Exploring our Design Passions

November 24, 2022
The AM Travel Scholarship

“It was one of the highlights of my entire working career.” 

 

At Ankrom Moisan, we believe that continued education is a key facet of success and fulfilment. When we make room for the betterment of ourselves, when we feel supported to follow our passions and to live authentically, we all thrive. 

 

In addition to programs such as Lunch and Learns, conferences, and paid educational hours, AM offers two annual in-house scholarships; the Do Good Be Well Scholarship and the Travel Scholarship. Both are open to all staff across all offices.  

 

The annual travel scholarship is an opportunity for our employees to travel while exploring a design topic they are passionate about. They receive 10 days of paid time off for their trip and a stipend to cover their travel expenses. When they come back, they receive additional time to prepare a design presentation and share their findings with the rest of the firm.  

 

Jenny Chapman and Sadaf Quddusi, two previous AM Travel Scholarship winners, tell us about their travel experiences. 

 

In 2021, Jenny visited Italy to attend the Venice Biennale and explore the global design conversation surrounding communal living and how we will live together in the future.  

 

“I think it’s really important that we take time away from our day-to-day work to lift our eyes to the horizon and consider what’s coming next in our industry. The AM Travel Scholarship is a great opportunity to do that, it offers space to think deeply about design.  

 

My experience travelling to the Biennale and exploring different architectural approaches really helped me to refresh my perspective. It was incredibly valuable to see some of the same problems we often face in this region, being solved in entirely different ways in other parts of the world.”  

 

Exhibits from the 2021 Venice Biennale 

 

Sadaf—who visited the UK in 2019 to study mass timber—agrees, adding that “research is so important to what we do. My research in the UK allowed me to be on the leading edge of the mass timber transition in the US. It was something I was really glad to study and share with the firm.” 

 

The Travel Scholarship is an investment in the design culture and community of our firm and industry. It is an opportunity to explore how design betters our environments and our lives. 

 

Our 2023 scholarship is now open for submissions. In January we’ll be sharing the next winning design topic, stay tuned! 

 

 

by Mackenzie Gilstrap, Sr. Marketing Coordinator

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Employee Spotlight: Jenna Mogstad

November 22, 2022
Emerging Professional of the Year

Last month Interior Designer Jenna Mogstad was named the 2022 Emerging Professional by IIDA’s Oregon Chapter. after being nominated by several of her AM coworkers.

 

Jenna, who has been with AM for 6 years, has excelled as a designer for many reasons. But perhaps her greatest strength is her passion. As her manager and mentor, Cindy Schaumberg, describes it, Jenna “puts her heart into each project.”

 

 

Jenna is fascinated by the psychology of interior design and she approaches her work with a sense of advocacy—taking great care to ensure that the end user will be positively impacted by her projects.

 

Driven by a desire to help people heal, she gravitates towards trauma-informed design and often applies her skills to affordable housing projects. Jenna enjoys this work because she recognizes that it has a significant impact on people’s lives. Her designs have the power to help the residents of affordable housing communities to feel a sense of safety and stability.

 

Jenna is particularly proud of her current project Meridian Gardens, an 85-unit supportive housing community designed to serve individuals who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and are receiving substance use disorder treatment.

 

Jenna’s passion for design is apparent to everyone working alongside her, as the nominations will attest. They describe someone who “embodies curiosity, empathy, and the ability to innovate” with a “drive to improve herself and the field of interior design.”

 

Jenna is well-deserving of the title “Emerging Professional of the Year” and we’re incredibly proud to have her on our team.

 

 

 

by Mackenzie Gilstrap, Sr. Marketing Coordinator

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High-Rise Living for a Diverse and Evolving Neighborhood

November 16, 2022
The George

The SoMa district, home to the Ankrom Moisan San Francisco office, is a neighborhood perhaps best defined by transformation. Once an industrial district full of warehouses, a large influx of Filipino immigrants in the early to mid-century brought vibrant Filipino character to the area. This cultural heritage is visible throughout the neighborhood—street names such as Bonifacio, Rizal and Mabini honor Filipino national heroes. Filipino street art adorns the streets, from colorful murals to utility boxes decorated with the letters of the Filipino alphabet.  

 

During the late-90s dot com boom, the ubiquitous warehouses of SoMa became desirable office spaces and it wasn’t long before the neighborhood was also filled with tech companies. Now, the vibrant Filipino cultural district shares space with the likes of Google, Facebook, and Salesforce. At the same time, a vast arts district featuring an array of museums and theatres has begun seeping into the neighborhood from the adjacent Theatre District. The result is a highly diverse neighborhood dense with offices, homes, businesses, and community.  

 

 

Within this eclectic slice of the city, on 5th and Mission—just a block from our office—one of San Francisco’s largest new developments has just opened. Designed to become a cultural destination, the 5M development intends to serve as a sort of living room for the neighborhood. Covering 4-acres, the complex includes an office tower, a residential building, a cultural center and three small public parks.  

