WHY ARE YOU INTERESTED IN SERVING ON THE AIA SEATTLE BOARD OF DIRECTORS?

As cheesy as it sounds, volunteering for industry organizations has truly enriched not just my career but also my life. We’re in a small and collaborative industry so the more of us that succeed, the better off we all are. I want to help AIA Seattle reach as many of our colleagues as possible to help them flourish and reach heights they didn’t realize were possible. Especially during/after the pandemic, it’s so easy to isolate ourselves from one another, but I’ve found that the true value of this industry is in its personal relationships. One of the most efficient ways to develop those relationships is through an organization – by volunteering and helping one another. I’m excited that AIA Seattle is working to reach out to those in our Chapter who don’t live within King County and bringing them opportunities so we can all thrive regardless of location or access.

WHY DID YOU JOIN AIA SEATTLE?

I originally joined AIA Seattle because I was working on achieving my license. I stayed because I value the connections, outlook and education the organization provides.  

WHAT IS THE VALUE OF AIA TO YOU?

For me, the value is in relationships – both personal and professional. The relationships I’ve gained through volunteering have fundamentally changed my career from even the most basic levels and have formed some of my strongest friendships. Through volunteering for AIA Seattle, I hope to give back so others can experience that same growth. 

WHAT RELATIONSHIPS HAVE YOU CREATED?

Too many to count!  

WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO CONTRIBUTE FROM YOUR WORK?

To make the world a better place for users of the buildings I’m specifying. In particular, I love specifying for healthcare because it’s so easy to see an immediate impact. For example, my cousin’s child has cystic fibrosis. He had to be admitted into a hospital for about two weeks for a lung cleanout, and they happened to be placed in a suite that I specified. It was wonderful to see how different their stay was this time around because of the excellent work by our team. Instead of having to focus on logistics, bathroom and shower access, or other similar worries, my cousin was able to place all her focus on the wellbeing of her child.  

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SEATTLE-AREA STRUCTURE?

I tried to narrow it down but just can’t! I love a different piece of so many structures – the view from the Columbia Tower Club’s women’s restroom at Columbia Center, the greenery contrasting against the structure of the Amazon Spheres, the top floor speakeasy at the Smith Tower, the sustainability story of the Bullitt Center, the arches of the Pacific Science Center, the planters at Freeway Park, almost everything about the Seattle underground, the 17th floor patio at Russel Investments Center, the brick gradation of the Seattle Tower, the walruses on the Arctic Building… and so on! 

IF YOU COULD SUM UP YOUR OUTLOOK ON LIFE IN A BUMPER STICK, WHAT WOULD IT SAY?

Be kind. 

HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN WHAT YOU DO FOR A LIVING?

I’m a Specifier but because nobody outside our industry knows what the means, I regularly describe my work as being a technical writer for the Architecture world.  

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TODAY?

I’m currently hosting a friend/colleague/coworker as a houseguest. We sat on my balcony overlooking the landscaping and listened to the creek in the distance as we ate lunch and chatted.  

HAS YOUR CAREER TAKEN YOU ANYWHERE YOU DIDN’T EXPECT?

I never expected to be on the technical side! I originally wanted to be a designer but completed graduate school during the Great Recession and struggled to find work. I ended up working for a Construction Defects/Owner’s Representative firm writing documentation, and they assigned me to write my first set of specifications. Later as I began to look for other employment, I realized it was my most marketable skill and pursued that path. As time went on, I became to love the work itself and that this career requires you to be a lifelong student and teacher.  

WHERE IS THE FIELD OF ARCHITECTURE, ENGINEERING, OR CONSTRUCTION HEADED?

I keep hearing that it’s going to be more automated and segmented, but over the years I’ve seen the opposite – quicker project schedules require more collaboration and the timelines don’t allow enough time for automation to be built. I think the future of this industry will require stronger and more collaborative relationships between parties, and true Design-Bid-Build will become increasingly rare. While I do think that automation will come into play, I think if Architects (rather than software developers) take the lead, we can automate the busy work rather than the important work. Data is becoming increasingly important, and our industry is far behind others when it comes to collecting and sharing that information. If the AEC industry develops effective methods of knowledge management, we can propel our industry forward.  

CAN DESIGN SAVE THE WORLD?

Such a hard question! Both yes and no! I believe that design can absolutely save the world, but only if users continue the work. Making or building one more thing won’t change much if that’s as far as it goes. However, making or building one more thing with others buying in and maintaining its positive impacts will create a profound impact. 

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