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Q&A Session with Bill Gruen

Though quiet upon first introduction, Bill Gruen—Manager of Energy and Optimization Services—brings a laser focus of energy efficiency to projects at Schmidt Associates. Below, we take a few minutes to get to know him.

 

 

 

 

Tell me about yourself.

I was born and raised in Buffalo, New York and went to college at George Washington University with a Chemistry major and Economics minor. The last semester of my senior year, I figured it out; I had taken an environmental economics course and it just clicked. I then went on to graduate school at Boston University to receive an M.A. in Energy and Environmental Studies. That’s when I knew I wanted to make a difference for the environment by moving to Washington, DC and writing legislation or working for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Though I never actually moved to DC, that dream directed my professional career through opportunities at several different employers. Whether it was conducting lighting audits across the country, managing energy efficiency programs for utilities, or working to make malls more energy efficient, every step of my career has followed that initial vision.

And your family?
I met my wife, Stacy, through a friend I have known since high school who used to organize annual trips for a diverse group of friends. The 1999 trip was to Costa Rica, where I really hit it off with my wife. Though she lived in San Diego at the time, and I was in Denver, we had our first “date” in Sedona—eagerly anticipating the much hyped “black-out” of Y2K. We married in 2002 and now have two teenagers–Julia, 15 and Eli, 13—a labradoodle named Kaya, and a Russian Tortoise named Oogway (which is Chinese for turtle). We also have had a Chinese exchange student, Candice, living with us for two years now. She is 16 and will stay until she graduates in a few years. All the kids attend the International School of Indiana (ISI).

Bill Gruen - family

What does Stacy do for a living?
Stacy’s work in global communications and media management has been in diverse environments – notably at eight Olympic Games (Summer and Winter), 11 FIFA World Cup soccer tournaments, a U.S. Presidential Campaign, and with the Los Angeles Lakers during the “Showtime” era. She was an Emmy-award winning television producer in Los Angeles, and now serves as the Curriculum Coordinator at ISI.

What do you do in your free time?
Having three teenagers in the house keeps us pretty busy. Julia is on the swim team and participates in several school organizations, Eli plays soccer and hockey, and Candice is on the cross country and tennis teams and also takes DJ lessons in Broad Ripple. I also am on the ISI Parent Association Board, as well as their Board of Directors. When I am not busy with one of those things, I love watching soccer and riding bikes.

Do you ride competitively?

No, but my wife is also a big bike rider. We own several bikes, including two tandem bikes. Two years ago, we did a sponsored ride on tandem bikes with the kids along Lake Michigan. It was three days and 150 miles total. The first day, we rode 63 miles, set up our tent and camped, and got up the next day to do it all again, and the same thing the last day. That was an adventure! One of our favorite rides is the Kal Haven Trail in Michigan. It goes 33 miles from Kalamazoo to South Haven, so you can literally ride all the way to the beach and jump in Lake Michigan at the end.

What’s your favorite band?
The Who. My older brother took me to see them in 1980 and I was hooked. In 2006, I was at the World Cup in Germany (my wife was working the event) with my two young children. I was doing daddy daycare with a double stroller in Frankfort through the days and would watch the matches in the evening. The Who happened to be playing at a huge festival in Belgium at the same time, so I got a ticket. They were the last band of the night and would start around 11, so I took three trains the day of the show to get to the concert that night.  Once they finished their set around 1:30 a.m., I returned to the train station. However, the first train was not until 6 a.m., so I had to stay up all night to get back to the kids and start my daddy daycare again the next day with virtually no sleep. It was worth it, though!

What’s one thing not everyone knows about you?
I have been to two Super Bowls (Pasadena and Miami), one Stanley Cup Game 7 (Denver), and two World Cup Finals (the men’s in Tokyo and the women’s in Vancouver).

Bill Gruen - family 2

If you ever have questions about energy efficient design, biking, soccer, or The Who, feel free to give Bill a call!

