Michael Nelson

Male person wearing glasses in a white shirt and blue jacket on a dark background

Michael Nelson


Associate, Central Oregon Office Lead

Main office location Bend, OR

Year started in industry 2003

Year started at Säzän 2022

Project types/specialty

Sustainability focused projects with a focus on renewables

Michael began his career specializing in electrical system modeling and breaker coordination for high-tech facilities and quickly became interested in sustainable design. He designed his first photovoltaic system in 2006 and, throughout his career, has been part of more than 100 LEED-certified projects, and many net-zero and Green Globes designs. As a past recipient of Consulting Specifying Engineer’s 40 Under 40, Michael is respected throughout the industry as a creative problem solver, leader, and mentor. With more than 20 years of experience, he leads our Central Oregon office, proactively guiding the team, and staying mindful of owner and client expectations and goals.

Education and training have been paramount to Michael’s career. He received his first degree in Electrical Engineering at Oregon State University. After working in the industry for several years, he was inspired to expand his business acumen and leadership skills. He earned an MBA in Sustainable Business from Marylhurst University, a course that focused on business issues related to the growing sustainable practices of the design and construction industry. His certifications emphasize his commitment to sustainable building philosophies as a LEED AP and Green Globes Designer.

A dedicated member of the community, he is part of the Chamber of Commerce; active in the Bend Leadership program, DBIA, and AIA Bend Chapter; and a volunteer at his local church. In his downtime, Michael enjoys doing automotive and home improvement projects on his ranch with his three dogs and helping his wife run a local wine bar.

Mountains, coast, or desert?
Coast because I find the ocean to be tranquility for the soul
What fictional place would you love to visit?
Jurassic Park when it was still up and running because dinosaurs are cool
What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?
Three fried scorpions on a stick at an exotic food street market in Beijing, China
Cats, dogs, or other?
Dogs because they are man’s best friend and I have three dogs now
Title your autobiography.
An Unusual Life.
Favorite project. Why?
Redesigned the land port of entry at San Ysidro, California. It was a net zero campus with a large PV array. The port is one of the busiest in the world. Due to its size, the project touched on all aspects of the industry and featured a huge geothermal system.