Little Rock architecture firm hires first NWA employee

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,139 views 

AMR Architects Inc., the longtime Little Rock firm, recently hired its first full-time employee in Northwest Arkansas.

Jessica Lewallen is the Northwest Arkansas office’s director at 132 W. Emma Ave. in downtown Springdale. She’s a project architect with more than 20 years of experience in the region. Most recently she worked since 2016 for Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects in Fayetteville. Her work there included Skylight Cinema and mixed-use building, Crystal Flats and the Massey Hotel renovation, all in Bentonville.

AMR has seven employees in Little Rock. President Jonathan Opitz described the firm’s focus as connecting people and experiences, mostly on college campuses and in dense urban areas.

“Our passion for strong pedestrian relationships to the built environment led us to open an office in downtown Springdale,” Opitz said. “An on-call architecture contract with the University of Arkansas and private development opportunities allowed us to hire our first full-time employee in the Springdale office.”

John Allison, James Moses and the late Rick Redden started the company in 1982. Among a long list of the firm’s notable projects are two on the UA campus in Fayetteville: the Mullins Library renovation and expansion completed in the late 1990s, and the Pauline Whitaker Animal Science Center multipurpose livestock arena and holding barn. It opened in 1998.

Opitz said AMR opened the Springdale office last year just as the pandemic arrived.

“We look forward to bringing our experience with mixed-use, multi-family, and university work to Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers and Bentonville,” Opitz said. “Our Springdale office opened in March 2020, so we are really looking forward to engaging with the NWA community in ways we were unable to over the past 16 months.”