Gary J. Nelson, RA, NOMA, NCARB

NOMAarizona Immediate Past President |

I am a second-generation Caribbean American originally from Hempstead, NY.  Throughout my career, I have maintained a passion and commitment to mentoring future generations of architects and other design related professionals. As NOMAarizona Sponsorship Co-chair, I welcome the opportunity to partner with companies that share a commitment to assist the underserved and underrepresented members of our communities. Sponsorships will support our chapter’s efforts in providing programs and scholarships that will make a positive contribution to the community and to college students entering design related professions.

Diane Jacobs

Sponsorship Chair & Scholarship Program |

Ricardo Millhouse

Sponsorship Co-Chair|

The root of my professional philosophy is collaboration and advocacy between architects and other design related professionals and community members. As NOMA(Arizona)Sponsorship Co-chair, I aim to develop and strengthen strong partnerships with organizations with an acute dedication to social transformation, broadly, who has an innovative and pronounced mission for supporting minoritarian populations. Sponsorships are necessary to reach our chapter’s goal—which is to develop and provide programs that will continue to strengthen our collaboration efforts and advocacy within the industry.

Christian Solorio

Community Outreach Chairperson |

Fatima Garcia

Community Outreach (K-12 Career Day Participation) |

I was born in a small city in the Mexican Sonoran Desert called Hermosillo and moved to Phoenix in 2005. I grew up in a family of educators and builders, I think that influenced my professional decisions and where I am now: designing and building K-12 schools.

I obtained my professional degree in Architecture in 2004 and in 2006 I joined a firm that specialized in educational projects. That was when I found my passion: I love the energy of a room full of educators and people caring about our youth, the future of our society and the planet. It inspires me, not only in the design aspect but it fuels my energy to keep going.

Working closely with schools in projects, and continuously engaging with organizations that focus on community growth, keep reminding me that all the efforts are worth it. If you add a little bit (or a lot when I am not on a deadline) of outdoor running, climbing, concerts and good food, I will be happy for days.

Bhoomi Desai

Community Outreach (K-12 Career Day Participation) |

Affable, bubbly, and competitive define me aptly. Throw me a challenge and I will happily accept it. With an emphasis on "happily".

I came to the United States to pursue my Master’s in Architecture in 2015 after obtaining my professional degree in Architecture at a prestigious school in India. Currently, I am the only one in my family who is into the field of design, which means I already have a waiting line for pro-bono projects. Jokes aside, they are the building pillars of my life and I am grateful for them. I have been working at Orcutt Winslow, in Phoenix, since 2017. I believe in dreaming big and working towards achieving those dreams. With my hunger to learn more about anything and everything as possible and a passion to help the community around me grow, I truly believe I can achieve my dreams.

I am an ardent follower of professional football (read ‘soccer’) and passionate about table tennis (read ‘ping-pong’). And I must say, I get competitive when I am playing these sports (or anything else, if you ask my co-workers). You will probably find me gardening, dancing, singing, reading and/or sketching when I am not working.

Norma Escandon Michaels

Professional Development |

In 2003, Norma Escandon Michaels opened NM Interiors Group, a boutique interior design firm, in the heart of Phoenix, where her office still resides. Her vision of commercial interior design’s potential since taken her around the world, from Bahrain to S. America and across the United States.  She recently earned a First Place for Public Spaces and Schools by the Arizona North Chapter ASID for the interior renovation of the Luke Air Force Base Fitness Center. She won the same award in 2011 for a LEED Certified (Silver) child development center designed for the U.S. Navy. Norma was born and raised in Arizona and retains strong ties to her family and to her Mexican heritage. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Design, awarded by Arizona State University College of Architecture, and is NCIDQ certified. She has over 35 years of professional experience as an interior designer and is a licensed Interior Designer in the State of Texas.  Her extensive portfolio includes both Private and Public Sector projects

Olga Bracamontes

College Student Liaison Chair |

Hola! Born in Los Angeles as the first Mexican American in my family, I was surrounded with both cultures but always been humbled in acknowledging my roots. Spanish was my first language growing up and I am fortunate to call myself bilingual. Growing up I was always drawn towards arts and music due to its creativity and freedom of expression. My interest in architecture began in middle school during a class assignment, which called for designing and building our ‘dream home’. Aside from architecture, volunteering has been one of my greatest passions and I have been involved in various organizations over the years, which has definitely influenced the way I view society and has made me realize how I can potentially create an impact through design.  My hobbies include playing music, traveling, bouldering, capoeira, hiking, painting/sketching, and lots of dancing. An interesting fact about me is that I played the viola for about 9 years and was part of the Arizona All-State Orchestra in 8th grade.

