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Our Story

Long before the pandemic reshaped the world, NELSON Worldwide was well on its way to building a new kind of organization that boldly transforms the way our clients shop, dine, work, play and work.

This transformation, driven by the firm’s CEO and Chairman John “Ozzie” Nelson, Jr., evolved the company from a closely held family business to a broadly diversified ten-practice enterprise led by the best and brightest industry leaders in each expertise area. With that as our guiding principle, the firm’s dramatic growth has been driven both organically and through a series of strategic mergers and acquisitions focused on creating a multidisciplinary design and architecture firm with national footprint and reach.

Today, the firm’s collective network spans the globe, providing strategic and creative solutions that boldly transform all dimensions of the human experience in the built environment and represent a number of “firsts” in their category, including transformational projects like The Battery (first mixed-use development anchored by a professional sports stadium), Georgetown Crossroads (first multistory warehouse in U.S.), and Trilith Live (recipient of Overall Best Deal of the Year, Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2024 Best in Atlanta Real Estate Awards).

Our current and past clients represent more than 40% of the Fortune 500, including industry-leading real estate developers along with many of the world’s most prestigious brands.

Our CEO: Meet Ozzie

In 1987, upon graduating from college with a degree in Business Administration, John “Ozzie” Nelson, Jr. joined his father’s 15-person interior design firm.

Over the following years, he expanded the firm’s core design business, adding emerging technologies and consulting capabilities to create a compelling service delivery platform for large corporate clients. Under his direction, the firm expanded from a single discipline to its current 10 fully integrated service lines.

Serving as Chairman & CEO since 2003, Ozzie has guided the firm through more than 40 merger/ acquisitions, taking NELSON from the rank of #37 in the industry to “Top 10” with growth of more than 500 percent. Believing that leading with purpose and focusing on a culture rooted in the success of its teammates, Ozzie was awarded by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal as Twin Cities Most Admired CEO in 2019.

Our Culture & Purpose

As a collective of innovators, designers, and technical experts, we are fueled by our purpose to boldly transform the human experience. It is this purpose that drives us, igniting our passion from the moment we wake up to the late hours that push us to exceed expectations.

We believe that today we innovate with purpose for a better tomorrow. Building a culture on a foundation of focused values and principles, we ensure our long-term vision of being purpose led, design driven, and performance focused. Ultimately, we seek to make a profound impact on the human experience – mentally, physically, emotionally, relationally, and even spiritually – through human-centric design.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

The journey to building a more inclusive workplace is multifaceted – one of intention and continuity. As we forge ahead on this journey, we remain steadfast in our commitment to combating inequity, unifying teammates, integrating DE&I practices into our standard business operations and holding ourselves accountable for progress. By embracing diversity, promoting equity, and championing inclusion, we aim to create a stronger, more vibrant design industry that uplifts and empowers all. Together, we can transcend limitations, igniting a symphony of ideas that boldly shape the future.


At NELSON, we are driven by a collective passion to leave a positive impact on our planet. As creators of the built environment, we acknowledge the immense influence we hold, which fuels our responsibility to lead the charge for environmental change.

To solidify our commitment to a greener future, we proudly support the AIA’s 2030 Challenge, collaborating with industry peers towards a common goal. In the coming decade, we will diligently work towards achieving carbon neutrality in all our new developments, buildings, and major renovation projects.

Together, we are making a significant and meaningful difference, contributing to a greener and healthier world.

Health, Wellness & Wellbeing

With human experience at the heart of everything we do, we blend creativity and technical expertise to craft spaces that not only meet operational needs but also prioritize health and wellness. functional needs but also elevate the human experience. Through innovation and empathy we shape environments that encourage physical movement, support mental health and well-being, and foster inclusion – inspiring, healing, and embracing the essence of what it means to be human.

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