 

Also learn about Sarah HempsteadTricia SmithCharlie WilsonTom NeffJoe RedarDave JonesPatricia BrantPhil MedleyLiam KeeslingSayo AdesiyakanBen BainAsia CoffeeEric BroemelMatt DurbinKevin ShelleyEddie LaytonAnna Marie Burrell, Kyle Miller, Steve SchaecherMyrisha Colston,  Drew Morgan, and Steve Spangler

Community Engagement

A building project is far more than pieces and parts that define spaces.

Projects reflect the goals and aspirations of the communities they serve.

Schmidt Associates views community engagement as an essential part of our strategic, data-based planning, giving Owners information to evaluate viable options and make good decisions. We take a proactive role in planning for public meetings that inform, gather feedback, and incorporate public input to achieve a relevant facility solution that the public can support.

In order to understand what is truly important in the eyes of the end user, we like to become part of the “fabric of the community” by gathering input directly from community members and project stakeholders throughout our process. Here are a handful of community engagement tactics we typically use:

Community Workshops

The target audience for these workshops are neighboring businesses, residents, the end users, students and parents, property and business owners, others who visit and work within the area, etc.

These workshops can range from presentations with Q&A, to an open-ended SWOT analysis, to interactive display boards where people can vote on the types of spaces, furniture, aesthetics, etc. they like the best. Depending on the scope of the project, these could be hour-long sessions, last a few hours, or be an open-house where attendees can interact and ask questions for as long as they need.

We want to hear from as many community members as possible, which can be hard to do. Some tactics we utilize to ensure these workshops are as convenient as possible are:

  • Setting up a variety of time slots, across several days, held in various locations—in the evening after the school day, Saturday morning with coffee and donuts, on a Sunday after church services, etc. It all depends on each unique community and type of project.
  • Providing childcare options, if children aren’t an integrated part of the workshop process. For example, we can meet with community members at a school with child-friendly activities held in the gym under the supervision of adults.
  • Offering a variety of input methods—like notecards, email, and limited access blogs—to ensure the quiet voices are heard and allow 24/7 access to the conversation.

Community Engagement - Community Workshops

Stakeholder Meetings

This is where we gather key targeted stakeholders and leadership in a casual environment to build interest and allow their influence on the project. We quickly share the community workshop findings and offer a brainstorming session to continue building ideas and support for the project. Our team then creates a deliverable that can be posted to a website and distributed to the community, stakeholders, and other interest groups.

The targeted attendees typically include property and business owners, developers, and neighborhood and city representatives. We take similar approaches to making these meetings as convenient for the stakeholders as we did with the community workshops. As the planning process moves forward, we often will reconnect with these stakeholders to communicate any findings, recommendations, and intent of the results.

Community Engagement - Stakeholders

Community Empowerment

The plan for any project must be intentional and community-driven so stakeholders will feel a sense of ownership. To create community empowerment, we have found that allowing physical, deliberate interaction with the space is essential. Together, we will visit the physical space and brainstorm ideas on-site, allowing the realities of the space to influence decision making.

Another approach we often take is to attend community, city council, or PTO meetings.

Community Engagement - Community Empowerment

Project Blogs

Along with our physical approach to community engagement, we also leverage technology to bring it all together. We have successfully used a blog on projects to have a way for the community, stakeholders, and Owners to see the progress and to offer input. This is a controlled way to manage feedback and disperse current information, as determined by the project’s leadership team. Each blog features a “Make a Comment” button which sends comments as emails to Schmidt Associates. This way, we can receive comments, review with the Owner, and post appropriate responses.

We have used a link to our website to post the ongoing status of the project—from planning through construction—to keep the public involved and informed throughout the process.

Community Engagement - Project Blogs

Ultimately, only community projects built on community input can maximize their influence and create shared ownership and investment. If you have questions about our community engagement process or want to learn more about how we can help you with your next project – reach out!

