Q&A Session with Dave Jones

Sitting at his desk on the second floor all day, doing the things that electrical designers do, we haven’t had a chance to get to know Dave Jones much yet. So this week, we took the opportunity!



Tell me about your background.

Well, I am originally from Dayton, Ohio, but I was born in New Orleans and still have family there. When I started college, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life, so I spent my first two years with an undecided major. I knew I was good in math and tried several related majors. Engineering just seemed to stick and I graduated from the University of Dayton with a degree in it. I moved to Indianapolis in 2000 after graduation.

What inspires you?
Taking care of my family is definitely the biggest driving factor in my life. I firmly believe that I must be good at my job and succeed professionally to provide well for them. I have been married to my wife, Jennifer, for 10 years. Together, we have Zoe, 10, and twin 7-year-olds, Davey and Samantha.

And, like anyone else, it’s nice to be recognized for a job well done.







What do you do in your free time?
I used to play sports a lot, but I recently blew out both knees at a trampoline park. I was entertaining the kids with slam dunks and managed to rupture both patellar tendons on my fourth dunk. I had to have both knees surgically repaired and was bedridden. When I finally regained some mobility, I had to use a walker, complete with tennis balls on the bottom to avoid scuffing the floors.








What’s your favorite book?
I really enjoy “The Stand” by Stephen King.

Do you collect anything?
Do gray hairs count?

Do you keep anything special at your desk?
I have several bottles of hot sauce because I like my tongue to burn. If I had to choose, I would say my favorite is Cholula, though it isn’t necessarily the hottest. I also have Valentina, Frank’s, Tabasco, and Tapatio.

What is your favorite hidden activity or place to go in Indianapolis?
Since blowing out my knees, I look weird when I run—like a robot or something. Because of that, I had to find a new exercise routine, and I took up biking. I found this dirt road just off 96th Street, just west of Allisonville Road. There are some great trails back there.

Do you have a dream vacation?
I would love to visit Spain, try paella made the right way, and see the beautiful architecture there. Unfortunately, my wife doesn’t share the same vision.

It was such fun to sit down and talk with Dave. If you ever get the chance, give him a call. You might get lucky and he would be willing to share some of that hot sauce with you!

Also learn about Sarah Hempstead, David Logan, Tricia SmithCharlie WilsonTom NeffSteve Siroky, and Joe Redar

Q&A Session with Joe Redar

Spending just a few minutes with Joe Redar, Project Architect with Schmidt Associates, and you will recognize the intensity with which he approaches life. From his days in architecture school to his time at Schmidt Associates, Joe has known what he wanted and hasn’t hesitated to pursue it. Not so long ago, we had a chance to get to know him a bit better.


Tell me about your background.
I grew up in Lake County, but was ready for a change of scenery so my future wife and I relocated to Columbia, South Carolina. Though I was pursuing a career in education at the time, I got the itch and switched paths to pursue Architecture as a profession. I chose to go to the University of Kentucky because they had a competitive exam as part of the requirements into the program. That really impressed me; it seemed they were going to attract people with similar drive to me. I completed a 5-year bachelor’s program and immediately started working in the field.

Why architecture?
While I was in college studying education, I managed a camera shop and developed pictures. We oftentimes got professionally shot architecture and engineering photos. Seeing those projects coming up and out of the ground inspired me. I had always been a Lego kid with an interest in drawing. Those photographs rekindled the interest in architecture and engineering from my childhood.

What makes you tick?
I try to get the most out of every moment I can—whether home or work, I try to make each minute count. I get up with the mindset that I am going to use every minute of my day, or as much as is reasonable, anyway. I recognize that downtime is important, but I enjoy being pushed to expand my abilities. That is part of what I love about Schmidt Associates, they encourage my growth, both personally and professionally.

What do you do in your free time?
Music is really big in my life—contemporary bluegrass to be exact. Going to school in Kentucky, there were a lot of free bluegrass festivals.  My wife and I attended them often and still try to get to a couple a year.

