Niels Valentiner, AIA
Principal | Religious & Office
Niels Valentiner is the Founder of VCBO Architecture, and has guided the firm’s development as one of the major architectural firms in the Western United States over the past 41 years. Under his direction, the firm offers services in architecture, planning and interior design. In his role as Principal architect, Niels has a history of designing projects for Corporate Office Complexes, Civic and State Institutional Buildings, Universities, Sports and Arena facilities, Medical Facilities, and significant religious buildings, both in the United States and abroad in Central America, Europe and Asia. His management and design direction create a high standard inside and outside of the firm, and he has fostered an environment of collaborative design efforts among the design teams, that has garnered numerous local and national awards and professional recognitions. Niels is serving on the Board of Advisors for the University of Utah School of Architecture and Planning, served on the Salt Lake Chamber Board of Governors and Executive Committee, was the Chairman of the Salt Lake Area Small Business Council and has been appointed by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark as the Danish Consul of Utah. Niels’ corporate social responsibility extends to the co-founding of CHOICE Humanitarian, as chairman and board member, providing leadership and village development in rural areas of Guatemala, Bolivia, Mexico, Nepal and Kenya.
Brent Tippets, AIA
Principal | Sports & Recreation, Civic & Government
Brent Tippets is a principal and seasoned architect whose designs have shaped the Intermountain West since 1984. He is a recognized thought leader in civic and judicial facility design with specific expertise in courthouse, sport and recreation design and planning. Notable projects include the State of Utah Fourth District Courthouse, the Provo Community Recreation Center and the Ken Garff Performance Zone at Rice Eccles Stadium. Brent’s dynamic personality and thoughtful design approach enable him to guide complex projects to elegant solutions. Through his portfolio of work, you can see the strong mark he has left on the architectural landscape throughout the western United States.
Jeanne Jackson, FAIA, LEED AP
Principal | K–12
Jeanne Jackson has specialized in the design of educational spaces since 1990. She is passionate about creating spaces that offer a stimulating and exciting learning environment and is a pioneer in designing innovative education facilities that have garnered numerous national, regional and local awards. Recent projects include the Energy Positive, Kay’s Creek and Canyon Creek Elementary Schools, Shoreline Junior High School and Farmington High, a finalist for the prestigious James D. MacConnell Award. Jeanne is past Chair of the National AIA Committee on Architecture for Education and a member of the Council of Educational Facility Planners International. She is a Distinguished Alumni of the University of Utah College of Architecture & Planning, a Recipient of the AIA Western Mountain Region Silver Medal and the first woman in Utah to be elevated to Fellowship in the AIA.
Derek Payne, AIA, LEED AP
Principal | Higher Education
As a principal architect at VCBO Architecture, Derek Payne has led the architectural design and planning efforts of many significant higher education, sports, and urban renewal projects in the State of Utah. Derek has led the design and construction efforts for such varied projects as the Meldrum Science Center at Westminster College, Holland Centennial Commons at Dixie State University, Wilmington Gardens Mixed Use in Sugar House, and the Football Centers at BYU and the University of Utah. Through close collaboration with project stakeholders, Derek has planned, programmed and designed many of Utah’s most innovative and successful structures. These projects reflect the values, hopes, and aspirations of their users. Derek’s projects have been nationally recognized for design excellence, and he believes strongly that applying basic place-making design strategies to buildings as well as urban spaces is critical for making VCBO’s projects unique, active and successful people places.
Vern Latham, AIA, NCARB
Principal | K–12
Vern Latham, AIA, has been a principal architect at VCBO Architecture since 2011 and has more than 35 years of domestic and international experience in the profession. During this time he has made significant contributions in the programming and design of numerous award winning K–12 projects, retail, office, athletic facilities and religious complexes, including the recently completed Rome Temple. Vern is especially passionate about the design of learning environments which support the acquisition of 21st Century skills. He has presented at numerous local, national, and international events including a presentation on “Designing a High School for the Future” at the 2017 AIA National Convention. Vern enjoys working with the client to envision, design and construct three dimensional spaces which positively impact the built environment of our community; spaces that ultimately heighten the experience and comfort of its occupants.