Top 6 Things to Know when Considering Adaptive Reuse

We have all heard the real estate mantra “Location, location, location!” However, great location does not also lead to perfect buildings. In fact, oftentimes the least perfect building is situated right on the site you want. And while some may consider a total demolition and rebuild as the only option, there are oftentimes a lot of arguments for adaptive reuse. Buildings that have been neglected, abandoned, or modified over the years are all great candidates for this type of project. Through adaptive reuse, older historic buildings can be restored – bringing back their charm and unique characteristics through careful planning and strategic design.

St. Joseph Brewery & Public House - Prior to Renovation

St. Joseph Brewery & Public House – Prior to Renovation

St. Joseph Brewery & Public House - After

St. Joseph Brewery & Public House – After

If you’re considering adaptive reuse for your next project, here are the top six things you need to know:

  1. Land Availability. When land in the area you want is hard to come by, adaptive reuse is a great option. Rather than contributing to urban sprawl, or moving to a less than desirable location, revitalizing a building in need allows you to conserve space. This type of project is one of the best ways to keep our cities and towns walkable and vibrant.
  2. Environmental Conservation. While the easy solution often appears to be building from scratch, the truth is this type of thinking can cause a lot of complications down the road, including added cost. Remember in elementary school when they taught us “reduce, reuse and recycle”? The first step in reducing our environmental footprint is to reduce our use of materials. Adaptive reuse is a choice to care for the buildings that have already been built and to help us get out of the mindset of constantly consuming. If there’s one thing we will never get more of, it’s land.
  3. Historic Consideration. One of the beauties of working with historic buildings is that you constantly discover hidden treasures. From unique features to hard-to-come-by materials, many historic buildings are proof we really “don’t build ‘em like we used to.” Adaptive reuse not only allows us to preserve a part of history, but it also allows projects to take advantage of these ‘trademarks’ of historic buildings, showcasing them now and into the future. In some cases, adaptive reuse is the only option, especially when you are dealing with buildings that are preserved and protected by organizations, such as historical societies.
  4. Reimagining Function. Although adaptive reuse strives to preserve many of the architectural features of buildings, there is a great deal of reimagining that can take place throughout the project. Buildings built for a certain prior use do not need to continue that use to be successful. Old chapels can become inns, water towers can be converted into apartments, and industrial buildings transformed to residential homes. When the location is right, and you mix in a little creativity – anything is possible.
  5. Future Accommodation. Needs are constantly changing, which is something adaptive reuse understands. Just because older buildings – even ones only a few decades old – may no longer meet the standards or desires of today’s businesses and property owners, doesn’t mean they should be written off. Adaptive reuse allows for change, while still being mindful of what already exists. Adaptive reuse protects the future, ensuring resources, including land, aren’t wasted or taken for granted.
  6. Intelligent Reconciliation. When done well, adaptive reuse is the bridge that connects past to present, history to future. Adaptive reuse projects can bring the best of modern-day technologies and innovations to beautiful, historic buildings in prime locations. This type of holistic approach ensures existing buildings and materials are honored without sacrificing today’s needs and styles. Intelligent reconciliation also happens when architectural firms work on behalf of clients to communicate plans with the community, getting the proper permissions and permits to move forward with the project.

Adaptive reuse isn’t always the best solution, but more and more often we believe it’s an option that should be seriously considered. A smart way to conserve materials, protect the environment, and preserve the past, adaptive reuse can be the solution you’re looking for, especially when you’re sold on a building’s location or charm.

 

Q&A Session with Steve Spangler

Steve Spangler - Construction Administration

Steve Spangler, Construction Administrator, is a big eater with an even bigger heart. He can often be seen walking around the office with a carton of ice cream in hand and a big smile on his face.

 

 

 

 

 

Tell me about yourself.
Growing up in Greenfield, I had an uncle and a grandpa who built homes, so I began working with them framing houses in middle school. Though I worked as a fry cook at an MCL while I was in high school, I went back to framing shortly thereafter. I joined the Carpenters Union in 1978, and my first job was building the second bank of Coke Ovens for Citizens Gas in the late 70s. Its all come full circle now, as I am on the team constructing the new Community Justice Center on that same site. I also worked on the concrete crew of the original Hoosier Dome and was part of the team that attached the fabric roof. I worked as a contractor and clerk-of-the-works for years, and then I joined Schmidt Associates full-time in 2000.

