Posts

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

Dirk Greene

  1. Tell me an interesting fact about yourself.
    • I truly love the art of woodworking. I have a garage full of wood working tools and love making cabinets and other hand-crafted items.
  1. Why did you go into your profession?
    • Ever since I could remember I knew I wanted to go into the field of engineering. From an early age I have always enjoyed problem solving. I also had a grandfather and a few family members that were in the engineering field as well who always taught me to work hard until the job is complete.
  1. What is your greatest strength?
    • My greatest strength in life is determination. From my work to my personal life, I have always pushed myself when things get tough to achieve the goals I want to accomplish for myself. I have learned that hard work is worth it in the end.
  1. What is your greatest personal achievement (not related to work)
    • The most recent personal achievement would be creating a seven foot tall maple cabinet for my father-in-law.
  1. What is your greatest professional achievement? (related to IDS)
    • I have been fortunate, as most of us have been here at IDS, to work on a wide variety of projects. From a professional achievement, I have been fortunate to work on several Data Centers, most at FCA/Stellantis Plants and one at ITC Holdings. They have been very interesting and rewarding projects before, after and during design!
  1. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
    • Throughout the year I really enjoy golfing, playing basketball, hunting, fishing, and spending time up north with my wife and puppy!
  1. What motivates you?
    • At work, final construction designs are what motivates me the most. Seeing the end design of each project is always worth the time and effort I put in.
  1. What is your #1 professional goal?
    • My professional goal is to become a licensed mechanical engineer, PE. Step one is done as I passed the FE. Still working hard and studying to pass the next exam!

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”  

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Justin Kiriazis

  1. Tell me an interesting fact about yourself.
    • I’m an avid skier and try to make a trip out west once a year.
  1. Why did you go into your profession?
    • I loved the electrical portion of my physics class during my senior year of high school.  That interest followed me to college where I pursued a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.
  1. What is your greatest strength?
    • My greatest strength is my pursuit of knowledge.  I will go out of my way to learn the physics behind engineering and the reasons behind the code.
  1. What is your greatest personal achievement (not related to work)
    • Convincing my wife to marry me!  In all honesty, I’m eternally grateful that I’m able to share my life with such a fun, loving, smart, and compassionate person as my wife Renee.
  1. What is your greatest professional achievement? (related to IDS)
    • My greatest professional achievement is co-leading the electrical design for two confidential enterprise data centers of a Fortune 500 company including achieving Tier III Tier Certification of Constructed Facility (TCCF) from the Uptime Institute.
  1. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
    • I love biking in the summer, skiing in the winter, and attending local sporting events including football and basketball games at my alma mater, the University of Michigan.
  1. What motivates you?
    • It’s incredibly gratifying and very motivational to see your project finally constructed.
  1. What is your #1 professional goal?
    • My top goal is to help lead IDS to future success and to continue and build on our great professional relationships with our clients.

  “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. Wayne Gretzky. ”  – Michael Scott

Jake Gondek

  1. Tell me an interesting fact about yourself.
    • My first time flying in an airplane was in 2012 (when I was 18 years old). It was, however, unlike most people’s experience flying due to it being a private flight for the University of Michigan Marching Band. I was a part of the Michigan Marching Band for 4 years, and my first experience performing within the organization was hopping on a plane and flying down to the Dallas Cowboy’s AT&T stadium. There I marched on the field for the Michigan vs Alabama Cowboy Classic. Ironically, our show included the famous Bill Conti song “Gonna Fly Now (Theme From Rocky).” Still to this day one of my favorite marching shows to be a part of.
  1. Why did you go into your profession?
    • Being an architect intrigued me for many different reasons. For starters, my grandfather worked as an architect in Detroit. He is the smartest man I know within my family, and it’s easy to be inspired to follow in his footsteps. Furthermore, the profession itself always felt like a perfect balance of art and function. Growing up I embraced the arts through music and drawing. From this I knew that I wanted to be a part of something that embraced creativity. I also felt the need to be grounded by a profession that I was viewed as pragmatic and vital as a public service. Architecture grants me the ability to provide what others need while also embracing form and experience artistically.
  1. What is your greatest strength?
    • An influential baseball coach of mine inspired me to always have a good attitude and to always be coachable. I work to apply this mentality to everything I do. Recognize when someone can and wants to help make you a better version of yourself (perhaps professionally, personally, or both). I do value this particular outlook as a strength of mine.
  1. What is your greatest personal achievement (not related to work)
    • This is a very tough question. The CORRECT answer is probably getting married in 2020 despite all the various obstacles that the world obviously threw at us that year. But one thing I am very proud of is hiking to the top of Booth Lake in Vail Colorado. The hike was 10 miles total, and we climbed 12,800 ft up. One of the toughest but most rewarding things I have ever done.
  1. What is your greatest professional achievement? (related to IDS)
    • One of the first projects I worked on was the University of Michigan Union project (one from my alma mater). This was a great project and an amazing introduction for me into the professional world. Additionally, I am proud to have been a part of projects like the Mott Community College Family Life Center and the Eastern Michigan Student-Athlete Performance Center.
  1. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
    • My wife and I are both outdoorsy people, so we enjoy hiking, camping, and taking our black lab Geddy for walks. I also love listening to and playing music, so I do go to concerts quite often.
  1. What motivates you?
    • I’ve always viewed this profession as a chance to be a part of something bigger than myself with the goal of creating/changing something that can leave this world in a slightly better place. We have the opportunity to shape spaces that will elicit better environments for those within them. A lot of my projects are schools both at the elementary level and all the way up to collegiate. Because of this, I am motivated to believe my decisions will help those grow and inspire others within these built spaces.
  1. What is your #1 professional goal?
    • I am inspired by those within this firm that seem to be overflowing with knowledge. As I start off my journey of licensure and growth within the company, I would like to one day feel as if I am comparable in knowledge to some of my past mentors. I know that you never stop learning within Architecture, but I do hope to have a great foundation one day.

