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Volume 21 No. 43
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Forty Under 40: Nate Appleman


Company: 360 Architecture
Title: Principal
Age: 39
Where born: Altoona, Pa.
Education: Penn State University (B.S.)
Career background: 14 years with HOK Sport/Populous; 3 years with 360 Architecture
Family: Wife, Christi; sons, Drew (10) and Cooper (6)

Favorite apps: Uber, Tapiture, Notability.
Favorite way to unwind: Beers with buddies.
Guilty pleasure: Vodka martinis.
Worst habit: Mountain Dew for breakfast.
Cause supported: Youth sports.
Person in the industry I’d most like to meet: Dan Rooney.
I have a fear of … : That which I cannot control.
Most adventurous thing I’ve ever done is … : A multistate, nine-day-long road trip with my buddy Montana. We saw monuments, dive bars, amazing golf courses, rest stops, fireworks, a ballgame, and a fight or two — and still lived to talk about it.
2014 will be a good year if … : We continue to evolve and grow every day.


Sports designer Nate Appleman has been a driving force at 360 Architecture the past three years, doubling the firm’s project win rate and more than tripling its number of repeat clients in the college market.

Dollar-wise, Appleman, whom 360 hired away from Populous in February 2011, expanded his company’s college business to $4.6 million in new revenue in 2013, an increase of $1.5


SBJ Podcast:
Executive Editor Abraham Madkour and project editor Mark Mensheha talk about the Forty Under 40 selection process and the class of 2014.

million over the previous two years. His most recent work for Notre Dame and Northwestern is shaping the future for athletics at those two private Midwestern schools. In addition, his design of new premium seats for stadiums at Mississippi State and Missouri enabled Appleman to  “reach into the SEC and understand what makes it such a strong football conference,”  he said.

Not too shabby for someone who said he  “pretty much hated”  architecture school through his first four years of college at Penn State.

“I wasn’t sure what I was going to do once I graduated,” Appleman said. “In the fifth year, you can pick whatever project you want to do for your thesis.”  He chose to design a potential minor league ballpark in his hometown of Altoona, Pa.

The stadium was never built, and the team ultimately moved to West Virginia, but the project lit a fire under Appleman and convinced him that he could pursue a career in architecture. His research ultimately pointed him to Kansas City, where he landed in 1997 at Populous, then known as HOK Sport.

Coincidentally, his first big college sports project took Appleman back to Happy Valley, for an expansion of Beaver Stadium. At the time, he had no idea former Penn State linebacker-turned-architect Scott Radecic led HOK’s college sports practice.

“I was not a student of the older players under Joe Paterno, so I didn’t even put it together until I walked upstairs to his office and there was a JoePa doll and a Nittany Lion hardhat, all this Penn State stuff,”  Appleman said. “We ended up winning the project and I was a designer on it. It launched my thirst for the college world.”

— Don Muret