Kathryn Dankovich

  1. Tell me an interesting fact about yourself.
    • I have snorkeled at the Great Barrier Reef, white water rafted in Chile, sailed for a week in Maine, and backpacked through Europe. I participated in a 10-year FDA study for implanted contact lenses.
  1. Why did you go into your profession?
    • Happenstance.  Life is a journey, and my career path was made along the way. I was the valedictorian of my graduating class, strengths in math and science, but extremely squeamish.  Initially, I attended GMI for industrial engineering.  Since I had to fund my own college, I went to work for Michigan Bell as a service representative; they offered tuition reimbursement.  Worked full time, attended classes at night so a Business Administration program worked well for that.  Passed the CPA exam and later obtained my master’s degree.
  1. What is your greatest strength?
    • Resilience, gratitude, hope.
  1. What is your greatest personal achievement (not related to work)
    • Somehow, someway, with a lot of incredible friends, I survived single parenthood, and the world has two incredible people at its service, Elizabeth and Annie.  They are kind, bright, thoughtful, purposeful individuals.  God blessed my family with many outstanding, caring people.  My daughters are my pride and joy.
  1. What is your greatest professional achievement? (related to IDS)
    • Making a difference to IDS’ current and long-term success by identifying opportunities and responding to them.
  1. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
    • Travel – anywhere.  Annie has a life goal of visiting all the US National Parks so that has been a driving force of destinations.  I also love to spend time along Lake Michigan.  Elizabeth lives in NYC, so I like to visit her, and I have lifelong friends that live in Phoenix, Chicago, and St. Louis who I visit as often as possible.
    • Walking my dog
    • Tennis
    • Volunteer opportunities
    • Home projects, baking, gardening
    • Cards, puzzles, game nights
  1. What motivates you?
    • Helping others, contributing.  Being valued.
  1. What is your #1 professional goal?
    • To retire with a purpose.

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”  – Oscar Wilde

Michelle Derringer

  1. Tell me an interesting fact about yourself.
    • There is a lot of things that are interesting about me, but the one that stands out the most to me is I had brain surgery in 2018.
  1. Why did you go into your profession?
    • My mom was in the business field and family members worked in various office professions when I was growing up, it was mostly a natural progression.
  1. What is your greatest strength?
    • Dedicated.
  1. What do you enjoy most about Integrated Design Solutions?
    • Seeing all the different projects that we do and how they are designed.
  1. What is your greatest professional achievement? (related to IDS)
    • My recent promotion to Office Manager after being with IDS for almost 25 years!
  1. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
    • Spending time with my 3 nieces, reading, crafts.
  1. What is your favorite memory at Integrated Design Solutions?
    • Seeing how much the company has grown.  I have been here from when the company first started.
  1. What are looking forward to in your new role?
    • Interacting with more of the office.  Learning more about the business side of the company.

“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”  – Dalai Lama

Nicole Kolhagen

  1. Tell me an interesting fact about yourself.
    • I grew up on a farm and actually milked cows!
  1. Why did you go into your profession?
    • I started as a receptionist at a manufacturing company after receiving my associates degree. I filled in for the human resources assistant when she was on medical leave, fortunately for me she decided not to return and I was given the full-time position. During my time there I earned my Bachelors Degree from Northwood University.
  1. What is your greatest strength?
    • Adapting to different environments and embracing change.
  1. What is your greatest professional achievement?
    • Earning my bachelors degree while working full-time, raising two children and pregnant.
  1. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
    • I love to travel with my family.  Dubai and Rome are my favorite places so far.
  1. What are looking forward to in your new role?
    • I am looking forward to growing professionally while helping to contribute to the success of IDS.

“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together” – Marilyn Monroe

IDS Welcomes Nicole Kolhagen!

We are delighted to announce that Nicole Kolhagen has joined IDS as our new Human Resources Manager. Nicole comes to IDS with 28 years of human resources, benefit management, payroll and employee relations experience. Nicole brings both strong formal education and practical hands-on experience to this important leadership role with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/Management from Northwood University and an Associate Degree in Accounting/Business Studies from Delta College. Nicole’s past work experience has included industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, legal and public school districts. She is also a current member of the Society for Human Resources Management. With Nicole joining our executive team, we are confident we have added an important individual who can support our people as we provide valuable service to our clients, while ensuring that we remain loyal to our cultural values of teamwork, integrity, fairness, compassion, and respect. Please join us in welcoming Nicole to IDS!

Justin Kiriazis

Justin takes his new position as Assistant Director of Electrical Engineering. Justin’s propensity for math and science at a young age quickly drew him to the field of Engineering. He followed this interest at the University of Michigan where he pursued a degree in Electrical Engineering. Justin values continuing education and enjoys attending seminars, conferences, and trade shows which enables him to communicate intelligently and effectively with clients on current technologies and design. Justin is committed to upholding the positive reputation of IDS. He strives to generate creative design solutions that fit within the client’s needs and budget. Outside of work, Justin enjoys spending time with his wife Renee, biking in the summer and skiing in the winter. They are avid fans of Michigan football and Detroit sports and try to attend as many games as possible.

Kevin Aalderink

Kevin has been growing with IDS for the last 4 years from our Grand Rapids location. As a design leader on education projects, he has now been promoted to Associate. He brings successful design leadership to every project which he contributes to over 22 years of learning from some of the best mentors in the region. His passion is to continue cultivating learning spaces that prioritize environmental literacy while taking thoughtful actions towards decarbonization. He is excited for expanding project partnerships in west Michigan and throughout the region. Kevin is appreciative to be currently working with numerous school districts and colleges including Schoolcraft, Macomb, Mott, and Oakland Community Colleges.

