Meet JNS: Kay Hiroyo Galligan, Ryan Richards & Amanda Elbergdar

Meet JNS: Kay Hiroyo Galligan, Ryan Richards & Amanda Elbergdar

This fall, we’ve experienced some exciting changes at JOHNSON NATHAN STROHE with the addition of two designers and a team member celebrating an important career milestone.

After years of hard work and dedication, Kay Hiroyo Galligan received her architecture license. We also welcomed Ryan Richards, who joined our team as an interior designer, as well as Intern Architect Amanda Elbergdar, who received her Master of Architecture and Planning from the University of Colorado Denver.

In Kay’s Own Words:

 Please share a little about your experience getting your architecture license:

 Getting my license was the biggest academic challenge I’ve ever had. Because my first language is Japanese, I had a tough time going through the studying/testing process. Even though I deal with English every day in my life now, the alphabet is still foreign to me, so I attentively have to read each word and deal with a good amount of translations because the grammar is very different. The exams are challenging enough to native English-speaking people. When I had to add the translation time in the already limited testing time, it required me to understand the materials at a deeper level, so that I could finish the entire exam on time, especially with the new 5.0 version that comes with two case studies per test.

What inspired you to be an architect?

From the first grade to college, I grew up drawing, making models, playing/writing music, studying black and white photography, and eventually majored in math. Once I had so much fun designing our basement bathroom like a spa, that I went on to apply for the architecture graduate school immediately. The school’s application process was asking for a portfolio of past drawings, models, photography, and even music compositions. I thought ‘this is it!’ What I had spent so much time on and enjoyed working on was a complete package of what the school was looking for. How cool is that!

What do you enjoy and like most about working at JNS?

I love the conceptual design part of work when we brainstorm. It’s like solving puzzle pieces in an aesthetic way. Although the documentation phases can be tedious, I love the moment when we witness the culmination of our hard work. I truly enjoy working with JNS in the collegial and friendly environment. Everyone on the team is awesome to spend the majority of my week with.

In Ryan’s Own Words:

What is your background?
I was born in Florida but lived in Illinois for the majority of my life prior to moving to Colorado in the fall of 2018. While in school, I interned for an architecture firm in Chicago, while also working in administration for a general contractor and in customer service for a well-known furniture retailer. After graduating from Harrington College of Design, I briefly worked for an online interior design company, before transitioning to a small design/build firm where I worked my way up to the role of lead interior designer + project manager.

After deciding to move to Colorado, JNS stood out to me among all other architecture/design firms in the area. I was really drawn to the apparent company culture as portrayed on the website, as well as the portfolio of work, which I was really inspired by. I think that everything JNS touches is beautiful and creative, and in line with my own sense of style and creativity. I am excited to share the talents and skills I have to offer.

What is the best advice you’ve been given?
It’s okay to be scared, but you choose whether or not to let that fear hold you back or limit you.

What is your favorite thing about Colorado?
The beautiful outdoors and all of the adventures it has to offer.

What is a little-known fact about you?
I LOVE Mini Coopers.

If I weren’t an interior designer I would be…
Working in music production.

In Amanda’s Own Words:

 What is your background?
I’m a blend of different cultures. I grew up in Sudan, with a Turkish/Moroccan background. I moved to Colorado almost ten years ago to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design at Colorado State University. I later moved to Denver and gained design experience in residential and hospitality design. To further expand my knowledge in design, I went on to obtain a Master of Architecture & Planning at the University of Colorado Denver. I’m excited to grow and contribute my diverse range of experiences and design knowledge to the wide range of projects at JNS.

I appreciate the work environment of JNS and their strategic conceptual design approach towards their projects. I’m also highly inspired by the wide range of possibilities within hospitality design as well as the great influence it has on a city and its user experience.

Architecture is…
A timeless way of life! A lot of what we do revolves around architecture, it shapes cities and fosters development. We as individuals spend a large majority of our time within spaces that define our way of living.

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

The enemy of passion is comfort and that not all who wander are lost.

If I weren’t an architect I would be…
Most likely a psychologist, I love learning and understanding human behavior and overall well-being.