Nick Cooper, 38

vice president and lead architectural designer at HKS Architects

Architect Nick Cooper has shot up the ladder in the design field. In just four years at the Richmond office of HKS, a global architecture company, he’s become vice president and lead architectural designer. “I oversee multiple projects” locally and beyond the area, mostly in the mid-Atlantic, he says.

What he likes about his work, besides the sheer pleasure of design, is its “collaborative nature. I pride myself on encouraging others. I can inspire designers under me and my clients,” Cooper says.

He grew up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and went to architecture school at Virginia Tech where he met his wife. One of his best experiences was traveling throughout Europe during one college semester where he grew to admire the work of Italian designer Carlo Scarpa. At HKS, he’s won numerous awards.

Besides his work, he’s active at a company community outreach program. He’s been a board director at Storefront for Community Design, a local service project. A runner and bicyclist, he has run Spartan Races and also has taken part in the Super Hero Run at St. Joseph’s Villas.

He dotes on his children, ages 9 and 7, and takes them everywhere he can, including museums and big cities such as New York and Washington.

“One of my mottoes is that I want to be known as a great designer but first and foremost, I want to be a great father,” he says.

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