“We can walk our road together
If our goals are all the same
We can run alone and free
If we pursue a different aim
Let the truth of Love be lighted
Let the love of truth shine clear
Sensibility
Armed with sense and liberty
With the Heart and Mind united
In a single perfect sphere”
– Neil Peart

 

Kristen Campbell

  1. Tell me an interesting fact about yourself.
    • I used to race jr. dragsters in middle school.
  1. Why did you go into your profession?
    • I love connecting with people. Marketing requires getting to know people and understanding what they are looking for. I also love the creative aspect of it. Marketing material needs to constantly be refreshed and renewed to keep up with the ever-changing world around us. You must continue to work on new ways to approach a problem and think outside the square.
  1. What is your greatest strength?
    • I believe my enthusiasm and passion for learning is one of my greatest strengths. I continually push myself to learn as much as I can, especially if I am not familiar with the topic. With this, I have been able to pick up skills quickly and effectively.
  1. What is your greatest personal achievement (not related to work)
    • My most recent personal achievement has been buying a house.
  1. What is your greatest professional achievement? (related to IDS)
    • Related to IDS, my greatest achievement has been learning about the company while developing proposals and social media content.
  1. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
    • Outside of work, my main hobby is community theatre. I love being on stage but recently started getting into behind-the-scenes work such as producing, stage managing, and assistant directing. I also enjoy house renovations as I just moved into a new home and we have been spending our time fixing it up.
  1. What motivates you?
    • I’m really driven by results. I like it when I have a concrete goal to meet, no matter how big or small, and I can figure out a strong strategy for accomplishing it.
  1. What is your #1 professional goal?
    • My number one professional goal is to always keep learning and helping others to continue to grow myself and my career.

 

   “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”  – Nora Ephron

Adrian La Tona

  1. Tell me an interesting fact about yourself.
    • I’ve seen five volcanoes in person and one eruption! We were on the coast at the time as a storm blew in, all of a sudden, we heard a loud boom as red hot magma shot out the top of the volcano against the dark sky. It felt like we were in a movie.
  1. Why did you go into your profession?
    • I discovered architecture through books. I pulled a random book off a library shelf one day, and it turned out to be a copy of Charles Moore’s monograph. I became infatuated with the house he built for himself in California. The drawings, the renderings, the details! I did not know that a building could do those things. So, I kept the book and still have it to this day. I flip through it every now and again as a reminder.
  1. What is your greatest strength?
    • Curiosity.
  1. What is your greatest personal achievement (not related to work)
    • Even though I work on athletic projects, I’ve never been much of an athlete. I’m quite the opposite.  The first time I ran ten miles, though, I felt like I truly accomplished something great. I’ve been running consistently ever since.
  1. What is your greatest professional achievement? (related to IDS)
    • Whatever project I’m working on next. Every project has its triumphs and struggles, it’s important to me to ensure that I grow with each one. That being said, having worked on the largest college indoor practice facility in the country at UND isn’t half bad either.
  1. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
    • I enjoy anything and everything having to do with a guitar. Whether it is playing, building, or listening, count me in!
  1. What motivates you?
    • Travel has always been a big part of my life. I find exploring new places and collecting experiences both motivating and cathartic.
  1. What is your #1 professional goal?
    •  I want to design good buildings, ones that deeply impact people. The type of building that sticks in someone’s mind and inspires them in their own life.

