Which project, deal, or transaction was the “game-changer” in the advancement of your career? In 2008, I was working with a former colleague designing residential and small commercial projects. When the economy took a turn for the worse, we both needed to find work, taking a step back. This “opportunity” led me to join a Boston-based firm’s satellite office in Virginia. Months later, they asked me to relocate to Boston. I did and stayed there for 9 years focusing on the healthcare sector. I loved the people and the healthcare projects that I worked on then. I am glad to bring that experience to the healthcare work I continue to do today at Trapani.
Who was/is your mentor and how did s/he influence/help you in your career? I have been fortunate to work with many architects who gave different insights and opinions regarding design and business. As my career has continued to develop, I still reference back to Carlo Fruguiele’s advice offered during studio at NJIT. He pushed me to hold onto instinctive design elements as the design and the project evolves.
How do you contribute to your community or your profession? I have a few charities that I have supported for years through bike rides, walks, volunteering, and fundraising. I have mentored a number of people over the years and that can be very satisfying as well. Some of the more fun items are participating in events with our team and our colleagues at NELCO Worldwide – stepping away from the office and working together for a different purpose. I am looking forward to getting back to that kind of thing in person.
What led you to your current profession? I was always helping my father with projects around the house and my mother was always planning the next addition. I was exposed to technical drawing in 8th grade and loved it. Through high school, I took architecture, engineering, and art classes. Before I graduated high school, I knew I wanted to practice architecture. My career path is far from traditional, but I appreciate what all those different experiences have contributed to my work and career. There were a few steps outside architecture that have proved beneficial.
Who or what inspires you? Inspiration comes from different sources, for different reasons, and even at different times in your career or during a specific project. The nature of architectural design is to solve the physical facility challenges for a client for the work they do and how the space will be utilized. It is so satisfying when we can elevate that space through great design to inspire and contribute to patient care, healing, and everyone’s overall wellness.
How do you keep your team motivated despite conflicts and obstacles? Reflecting on office culture and keeping the team inspired is a constant these days. We look for things that might inspire creativity like a competition that allows team members a chance to flex their design skills in a different way. We are a collaborative community, and the COVID-19 impact is being felt everywhere. Yes, technology enables teams and individuals to work remote. The challenge is helping the younger professionals to understand the value of their career development and mentorship that takes place when everyone is in the office together.
What advice can you offer to someone who is interested in a career in your industry? Be opened to new ideas, allow yourself to enjoy experiences in real time. School has its place in our careers, teaches skills, and exposes us to a wide influence of work. Do some research before you join a firm as an intern, get some understanding of culture and their work, inquire as to how you might make the most of your time there, and say yes to every opportunity presented to you. Take notes, keep a journal, photograph what interests you, be aware of what frustrates you. It is all about your exposure to work so be hyper aware of what is interesting, fun, inspiring as well as what is challenging.