Commitment to the pursuit of excellence reflected in 10 promotions

All OPN employees consistently pursue excellence. We see this commitment to each other, our practice, and our clients reflected in these 10 team members who didn’t let a pandemic slow them down and were promoted earlier this year:

Aaron Twedt

Aaron Twedt – Senior Project Architect

Aaron has been with the Des Moines studio since its founding in 2002. With dual degrees in architecture and sociology from Iowa State University, he has a love not only for the art and science of the built environment but also the impact and importance of human interaction with the constructed space. Though he has a breadth of experience in varied project types, Aaron has a specific interest and focus in the educational aspects of architecture.

Q: What do you like about your industry?

A: I like that each day is a new challenge and an opportunity to explore and look at something from a new perspective. 



Joe Wallace

Joe Wallace – Project Architect

Joe started with OPN Architects upon graduation in 2012. He is a proud alumnus and supporter of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers, much to the chagrin of the Iowans in the office. Joe has a unique ability to balance multiple projects while still maximizing design and creativity. Joe had the unique opportunity to work alongside and collaborate with Renzo Piano Building Workshop in Paris during the Krause Gateway Center project. Outside of work, Joe has a passion for giving back, being involved with many non-profits in the Central Iowa Community including United Way of Central Iowa.

Q: What inspires your work?

A: Clients, other designers, and sustainability


AAnnamarie Snidernnamarie Snyder – Project Architect

Annamarie’s passion for art, design, and the built environment led her to move across the country to Iowa and pursue a degree in architecture at Iowa State University. She is driven to learn and engage in all processes of design with dedication and commitment to excel. She believes design is an iterative process not defined by project type. While Annamarie has worked on projects of many sizes and scopes across multiple market types, her work on civic structures stands out.

Q: What do you like about your industry?

A: The industry is always changing, sometimes due to societal shifts, environmental pressures or technology changes.  I enjoy the challenge of problem-solving, working with and adapting to these changes.


Alex Streyffeler

Alex Streyffeler – Architect 2

Alex joined OPN Architects in 2014. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 2014. He also received the AIA School Medal for obtaining the highest GPA in his graduating class.  He is passionate about higher education projects, and has gained a hands-on appreciation and knowledge of the construction process through his experience in construction administration to date.

Q: What do you like about your industry?

A: The work we do has the power to dramatically improve people’s lives.



Jimi PetersJimi Peters – Architect 2

Jimi, a licensed architect in Wisconsin, has experience with large campus projects for corporate and collegiate clients as well as a specialization in historic properties. On every project, especially those involving many team members and consultants, Jimi fosters efficient communication and collaboration. In addition to these large projects, he has managed a few small tenant improvements, for which he was the client contact point from start to finish. Jimi gained experience physically building structures in a rural setting during his time at Camp Eagle in Rocksprings, Texas. This was important part of developing problem solving and critical thinking before becoming a part of the commercial industry.

Q: When did you know you wanted to be an architect or designer?

A: 10th grade. I decided I loved building and creating and bringing others into that process.


Jill Christine Photography

Marian Petison – Architect 1

Marian Petison received her Master of Architecture from MassArt, Boston, 2017. Her background includes her time as a Project Coordinator at Gresham Smith Nashville in the Healthcare design studio (2017-2019) and her Summer internship in Gensler’s Boston office in the summer of 2016. Marian is originally from Takoradi, Ghana, and has a passion for singing.

Q: What inspires your work?

A: Every project is unique in it own way and the thought of knowing I learn something different from each one of them always inspires me.



Thomas Thatcher

Thomas Thatcher – Emerging Professional 3

An Iowa State University graduate, while in school Thomas won a design competition for the design of a high rise hotel in Seattle, studied in Rome, Italy, and spent a summer in New York city designing an alternative housing studio. He is inspired by the power architecture has to bring communities together and promote new ideas for the future.

Q: What do you like about your industry?

A: Architects have a unique role in shaping the futures of our communities. I enjoy that Architecture has many scales and forms. From the smallest detail to the largest high-rise, each part has a unique story.


Jacob Cournoyer

Jacob Cornouyer – Emerging Professional 3

Originally from Eau Claire, Wis., Jacob developed a love for design early. He finds the cultural and societal implications of design most interesting. Jacob earned his Masters in Architecture from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

Q: What is one way you’d like architecture or design evolve?

A: I would like to see it become more sustainable.



Jill Christine Photography

Adam Heier – Emerging Professional 2

A Nebraska native, Adam holds a master of architecture (2018) and bachelor of science in design architecture (2012), both from University of Nebraska-Lincoln. As a student, his favorite projects included a concept of what a fire station might look like 50 years in the future and the Nebraska Sandhills Potash Museum.

Q: What do you like about your industry?

A: I love the breadth of architecture. We’re not just designing buildings, but a small portion of the larger built environment. This profession has an incredible impact on people, and because of that, it encompasses many facets of our world: sustainability, economics, social equity, our quality of life, and how we interact with our neighbors. Practicing architecture requires great responsibility to bring all of these things together to create thoughtful designs that are for everyone.


Tyler Slaymaker (4)

Tyler Slaymaker – Architectural Tech 2

With a degree in architectural technologies, Tyler assists with documentation, construction administration, and software management.

Q: What do you like about your industry?

A: That it allows me to be creative and also creative in how I work.




Jill Christine Photography

Holly Ernst – Senior Creative Strategist

With a Bachelor of Architecture and Environmental Studies from Iowa State (2015), Holly’s role as a creative strategist combines her background in architecture with an interest in graphic design and communication. Holly has a passion for community engagement and advocacy. She currently sits on the board for the ACE Mentor Program of Central Iowa and serves as the Chair for Iowa Women in Architecture. She recently graduated from the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute’s Community Leadership Program (Class of 2019).

Q: What makes OPN unique?

A: OPN is committed to giving back to the communities that we work in everyday and to the organizations that are important to the individuals on our team.



Jill Christine PhotographyHugh Soward – Innovation Specialist

Hugh Soward joined OPN upon completing his Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee in 2015. While in Milwaukee, he worked at the grassroots level with Beintween, an architecture startup turning the vacant “in-between” urban spaces of Milwaukee into public places to define and strengthen cultural and physical landscapes. His experiences helped shape his belief that great design is not just for the affluent, and is about building relationships within the community. He believes it is the responsibility of architects to design for everyone.

Q: What do you like about your industry?

A: I like the opportunity for innovation and societal impact.