Award-Winning Sports Venue Designer, Mike Wekesser, Promoted to Practice Studio Leader of JLG’s Sport Studio


JLG Architects has promoted Mike Wekesser to Practice Studio Leader of JLG’s Sport Studio. Wekesser joined the JLG team in 2019 as a Studio Design Lead, bringing with him more than three decades of experience in sports-focused architecture. He will spearhead an experienced team that was pioneered by the late Lonnie Laffen, one of JLG’s founders. After joining the team, Wekesser worked closely with Laffen, who was considered one of the nation’s most influential architects in sports design. In 2020, JLG ranked #20 in BD+C’s Giants 400 Report, recognizing the top architecture, engineering, and construction firms in the U.S. sports facilities sector.

Prior to his role at JLG, Wekesser led the design, planning, and construction of multiple major league ballparks, NBA and NHL arenas, including: Golden1 Center, Target Field, Petco Park, Citizen Bank Park, Phillips Arena, UCLA Practice Facility, Oklahoma Thunder NBA Practice Facility, and the Wrigley Field Expansion.

As the head of JLG’s Sport Practice Studio, Wekesser is engaged in every aspect of the design process, from master planning to programming, design, delineation, and construction. The common element throughout his work is an adherence to creating innovative yet practical designs. Wekesser’s work is universally recognized for reflecting organic settings, while enhancing the culture and communities he serves.
“I’m proud to be part of this outstanding team at JLG Architects,” said Wekesser. “From the start, we have shared a united vision for the future of JLG’s Sports Practice and I know that the best projects are still ahead of us.”

Wekesser’s Award-Winning Designs:

  • Golden 1 Center, the new home of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. The arena is the first indoor sports venue to earn LEED Platinum designation, and the first entirely solar-powered arena in the world. Golden 1 Center features innovative conservation tactics, local food sourcing commitments, and community educational programs. This design was awarded the 2016 Sports Facility of the Year by Sport Business Journal.
  • Lead designer for Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins. Opened in 2010, it was voted Sports Facility of the Year by Ballpark Digest.
  • Petco Park, home of MLB’s San Diego Padres. Citation award for the Western Metal Supply Building, AIA, San Diego chapter, 2006.
  • Wrigley Field Expansion and renovation, Chicago Landmark Award for Preservation Excellence, 2006.
  • Design Excellence Award, Los Angeles AIA, 2014, Citation Award, Los Angeles Lakers Practice Facility.
  • Design Excellence Award, Kansas City AIA, 2015, Citation Award, Los Angeles Lakers Practice Facility

About JLG Architects

JLG is a full-service architecture firm that was founded in 1989 in Grand Forks, ND, by Lonnie Laffen and Gary Johnson. Today, JLG is one hundred percent employee-owned and has grown to 150 employees, 10 offices throughout the Midwest, and a location in Boston, Massachusetts. The firm has been recognized as one of the 50 Most Admired Companies in America by MSN Money and Best Life, a 50 Best Places to Work in the U.S. by Inc. magazine, and the Design Firm of the Year by ENR Mountain States.

JLG’s Award-Winning Designs:

  • UND’s Ralph Engelstad Arena, Grand Forks, ND
  • The Alerus Center, Grand Forks, ND
  • West Fargo Hockey Arena, West Fargo, ND\
  • US Bank Stadium (with HKS as Studio Five Architects), Minneapolis, MN
  • Buccaneers Arena, Des Moines, IA
  • Minnesota Wild Practice Facility, Minneapolis, MN
  • University of Minnesota 3M Arena Renovation, Minneapolis, MN
  • University of Denver Magness Arena, Denver, CO