 

 

The 5M development, and each building within it, posed a formidable design challenge. Serving as architect for The George, 5M’s residential tower, our team was tasked with designing a high-rise that would blend into a hard-to-define, ever-fluctuating neighborhood. As residents of the neighborhood ourselves, our design was guided by our familiarity with and appreciation for the surrounding community. 

 

The George’s design responds to the evolving, eclectic nature of the neighborhood by embracing imperfection and celebrating the cycles of time and growth. The tower’s shifting façade, inspired by the colors of aging copper, acknowledges the beauty in the marks left by time, weather, and use. At the street level, heavily textured metal accentuates strategic areas of the base, transitioning from a warm orange to a muted green—reminiscent of ocean water and rust. At the upper floors, variegated colored panels add interest to the simple massing and draw visitors’ eyes slowly upward along the height of the 20-story building. 

    

The design evolution of the George, from sketch to rendering to final product 

 

Our design evokes authenticity and a sense of place, using site-specific materials like brick and weathered metal panels that also raise the neighborhood’s design bar. “We are deeply honored to contribute to the vitality and culture of the neighborhood we call home” says Travis Throckmorton, AM Managing Principal and Principal-in-Charge of the project.  

 

 

 

by Mackenzie Gilstrap, Sr. Marketing Coordinator

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Trivia Night 2022

October 25, 2022
A Food Lifeline Fundraiser

We’re proud to share that we raised over $167,000 for Food Lifeline during our 12th annual AM Trivia Night last week!

 

Food Lifeline is a non-profit organization on a mission to feed people facing hunger today while working to end hunger for tomorrow. Food Lifeline’s mission goes hand and hand with our values at Ankrom Moisan. We are passionate about designing affordable housing because we strive to provide stability and security to those suffering in the US housing crisis and many of the people we hope to impact through our housing projects are also facing food insecurity.

 

The money we’ve raised will make a very real impact in the lives of those experiencing hunger in Western Washington and it was only possible thanks to our generous donors, participants, and volunteers.

 

 

 

Not only did we raise an incredible sum for Food Lifeline, we also had a lot of fun. This year’s theme was “camp chic” and, besides trivia, the evening was filled with good company, incredible costumes, hilarious competitions, and—of course—a dance-off.

 

If you want to know more about how AM’s Food Lifeline fundraiser evolved into annual trivia with a side of dancing and costumes—we have the full story here.

 

 

The music video we filmed to thank our event sponsors.

 

 

 

Center: The 2022 Trivia Champions, Morrison Herschfield!

 

 

 

THANK YOU TO OUR 2022 SPONSORS:

 

AvalonBay Communities with Brian and Holly Fritz

Aegis Living

Bill Soderberg with Max Wurzburg/Windermere & Red Propeller

Cross 2 Design Group

Legacy Group

Navix Engineering

RDH Building Science, Inc.

The Walsh Group

Willamette Management Associates

A3 Acoustics LLP

Brumbaugh & Associates

Clark Construction

Glumac

GLY Construction

Howard S. Wright, a Balfour Beatty company

objekts

PCL Construction Services, Inc.

PCS Structural Solutions

Rushing Co.

Shaw Contract

Stone Source

Swinerton

Vulcan Real Estate

 

 

 

by Mackenzie Gilstrap, Sr. Marketing Coordinator

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Employee Spotlight: Roberta Pennington

October 19, 2022
Mentorship through Theatre

Roberta Pennington doesn’t just offer advice to her colleagues; she puts on a pair of mustache glasses and coaches them through challenging scenarios with skits.

 

For designers, a particularly formidable stage of the design process is construction administration (CA). Roberta equates it to herding cats.

 

During CA, designers’ people management skills are put to the ultimate test as all the project stakeholders converge. Designers are often faced with managing a wide array of disciplines—resolving miscommunication, realigning over-stepped roles, and negotiating endless spreadsheets.

 

But Roberta doesn’t want CA to feel scary, so she offers guidance on how to handle the most common and frustrating scenarios, while also making you laugh, in what she calls “CA Theatre”—a new regular segment of the monthly interiors team meeting.

 

With an artful blend of empathy and humor, she’ll perform a dramatic reenactment of the most dreaded situations. In her groucho-esque mustache glasses, she pretends to be “Bob Boberson,” an amalgamation of the all the challenging experiences and people that designers often face. Bob serves as a caricature villain, the bane of interior designers everywhere. Managing Principal Alissa Brandt models how to respond to Bob’s micro-aggressions and unchecked behavior with professionalism and composure.

 

Roberta playing “Lady Carol Brittingham” during CA Theatre

 

Most recently she played a Cruella de Vil inspired character, “Lady Carol Brittingham”—another dramatized version of the difficult scenarios that can be encountered during CA.

 

During CA Theatre, something incredible happens, everyone comes alive, laughing, nodding and commiserating. But it goes beyond entertainment, the skit spurs problem-solving and engaged discussion about how to handle challenging situations. It offers mentorship and project management training in a fun and approachable way. Roberta’s goal is to ensure the entire team feels equipped to take on the responsibility of construction administration.

