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HASTINGS elevates Sara Atherton and Derek Schmidt to Principal

New Associate Principals, Senior Associates, and Associates also named by the Nashville-based firm.

April 14, 2021 |

Sara Atherton contributed to the design of First Horizon Park, home of the Triple-A Nashville Sounds. Photo: Albert Vecerka ESTO.

Nashville, Tenn. – April 13, 2021 – HASTINGS has promoted Sara J. Atherton, AIA, LEED AP, and Derek B. Schmidt, AIA, LEED AP, to Principal, joining William W. Hastings, David A. Bailey, AIA, LEED AP, David M. Powell, FAIA, LEED AP, and Charles E. Gannaway, AIA, LEED AP, in leadership of the 80-person firm.

This elevation of HASTINGS’ design talent supports the studio in serving clients and broader communities. As Principals, Atherton and Schmidt will continue their daily leadership of projects and reinforce HASTINGS’ capacity to engage new opportunities.

“Sara and Derek bring expertise in design and project management while demonstrating and upholding HASTINGS’ commitment to creating sustainably designed projects that positively impact clients and the communities we serve,” said William Hastings.



Atherton received her BArch degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1999. Since joining HASTINGS in 2003, she has completed award-winning projects, including Roundabout Plaza, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, and First Horizon Park, as well as E. Bronson Ingram and Nicholas S. Zeppos Colleges at Vanderbilt University.

Atherton advances the profession through her commitment to mentorship. In 2006, she founded HYPE (HASTINGS Young Professional Experience) to support young designers with professional development opportunities.

In 2015, she helped found the HYPE Research + Innovation Grant, an incubator and a catalyst that provides Hastings’ staff with time and resources to develop and expand expertise in architecture, interior design, planning, sustainability, and technology.



Schmidt received his BArch from Carnegie Mellon University in 1997 and joined HASTINGS in 2003.

He has dedicated his career to expertise in workplace design, fostering relationships with such clients as Asurion, Genesco, Mars Petcare, Microsoft, Siemens Healthineers, Thompson Hotel Nashville, Tractor Supply, and Vanderbilt University.


Microsoft Nashville_Nick McGinn.jpg

Derek Schmidt participated in the design of the Nashville office of Microsoft. Photo: Nick McGinn


His workplace experience includes the Asurion Headquarters, known as the Asurion Gulch Hub, a new 550,000-sf dynamic tech-workplace that is scheduled to open this fall.

Schmidt’s award-winning work has been recognized by AIA Gulf States, AIA Tennessee, The New York Times, Architectural Record, and the Urban Land Institute.



Matt Spaulding joins Erica Weeks, AIA, LEED AP, Kimberley Burley, CPA, Mark Zook, AIA, LEED AP, and Paul Law, AIA, CSI, CDT as an Associate Principal.

Director of Strategy and Marketing Casey Estanislao and Director of Design Technology Christina Holden, AIA, LEED AP, join Chris Davis, AIA, as Senior Associates.

Jennifer Crawford, NCIDQ, Jesse Allen, NCIDQ, Kate O’Neil, AIA, NCIDQ, Neil Parrish, AIA, LEED AP, Robert White, AIA, and Tamie Schofield were elevated to Associate.



Since its founding in 1985, HASTINGS, based in Nashville,  has been committed to design and community, producing sustainably designed award-winning work that positively impacts our clients and the communities the firm serves.

HASTINGS’ services include architecture, interior design, planning, and sustainability consulting. Our portfolio includes a curated range of scales, typologies, and styles, united by our commitment to community. Each project is the manifestation of creative thinking intersecting with each project's specific conditions to create work that tells the client's unique story, engages occupants, and positively contributes to the environment and the greater community.

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