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LEVER expands leadership

LEVER Architecture’s leadership team has grown. We are pleased to announce the elevation of four senior members of the firm to the role of Principal. The new Principals — Chandra Robinson, Doug Sheets, Jonathan Heppner, and Sara Martin — join Founding Principal Thomas Robinson and Chief Operating Officer Pamela Kislak in leading LEVER.

The expanded leadership broadens and diversifies the firm, building on our expertise collaborating with mission-driven organizations and communities to design cultural facilities, affordable housing, academic environments, and campuses for leading creatives.

Since 2009, our team of now 36 staff, has developed a national reputation for making design excellence accessible to clients regardless of budget and are recognized as leading innovators in mass timber construction. Today, we look towards the next 10 years as a firm with a culture and capacity to lead the design of civic architecture that is more just and sustainable. Establishing a leadership team with distinct perspectives and skills reflects the process and the values we bring to design.

“The name LEVER speaks to design as a tool for positive transformation. The idea of the firm is much bigger than one person, and it was always intended to be that way. After 12 years leading the practice, it is thrilling for me to see the office evolve into a collaborative team that contributes innovative architecture to places throughout Oregon and beyond,” Thomas Robinson said.

Each Principal leads a specific practice area at LEVER, described below, and during their time with the office has significantly impacted the firm’s trajectory.

Chandra Robinson leads civic and community projects. She recently completed a new campus for Meyer Memorial Trust and is currently leading the Dekum Court affordable housing redevelopment. Chandra serves on the Portland Design Commission and is the Treasurer and a founding board member of the National Organization of Minority Architects’ Portland chapter.

Doug Sheets foregrounds designs excellence at LEVER and leads collaborative teams on the development of each design. One of the original members of the firm, Doug led many of the office’s most significant buildings including DisneyToon Studios, Albina Yard, and The Nature Conservancy’s Oregon Conservation Center, among others.

Jonathan Heppner directs the firm’s research and innovation studio. He is a wood design specialist whose groundbreaking research and testing for the Framework project influenced US building codes and timber high-rise designs internationally.

Sara Martin brings a strategic framework to growth at LEVER. Her work in business development and communications forged opportunities for the firm to grow in new markets and increased awareness of the practice on a national level.

In addition to four new Principals, we have elevated seven individuals to Senior Associate or Associate. Together, this broader collective will guide the firm’s strategic development and culture.

Senior Associates

Cecily Ryan

Dannon Canterbury

Don Lee


Chris Grosse

George Michael Rusch

Michael Gross

Nate Lambdin

Please join us in welcoming our expanded leadership team!