Jenny Nguyen

U of A Liason |

Born in Fountain Valley, CA, I am the youngest of three daughters to refugee parents, and a proud first-generation Vietnamese-American. Coming from a humble farming background, my parents dedicated their lives to encourage my older sisters and I to work hard, take advantage of opportunities they never had, and pursue a career we desired. Because of this, I spent the greater part of my life extremely dedicated to education, believing in its incredible value, as well as discovering my love for art, creating, and making which greatly influenced who and where I am now.

This year (2020), I received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Arizona and hope to root my professional career in creating beautiful spaces that enchase the lives of people from all backgrounds. Throughout my undergraduate career, I grew my passion for leadership and mentorship. I was heavily involved in the American Institute of Architecture Students, serving as Student Advisor, President, Secretary, and Mentor to younger students. Through AIAS, I not only developed my own individual skills but was able to help others grow well. I find value in sharing knowledge as well as mentoring those who seek guidance in an unfamiliar environment, and I hope to bring this dynamic to NOMA.

Oishwarya Sarkar

ASU Liason |

ALeah Carr

Community College Liason |

Maurita N. Harris, AIA, NOMA, LEED AP, NCARB, CSBA

Mentoring |

Maurita is a Registered Architect in the State of Arizona. She is also a LEED-​Accredited Professional and has attained her NCARB Certification. As one of the founding members of NOMA Arizona Chapter, Maurita is one of only a handful of Licensed African American Female Architects in the State of Arizona. She has also completed the Certified Sustainable Building Advisor Program. Maurita grew up in Ohio, and received both Bachelor of Science in Architecture, and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Kent State University. As part of her undergraduate studies, she participated in the KSU CAED European Program in Florence, Italy and Lugano, Switzerland during her third year of school.
Maurita joined PHX Architecture in 2010. In her role as Architect and Project Manager, she directs many of our commercial, restaurant and hospitality projects from design through construction, mentoring junior staff and collaborating with clients, consultants and builders to provide guidance and technical expertise. Recent projects of note include Saint Marc USA in Huntington Beach, CA, SumoMaya Mexican Asian Kitchen in Scottsdale, The Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors Headquarters, Burger Theory Restaurant in Phoenix and the Wigwam Resort and Spa Renovations. Past experience includes Higher Education, Aviation, and Retail projects.
Outside the studio, Maurita is active in the community as a Girl Scouts troop leader and a mentor in various kids’ programs. She also enjoys traveling and ballroom dancing.

Sidney M. Smith AIA, NCARB

Mentoring |

Smith is currently a Team Leader in the HKS Phoenix Office, Project Manager and Senior Construction Administrator.  This rising star has experience in multiple building sectors including, healthcare, residential high-rise, sports and commercial.  Smith’s most notable work includes a 1,000-bed hospital in Hefei, China; two residential high-rise towers in San Francisco, California; and the new Patient Tower at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Smith has also served as Construction Administrator for several state-of-the-art healthcare projects throughout Florida, North Carolina and the southeast region. 

Smith graduated from Florida A & M University School of Architecture in 1995, where he received a Bachelor of Architecture Degree with honors.  Shortly after graduation, he began his career at Collins & Associates, Inc., a small architectural firm a few miles from his hometown in Panama City, Florida. 

Two years later, Smith moved to Tampa, Florida where his architectural skill and proficiency in AutoCAD landed him a position with HKS, Inc.  After nearly 12 years in the HKS Tampa office, Smith and his family relocated to HKS, Phoenix.  He has received recognition for his management skill and well-rounded knowledge of the architectural practice which has helped him maintain great relationships with his clients and the construction industry for more than 22 years and counting.

Taz Khatri

Membership Recruiter |

Eduardo Robles

Social Media |

Mary Sellin

Website Manager |

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