Do you travel?
When I was in architecture school, my professor thought it would be an interesting experience for us to go to Cuba. He was right. I was fascinated by the way they maintained their buildings, cars, everything. Because the government was hindering their economic growth, the area was a faded glory of the 1950s, perfectly preserved in a time capsule. I imagine if I were to return now, it would be totally different.

Otherwise, I have been many places, but I think my favorite vacation is spent hiking.

What’s your favorite place to go in Indy?
Heidelburg Haus, a German bakery and café off Pendleton Pike. It is such a cool spot. The whole place is packed with things—beer steins and other weird, interesting German stuff. And they have excellent coffee too!

Joe and his wife, Julie have been married 19 years and have two kids—Ben, 16, and Liv, 12.








Also learn about Sarah Hempstead, David Logan, Tricia SmithCharlie WilsonTom Neff, and Steve Siroky

Q&A Session with Steve Siroky

Steve Siroky—Construction Delivery Systems Manager—fits right in surrounded by a world of hard hats, construction equipment, and contractors. But then you talk to him and it is apparent there is so much more to him. Recently, we sat down to get to know him a bit better.




Let’s start with your background.
Well, I am a graduate of Oregon-Davis Schools in Hamlet, Indiana. I tried to go to Wabash College for a year, when I realized that I just wasn’t the all-male school type. I left the college, took a year off and traveled the southwest for four months. I returned to Purdue University and studied construction management. A week following graduation, I married my wife, Susan (who I met at Purdue). I started my professional career in residential construction, then I moved into pool and church construction. Eventually, I landed at Schmidt Associates.







So, have you been on any interesting job sites along the way?
Of course, they are all interesting in their own way! However, I lived in Singapore for 9 months during the construction of the Marina Bay Sands Sky Park Pool, Singapore. It was always about 90 degrees with 90% humidity. That took me weeks to get used to that climate—I couldn’t go outside for more than a couple of hours per day in the beginning.

What do you do in your free time?
Susan has been begging me to get a hobby for years. Inspired by a Schmidt Academy (internal training program) about container gardening, I started preparing our backyard for a garden and I started a hazelnut grove (12 trees) back there too. I also spend a significant amount of my time working with the Via de Cristo—a 3-day Christian movement started by the Lutherans in the early 80s.

Do you travel?
Yes, my wife and I travel A LOT and will have hit all 50 states before the end of the decade. I think my favorite place is Bali—an island and province of Indonesia. We went there immediately following my job in Singapore. It was perfect weather, surrounded by beautiful beaches and mountains. Since it is a mountain island, everything had been terraced, which made the landscape even more beautiful. And its location near the equator meant that they had a completely different landscape than we see normally.

Do you keep anything special at your desk?
My wife took up pencil drawing a few years ago, so I keep a few of her drawings here. I also have a photograph of my grandfather (my mother’s father). It’s a picture of the two of us when I was five. He was my inspiration to go into construction, as he was a carpenter by trade and built cabinets. Growing up, we lived on the farm in a house down the road from him. My sister and I went there every Friday night to play poker, eat popcorn, and watch westerns.

SteveSIroky_hazelnut     SteveSiroky_gpa







Grandpa and I also did a lot of projects. I remember this one time, we tried to build a satellite dish, but could never get it to work. This was probably around 1980 when new a 6’ dish was $10,000, so I decided I wanted to build one. We were never able to get the concave form right, so it never worked. I am sure Grandpa knew it was never going to work, but he did it with me anyway.

Just a few minutes with Steve and you will instantly see that he is a wonderful story teller and has so much to share. If you get a few minutes, feel free to give him a call!