Nicholas Furgason

Nicholas has worked in the AEC industry since his first ‘job’ in high school with Riverbend Timber Framing and Great Lakes Insulspan. After Nicholas graduated from high school he worked as an architectural CADD technician, while he was doing that, he developed an interest in Electrical Engineering. Since starting his education at Grand Valley State University and continuing his career in Electrical Engineering his career has become focused on Electrical and Lighting Design. Some specific hi-lights that Nicholas enjoyed working on was the Renovations of the University of Notre Dame Football Stadium and the Home Team Locker Room and Recruiting Center. Nicholas looks at every project in a unique way and tries to identify the unique characteristics and thinks about how to overcome the challenges in his role. Nicholas enjoys the constant exposure to ever-changing clients and projects.

Todd Vercruysse

Todd is the newest Senior Associate at IDS.  Since joining the IDS team, Todd has worked on numerous projects, bringing his expertise to higher education projects such as Eastern Michigan University’s Sill Hall and Student Athlete Performance and Success Center, and the University of Michigan’s Alumni Center and Central Campus Recreation Building. Todd has also worked on major K12 education projects, such as Lincoln Park Schools’ Hoover Elementary Renovation and Addition, and Oxford Community Schools’ Oxford High School Renovation. Todd is continuously motivated by the technical details of his work. In particular, his deft exploration of systems with need to understand the details of how each unique one works supports his drive to always promote optimization in his work.

Tracey Johnston

  1. Tell me an interesting fact about yourself.
    • I have a Black belt in Tae Kwon Do
  1. Why did you go into your profession?
    • When I was in high school I was very interested in design and actually had a class in Interior Design.  I was drawn to interiors for how a space can affect people both positively and negatively.  Luckily my counselor knew that Michigan State had a CIDA accredited Interior Design program and suggested I check it out.  I went home that day and told my Mom I was going to MSU!
  1. What is your greatest strength?
    • Honesty
  1. What is your greatest personal achievement (not related to work)
    • Being a mom to my son Max.
  1. What is your greatest professional achievement? (related to IDS)
    • Working on the MSU Football office renovation was really exciting.  I am especially proud to have been a part of the team that just won new work at the Duffy football building.   While I am a football fan, it’s most gratifying as an alum give back to the place that gave me my professional start.  I also serve on the Advisory Board for the Interior Design program at MSU.
  1. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
    • I love spending time with my husband Greg and son Max.  I also enjoy gardening and landscaping at home.   We bought a neglected house a few years back and while it’s a work in progress I love bringing it back to life little by little.
  1. What motivates you?
    • Delivering a successful project for the people that inhabit the spaces I design.
  1. What is your #1 professional goal?
    • My overarching goal as an Interior Designer is to contribute at a level that elevates the perception of our profession beyond the selection of colors and finishes.

“You know something is well designed when it has functional and emotional value”  – Unknown

Jeff Johnson

  1. Tell me an interesting fact about yourself.
    • I ran myself over with a full-size van when I was a small child. That is a fact.
  1. Why did you go into your profession?
    • Edward Garza, a neighborhood friend of mine, said that my childhood home wasn’t designed properly because the work triangle in the kitchen was too big. Being prideful of the fact that my father renovated our kitchen on his own, I told him that he didn’t know what he was talking about. I entered the 9th grade with the goal of proving Eddie wrong. According to the drafting books, he was correct; however, architecture is more than just simply rotating your pencil while drawing and learning a couple of rules out of a book…right?
  1. What is your greatest strength?
    • I’d have to say grip followed by persistence and stamina to push beyond the obvious solutions to create something extraordinary.
  1. What is your greatest personal achievement (not related to work)
    • My greatest personal achievement has yet to be accomplished. As I’ve contemplated this question, I’m careful not to suggest that my greatest achievement to date is all I must give. I am proud of several things, however. I’m proud of my family, my drive to solve problems, my desire to help or coach others, my quest to be empathetic and be stubborn all at the same time, and many others. I am also somewhat proud to have persevered on how to use a three-axis CNC router machine to engrave on a tapering cylindrical object.
  1. What is your greatest professional achievement? (related to IDS)
    • Becoming an architect is likely my greatest professional achievement. While the apparent role of an architect is easy to understand, the less apparent roles have allowed me to succeed in our profession and have given me an opportunity to work with amazing clients. Some of my clients view me as a project psychiatrist, optometrist, and/or cheerleader.
  1. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
    • I enjoy staying busy when I’m not at work, and most people would think our lives are borderline chaotic. My time is often taken up by opportunities to develop professional skills in a more non-traditional way. Leadership development, business acumen, design exploration, and investment strategies are satisfied and honed with coaching baseball, creating crafts, renting properties, and exploring concepts of generational wealth.
  1. What motivates you?
    • I’m mostly motivated and inspired by amazing designers that take simple thoughts or words and create beautiful objects. My most rewarding experiences are when clients tell us they couldn’t have ever imagined their project to be so amazing.
  1. What is your #1 professional goal?
    • I would like to hopefully move the needle of our profession by inspiring others to seek out meaningful design engagements to generate thoughtful architecture that is responsive to the current and future needs of society.

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”  – Wayne Gretsky