Promotions Announcement 2023

January 23, 2023
Recognizing and Rewarding Hard Work

Over the past year, we’ve accomplished a lot. From designing seven award-winning interior design & architecture works and completing one of the largest zero-energy affordable housing projects in the Pacific Northwest, to raising over $167,000 for Food Lifeline during the annual A.M. Trivia Night, Ankrom Moisan’s employees have been responsible for a year of immense growth and success.

 

For Exploring Beyond the Expected, 35 employees throughout our Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle offices received promotions in the last year. These outstanding employees include:

 

Compilation of headshots from Ankrom Moisan's V.P., Director, and Principal promotions

 

Executive Leadership

  • Alissa Brandt, Vice President of Interiors – Portland
  • Leah Wheary Brown, Vice President of Interior Design Strategy – Portland
  • Emily Lamunyan, Director of Marketing – Portland

Principal & Director

  • Casey Scalf, Director of The Society – Seattle
  • Matt Janssen, Architecture – Portland
  • Laurie Linville-Gregston, Architecture – Portland

 

Compilation of all Senior Associate employees promoted in 2023.

 

Senior Associates

  • Michael DiBiase, Architecture – Portland
  • Clare Goddard, Interiors – Portland
  • Stephanie Hollar, Architecture – Portland
  • Nandita Kamath, Architecture – Seattle
  • Megan Kim, Architecture – Seattle
  • Amanda Lunger, Architecture and Practice – Portland

 

Compilation of all Associate Principal employees promoted in 2023.

 

Associate Principals

  • Jenny Chapman, Architecture – Seattle
  • Scott Crosby, Architecture – Seattle
  • Francis Dardis, Architecture – Portland
  • John Eidman, Architecture – Portland
  • Tania Feliciano, Architecture – Portland
  • Cara Godwin, Architecture – Seattle
  • Bronson Graff, Architecture – Portland
  • Kimberleigh Grimm, Architecture – Seattle
  • Rick Heiserman, Architecture and Practice – Portland
  • Scott Hopkins, Architecture – San Francisco
  • Jason Jones, Architecture – Portland
  • John Schupp, Architecture – Portland
  • Sean Scott, Architecture – Portland

 

Compilation of all Associate employees promoted in 2023.

 

Associates

  • Hans Fagerlund, Architecture – Seattle
  • Doug Grove, Architecture – Seattle
  • Jessica Kirshner, Interiors – Portland
  • Michael Lama, Architecture – Seattle
  • Keith Larson, Practice – Portland
  • Sakura Moriya, Interiors – Portland
  • Annabelle Nikolov, Architecture – Seattle
  • Melanie Pakingan, Architecture – Seattle
  • Christie Thorpe, Interiors – Portland

 

Business Services

  • Minh-Toan Vu, Junior Systems Administrator – Seattle

 

For all your hard work, it is our pleasure to say, congratulations. Thank you for being what makes Ankrom Moisan a top design firm and best place to work, not to mention a source of inspiration and community to many. We look forward to witnessing the heights you will reach in 2023.

 

Black and white headshot of Jack Cochran, the author of this blog post.

 

by Jack Cochran, Marketing Coordinator

 

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Living Our Hows (5 of 6): Share Openly

December 21, 2022
Tips for Successful Mentorships

Ankrom Moisan takes our Hows very seriously. Our Hows are the values by which we work and play. This post explores Share Openly and is one of a six-part series that touches on our Hows and the way they come to life at AM. Stay tuned for future blog posts revealing more about AM’s Hows. 

 

At Ankrom Moisan we highly value and prioritize mentoring relationships to share skills, create career growth and nurture our culture. Over the course of testing and establishing a mentorship program the past two-years, the most successful and beneficial mentorships embody leading and learning between both individuals. When a mentorship relationship is established without dedicated “mentor/mentee” roles, both individuals can remain receptive, which allows for open communication and knowledge sharing resulting in everyone’s growth. 

 

Roberta Pennington, Senior Associate Interior Designer at Ankrom Moisan, has this to say about her experience with mentorship: 

 

“My mentorship team consists of two people who are not related to my area of practice. With their neutral view, I was able to see my contributions to the team and the firm out of context. Our conversations helped me to better understand what role I want to pursue and, even better, redefine the roles that were available.