Also learn about Sarah Hempstead, David Logan, Tricia SmithCharlie Wilson, and Tom Neff


david_for-web David Logan, Graduate Architect






Tattoos on the Heart

By Gregory Boyle

I am always on the lookout for another memoir, and in all my searching, I have yet to find one I enjoyed as much as Tattoos on the Heart. Father Boyle is a Jesuit priest working in the heart of Los Angeles who runs Homeboy Industries, a program that seeks to intervene in the lives of gang members. Boyle serves as a father figure to the gang members, both spiritually and physically. The work of Homeboy Industries includes tattoo removal, a bakery, painting (over graffiti), and a variety of other services often with former rival gang members working alongside each other. As one might expect, the banter in the book is colorful, and the events are both humorous and heartbreaking. Boyle’s reflections are warmly endearing and spiritually meaningful, and altogether, this is an incredible story of humanity seen at both its best and its worst.

DesmaDesma Belsaas, Principal






Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

By Sheryl Sandberg

This a great read for anyone. If you are not lucky enough to be a woman, you likely have a spouse, sister, daughter, friend, or co-worker who is. Being a woman can be both a blessing and a curse. Though there are many opportunities for women to succeed, there are numerous stereotypes and unconscious behaviors that are so ingrained in our society that it is difficult to overcome them. This book takes a great look at the ways we can help empower ourselves to look at how we treat women in today’s fast-paced world and what we can do to encourage their continued success.

new-staff-photoJoe Redar, Project Architect






The Snow Leopard

By Peter Matthiessen

This book is one part travel journal, one part naturalist essay, and one part spiritual quest. Ostensibly, the purpose of the journey is to study the wildlife of the Dolpo region of Nepal. Along the way deep insights are gained. The story does an excellent job of imbuing and elevating the landscape the narrator navigates through with spiritual significance. Highly recommended!

Want more recommendations?

Blog #1

Blog #2

Q&A Session with Tom Neff

TomNeffJust sitting down for a friendly conversation with Tom Neff—Principal—you can understand why he leads our K-12 Studio. It’s always an interesting education and a fantastic conversation!




Tell me about your background
I grew up in Coshocton, Ohio, and attended The Ohio State University—one of the last Beaux Arts programs in the nation—for both my undergraduate and masters in Architecture. That lead me to teaching at the University of Notre Dame (also a Beaux Arts program) and then into practicing Architecture.

Uhm, Tom … what is Beaux Arts?
It’s a very rich and lavish type of architecture. But at The Ohio State, it was a style of presentation as well. Everything was done in watercolors and freehand drawing. It is more of a classical design training process, emphasizing color theory too. All work had to be drawn and watercolored beautifully when we turned it in. Each student’s project was hung on the wall and we were asked to leave the room. At that point, the faculty would get up and throw the ugly ones on the floor. It really forced the students to take a lot of self-initiative to stay in the program.


Painting in Spain









So what inspires you?
My children and my wife. Each one is so talented and giving in their own way. I love watching them use their talents to achieve remarkable results and truly make a difference in this world.

As far as design, it needs to have a sense of meaning that reaches and pulls from the past, follows through to the present, and moves on to transform the future. A true piece of architecture is something you can always go back to, but understand something new each time. If you understand everything from the outset, then it is over. To me, there always needs to be something new to see and discover.

Tell me about your family.
I have been married to my beautiful wife, Marilyn, for 40 years. She is a speech pathologist who specializes in early intervention. The things she does to help families is absolutely incredible.

My son, Matthew, is married to Alison and they have a son, Yasir, 14. Alison had been working at a foster care agency with Yasir for several years. After his seventh foster home didn’t work out, Matthew and Alison knew he needed to join their family.

My son, James, is married to Susan, a childhood cancer survivor. As such, they are extremely active in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Together, they raised more than $100,000 for cancer research last year!