 

Having been with the firm for more than 10 years, Roberta says that one of the many reasons she’s stayed is because at AM she has the space and support to bring unconventional ideas to the table. While previous employers may have put up with her “shenanigans”—as she calls them—AM encourages them. She doesn’t feel censored or silenced.

 

And it’s a good thing, because Roberta being anything other than herself would be a loss for us all.

 

 

 

 

 

by Mackenzie Gilstrap, Sr. Marketing Coordinator

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Not Your Average Fundraiser

October 13, 2022
The Rise of AM Trivia Night

We’ve been told that AM Trivia Night is THE industry event of the year. And we can’t help but agree—between the killer pub trivia, dance offs, costume contests, and goofy videos—it’s a night you don’t want to miss. Mostly because it feels more like a lively night out with good friends than a fundraiser.

 

But it is, in fact, a fundraiser. Over the past 12 years, the occasion has evolved from a small donation event to support a summer food drive to an eminent annual fundraiser with more than 600 people in attendance and over $240,000 raised (in one year!) for Food Lifeline, a non-profit working to end hunger in Western Washington.

 

The success of AM Trivia Night is the result of an enduring partnership between Ankrom Moisan and Food Lifeline. A partnership made possible by the countless Ankrom Moisan employees who are dedicated to positively impacting their communities, and a company culture that brings fun and creativity to all that we do.

 

 

 

The journey from food drive to trivia (with a side of dancing and costumes).

 

A few decades ago, Food Lifeline started a donation competition, called Food Frenzy, amongst businesses to help raise money to provide kids with free lunches throughout the summertime—kids who usually relied on subsidized school lunches each day.

 

Someone who had previously participated in Food Frenzy was now working at Ankrom Moisan and suggested that the firm get involved. AM President Dave Heater agreed, stipulating that the AM event should be fun and different, not your average fundraiser.

 

About 30 or so people joined us in that first year for pub trivia in our office—punctuated by beer, food and laughter. In the first round of questions, several teams tied and all the tie breaker questions were used. The game continued smoothly until the final round ended with another tie. Completely out of trivia questions and with no clear winner, there were only a few moments of uncertainty before someone in the group shouted, “dance off!” and a tradition was born.

 

That was in 2009. To this day, AM Trivia Nights still feature dance offs where a winner is chosen by audience applause.

 

As the event grew, we added more and more unconventional elements; fun themes, costume contests and silly “music videos” to thank our sponsors. Trivia Night quickly became a hit. By 2019, we were filling up the ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Seattle and we raised the equivalent of one million meals in just that single event. A proud moment for Ankrom Moisan.

 

 

 

 

The reason behind the Ankrom Moisan x Food Lifeline partnership.

 

Ankrom Moisan employees are, and always have been, enthusiastic participants in Trivia Night, as attendees, event volunteers, and donors. We, as a company, are united in our support for Food Lifeline.

 

Food Lifeline’s mission goes hand and hand with our own values. We design affordable housing of many types—from workforce housing to transitional housing—because we strive to provide stability and security to those suffering in the US housing crisis. Many of the people we are hoping to impact through our housing projects are also facing food insecurity.

 

And for some of us, food insecurity is an issue that hits close to home.

 

In 2010, Dave Heater and his husband welcomed their son into their family through open adoption, choosing to cultivate a lifelong relationship with their son’s birth mother, Amber. Dave describes the process of open adoption like grafting a new branch onto your family tree.

 

At the time of his son’s birth, Amber was in rehab and was trying to piece her life together. She was in her early 20s and had been struggling with addiction since she was a kid. Amber already had a 3-year-old son that she was working to parent, and she recognized that she was not in the position to care for another child.

 

Since that time, Amber has gotten her life on a stable track—despite the odds stacked against her. She’s put herself through beauty school and is now a successful hairdresser and parent to two children. Dave’s son still sees her regularly and Dave thinks of her as a sister.

 

Dave knows what the food bank and the summer lunch programs meant to Amber, throughout her life. She and her family relied on these meals for survival. It is non-profits like Food Lifeline and the generosity of donors like you, that made the difference in not going hungry while balancing all the other challenges of Amber’s life as a single mom.

 

This year we aim to raise over $200,000 for Food Lifeline to feed children and families facing hunger today, and to solve hunger for tomorrow.

 

Join us at Trivia Night 2022 and be a part of the fight to end hunger in Western Washington.

 

 

 

Thank you to our 2022 sponsors:

 

AvalonBay Communities with Brian and Holly Fritz

Aegis Living

Bill Soderberg with Max Wurzburg/Windermere & Red Propeller

Cross 2 Design Group

Legacy Group

Navix Engineering

RDH Building Science, Inc.

The Walsh Group

Willamette Management Associates

Campfire Sing-a-long:

A3 Acoustics LLP

Brumbaugh & Associates

Clark Construction

Glumac

GLY Construction

Howard S. Wright, a Balfour Beatty company

objekts

PCL Construction Services, Inc.

PCS Structural Solutions

Rushing Co.

Shaw Contract

Stone Source

Swinerton

Vulcan Real Estate

 

 

 

by Mackenzie Gilstrap, Sr. Marketing Coordinator

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