 

Apart from the professional advice, it’s reassuring to see my colleagues are human and have similar stressors related to family and health. My mentors/mentees helped me to manage expectations around being healthy and successfully performing my job.

 

We still meet quarterly despite each of our respective busy schedules. I love this commitment we made. It’s attainable and shows we care about the other’s well-being.” 

 

two women sitting together, smiling over paperwork

 

The following tips support this method of mentorship: 

 

Be Open to Vulnerability:

When genuinely connecting with one another, it can feel truly vulnerable to share openly about the successes and ever so humbling lessons being learned at any given time. We’re putting ourselves out there when we invite another to problem solve with us, while knowing that we each bring something to the solution, and that neither person needs to have all the answers to every question. When we meet with a professional outside of our department, or when we invite guest speakers to address goals beyond our scope or abilities, we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, which opens us up to further mutual growth and connection. 

 

Value the Mutual Commitment:

Showing up is a first step, but a commitment to the mentorship also means being prepared to answer questions and share experiences mutually. Respecting one another’s time is also integral to the mentorship. To do so create recurring meetings in advance, honor this reserved time, and communicate clearly when you need to reschedule.  

 

Establish Goals:

Determine where the mentorship will take place, and for how long. Within the mutually agreed-upon boundaries, share your interests, strengths, and weaknesses with each other. Conversations that encompass these vulnerable topics can foster an environment in which you can better establish goals and review them together. Thereby offering opportunities to both shore each other up and hold one another accountable. Create a road map of topics you will discuss, along with activities to share as learning experiences.  

 

Good Questions:

Sharing openly leaves room to take initiative to lead the conversation and actively listen. Have meaningful questions prepared so you can uncover the insight you are looking to gather. Don’t be afraid to dig deep and listen with intent! Unexpected jewels can be uncovered when the right questions are asked.  

 

Express Gratitude:

Take the time to discuss what you have learned from each other, and express gratitude for the time invested in you. When the opportunity arises, speak positively of each other to others. When gratitude is expressed the positive effects ripple outward. And don’t forget to celebrate achievements together!  

 

Using this method of mentorship at Ankrom Moisan has made the workplace a welcoming environment. Every member of the team has talents and skills to be shared and can create a stronger connection. Growth is achieved at a rapid rate with mutual respect and understanding! 

 

 

by Kaci Mespelt, Interior Designer, and 

 

Roberta Pennington, Senior Associate Interior Designer

 

📸: Cheryl Mcintosh, featured image

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Living Our Hows (4 of 6): Client Trust

December 14, 2022
Expertise and Reliability Strengthen Client Relationships

Ankrom Moisan takes our Hows very seriously. Our Hows are the values by which we work and play. This post explores Trust and is one of a six-part series that touches on our Hows and the way they come to life at AM. Stay tuned for future blog posts revealing more about AM’s Hows.

 

Mint-green Victorian-style birdhouse with heart-shaped hole in gable.

 

At AM, we are proud that most of our clients are return customers. Or, they have been referred to us by a happy customer. Clients come to us after the market has changed or their businesses have evolved – and, right now, whose hasn’t? It’s humbling when someone reaches out to us for help – and, to honor this, we ground our relationships in TRUST.

 

Client relationships based in trust allow both parties to be a bit vulnerable. They allow us to dig deeper when strategizing to get to the heart of the matter. These in-depth and intimate conversations uncover the key drivers of a project and are used to craft spaces that truly resonate. Client trust gives us the freedom to go beyond our “first good idea” and offer more avenues to consider.

 

Clients who believe they are being led by a dependable team, feel at ease with the process of a project. At AM, it is our teams’ responsibility to create this sense of ease by sharing our experience, mentoring each other, and staying curious by researching contemporary trends within our industries. Our expertise resides in several market sectors – from workplace to housing to hospitality – and this cross-discipline perspective allows us to see synergies between markets.  Design strategies for one project type are informed by the insights of another – creating the multi-dimensional experience that so many are seeking in today’s market.

 

Central to creating trust with anyone is consistency. At AM, we strive to create a customer experience that is enjoyable for everyone; we do our best to be approachable and available to our clients, to be enthusiastic and reliable, honest, and genuine. It is a part of our DNA to work from this perspective and it allows clients to create their own journeys – trusting that we are here as guides during the process.