Maxx is my schnauzer mix—a pound puppy from Kokomo. We are so lucky. He is a great dog and loves to travel!

img_3574 img_3609 img_3865







What do you do in your free time?
Well, I am an avid swimmer. I aim to swim roughly 2000 yards a day. And as you might imagine, I enjoy painting, drawing, sketching, watercolors, etc. Oh yeah, and I love to cook crazy things! I think my favorites are out of Food and Wine magazine.

Do you have a favorite movie or type of music?
As an architect, I loved the movie Gladiator. The reconstruction of the Coliseum was unbelievable!

As far as music, I like it all—opera to jazz to Broadway to classic rock, country western. My playlist is a fusion of many different styles.

There is so much more to Tom than we have time to get into here—be it his travels, his love of wine, or his animated personality. If you are ever looking for a great conversation, give Tom a call!

Also learn about Sarah Hempstead, David Logan, Tricia Smith, or Charlie Wilson




megan-scott-2016 Megan Scott, Marketing Manager






The Serving Leader

By Kenneth R. Jennings and John Stahl-Wert

This book touches on five actions that can help transform your team, business, and community. It tells a great story that demonstrates what Servant Leadership (a core value at Schmidt Associates) is through real life examples. There are applicable ideas to take away from this book and use in your personal and professional lives.

Eddie Layton, Project Architect






Wizard’s First Rule

Terry Goodkind

As one who does not typically read fantasy series, this long series pulled me completely in and enthralled me. The story of a young man from the woods who discovers his identity and meaning to people he never knew even existed is a continuous adventure in a race against time to defeat evil. This series is 17 books long, so there is an overarching plot with many subplots throughout, weaving an interesting and exciting story that’ll keep your attention for days… weeks… or years. Non-traditional, fantasy characters fill this universe in which magic is a “gift” that very few individuals possess.

staff-portraits_dad1063Morgan McFarland, Communications and Digital Media Specialist






It isn’t a book, but it is something always on my shelf! I appreciate reading about what is going on around Indianapolis and the surrounding cities, whether it be new business sprouting up, politics, upcoming events, or sports (GO DAWGS!). No matter your profession or your personal interests, there is usually an article in the IBJ that effects your life somehow. Plus, it gives me a constant stream of topics to talk about with my peers.

Want more recommendations?

Blog #1

Welcome to our WOYS (What’s On Your Shelf) Series

SarahOne of my New Year’s resolutions is to take the time to read more books in 2017. Books are a way to disconnect from the hustle and bustle, allowing us to dive into another world. Or books can serve as an inspiration, a motivator, or a new perspective on life. But it can be hard to find the true gems amid the selection of almost 130,000,000 books that currently exist in the world today. So we thought it would be a good idea to start a blog series designed to help everyone find the next book to add to their reading collection: we call it “WOYS”, short for What’s on Your Shelf. Each blog post in this series will list three book recommendations from our staff members. Some will be “meat and potatoes” (adding something to our lives) and some will be “candy” (pure entertainment). Watch as our collection grows! We would love to hear book recommendations from you as well.

I will start us off…



Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong
by James Loewen

They say those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it. Through “Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong”, Loewen examines 12 popular American history high school textbooks and attempts to humanize our heroes while offering a more complete picture of American history. If you are like me, you will find yourself saying, “really?”, I have never heard that story throughout. Beware, questions raised while reading this book will likely result in additional hours of internet research.



The Underground Railroad
by Colson Whitehead

It’s not an easy challenge, introducing fantasy into history, particularly when dealing with subjects we struggle to discuss as the best of times. Colson’s remarkable novel does just that, telling the story of a renovated store in an America where the Underground Railroad is a real railroad—complete with engineers, train cars, and fluctuating schedules.

I read it in one weekend, totally taken in by the book’s universe. Fair warning, this is not an easy read. Awful things happen with regularity in this story. It’s worth the journey, but it is not a joy ride.



Murder on the Orient Express
by Agatha Christie

How did I miss Agatha Christie in my formative years?