Jeffery Pinegar, AIA
Principal | Healthcare
Jeffery Pinegar is the Healthcare Principal at VCBO Architecture with experience dating back his entire life. As a young boy he would accompany his father, an architect, to job sites, survey property with a transit and stick and run blueprints. That later turned into drafting and a partnership immediately after graduation from school. Specializing in healthcare, Jeffery excels with the intricacies associated with medical projects and understands the importance of communication and collaboration, both with the clients he serves and the team he leads. This ongoing communication allows him to effectively direct complex and challenging projects that are executed accurately, efficiently and at the highest level of quality.
David S. Cox, AIA
Principal | K–12
As a seasoned Principal Architect with VCBO Architecture, David has developed a strong reputation as a tenacious advocate for his clients. David specializes in K–12 educational design where he is recognized as an industry expert in merging the functional necessities of the educator with cutting edge concepts of future-proofed educational design. He is passionate about design and captivated by the process of construction. His strong background in both fields tempers and informs his approach to each project he encounters. He believes that function, efficiency and constructability are as vital to a successful project as are design and aesthetics, and he brings an effective balance of these potentially divergent interests to each of his projects.
Celestia Carson, AIA, LEED AP
Principal | Higher Education
Celestia Carson orchestrates the balance between technical disciplines and outstanding aesthetics throughout the planning, design and construction processes. Celestia is particularly skilled at facilitating the crucial interface among different user groups within a complex facility to ensure that their distinct identities are maintained within the development of a cohesive project. She ensures that specific complex spaces are accurately detailed and built according to user needs and desires. Many projects on which she has been involved have garnered national recognition and awards for design excellence. Additionally, Celestia is a vocal advocate for under-represented groups in the profession of architecture and is the founder / president of the local non-profit Women In Architecture SLC.
Alex Booth, AIA
Principal | K–12
Alex is a principal architect for VCBO’s K–12 studio and is at the forefront of research and innovation in the design of future learning environments. He has been focused on educational design since 2008 and has been actively involved both locally and nationally in educational and architectural organizations. Alex has researched and toured schools and university buildings throughout the United States and brings that wealth of knowledge to every project. His passion for improving the education experience for all age groups has led Alex to expand his focus to look at flexible learning environments as a necessary component of education from preschool to graduate school. He has used his knowledge to provide design solutions that enhance flexibility for students, teachers and administrators.
Nathan H. Leavitt, AIA
Principal | Civic, Recreation & Justice
Nathan Leavitt, a principal at VCBO, has focused on designing civic architecture since 1998. Working with city, county and state agencies, Nathan has been integral to numerous successful projects, recognized by both local and national design awards. His work has included facilities for sports and recreation, justice, law enforcement and buildings for city government. His experience and attention to detail he delivers to the most complicated of projects has become highly sought after by VCBO’s many repeat clients. As a leader at VCBO, he has championed technological innovations within the firm and prides himself with the quality of drawings and documentation produced by his teams. Nathan is passionate about great civic design and believes that it can greatly increase the health and happiness of our communities.
Whitney Ward, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Principal | Programming, Sustainability, Master Planning & Community Engagement
Whitney is a Principal at VCBO Architecture and has been with the firm since 2007. She has extensive experience in programming, facility planning and community master planning and is a community outreach specialist. Whitney embraces a holistic design approach that ensures functionality, flexibility and durability are at the forefront of each project. Whitney is an advocate for sustainable design and provides expertise in the planning, design and documentation process for sustainable buildings. She graduated in 2005 with a Master’s degree in Architecture and a focus in Community Design from Montana State University and in 2015 with a Master of Real Estate and Development from the University of Utah. In her spare time, Whitney teaches Site Design and Sustainable Development as an Adjunct Professor with the University of Utah City and Metropolitan Planning Department.