 

 

by Laura Serecin, Associate/Interior Designer

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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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Living Our Hows (3 of 6): Be Yourself

November 17, 2022
This Girl is on Fire

Ankrom Moisan takes our Hows very seriously. Our Hows are the values by which we work and play. This post explores Be Yourself and is one of a six-part series that touches on our Hows and the way they come to life at AM. Stay tuned for future blog posts revealing more about AM’s Hows.

 

Celebrating Roberta Pennington and her Influences on Interior Design

 

Ankrom Moisan takes our Hows very seriously. Our Hows are the values by which we work and play. This post explores Be Yourself and is one of a six-part series that touches on our Hows and the way they come to life at AM. Stay tuned for future blog posts revealing more about AM’s Hows.

 

In the Fall of 2021, we proudly announced on social media that Roberta Pennington, NCIDQ was awarded the Legacy Award for the 2021 IIDA Oregon Design Excellence Awards.

 

 

Since arriving in Portland over 20 years ago, Roberta has been a leading advocate for the interior design profession, having served many terms on both IDC Oregon and IIDA Oregon Chapter Boards as a voice for interior design advocacy all over the United States. Her colleagues credit her with possessing vast knowledge and contagious enthusiasm, bringing excitement, and understanding to legislative efforts. Roberta puts a fun spin on everyday advocacy, hosting a podcast that dissects movies and TV shows featuring interior designers, and discussing how they do or do not represent the reality of the profession.

 

Over the years, Roberta has touched many lives through mentorship and community involvement. She helped develop a mentorship program within Ankrom Moisan, which was successfully adopted across all three offices. She is credited with having a management style that fosters immense and rapid growth in junior designers and making everyone she works with feel valued. She openly shares her personal and professional experiences with others, helping our design community to know we’re in this together. Her personal stories bring levity to a seemingly serious, deadline and deals driven industry.

 

The testimony of those who nominated Roberta for this award in excellence is compelling. From many sources it has been made clear that Roberta is constantly stepping up and helping when needed. That she is dependable and responsible, and always stays true to herself, maintaining a rare authenticity. She embodies everything a leader should be.

 

With a theatrical background, Roberta brings big ideas to the table and loves to dream of the impossible and work to make it a reality. She also wants everyone to be heard and never shuts anyone down. No idea is a bad idea to her; she welcomes all with enthusiasm and helps to understand why it would or wouldn’t work for a project. Her experience in set design and theatre, her sharp wit and legendary sense of humor, and her myriad of extracurricular interests keep her busy. These inform her design directions, and she brings a truly unique perspective to every project she works on. Roberta is an active advocate for interior design. She can whip out her elevator speech to explain to anyone what commercial interior designers do day-to-day and overall. She’s a great role model for how to communicate the importance of the role in the industry.

 

Roberta hails from Youngstown, OH and is proud of her upbringing. When a childhood friend announced that he was hoping to open a community theatre in her hometown, she dove into action. She assisted him with selecting a site and campaigned to the Executive Leadership Committee at Ankrom for use of our VIZ Team Services so that this project could have top tier 3D renderings for their community outreach and funding programs. This project is currently underway.

 

Roberta is the Geek in the details of interior design. She loves BOMA, egress calculations, technical details, and code compliance. She is exceptionally educated and experienced in these areas. These interior design skillsets provide great contrast to the universal myth that interior designers’ only skill is to “pick out” finishes. Roberta takes every chance she can to challenge the many misconceptions of the interior design industry, through conversation, podcasts, educational campaigns, advocacy and leadership. She slays misconceptions with her quit wit, expertise and signature charm. Through seeing commercial interior design as having an impact on the humans that interact with the spaces that we create, she is forever a spokesperson for design, its importance and the impact it has on our community.

 

Roberta has clearly impacted the industry by inspiring those around her and has already made an indelible difference to the profession of Interior Design, as well as to the people she encounters in her advocacy and playful approach to life.

 

View her IIDA Oregon Chapter video feature and be sure to check out her podcast @starchitectspodcast.