What do you do in your free time?
I grew up around farms, and my aunt and uncle had horses. As a young adult, I lived away from the farm life in Castleton. When I married my wife, Debbie, in 1983, I moved back to the country and started raising kids. When my daughter turned 10 in the early 90s, she wanted a horse. We bought a couple Arabian Horses to show in 4-H, and we’ve had horses ever since. I now have six horses keeping me busy—Reagan, Molly, Ghost, Victoria, Butter Bee, and Wendy. When I am not at work, I spend my time with family, working with the horses, putting up hay, or working on farm equipment.

My wife, Debbie, and I live in a log home we designed and built in 2002. Life on our farm keeps us very busy.

Tell me about your family.
My wife and I have three daughters, one son, two granddaughters, and two grandsons. One of our daughters and four-year-old grandson live with us, and my four-year-old granddaughter comes to stay with us four days a week. They keep us busy all the time!

Along with the horses, we have two dogs—Murphy (a rescued mutt) and Tinkerbell (a Cairn terrier).

Steve Spangler horses

Do you have a favorite book?
Right now, I am learning about horse hooves. I am going to two clinics to learn about hoof management, so I really need to get the books for the clinics before I go.

What’s one thing not everyone knows about you?
In my 20s, I modeled clothes at fashion shows in a night club near Keystone at the Crossing.

It sounds like you are always on the go?
I had always planned that after the kids moved out, I would have tons of time to fix my equipment and ride horses every day. But the truth is, we are busier now than we have ever been it seems like. The days, weeks, and months just fly by. I plan to retire at 65, but I don’t think I will ever slow down.

If you ever have questions about the construction process or horses, give Steve a ring!

 

Also learn about Sarah HempsteadTricia SmithCharlie WilsonTom NeffJoe RedarDave JonesPatricia BrantPhil MedleyLiam KeeslingSayo AdesiyakanBen BainAsia CoffeeEric BroemelMatt DurbinKevin ShelleyEddie LaytonAnna Marie Burrell, Kyle Miller, Steve SchaecherMyrisha Colston, and Drew Morgan

Becoming an Interior Designer

Interior Designer
While our interior designers do make great material and color selections, they do much more than that.

We all have our stereotyped image of what interior designers do from design shows, design magazines, and social media. However, the reality is much different.

A common misconception is that interior designers only select interior finishes, but structural knowledge of the building is necessary (and required) for understanding how interior spaces can be manipulated. Interior Designers think about the way a space functions and design it accordingly. They take a building shell and create a safe, functional, aesthetically pleasing space specific to each owner, in coordination with the architects and engineers.

From fixtures and furniture, to materials and finishes, Interior Designers help spaces come alive. A wide range of product knowledge is required for interior designers to make the most informed and appropriate decisions during the selection process.

But how to do they learn these skills? Registered Interior Designers begin with an education—either a Bachelor’s or an Associate’s degree in Interior Design.

There are many reputable universities with great Interior Design programs, but it is important for future students to do their research and find the right fit for what they need.

The Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) is an independent, non-profit accrediting organization for Interior Design programs in the United States and internationally. Not all Interior Design programs are CIDA-accredited—and this is a great way to help students compare programs. Some students will choose to enroll in a non-accredited program and still be just as successful; or some will start at one and move to the accredited program to finish. Every student has their own path, and there are a lot of options.

However, just because a college degree has been obtained, one is still not a registered interior designer.

Any professional with a degree in Interior Design looking to gain registration (not everyone chooses to pursue registration), must then begin gaining professional experience (3,520-5,280 hours, depending on the degree). This professional experience must be in the Interior Design field to qualify for sitting for the exam.

At different times throughout their education and professional experience, professionals must sit for all sections of the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam.

