Nelson and FRCH Design Worldwide merge operations

NELSON and FRCH Design Worldwide merge operations.
FRCH Design Worldwide will become “FRCH a NELSON Company,” with John Nelson, chairman and CEO of Nelson, and Jim Tippmann, CEO of FRCH, as co-CEOs.

Nelson, a global architecture and design firm, has merged operations with Cincinnati-based FRCH Design Worldwide, a retail and hospitality architecture and design firm. The newly combined organization, to be known as “FRCH a Nelson Company,” has 25 offices with more than 1,100 employees.

John “Ozzie” Nelson Jr., chairman and CEO of Nelson, met Jim Tippmann, CEO of FRCH, a little over a year ago, and the two found that both they and their companies had a lot in common in complementary ways. "We complement each other," Tippmann said. "We don't overlap."

Over the last year, the two CEOs met up around 40 times to discuss how they could work together, and what each would bring to the proverbial table. "We were each individually successful running our own successful organizations, but we wanted to see how we could merge our skillsets and our organizations' strengths," Tippmann said. "So that’s what we did. And as we talked, we found where our synergies were and what our complementary group and individual skillsets were." 

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"For the most parts, those areas of expertise that each firm posseses will build on existing competencies," Tippman said, noting that FRCH has 50 years of experience in creating retail, hospitality, restaurant, entertainment and retail mixed-use environments. "Nelson can take our concepts and approaches from hospitality and apply to their expertise in healthcare and corporate offices." Another benefit, he added, is that Nelson has offices across the country, making it easier to find new clients. "Many clients want you to be close," he said. "This helps us work in a very competitive environment." 

Nelson and Tippmann will lead the new organization as co-CEOs. In addition to his role as co-CEO, Nelson will serve as chair of a newly created board, and remain the majority shareholder.

In 2015, Hilton tapped FRCH Design Worldwide to create a new midscale hotel, and the first Tru by Hilton was unveiled just nine months later. FRCH's prototype reduced the cost to build a branded midscale hotel by opening casegoods and shrinking the room size, setting a template for other midscale brands. 

Other recent FRCH projects include the conversion and rebranding of the Hyatt Centric, Arlington, recreating the entry pavilion for the Hilton Garden Inn brand, and updating the Hampton Inn lobby. 

Nelson, meanwhile, worked on the Horseshoe Casinos in both Cleveland and Baltimore, the Borgata resort in Jersey City and the Ritz-Carlton in Cleveland, Ohio. 

“Merging with Nelson provides our organization and clients with a stronger regional presence offering not only relevant depth of practice area expertise, but more reach nationally to be closer to our clients so that we are there when they need us,” Tippmann said in a statement.