The oversight was pointed out to me upon the news that Murder on the Orient Express would be released on the big screen (for the second time) in the Fall of 2017. Having remedied the situation, I plan on loading my reading list with more Christie. It’s smart, fun summer reading at its best. You’ll zip through this one and immediately want to download your next Agatha Christie.



Q&A Session with Charlie Wilson

Charlie_WilsonAfter signing up for an intercorporate training program in 1988 at Arlington High School, Charlie Wilson–Plumbing Designer and one of our newest Associates—spent a half day in the classroom and the other half day in an architecture and engineering office training to be an architect and draftsman. Not long after he began that job working half days, at the age of 19 and no plumbing designers to speak of in the firm, he was thrown into the plumbing role and the rest is history. Fast forward 26 years, and we sit down with Charlie to learn a little bit about him.

If you were to describe plumbing design to someone, how would you do it?
Plumbing has more to do with life safety than most people would think. Sure, I design restrooms to keep them sanitary. But I also protect people and property with fire suppression. In my past, I have literally saved lives by designing medical gas administration in operating rooms. Plumbing is pretty important. It just gets a bad reputation.

What do you do in your free time?
My cousin, Paul, and I restore and repair vintage motorcycles.  I have always ridden motorcycles and when they broke down, I just repaired them. Somehow I just started doing it for friends and then it snowballed. We now own a shop called Chemical Room Cycles. We don’t really have a storefront, it is all word of mouth and our Facebook page. After I retire from Schmidt Associates, I hope to be able to spend even more time doing it.









Where did the name Chemical Room Cycles come from?
Our shop is in an old warehouse that used to run a printing press. The room we are in used to store chemicals and had a sign in there stating such. We decided to just keep the name since there was already a sign.

Have you had any other interesting jobs in your past?
In my youth, I was an amateur musician, playing the drums for several years. Later, I played the guitar and sang in bands. I kind of played on my own, a one man acoustical show. My music of choice was 70s and 80s rock and roll. I was also a karaoke dj.

Where is your favorite place to vacation?
I have traveled to Cartagena, Columbia, South America several times through the years. I love going to the beach, hanging out at the pool, and going to the discos at night. On one trip, I saw Mick Jagger and on another Bill Gates. Apparently celebrities like the place as much as I do.

In his free time, Charlie has two daughters—Elaine, 18, and Charlotte, 21. He and his girlfriend Cheri live downtown and love to eat dinner at Ralph’s Great Divide, listen to music at the Chatterbox, and munch on bacon cheeseburgers at the Mass Ave Pub. To learn more about Charlie, visit his profile.

Also learn about Sarah Hempstead, David Logan, or Tricia Smith

Q&A Session with Tricia Smith

tricia-smith-2016_for-webTricia Smith, Company Ambassador/Receptionist greets our guests, answers the phones, and generally keeps the office running smoothly. Though, if you were to ask her, her job description is more like office mom, school nurse, finder of lost things, and conference room enforcer. In her free time, she makes specialty handmade cards. Below, we get to know her a little better.

Tell me about yourself.

I am one of six kids and an IPS graduate. I graduated in June 1988, turned 18 in July, and married Michael in August. We just celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary! I guess you could say that was a big summer for me.

What inspires you?
My faith is very important to me. I want to allow the Word to be my guide and fill my heart and be an example in my life. My family is also an inspiration to me, filling me with love and laughter.

Tell me about your craft.
I feel like the gift of encouragement is a part of me. I have always been a card sender, that catapulted me into making my handmade cards. There is nothing like getting happy mail vs. junk mail and bills.

I truly believe that there is a part of me in in every card. When I make a card, typically, I make it specifically for someone. I consider personality, interests, etc. I make a different style of card based on each receiver. Though I have a few for sale that are premade, my inventory isn’t large. Each card is unique and made with love.