This exam is broken into three sections:

  • The Practicum Exam (PRAC) – 4 Hours
    • Codes and Standards
    • Building Systems & Integration
    • Programming & Site Analysis
    • Contract Documents
  • Fundamentals Exam (IDFX) – 3 Hours
    • Design Communication
    • Building Systems & Construction
    • Programming & Site Analysis
    • Construction Drawings & Specification
    • Human Behavior & the Design Environment
    • Furniture, Finishes, Equipment, & Lighting
    • Technical Drawing Conventions
  • Professional Exam (IDPX) – 4 Hours
    • Professional Practice
    • Building Systems and Integration
    • Contract Administration
    • Project Coordination
    • Contract Documents
    • Product and Material Coordination
    • Codes and Standards

Each section is taken, and passed or failed, individually. Once the individual passes all sections and has met all the other requirements, he/she can apply for registration with the State of Indiana. Once this final hurdle has been cleared, the celebration can commence, and one can officially call him/herself a Registered Interior Designer.

Continued Education Units (CEU) are also required, similar to what other professions must do to keep their registration updated. Once CEU’s are obtained, each Registered Interior Designer is responsible for tracking and meeting the credit requirements.

 

Also see what it takes to become an architect.

Vacant Big Box Store Finds New Life as a Preschool

Building Indiana

Features Anna Marie Burrell, Sarah Hempstead, Brandon Fox, and Shelbyville Central Schools

January 24, 2019

“In the small Indiana community of Shelbyville, Shelbyville Central Schools District will transform a nearly 63,000 square foot abandoned Marsh Food Store and the adjacent strip center – once housing other retail stores, a restaurant, movie rental store, and a bank – into a preschool, space for children with special needs, and the school district’s offices.”… read full article

Electrical Engineer

Schmidt Associates is looking for a highly motivated, qualified Electrical Engineer to join our team! 

Duties and Responsibilities Include:

  • Provide support for senior engineers and designers.
  • Coordinate and attend meetings with clients, project team members, outside consultants, utilities and vendors.
  • Visit project sites to gather existing condition information.
  • Assist with the design of interior and exterior lighting, power and fire alarm systems, for new and renovation projects.
  • Assist with the creating of plans for details, one-line diagrams, schematics and schedules.
  • Assist with the editing of technical specifications.
  • Provide support during bidding and construction phases of projects.

Experience/Education:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering.
  • Engineer In Training certification preferred.
  • Minimum 0-3 years of experience.
  • Experience with Revit/Autocad.

Apply on LinkedIn

Administrative Assistant

Schmidt Associates is looking for a Design Delivery Administrative Assistant! 

The Design Delivery Administrative Assistant position will provide support to the firm’s Project Managers and project teams for project schedules, document authoring and review, as well as general office support. It requires a strong competency in administrative support for design projects and good working knowledge of MS Office, Deltek Vision and Newforma, as well as the ability to perform in a self-directed manner.

Responsibilities:

  • Provide support to Project Managers and Quality Managers in coordinating meetings, phone calls, and other project activities.
  • Provide non-project support to assigned Project Manager’s.
  • Provide backup to all staff supporting Owners’ needs.
  • Arrange for onsite and offsite meetings.
  • Proof and edit all Project correspondence.
  • Coordinate and facilitate as needed, the transmission of materials for the Project Team.
  • Prepare / Coordinate Project, directories, schedules and files as requested.
  • Prepare manuals, presentations, workbooks, and handouts.
  • Coordinate Project printing and distribution of documents with printer and/or outside Contractors.
  • Maintain meeting notes for out-of-house Project meetings.
  • Attend meetings for immediate documentation (as needed).
  • Maintain Project records as needed for proper digital filing.
  • Prepare correspondence and support documentation.
  • Coordinate (on a per Project basis) responsibilities and procedures with other Administrative Assistants.
  • Work with other Administrative Assistants to improve procedures and systems.
  • Support other Administrative Assistants to provide assistance to all disciplines.

