently, serving as Project Manager for the Duke University Trinity Residence Hall project. This residence hall has, in the client’s words, “raised the bar.” Continuing the Duke University relationship, Tim is currently managing their Development Group’s interior fitup in the City Center One Building in Downtown Durham. He has strong technical expertise and had significant influence on the upgrade and implementation of high technology in the firm’s offices, as well as leading the O’Brien Atkins’ website redesign committee.

G. Edward Richert, PE, LEED AP 

Ed joined O’Brien Atkins in 2009 as Director of Mechanical Engineering. He brings a well-rounded base of engineering knowledge to every project and has held engineering positions in manufacturing, facilities engineering, engineering consulting, and mechanical contracting during his 25 years of engineering experience. Ed is an expert in the design, start-up, and commissioning of mechanical systems and has led O’Brien Atkins’ engineering projects for Raleigh-Durham International Airport, CiVenti Chem, KBI, Proto Labs, Raumedic and Pharmavite, among others. He and his group are key team members for the firm’s interdisciplinary projects designed for such clients as Avaya, Biogen, Credit Suisse, Duke University, Durham County, State of North Carolina and others. As a discipline leader, he has developed a highly qualified group which is able to work seamlessly on interdisciplinary teams or on independent engineering-focused projects.

Dominick (Nick) A. Santore, PE, ATD, LEED AP BD+C

Nick serves as Director of Electrical Engineering and joined O’Brien Atkins in 2008. As discipline leader, he has built an accomplished and well qualified team which is responsible for the conceptualization and design of power, lighting and fire alarm systems. He is an Uptime Institute Accredited Tier Designer for data systems and his professional background includes electrical engineering systems design for highly classified facilities. During the design of the  NC DEQ Green Square Complex (Nature Research Center and the NC DEQ Headquarters) Nick was instrumental in convincing the State to use LED lighting throughout both complexes – a first for the State – and a significant factor for both facilities achieving LEED Platinum certification. In addition to serving as discipline leader, Nick actively markets and has delivered electrical engineering focused projects for Delta Airlines, Duke Energy and Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Eric Trunnell, AIA, Senior Architect

Eric joined O’Brien Atkins in 2000. A graduate of NC State University, his design career includes a variety of large-scale architectural projects with an emphasis on science/high technology and custom corporate. Eric served as the Senior Architect on the North Carolina State Laboratory for Public Health & Office of the Chief Medical Examiner – a 182,000 sf facility containing many types of laboratories including BSL3 labs for tuberculosis, bioterrorism, chemical terrorism, and virology. Eric also served as the Senior Architect on the Dr. Richard Dean Biomedical Research Building in Winston-Salem. Currently, he is serving Biogen, Credit Suisse, Infosys and Raleigh-Durham International Airport on various fast-track renovation/fitup projects. Eric brings professionalism and thoroughness to all of his work and is known for his attention to detail.