058: A Case Study for Practice: RIOS

Episode 058: A Case Study for Practice: RIOS

How do you build an entrepreneurially forward-thinking firm?

The Practice of Architecture was founded on the basis that for architects to remain relevant, we must seek opportunities to increase our careers and firms beyond traditional services, fully embracing entrepreneurship and constantly pursuing new opportunities. Rios is a firm that is doing just that, collectively working beyond boundaries and not only seeking out but diving head-first when it comes to embracing the moment to try and pursue something new. 

Founded in 1985 as a multi-disciplinary design firm, the design studio has evolved to meet the changing needs of a changing world. Their success is underpinned by the unique culture of their firm and an agile operating model that not only helps them adapt during a pandemic but also leaves them free to pursue ideas, projects, and products.

We hope our conversation with RIOS’ dynamic co-CEOs, Jessamyn David and Andy Lantz, leaves you with the same optimism it gave us regarding the profession’s future. 


Jessamyn Davis is the Co-CEO of RIOS based in LA.

As Co-CEO, Jessamyn is responsible for RIOS’ growth and financial vitality. She oversees the health of finance and business operations and the realization of strategic planning goals.

After joining the firm in 2015 as the first CFO, she created infrastructure to catalyze sustainable and scalable growth among the studio’s many disciplines. She drives the creation of processes and procedures that direct and support overall firm operations.

Jessamyn’s diverse background spans biotech to renewable energy to extreme sports, which strengthens the entrepreneurial drive behind RIOS. In addition to her role within the practice, she serves as CFO of notNeutral, a sister company focused on tabletop products. Her passion for design amplifies her talent for creating operational clarity to scaffold the bold, transdisciplinary design RIOS is known for. 

She received her Bachelor of Science from the University of California at Berkeley, and her Master of Business Administration from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.

Andy Lantz is the Creative Director and Co-CEO of RIOS based in LA.

Andy Lantz is an Architect and visionary leader directing groundbreaking design solutions as Creative Director at RIOS. His depth of experience is all-encompassing of multidisciplinary design as he influences teams across the firm with his perspectives and point of view for achieving dynamic experiences through design. For over a decade, Andy’s work has served an impressive roster of clients and projects – from competition-winning places that enhance the public realm along the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood and along the banks of Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas, to notable music institutions and content production facilities in Los Angeles, to leading the industry in envisioning the future of work with market-ready products and forward thinking design approaches that reframe potential in workplace design.

Andy reimagines creative office environments informed by science, culture, and the importance of the human experience. Each project’s location and cultural vibe help to determine unique solutions. Notably, he led the design of the Austin-based Vrbo headquarters that explores a data-driven process to manifest thoughtful programming and experiential design. Additionally, he produced a mission-driven experience that blends aesthetics and wellness at the GoodRx Headquarters in Santa Monica. Andy has also worked to create a flexible and dynamic workplace laboratory at RIOS’ Los Angeles HQ as a means to address the swift change in the market that goes beyond pandemic-thinking and fully embraces the work-from-anywhere revolution.

From industry panels to national broadcast segments, Andy’s thought-leadership continues to impact and engage.

Show Links:


📍 RIOS: Silver Linings, Audacity and Joy – The New Practice Playbook w/Jessaymn Davis & Andy Lantz

💻 Learn about our podcast partner Monograph:

Monograph is the cloud-based practice operations solution built for architects by architects. It is easy to use, beautifully designed, and helped firms streamline operations by empowering them to see project and firm-wide financial health in a single tool.  Plan your projects with schedules, budgets, roles, and team members. Track a project’s financial health with their unique MoneyGantt which takes timesheet data and makes it simple to see whether you are on track or not.  Use firm-wide revenue forecasts to make strategic decisions. With Monograph, you never have to make a decision in the dark again. 👉 Visit Monograph now.

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Tired of dealing with generic IT providers? ArchIT offers Complete IT Solutions for Architecture, Design, and Engineering firms, including helping architects fight back against ransomware and cybersecurity attacks. Visit https://getarchit.com/pd/  to set up your free 15-min Cyber Security Assessment, or custom solutions for your design firm.

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