Tricia_cards Tricia_cards 2







Aside from cards, what do you do in your free time?
I am a gamer. My son says I became an official gamer when I got a headset. I also really enjoy geocaching. Mostly though, I just enjoy time with my boys (husband, Michael and son, Andy). I love my life. I love them.

Do you keep anything special at your desk?
I guess my two most special things are a picture of three generations of Smith’s—my father-in-law, Michael, and Andy—and a clock with a picture of the ark that says “God Keeps his promises.” My family and faith mean so much to me, I keep reminders of them everywhere.

What’s one thing not everyone knows about you?
I have an irrational fear of tipping over in a vehicle. That was never more evident than when I was on a medical mission trip in Kenya, where the roads aren’t quite the same as they are here.

If you ever get the chance to say hello or need a special card made with love, stop in and see her or visit her Facebook page. As Tricia always says, you know where to find me—at the front desk of Schmidt Associates!

Also learn about Sarah Hempstead or David Logan

Q&A Session with David Logan

david-loganNamaste. The greeting that means “I bow to the divine in you” seems a fitting one for Dave Logan, Architectural Graduate at Schmidt Associates. Whether it is attending meditation services at the local Quaker Meeting, planning his next international missions trip, or designing the Swine Barn at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, Dave exudes an aura of calming interest. Below, we sit down with him to understand a bit about what makes him tick.

Where did you go to school?
I attended a small Christian high school in Southwest Michigan. I earned my undergraduate degree from Cedarville University in southern Ohio where I earned an Individualized Studies degree combining courses in Studio Art, Graphic Design, and a handful of architecture classes from Andrews University. Upon graduation, I went on to the University of Notre Dame for my Masters of Architecture.

What inspires you?
Using my architecture training to serve the underprivileged overseas has become a joy of mine. My parents met as medical missionaries in Bangladesh back in the 70s and somehow they managed to continue serving as a family, even with four little boys in tow. We traveled to Togo, West Africa most frequently, but also to Colombia and Brazil.

Have you remained involved with mission work?
After architecture school, I was working at a college for students with Intellectual Disabilities, the site of my thesis project, and volunteering as a draftsman for a second mission hospital in Togo. When plans for me to visit Togo (2012) became a reality, I contacted eMi—Engineering Ministries International, a non-profit Christian development organization, and was fortunate to join them in Gabon at another hospital compound, as well.

After my summer in West Africa, I returned to the US and began working for a design firm in Louisville. In 2014, I decided to serve with eMi again, this time for a year stint in India. During my year I had the privilege of working on three separate projects—a boarding school dormitory design; a master plan for a large retreat center, conference center, and seminary; and a master plan for an alcohol rehab center. To date, the dormitory and a portion of the conference center has been built.

Most recently, I traveled to Haiti with eMi and a few folks from my church to help design a fair-trade artisan workshop my church has been partnering with for years. The workshop includes space for sewing machines, village meeting space, school, etc. I would love to stay involved, as there is such great potential for it to come to life in the next year or two and make a huge difference in that village.

David_mission trip








What do you do in your free time?
It’s surprising how quickly the weeks click by. I enjoy unwinding at the Y a few times a week, and attending the local Quaker Meeting meditation service on Wednesdays. From time to time, I enjoy volunteering as a guest critic at Andrews University, and as chief taste-tester at Quaker Haven Camp in Syracuse.

What is something not everyone knows about you?
I am intrigued by the idea of living in a camper for a season. I have a growing desire to simplify, but also to beautify and improve upon.

Do you have any pets?
Yes, I recently bought a puppy, a Bernese mountain dog named Poet. He’ll be a year old in March, and he’s delightfully inconvenient.











I suppose I am a bit of a rolling stone, but am incredibly grateful to have landed here at Schmidt and to be surrounded by so many wonderful folks. I may not be traveling as much these days, but I feel there is still plenty of exploring to do – improving in my field, sinking in to my faith, raising a halfway obedient puppy, and volunteering where I am able.

Also learn about Sarah Hempstead