A Q&A with John Wix, Managing Director of Gensler Portland

After more than two decades leading projects on the West Coast and around the world, John Wix jumped at the chance to build the Portland team. We asked him about his interest in the opportunity, where the Portland office is going, and what’s most exciting about the future here.

Why did Gensler decide to open a Portland office?
First and foremost, we feel it is important to be where our clients are, to be local — and in this case, we’re really excited to participate in this community. We’ve done quite a bit of work in Portland over the past several years, traveling down from Seattle or up from San Francisco, but residing here full time will allow us to serve our clients better and to become really connected with this city and its people.

Why did you want to run the office?
I was looking for my next step with Gensler, both professionally and personally. When my wife and I came here, we immediately loved it and wanted to settle in. I love the vibe of the city, its music and theatre scene, the walkability, the history of neighborhoods like the Pearl (where we work and live!). There’s exciting work happening here, and an experimental, cool aesthetic like nowhere else.

What about the Portland market excites you the most?
Portland has a unique ethos to its design as well as its diversity. We love to speak that language, and the opportunity to get deeply integrated will be fun and an amazing challenge that I expect will be beyond rewarding.

What about Portland is inspiring?
The ruggedness and independence, the quirkiness, the energy, the self-reliance is awesome. And the talent! We’re building our team from a mix of locals and a few long-time Gensler people who are eager to come here. The creativity and skill in the design community here is inspiring. I love it.

What has been your favorite Portland discovery?
The first thing that struck me was the amazing neighborhoods and their individuality and character. Of course, Portland is fantastically walkable and don’t even get me started about the food scene!