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Betsy Johnson

Betsy In Boulder

these images are not to scale

Betsy and I have been working together for the better part of two years now. Our collaboration is not particularly newsworthy at this point but what might not be so obvious is that although I am in San Antonio, Texas, Betsy is in Boulder, Colorado. This type of remote working relationship would have been impossible ten or even five years ago, but thanks to the cloud, screen sharing and nationwide long distance phone plans, today it isn't that big of a deal.

Although there are times when it would be nice to be sitting next to each other to doodle on the same drawing or to weigh in on weather or not deodorant needs to be reapplied, having presences in different places does provide some interesting opportunities. For one it means HiWorks now has the ability to execute projects in both states. If you've been holding off on building that new ski lodge in Aspen, now's your chance.

Betsy is an extremely talented architect and has a unique ability to manage the complexities of translating a design idea into a real building. She's also fun to work with and be around - virtually or otherwise. These last few weeks have been particularly busy for Betsy who in addition to becoming a licensed architect in the State of Colorado (she was already licensed in Texas) she's also now teaching a design studio in Environmental Design Program at the University of Colorado. Go betsy, go.

Oh, and for the record, it's worth reiterating the fact that I'm working with this Betsy Johnson as opposed to this one.

Meet Betsy

image courtesy Mia Frietze

For most of 2013, "HiWorks" was really just me.  Working as a sole proprietor was fun but the plan was always for the firm to be more than just an individual as there is a limit to the scale and ambition that a single architect can execute.  Towards the end of the year things started to get uncomfortably busy and it became more and more apparent that HiWorks would need to grow in order to fulfill its potential.

Betsy Johnson and I first met at Lake|Flato and all of that firm was heartbroken when she moved to Dallas a few years ago.  It has always been my hope that we could find a way for the two of us to work together again.  We have set up a remote working framework that will now allow that to happen.  The expertise required to design a building is broad and Betsy's skill set represents an excellent complement to mine.  Like me, she is also trying to engineer a way to balance the opportunities and challenges of a career with the opportunities and challenges of being a parent of two young girls.  Raising two daughters, for the record, appears to be much harder than designing a building.

At any rate, the above photo was taken back in November of last year and you can see Betsy's family including her husband, Luke (who is a Vice President of Corporate Development at CHRISTUS Health and who provided invaluable assistance in developing the business plan for HiWorks), and her second daughter (who was but a few weeks old at the time).  Her first daughter, seated to the right of me, referred to me throughout the visit as "the man".  Based on that observation, Betsy recently pointed out that she is now officially "working for the man".

Although I would like to think she is working with the man, I realize the difference is mainly semantic.