 

 

content provided by IIDA Oregon Chapter

 

edited by Kerstyn Smith Olson, Content 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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Living Our Hows (2 of 6): Have Fun with It

October 12, 2022
Working Playfully

Ankrom Moisan takes our Hows very seriously. Our Hows are the values by which we work and play. This post explores Have Fun with It and is one of a six-part series that touches on our Hows and the way they come to life at AM. Stay tuned for future blog posts revealing more about AM’s Hows.

 

Roberta Pennington, Senior Associate Interior Designer at Ankrom Moisan, also currently holds the title of Vice President of Advocacy of the IIDA Oregon Chapter, as well as the illustrious honor of Judges Choice at Rose City Comic Con Cosplay Contest. Roberta has been involved in IIDA for quite a while; a dozen years ago she was President of the Oregon Chapter, and in the intervening years she has forged many connections and continues to advocate for better legislation for the Interior Designer profession. She is passionate about the spirit of collaboration, solving problems, and doing it with flair.

 

Roberta Pennington, NCIDQ, Senior Associate

Roberta Pennington, NCIDQ, Senior Associate

 

Roberta used to do theatre set design where she earned a scrappy, can-do, go-get-em attitude that has translated quite well to her career with interior design. She prides herself on her spry professional reflexes, and ability to maintain a friendly, approachable, and collaborative attitude, especially when drumming up interest and activism for her chosen vocation. While the ofttimes heavy subjects of laws, law-making and legislation can be overwhelming and at times dry, Roberta has found that the advocacy that she’s so passionate about brings folks together, and that the Oregon Chapter is a unique bunch. Sandwiched between two large chapters of WA/ID/MO/AK/BC and Northern and Southern CA, the Oregon Chapter is unapologetically themselves, different from the rest. Similar to AM the Oregon Chapter promotes fun and people connection in their pursuits.

 

Roberta Pennington in her skogsra costume

 

Case in point, recently Roberta was at the helm of the IIDA advocacy fundraiser, Once Upon a Time… We Bowled! at a local bowling alley in Southeast Portland. IIDA members got together to raise funds for the advocacy of interior design regulation and legislation. Members donned their favorite fairytale and fantasy-themed costumes (think Ren Faire, and Comic Con), enjoyed good food, great company and bowled frames together. There was a large raffle, community, and much camaraderie with colleagues. Roberta enjoyed the connections she was making and renewing and mingling while dressed in her skogsra costume. There was a large picture frame photo op, where participants showed off their best costumes and their advocacy support with signs with slogans like “We Support Interior Design Advocacy Because…” with an invitation to fill in the blank. There was a legislator lookup station where stamped postcards to state representatives were provided, since local politics are of the upmost importance when trying to affect change. This event proved to be a quirky blast; hugely successful in community outreach and advocacy, fun had by all.

 

A designer sporting elf ears

 

Interior design advocates unite!

 

All this to say, Roberta embodies the value of Have Fun with It in many facets of her life. You too may create opportunities to dress as a fairytale creature in your professional life.

 

 

by Kerstyn Smith Olson, Content Coordinator

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Better Together

September 20, 2022
A Firm-Wide Celebration of Design

Every year, around this time, we gather as a firm and celebrate design. It’s like an Ankrom Moisan holiday. A week-long tradition we’ve all come to know and love—AM Design Week.

 

This year’s theme was aptly labeled “Better Together.” And the mission was simple: share, have fun, be yourself, and embrace change.

 

Opportunities to join in workshops, collaborative exercises and group discussions were sprinkled throughout the week so that AM staff could connect, share ideas, and improve each other’s work.

 

 

Some of us gathered over Zoom for an origami workshop hosted by an instructor in Japan, others participated in a guided collaboration exercise, or joined in one of the many happy hours—on a rooftop in Portland, in a Seattle speakeasy, or at a San Francisco tapas bar. There were neighborhood walkabouts, design critiques, interactive collages, and so much more. In fact, there were more than 15 activities organized across our three offices.

 

After the week was over, Kerstyn—AM Content Coordinator—told us that “as a fully remote employee, the opportunity to connect playfully with others at AM was welcome and offered many moments of creativity to look forward to.”

