In just a tiny fragment of my career at HOK, spanning from September 25th to October 26th, 2009, I have witnessed some of this firm’s best and brightest stars do a whole variety of noteworthy, if not amazing things. I would like to use this bloggertunity to recognize the HOK awesomeness that I’ve personally experienced over the last four weeks…
September 25th: Life at HOK (hoklife.com) is featured in the St. Louis Business Journal. The article, authored by Cynthia Vespereny is entitled, “HOK builds own ‘network’ through company’s blog” and it features many of our corporate communications all-stars as well as a brief mention of one of my posts.
Check it out here: http://stlouis.bizjournals.com/stlouis/stories/2009/09/28/focus3.html#
September 30th: HOK Vice-Chairman, Clark Davis gives the opening remarks to welcome delegates attending the Design Futures Council’s (DFC) Eighth Annual Leadership Summit on Sustainable Design in Chicago, Illinois. I had the pleasure of being one of 100 delegates at the summit along with Clark and two colleagues from HOK Chicago, Todd Halamka and Colin Rohlfing. HOK probably had the highest percentage of delegates from a single company, coming in at 4%.
Learn more about the summit here: http://www.di.net/about/conferences/summit_2009/
October 1st: Leigh Stringer had a fabulous book signing at Chicago’s famous Merchandise Mart. Leigh discussed some of the key themes in her awesome new book, ”The Green Workplace” and then fielded questions from the audience before signing copies of the book for her fans. There were several dozen attendees, including a sizable group of HOK supporters from Chicago, St. Louis and New York.
Check out Natalie’s blog about the event:http://hoklife.com/2009/10/02/the-green-workplace-in-chicago/
October 2nd: The HOK Chicago office was included as a stop on the DFC’s sustainable walking tour of the city. The office tour was featured as the penultimate event of the DFC‘s Leadership Summit on Sustainable Design, occurring just before the closing cocktail reception at the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Headquarters. The CAF had a wonderful model of the city of Chicago displayed in their lobby.
Explore the CAF website for a closer look: http://www.architecture.org/cmc.html
Also, check out Daimian’s blog about the HOK Chicago office: http://hoklife.com/tag/hok-chicago/
October 7th: The Second Annual NOMA/HOK Service Project took place at the South Side Day Nursery (SSDN) of St. Louis, Missouri. HOK partnered with NOMA and Washington University in St. Louis to facilitate a day-long charette on behalf of SSDN. The charette was organized in an effort to help identify the early childhood educational center’s specific challenges and opportunities as it relates to their built environment. The morning session took place at SSDN’s facilities in south St. Louis and it engaged stakeholders in the process of articulating the center’s basic needs from an operational standpoint. The afternoon session took place at HOK’s St. Louis office, preceded by an office tour for all charette participants to experience a day in the life of HOK. The overall results of the charette included a very important dialogue about what design can bring to the SSDN community, while it helped WashU students understand the importance of including the community’s voice in the design process. Many thanks are owed to Jaki Jefferson for her tireless support in organizing all of the details pertaining to this event. I am also extremely grateful to Valerie Greer for doing so much of the groundwork in St. Louis that was needed to ensure that we had useful site information to build from during the charette. Valerie also provided the shining stars of the entire process, her 3rd Year Architecture students from WashU. I’m also grateful to Jason Walker for volunteering to be a design team leader for the charette and to Penny Malina for making sure that our technology needs were taken care of throughout our time at the St. Louis office. I would like to thank Rebecca Nolan for being supportive of sharing HOK St. Louis’ staff and resources for this meaningful event and lastly, I must say thank you to everyone at the St. Louis office who shared their space and worked so hard to make the service project a success. Although this is not HOK related, I have to acknowledge SSDN’s Executive Director, Anne Lowell and my fantastic charette facilitators, Antoine Bryant and Prescott Reavis, who both serve as my counterparts on the NOMA board. The event was attended by SSDN and HOK staff, NOMA members, Wash U students and St. Louis community members, to whom I am grateful for their time and support. I look forward to organizing our third annual service project in Boston next October.