   “We still do not know what a building can do” – Michael Menser on Lebbues Woods

Mark Reaves

  1. Tell me an interesting fact about yourself.
    • I was a below average swimmer in high school but somehow ended up on a relay team that set a varsity record my senior year.  It was broken again later in the year by another group of four, but I still have the certificate saying I set a varsity record.
  1. Why did you go into your profession?
    • I grew up on a street where the first four houses were identical, but the four families couldn’t have been more different.  One was a family of four with a horse in their back yard.  The next house one of the individuals was wheelchair bound.  In the third house was an older couple with no kids, and there were seven of us in ours.  Why we all lived in the exact same house was always perplexing to me and I knew there had to be something better out there.
  1. What is your greatest strength?
    • Related to our profession, design projects are started because their completion will be a solution to a problem.  The trick is being able to decipher what problem(s) they are trying to solve.  I’ve been told my greatest strength is being able to uncover problems that others don’t realize existed so projects can be designed to address them.
  1. What is your greatest personal achievement (not related to work)
    • Becoming an Eagle Scout at the age of 17.  I would give up my college degrees before I gave that up.  It has opened more doors for me than anything else I have achieved and gave me the confidence to get to where I am today.
  1. What is your greatest professional achievement? (related to IDS)
    • Being able to renovate the locker room at Notre Dame Stadium.  When Lou Holtz was coach, he asked the University for funds to renovate it at that time, but they refused as they wanted to keep the original locker room that Knute Rockne built.  He didn’t get that opportunity after winning a national title for Notre Dame, but we did!
  1. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
    • I just enjoy spending time with my wife and kids.  Both my kids are in travel sports (fastpitch softball and baseball) and supporting them at their games has been a great experience over the last four years.
  1. What motivates you?
    • I am motivated by opportunities that generate significant and meaningful change.  The pace of change in our lives appears to be happening faster and faster and the spaces we live and work in can either be designed to support this change or designed to resist it.  Both options are compelling to me but just matching the status quo is not.
  1. What is your #1 professional goal?
    • The goal (dream) that I have had for some time is to design a new Major League Baseball Stadium.  There are only so many opportunities that come up for this one, so it is a long shot but definitely a goal!

 

“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.” – Lao Tzu

Nicholas Furgason

  1. Tell me an interesting fact about yourself.
    • I started working in the industry as an Architectural CADD technician and worked as a job captain and small project manager for 4 years before I decided to go to school for electrical engineering. I did not switch to EE until my first semester of my internship.
  1. Why did you go into your profession?
    •  I fell into this industry after I participated in an experimental ‘school to work’ program with a Timber Frame Design Firm. After high school, I went to a community college and pursued a degree in CADD. After a few diverse types of positions working in CADD, I found a home with an Architecture Firm and have been in the industry ever since.
  1. What is your greatest strength?
    • I have always been a detail-oriented person. My background in architecture gives me a unique perspective while working as an electrical designer.
  1. What is your greatest personal achievement (not related to work)
    • Raising my kids (well, still in progress technically).
  1. What is your greatest professional achievement? (Related to IDS)
    • I had the amazing opportunity to participate in IDS’s recent projects with the University of Notre Dame.
  1. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
    • I enjoy photography and several outdoor activities. My most recent hobby seems to be renovating my house.
  1. What motivates you?
    • Honestly, I have never actually been sure of specific things that motivate me. I have always considered myself a “motivated person,” though. I think that the simplest thing would be to say that “success,” or “seeing a finished product” would be my primary motivations in life.
  1. What is your #1 professional goal?
    • I would like to finish my EE degree.

“To give anything but your best is to waste the gift”  –  Steve Prefontaine

Alexandra Grypinich

  1. Tell me an interesting fact about yourself. 
    • My family is from just outside Montreal, Quebec, so we speak French at home.  
  2. Why did you go into your profession? 
    • I have always been fascinated with our built environment and how we can shape it. I believe architecture is a great balance between creative and technical expression.  
  3. What is your greatest strength? 
    • I believe one of my greatest strengths is my enthusiasm and passion for learning. I continually push myself to learn as much as I can and have been able to pick up skills quickly because of this. 
  4. What is your greatest personal achievement (not related to work) 
    • Actually being able to hit the softball at my first ever softball game with the IDS squids.  
  5. What is your greatest professional achievement? (related to IDS) 
    • As an intern, I would say my greatest achievement so far was completing my first ever project after having almost no experience with Revit. I was able to work through solving problems, communicate effectively with my supervisors, and get the job done, giving me the confidence I needed to move forward.  
  6. What do you enjoy doing outside of work? 
    • Outside of work I love being outdoors (swimming, hiking, etc) and crafting (crocheting, embroidery, jewelry making).  
  7. What motivates you? 
    1. I am motivated by my love for the profession and my hope to lead my generation and future generations into a more sustainable future.  
  8. What is your number one professional goal? 
    • After gaining experience in many difference realms of architecture, I hope to lead a team as a Project Architect and use my knowledge of sustainable construction management to create innovative carbon zero buildings.  

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” – Opera Winfrey