 

 

And it really was FUN! Perhaps the best way to illustrate just how much we laughed during Design Week (besides showing you the pictures) is to share a few of the fan favorite “proverbs” we collaboratively generated during our AArdvark Design Labs workshops:

 

“Sometimes people have ideas from the brain that transcend time and wavelengths.”

“Don’t forget to remember how a dog sees the bathroom before eating.”

 

“The AArdvark workshop was entertaining and illuminating, with back-and-forth between small groups, focusing together on rapid-fire improvisation” Kerstyn added. “Design Week was a treasure-trove of connection, conversation, and collaboration.”

 

 

 

 

by Mackenzie Gilstrap, Sr. Marketing Coordinator

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Employee Spotlight: Jennifer Sobieraj Sanin

August 24, 2022
Empowering Others

Empathetic, balanced, and calm—three words you’ll hear from Jennifer Sobieraj Sanin’s team if you ask them to describe her leadership style.

 

This month we’re excited to be spotlighting Jen, an architect and Managing Design Principal in our Seattle office. In her eleven years with AM, Jen has come to stand out as a female role model in architecture due to her unwavering advocacy for her teams, and for women in particular.

 

Jen approaches her leadership position with the intention to empower others. She creates an environment conducive to growth by “letting others get creative and do their best work,” as one of her colleagues has noted, “while at the same time staying engaged and providing feedback that guides the project in the right direction and helps you grow as a designer.”

 

We asked Jen to share her advice for emerging professionals in the industry. Here’s what she told us:

 

1. Be an advocate for yourself. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinions and ask for opportunities.

 

2. Find your mentor—someone who will offer guidance and stand up for you when you need it. Check in with them regularly.

 

3. Don’t change yourself to fit into a higher-level role. There is room for you to become a leader while doing what you love and are good at. A great leadership role will be flexible enough to match your skills and passions.

 

 

by Mackenzie Gilstrap, Sr. Marketing Coordinator

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Spotlight: Intern Jules Stafford

August 9, 2022
An interview with Jules Stafford, Summer Intern at Ankrom Moisan

Q: Tell us what you learned through your summer internship at Ankrom Moisan.

 

A: This summer, I’ve gotten the chance to work on so many different projects, participate in client meetings, go on site visits, and get to know some wonderful people. I’ve learned so much this summer, but one of the biggest things I’ve learned is how to be the best designer I can be. I’ve learned to step out of my comfort zone and be open to new experiences and lessons. I hope that as I step into my career I will continue to learn; pulling from all of the lessons and experiences I’ve had here at Ankrom Moisan!

 

Q: What was the biggest surprise you experienced?

 

A: How welcoming and kind everyone I met has been! I was definitely intimidated to walk into a large Architecture and Interior Design firm as a summer intern, but all of the designers and architects have been so kind. I remember walking in on my first day and it was as if everyone had known me for years. Everyone is ready to jump whenever I have any questions, ask me for my opinion, and trust me with decisions. They have become great mentors and have treated me so extremely well. It’s been such an amazing surprise.

 

Q: What story do you think you will tell all of your classmates?

 

A: At George Fox University, we have a tight knit group of Interior Design majors. My cohort is small, but we’re growing, so I want to give reassurance to my peers.  As students, it can be overwhelming to walk into a firm and need to learn so many new things, so fast. Suddenly you’re aware of just how much you don’t know. So, a story I would tell my peers is how I’ve learned, despite my fears, that I am capable of so much. We are learning exactly what we need to learn. All the projects and homework is so helpful and valuable. I’m excited to go into my last year with everything I’ve learned and work on new projects.

 

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Employee Spotlight: Ryan Miyahira

July 13, 2022
Hitting the Right Notes

Ankrom Moisan Managing Principal Ryan Miyahira recently hosted AM’s second annual Pickathon, a video showcase of the firm’s many talented musicians.

 

 

We chatted with Ryan, who is a talented musician himself, to hear more about the inspiration behind AM Pickathon, an event he not only hosts but also created and produces.

 

Q. What’s your musical background and how did Pickathon come about?

 

A. I’ve been playing music since I was a kid. I had a band in high school and another in college, playing mostly 80s indie music. After college, my wife, Lara, and I started a band called the Hip Replacements. We cover old r&b and soul music. We’ve performed at several Ankrom Moisan Christmas parties and still play the occasional bar gig.

