At Schmidt Associates, our commitment to delivering excellence in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry has always been intertwined with a deep-seated dedication to building a robust and diverse design community. Becoming a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) certified firm is a milestone, but at its core, it’s an affirmation of our long-standing values of servant leadership and inclusiveness.

Servant Leadership = Intentional Opportunities
Schmidt Associate was built on the idea of servant leadership. For almost 50 years, this ethos has led us to actively seek out and nurture diverse talent—no matter their gender, race, or place. We know talent is our most important asset, so we commit to mentorship and robust career pathing that is second to none. By allowing every staff member to dream big, set actionable goals, and invest in their careers, more people grow into leadership roles, conduct research, receive their professional licensure, and get involved in the community. By being intentional from internship to leadership, anyone with passion, talent and, of course, hard work is rewarded with opportunities. Our WBE certification is the natural result of the firm’s commitment to matching talent to opportunity.

Our WBE Certification: Building an Inclusive Profession
Design firms are stronger when they are diverse and representative of the communities they serve. Historically, the architectural and engineering professions have left out large segments of the population. Being in a place to achieve our WBE status is a good step, but there’s a long way to go. We remain motivated to continuing our pursuit of design excellence by growing the profession to include everyone, from the best and brightest students to those growing into to the next generation of their careers. Our involvement with Junior Achievement of Central Indiana’s JobSpark program, our own Architecture and Engineering 101 classes, and our attendance at job and career fairs are critical to introducing young people to design professions.

On the other side of the continuum, the Indiana Department of Administration’s Division of Supplier Diversity plays a crucial role in helping to shape an environment where inclusiveness is valued, creating an ecosystem where minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses can thrive. They work to create a fair, competitive, and equitable business environment, offering networking opportunities, increasing utilization, and confirming compliance with the program’s high standards. Their support helps our community continue to grow.

Adding Value and Great Design
In addition, all our projects are team-based. Sometimes those projects include only the Schmidt Associates staff, but often, they feature professionals and teammates from around the country and sometimes the world. In both cases, complex problems require diverse teams—bringing professionals with unique talents, areas of expertise and perspectives to the table. Inclusive teams develop better options for our clients, pushing ourselves and each other to consider all the angles of a problem from alternative points of view. Diverse teams ask more and better questions, allowing us to double down on delivering the best possible solution and an elevated final design.

Looking Ahead: An Inclusive Future
As we celebrate this achievement, we look forward to the opportunities and responsibilities it brings. This certification is a significant milestone in our pursuit of excellence, inclusivity, and impactful design. We are excited to leverage this new status to deepen our engagement with the community, enhance our services, strengthen our bonds with clients and teammates, and create spaces that truly reflect the varied tapestry of our society.

Sign up to receive our monthly newsletter for updates on our WBE certification and stories about our projects, client successes, and ways to leverage the firm.

A gifted architect and problem solver with an infectious energy and keen business sense, Sarah Hempstead, AIA, LEED AP, is CEO and principal of Schmidt Associates. She leads teams with humor, discipline, and expertise, engaging stakeholders, leading charrettes, and navigating construction complexities. With her natural leadership skills, Sarah inspires teams to share the Owner’s passion and bring their vision to life. Whether facing challenges or seeking a fresh perspective, Sarah is a resource for bringing years of experience and an unwavering commitment to excellence and success.