A Nashville architect and dedicated supporter of the GLBT community recently embarked on a new phase in his distinguished career.

After three years in collaboration with Ridley Wills and Wendell Harmer at Pond|Wills LLC, Van Pond, Jr. has opened his own firm, Van Pond Architecture (VPA). VPA provides architecture, planning, design consulting and related design services to clients in the residential and boutique commercial markets.

Pond has practiced architecture in Tennessee for over seventeen years. His experience includes residential, commercial, renovation, restoration, master planning and construction administration. He credits much of his previous success to his past business relationships.

"Over the years, I have had the great fortune of having worked with and for some of the most talented people in Tennessee," he said.

Pond has been a board member at the Brooks Fund since 2005. He's also a past president of the GLBT Chamber of Commerce, and had previously served for five years on the Nashville CARES board of directors. That devotion to community service extends to his new practice. Pond blends technical know-how with a keen sense of personal communication.

"I feel my particular talents are having great design with a great moderating voice for the project. This job requires a good set of people skills," he said.

Pond admits that the economic climate makes it difficult for small businesses to have success. He remains confident that his tailored approach to each project will pay dividends. Though he's struck out on his own, the basis of his business hasn't changed.

"Everything (my clients) have come to know about my commitment to design, collaboration and creative approaches to everyday functional challenges is still here," he said.

In his daily routine, Pond appreciates the intensely collaborative experience of finding the right fit for a project. An architect is a negotiator, Pond says, and it requires a strong set of people skills to maximize a project's potential.

"With a design, you want to touch people's hearts and minds," he said. "My goal is to bring their dreams to reality and also try things that are a little outside the box. What I do is try things that are a little different from the norm."

Pond currently focuses on residential properties, he plans to concentrate on more commercial and institutional projects in the future.

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