Thomason & Associates

Meet the Team

Philip Thomason

Philip Thomason


Phil Thomason is principal of one of the oldest preservation firms in the country. His breadth of experience, passion for livable spaces and mediation skills all come into play as he helps clients identify and articulate the value of their historic resources and communicate that value to the community.

During recent decades, Thomason’s work and his firm have reflected the evolution of historic preservation in the U.S. Focusing first on National Register nominations and cultural resource surveys, he soon branched out into preservation plans, design guidelines for towns and communities, and environmental assessments. Initially focused on the Southeast, his work expanded throughout the country. Along the way, he developed a unique expertise in military architecture.

A native of Georgia and Kentucky, he grew up in historic neighborhoods and experienced their intrinsic value. Upon completion of his B.A., he pursued a career in public radio before returning to school to earn an M.A. in historic preservation in 1978. He worked as a preservation planner with Building Conservation Technology, Inc. until 1982, when he founded Thomason and Associates.


  • Preservation Action, Board of Directors
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • Tennessee Civil War Preservation Association, Board Member
  • Tennessee Preservation Trust
  • Historic Nashville, Inc.
  • Vernacular Architecture Forum
  • Society for Commercial Archaelogy
  • Preserving the Recent Past
  • Trail of Tears Association


M.A., Historic Preservation, University of Middle Tennessee, 1981
B.A., Knox College, 1975

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Margaret Nickell
Peggy surveying the Belle Boyd Home in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Andra visiting the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio during survey work for the Village of Oak Park.

Andra Kowalczyk Martens

Preservation Planner

Andra’s graduate studies emphasized state and local history, particularly rural, agricultural landscapes with two National Register nominations, a submission to the online Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture entitled "Purebred Breeding and Racing Horses," an anaylsis of suburban sprawl entitled “Horse Sense vs. Sprawl,” and an oral history project with multi-generation farm owners completed for the Land Trust for Tennessee.

Andra's Master’s thesis, “Horse Race: Class and Gender: American Cultural Identity Through Horseracing” studied American demographics in the so-called Sport of Kings, focusing on lesser known middle-class, female-inclusive horse sports. She is also the author of Tennessee’s Arabian Horseracing Heritage, which interprets the significant contributions of two influential Tennessee horse breeders to the foundation of this little-known sport. It also addresses the state’s historical reputation for producing highly regarded sport horses.

Andra provides project management and oversight on a variety of Thomason and Associates projects, including National Register nominations, Section 106 Review, and historic resource survey. Recent projects include multi-property nominations to the National Register of Tennessee Valley Authority electrical projects and Mid-Century Modern architectural survey.


M.A., Historic Preservation, University of Middle Tennessee, 2005
B.M., Commercial Music: Jazz Composition/Arranging, University of Memphis, 1991

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Cathleen Collett
Peggy surveying the Belle Boyd Home in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Cathleen Collett.

Cathleen Collett

Architectural Historian

After years of working in the financial sector, Collett decided the time was right for her to pursue her passion and protect historic resources. In 2010, Collett graduated with a Master's in Historic Preservation from UNC-Greensboro. During her time in graduate school, Collett worked with a Raleigh-based developer to nominate an 1896 textile mill to the National Register and began working on plans for its redevelopment. In addition, she assisted with the rehabilitation of another textile mill where work was underway. Working with these mills led to her interest in the textile industry and textile mills in the south, as evidenced by her Masters Project, “Missing Threads: The Exclusion of the Textile Mill Industry in the Preservation Efforts of Hillsborough, North Carolina.”

Collett is an active member of Preservation Action, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Tennessee Preservation Trust, through which she actively advocates on behalf of preservation issues affecting Tennessee.

Since joining Thomason and Associates, Collett manages and contributes to projects including statewide historic preservation plans and local historic district design guidelines. Her work includes writing and editing Investment in Connecticut: State Historic Preservation Plan, 2011-2016.


  • National Trust for Historic Preservation


M.A. Public History, Historic Preservation, University of North Carolina Greensboro, 2010
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, 2000

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Frequent Associates

Hawkins Partners

Landscape Architects
Committed to providing innovative solutions that satisfy clients’ needs while adapting to the natural systems of a site, Hawkins Partners has been creating memorable and meaningful places since 1986. Believing that every site plays a part in the health of our environment, the firm has demonstrated this philosophy by transcending pre-packaged solutions to implement cost-effective designs that mitigate the impact of development on the enviroment.

Michael Emrick

Historic Architect
Mr. Emrick has more than 20 years’ experience as an Historic Architect, designing projects in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. He has worked with Thomason and Associates on a variety of projects including assessment of the St. Francis barracks in St. Augustine and plans for Saufley Field in Pensacola. Mr. Emrick is based in Nashville and provides historic architectural services throughout the country.

Zada Law, Ph.D.

Archaeologist Zada Law specializes in conducting archaeological resource surveys for federal and state legislative compliance. Her woman-owned firm provides technical assistance to clients, including assessing project designs in the planning phase for likely effects on archaeological resources. Ms. Law has served as Principal Investigator for more than 150 archaeological resource surveys.


Archaeologists and Planners
TRC is a nationally recognized cultural resource consulting firm with a service area that covers a broad section of the United States and the Caribbean. TRC has completed more than 900 projects since it was incorporated in 1983. Thomason and TRC are long-time associates, having frequently collaborated on projects for the Department of Defense and other federal agencies.

The Walker Collaborative

Planning Services
The Walker Collaborative is the planning practice of Philip Walker of Nashville. Mr Walker has 20 years’ experience in urban planning projects including downtown and neighborhood revitalization, battlefield preservation, comprehensive planning, implementation tools and community visioning. He has outstanding experience in land-use planning including zoning issues, conservation easements and “smart growth” techniques.

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