2020 was an unprecedented year for everyone, including the firm of OLSON LEWIS + Architects (OL+). In January of last year, John Harden joined the office as a principal. Setting aside normal expectations, John and OL+ navigated the path through the pandemic resulting in a successful year.
As a local Manchester resident, John volunteered to remain in the office during the early days of COVID-19 to manage day-to-day activities. By the end of March 2020, the office had adapted to a remote working environment. Within months, many New England architectural firms downsized or went out of business. Thanks to the pandemic-critical fields of design and construction that it serves, OL+ not only weathered the crisis but thrived, leading to other challenges. As the Life Science and Residential workload increased throughout 2020, OL+ recruited new personnel. John was instrumental in planning staffing around the new COVID19 safety protocols. Throughout these transitions, John was on site at OL+ headquarters to welcome the returning staff and guide new staff members who transitioned onto teams and projects without a traditional orientation experience.
John modeled calm, creative leadership and fostered collaboration as the firm successfully navigated unexpected growth and implemented new protocols and practices. Working with the firm leadership and under his guidance, OL+ teams handled a rapid escalation in demand for their time and services, absorbing an increase in the volume of urgent, near-term, pandemic-related projects. Critical work forged ahead: key OL+ partners and staff worked on the frontlines at crucial construction sites. OL+ teams also undertook time-sensitive residential projects, as homes became schools, workplaces, and retreats for isolated and increasingly stressed families.
Throughout the unprecedented year, John proved to be an invaluable presence to the firm. OL+ now welcomes John Harden as its newest partner. John's skill and passion for architecture, combined with his years of experience, and commitment to nurturing a healthy and progressive workplace culture, are welcome additions to OL+ in any season.
John and his partners look forward with excitement to what comes next as they continue to guide the firm beyond pandemic operations and into the future.