 Experience/Education:

  • 5-10 years of experience
  • Strong experience proofing and editing
  • Strong skills in word processing, database, spreadsheets, and template maintenance
  • Ability to perform in a self-directed manner and dedication to serving others is essential
  • Working experience with Deltek or similar project management software
  • Newforma experience a plus

Apply on LinkedIn

Network Administrator

Schmidt Associates is looking for a dynamic individual to join the organization in a Network Administrator capacity! 

Qualifications:

To be responsible for management of network administration and client hardware and software requirements within firm.

Responsibilities:

Systems Maintenance

  • Maintain and update network, in-house equipment and backups and archives.
  • Update in-house server OS and server software
  • Monitor and apply server updates.
  • Research current Information Systems and their trends.
  • Maintain firm’s compliance with software licenses.
  • Monitor systems to maintain integrity of server software. Screen for viruses, clean system of staff’s personal software, and screen system for bootlegged software.
  • Be a resource and work with Vendor in supporting in house phone system.

User Support

  • First point of contact for I.S. server support issues.
  • Assist all staff in daily operations of Information Systems.
  • Assist staff and visitors with conference room technology
  • Serve as a backup to the Desktop Support Technician

Systems Training

  • Assure appropriate training for software systems.
  • Maintain and update backups and archives.
  • Develop and initiate procedures that train and inform staff on Information Systems.

Experience/Education:

  • Strong background in computer technology as it applies to servers and enterprise applications i.e. MS Exchange, MS SQL, Active Directory, etc.
  • A thorough understanding of computer technology and the basics of computer systems and networking.
  • Must remain current and trained in technology solutions.
  • Must have a Microsoft certification.

Apply on LinkedIn

A Word from Our Owners – Cornerstone Lutheran Church

Jane Callahan

Jane Callahan is the Director of Organizational and New Site Development at Cornerstone Lutheran Church – Fishers. As director, she oversees the development of new sites for the church including policy and planning, building projects, and organizational changes and structure.  Jane has been with Cornerstone Lutheran Church for 5 years after a 35-year career in healthcare administration.

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We know you chose to use Schmidt Associates Extended Services. Can you tell us why you did this over other methodologies?

We have a long history with Schmidt Associates. The idea that the architect oversaw the people carrying out the plans was huge. We didn’t want to get finger pointing. And we didn’t, so that was good. Our previous experience with Schmidt Associates had been very positive doing renovation work at our Carmel site, so there was a sense of trust.

 

Who was part of the decision?

The building committee: the Pastors, a few congregation members, our facility manager, and a few others. In the initial bidding process, we interviewed three design/build contractors. This then led to a conversation about the extended services Schmidt Associates could provide.

We weren’t certain of what construction methodology we wanted. We just knew we needed someone who could do the project well. Schmidt Associates provided us options and we interviewed 3 other firms before deciding to use the Schmidt Associates Extended Services.

 

Would you do it again? Why?

We definitely would. We had someone from Schmidt Associates on-site every day. He was awesome and kept all the sub-contractors in sync and on schedule. Schmidt Associates also had someone come out once a week, Jeff Burnett. We had weekly meetings with Schmidt Associates, the contractors, myself and Gayle, our facilities manager. When there were issues that came up, Schmidt Associates discussed what happened. Our on-site construction administrator from Schmidt Associates was masterful at playing both sides to keep the construction personnel happy, while still holding them accountable. Jeff laid the hammer down. It was a good process.

If you have a design/build company that’s all one firm. They don’t have the critical third eye looking at the project. They are trying to cover their own tracks. Having the independent oversight was good.

One of the best things we did was having a firm out of Fort Wayne come in and evaluate everything that was done. This helped with the building envelope. It wasn’t cheap to do that, but it was well worth the money.

 

What was your experience like?

Overall it was very good with Schmidt Associates.  Our project bid and was built during a very competitive bid time. We had limited options because construction workforces were spread thin. This made it even more critical to have the Schmidt Associates Extended Services there to keep an eye on things.