 

One of my favorite things to do is to go see live music. During the pandemic, we watched a lot of streaming concerts and I thought it would be fun to do an Ankrom version. I’ve had the chance to play music with other AM employees so I knew that we had a lot of musical talent in the firm. I wanted to show off those hidden talents in a fun way.

 

Q. How long have you been with AM and what has motivated you to stay?

 

A. I’ve been with AM for 22 years. Back in 2000 when I was looking for a job, the most important thing to me was to find the coolest group of people. I was looking for creative, hardworking, and fun people that wanted to do their best, but were also easygoing enough to have a good time while doing it. That’s how I landed at AM. I’ve noticed that it seems to perpetuate itself—a group of good people is like a magnet that attracts more good people. That’s what has motivated me to stay for so long.

 

I also appreciate that it’s been a very supportive and fun environment where you can make your own way. There’s so much room for passion and exploration at AM. If you have an idea, like hosting a Pickathon, and the drive to do it then the firm will support it.

 

 

 

 

by Mackenzie Gilstrap, Sr. Marketing Coordinator

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Virtual Reality

June 22, 2022
Conveying the Nuances of Design

Our incredible in-house visualization team is testing out some VR upgrades! Virtual reality has proven to be a valuable design tool for our teams so we’re expanding our capabilities with new equipment. Soon, we’ll have upgraded VR stations in each of our three offices.

 

So, how do we use VR?

 

VR allows our designers to get a true sense for the scale and feel of a space as they are designing it—adding efficiency and improving end results. For instance, virtually walking through a unit during the programming stage helps inform early layout and square footage decisions so that costly last-minute changes can be avoided and the resulting unit design will better meet pricing expectations.

 

It also helps our interior designers to visualize details previously left to the imagination such as how flooring patterns would look repeated on large scales or how the placement of a lighting fixture might affect the overall feel of a space. Getting these small details right leads to a more cohesive and intentional end-product.

 

By providing our clients the opportunity to experience different design variations within their projects, we can aid their decision-making processes. While designing Olympic Tower, a luxury senior-living high-rise in Seattle, we gave our client, Transforming Age, the opportunity to tour the building two years before the project even broke ground. After using VR to experience the tower’s premier amenity, a performance hall, the client realized the scale was not what they had imagined. As a result, we increased the ceiling height, changed the dimensions of the stage and adjusted the lighting. VR helped convey the nuances of the design so the client could make informed decisions on where to allocate resources, and they didn’t have to experience any surprises during construction.

 

 

 

 

 

by Mackenzie Gilstrap, Sr. Marketing Coordinator

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Employee Spotlight: Lori Kellow

June 16, 2022
Exploration Leading to Success

Lori Kellow, Ankrom Moisan’s longest standing employee, has been with the firm since 1985. After a nearly 37-year tenure, Lori has a uniquely broad perspective on the architecture industry and Ankrom Moisan’s place within it. We recently sat down with Lori to hear her insights. Lori touches on what the industry was like for women in the ’80s and how technology has changed the design process.

 

 

Q. What is the biggest industry change you’ve seen since you started working at AM?

 

A. Technology, absolutely. In just the past few decades the standard design process has shifted from primarily utilizing manual tools, such as hand-drafting equipment, to being almost entirely computer-based. To research and draw using technology is so powerful. I remember when we had to visit the library and flip through physical binders, the Sweet catalogues, to find products to specify. Now all this information is right at our fingertips and efficiency has just soared because of it.

 

 

Q. What has motivated you to work at AM for 37 years?

 

A. In the mid-80s it was still very difficult for women, especially in architecture, to get a seat at the table. At Ankrom Moisan it was different, leadership showed me from day one that my opinions and ideas were valued. I’ve always been treated with respect and paid commensurate to my skills.

 

It was within 3 years at the firm, in 1988, that I was promoted to Principal, becoming the first woman in a leadership role. In the many years since, I have not lost that feeling of being valued and the sense of opportunity. I believe that if you have passion and drive, there are not many roadblocks to growth and success at Ankrom Moisan.

