Meet WRNS Studio’s New Associates
What do you think makes a good leader?
Edwin Halim: You have to lead by example. That’s really the most important thing. Your actions should set the tone.
David Gutzler: You need to trust and depend on your team. We hire good people at WRNS, so I know my team will perform. Along the way, it’s important to give people the opportunity to own things and grow. It should never feel like you’re just giving orders all day.
How do you hope to mentor others as they grow within the firm?
Annelise DeVore: Leadership and mentorship happen together; they’re synonymous. That’s why teaching is really important to me. I try to help people learn things outside of their job description so they can grow and try something new. It helps that we have a very inquisitive staff. They ask why, and that often prompts you to ask yourself the same question. Inevitably, you begin thinking about how you could do it better.
Edwin Halim: Letting people know we are available to answer questions is really important, even if it’s not directly related to the work. I’m always available to talk about the licensure process, code information, etc.
What drew you to WRNS when you first joined? What made you stay?
David Gutzler: WRNS’ body of work really spoke to me — that’s what convinced me to join and a big reason why I’m still here.
Rodney Leach: There’s a real balance here — both in our diversity of projects and work/life flexibility. Other firms can be pretty rigid about the way the workday and the design approach is structured. It creates siloes. WRNS isn’t like that.
Edwin Halim: I love that it’s a studio environment. You work with everyone from interns to owners; everyone’s opinion matters.
John Schlueter: The projects are well crafted and have stories that tie them to their place and purpose. It was evident that there is a depth of discussion and playful discovery that is part of the work.
Where do you see WRNS in the next five years? How do you hope we’ll grow?
Annelise DeVore: The New York studio is exciting, because there is still a lot of room to grow and expand. In San Francisco, we’ve grown significantly in the time I’ve been here. It will be interesting to see how that will impact our culture, but I’m not too worried. WRNS has always held culture as a core, explicit value. I don’t see that changing.
Rodney Leach: Our culture is really important, and I hope we can achieve the right balance to maintain it over the next five years. People often call us WRNS Studios, but that irks me a bit. We’re one studio — that’s important to who we are.
John Schlueter: The studio has grown in size, project complexity, and expertise. Balancing this growth with the same dedication to quality of work and team mentality will be the goal.
How do you hope to make an impact within WRNS in the years ahead?
Annelise DeVore: My philosophy is work smarter, not harder. I’m hoping to streamline as many of our processes as possible so we’re spending less time on administrative tasks and more time on architecture.
David Gutzler: I feel optimistic about the future. We’ve only been around for a little over 10 years, and we’ve accomplished a lot in that time. The client relationships we’ve built over the last 10 years and the work we’ve done with them is special.