 

 

Q. What is your advice for professionals beginning their careers in the architecture and design industry?

 

A. Explore. I am a firm believer that you must try as much as you possibly can in order to find your passion. I spent years working on diverse project types and taking on varying roles. Eventually I discovered my passion for social service healthcare projects. I find a great deal of fulfillment in creating places that help people heal. Through exploration, I’ve also realized I am especially adept at big-picture thinking and I prefer to do schematic design work. I’m fortunate enough to work with a firm that has allowed me the freedom to explore and provided the opportunity to tailor my role to match my strengths and passions.

 

 

by Mackenzie Gilstrap, Sr. Marketing Coordinator

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Project Pin-ups

June 7, 2022
Opportunities for Collaboration

In pursuit of the best solutions, we create opportunities for collaboration.

 

After all this time meeting and sharing ideas through screens, we are thrilled to be able to collaborate in-person again.

 

Designers from our Portland office got together recently for a charrette at the pin-up wall—sharing design concept ideas for our on boards project, Fairfield Burnside. Through discussion of neighborhood context and influences, the team began generating a diverse scheme of building concepts for this upcoming 8-story mixed-use development.

 

 

by Mackenzie Gilstrap, Sr. Marketing Coordinator

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Ankrom Moisan’s Community Service

May 10, 2022
Old Town Cleanup

Old Town Cleanup Community Service, Ankrom Moisan Represents!

 

Many of our employees provide valuable time, skills and efforts on meaningful activities in and around our communities. In March there was a cleanup of Old Town, Ankrom Moisan’s Portland Office neighborhood, organized by SOLVE, an Oregon non-profit, and Ankrom Moisan employees were there!

 

Volunteers organized at the Portland offices that morning, and SOLVE provided trash collection tools. A big thank you to all who contributed time and energy to the Old Town Cleanup!

 

Which organizations and services do you champion with your time and energy?

 

📸: Jason Roberts, Laura Seracin

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Sustainability & Ankrom Moisan Interiors

March 1, 2022
An interview with Erica Buss, Ankrom Moisan’s Research & Information Services Manager

Q: What efforts are Ankrom Moisan making to provide better information and resources when it comes to sustainability?

 

A: Ankrom Moisan was an early signatory to the AIA Materials Pledge, which encourages architects and designers to shift the way we evaluate the products and finishes we specify; taking into consideration the materials to improve the health of ourselves and our planet.

 

Erica curates and maintains a list of resources for our interior designers and architects to easily reference as they are evaluating and looking for the most appropriate product or material for their project. She also coordinates and organizes our vendor presentations and educational sessions; selecting topics around sustainability and healthy materials. The library prioritizes and highlights products to support human health, social equity, climate health, and a circular economy.”

 

Members of our sustainability reform group are also active members of the Portland Materials Transparency Collaborative (PMTC) and the Healthy Materials Collaborative (HMC). Both provide education, tools, and resources collected by our local A+D Communities. Additionally, this group works toward reformatting our specification template to make healthier and more sustainable choices the default. As part of that exercise, the team has created internal resources for prioritizing and selecting sustainable materials, such as resilient flooring.

 

Our firm sponsored eight interior designers to complete the Parsons Healthier Materials and Sustainable Buildings Certificate Program. This is a four-course program that allowed the designers to take a deep dive into sustainable material selections and bring enthusiasm and knowledge back to the firm, to their projects and clients. The designers who participated in this course were Jamie Kreger, Clare Goddard, Maddy Gorman, Ruth Bernal, Seaian Wood, Laura Serecin, Kaci Mespelt, Sydney Ellison. Ankrom hopes to have more interior designers complete this course in the future.

 

 

Q: Other firms have opted to remove all Redlist products from their library – Is this something that Ankrom Moisan is considering? Why or why not?

 

A: This is something that Ankrom is exploring as a firm-wide initiative, though we haven’t made the leap yet. The library is a resource to serve the designers and their projects. Steps in this direction that have been implemented were with PVC. We removed vinyl fabrics from the library and created a dedicated section for PVC-fee wallcovering. We also highlighted flooring products that are PVC free and/or provide full disclosure of material content to make it easier for our design staff to specify healthier flooring choices.

 

 

 

Q: How can we as designers do more to incorporate salvaged materials or encourage material reuse rather than replacing them with new ones?

 

A: Ankrom Moisan has relationships with a handful of salvaged wood brands in the region, as well as a salvaged metal fabricator.

 

As an interior design group, we collectively understand the importance of building relationships with local salvage companies to incorporate more reused materials into projects rather than buying new ones. We have an ongoing discussion to share experiences or ideas on how we can work with existing conditions and materials creatively to effectively reuse them in projects.

 

 

Q: What tools and resources are available to designers to help us educate our clients about the importance of using sustainable products and implementing sustainable practices?

 

A: Our greatest resource is the designer’s ability to strategically engage with the client and draw out what their values are around sustainability, equity, human health, and then being able to link those values back to your material selection strategy. Does the client have an Environmental, Social and corporate Governance (ESG) framework or vision that you can point to and say, “this is how healthier material selection can support your sustainability goals?” And then prioritize, together with the client, what aspects of sustainability you are going to focus on in your material selection, whether that’s human health, carbon emissions, social equity, DEI, etc. In the end, you work with the client to establish a goal around material selection and then use your material expertise and influence as a designer to execute on that goal. You also need the construction team on board, so they are on the same page when product substitutions are suggested.

 

 

Q: Where do you see the future of sustainability in Interior Design and Architecture? Do you see any changes on the horizon when it comes to how our industry approaches sustainability?

 

A: The conversation around climate change and sustainability is becoming more mainstream both within and outside the industry. Erica attributes this to the influence of Gen Z, who highly values sustainability, high-quality products that last longer, social equity, racial justice, and environmental responsibility. “They live these values in their consumer spending choices, where they chose to work, how they travel, etc. They have a positive influence on brands and manufacturers, pushing for change. They get it, they are listening, and the brands who want to remain relevant and stay in the game are trying to change and make products that match these values with processes and materials that are carbon positive, safe for humans, the environment, and society.”

 

We are seeing more and more businesses adopt Environmental, Social, and corporate Governance (ESG) mentioned in the previous question. This is a rating system developed by the United Nations that scores a company’s social and environmental factors. This is used to make informed choices around investments and future growth. As more and more companies adopt this the design industry will need to respond to help our clients make choices that align with their values and priorities.

 

 

Erica Buss, Senior Associate, Research & Information Services Manager

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Employee Spotlight: Keith Larson

December 17, 2021
Professional Modeler Extraordinaire

Did you know Ankrom Moisan has an in-house model maker?

 

Meet Keith Larson. While he’s been working as a professional modeler since the 1990s, his craft started as a kid playing with LEGO sets. To say he is detail-oriented is an understatement.

 

 

From making props on movie sets to creating 1/32” scale replicas of commercial airliners, Keith has an incredible portfolio from which he draws inspiration. Although his career has taken him through a broad spectrum of industries, his love for architecture and design has continued to bring him back to this world.

 

Since starting with Ankrom Moisan in 2016, Keith has collaborated with our project teams on models small and large, simple and complex. With such a diversity in markets and locations, every project brings something unique to the workbench.

 

When we asked our in-house model maker Keith Larson to share his current projects, Sandy Health Center was top of mind. The 1/16” scale finished type model includes scale people—a first for Keith’s work at the firm. Filled with details, the steep pitched roof was a particular challenge. Cutting the individual angles by hand and seamlessly assembling each piece was a personal triumph.

 

Keith worked very closely with the architecture team to ensure each detail was correct. The finished model represents a 9,500 sq. ft. facility that consolidates primary care, behavioral health, and dental services into one location. Following the Sandy Design Guidelines, the final architecture is a modern take on a rustic aesthetic.

 

 

🎬: Ankrom Moisan

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AM Design Week 2020

September 23, 2020
In Conjunction with Seattle Design Festival: About Time

For Seattle Design Festival’s 10th anniversary in August, 2020, our Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco offices celebrated Design Week virtually. Over five days, we explored what drew us to design, the realties of this present time, and the many ways our neighborhoods and cities are changing. We shared over 400 photos, 500 posts, and 1,829 emojis. At time when connecting with people isn’t easy, Design Week gave us a chance to see the world through each other’s eyes.

 

Here’s a tiny sample of what we shared.

 

 

 

 

 

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