To learn more about NOMA, click here: www.noma.net
For more information about SSDN, click here: www.ssdn.org
Also, check out Jaki’s blog on the subject: http://hoklife.com/2009/10/14/breaking-through-architectural-barriers/
October 8th: HOK was a Platinum Sponsor of NOMA’s 37th International Conference and Exposition, held in St. Louis, Missouri. Although I had to depart this year’s conference early because I needed to attend to my bride’s maid duties for my best friend’s wedding in Michigan, I was able to capture a lot of evidence to substantiate the notion that HOK is kind of a big deal. While I did play a role in organizing the charette and student competition as well as participate on two panels, my overall contribution represents a small portion of HOK’s role in making this particular conference one for the books. First of all, Gyo Obata delivered NOMA’s Spotlight on Design Lecture at Washington University’s Kemper Art Museum. I could just stop writing right now and be done with making a case for HOK’s big dealness. But for my readers, I will keep going by attempting to articulate how meaningful it is to have a true pioneer of the design field address the NOMA membership and discuss the experiences that led him to co-found one of the most well-respected architectural firms in the world. Mr. Obata, who is well into his eighties, can be found around the office engaged in discussion about design or merely observing the work that is taking place in the company to which he remains a central element. Not to be outdone, countless other HOK superstars converged at the NOMA conference to give presentations, review student portfolios, lead student groups and otherwise contribute to a very valuable experience for all participants. Some of the HOKers who volunteered their time and talents to this effort include, Jaki Jefferson, Rebecca Nolan, Marsha Littell, Valerie Greer, Penny Malina, Jason Walker, and Kaven Swan, all from St. Louis. Those that came from other offices include Jason Pugh and Daimian Hines of Chicago, Nicole Johnson, Nekia Strong and Herman Howard of Atlanta, Oswaldo Ortega and Esther Simon from Washington, DC and probably others who I may not have mentioned. Herman Howard, who by chance recruited me at a NOMA conference several years ago happens to be the chapter advisor for Georgia Tech, which is the school that stole the show by winning both the 2009 NOMA Student Competition and the 2009 Student Chapter of the Year. Nekia Strong also played a vital role in GA Tech’s success, so I’d like to congratulate them both on their chapter’s achievements. Overall, the NOMA conference was spectacular and HOK can take pride in having had a major impact.
I invite you to check out the NOMA Magazine (In particular, see page 39) : http://www.noma.net/local/documents/NOMAMagWebVersionSmall.pdf
October 9th: HOK New York’s newest superstar, Carl Galioto is featured in Architectural Record for making the right move from SOM to HOK.
Take a look at the article here: http://archrecord.construction.com/news/daily/archives/091009som_hok.asp
October 14th: Mike Plotnick takes the spotlight on a social media panel discussion hosted by AIA New York. Yes, there were three other panelists, but Mike was by far the crowd-pleaser of the group. I had an opportunity to attend the event with New York’s Marketing Manager, Sharon Paculor and we both agreed that HOK was very well represented by Mike and the Life at HOK blog, which was a central topic of the night’s discussion. The title of the event was: “Why to Blog, Text, and Tweet: Strategic Social Media for Design Firms”.
Check out the event details here: http://cfa.aiany.org/index.php?section=calendar&evtid=1047
October 15th: John Gilmore highlights one year of Life at HOK: http://hoklife.com/2009/10/15/celebrating-one-year-of-life-at-hok/
October 17th: Graduate students from Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island travel to New York for an incredible learning experience with their brilliant professor, Anica Landreneau, of HOK DC. I joined Anica and her students on a tour of the Omega Center for Sustainable Living in Rhinebeck, New York and it was quite amazing. We were able to experience a real life example of The Living Building Challenge at one of the greenest buildings in the nation. Check out the Metropolis Magazine article, authored by Suzanne LaBarre: http://www.metropolismag.com/story/20091021/radical-green#. Upon our return to New York City, we paid the HOK NY office a visit and enjoyed a great presentation about sustainability at HOK, given by Thom Knittel, our office’s sustainable design leader. Anica, who happens to be Thom’s sustainable counterpart in DC, led her students to New York’s hot, new, sustainable attraction, The High Line and then we finished off the action packed day at Renzo Piano’s New York Times Building.
Take a look at The High Line here: http://www.thehighline.org/
Learn more about the NYT Building here: http://newyorktimesbuilding.com/
October 21st Juliette Lam of HOK New York was honored at the Women Builders Council’s Signature Event: http://www.wbcnyc.org/
October 26th: Kimberly Dowdell transfers from her role as an architectural technician into a role that serves the HOK New York office in a public relations/business development capacity. I will elaborate on this exciting new chapter of my career in a future post. The reason why this information has made it onto my “kind of a big deal list” is because there are not a lot of firms that would give me this opportunity. I would like to acknowledge Chris Laul, Marta Willgoose and the entire NY Management Committee for allowing me to explore this path at HOK.
In case you aren’t familiar with Will Ferrell’s popular quote from the 2004 hit comedy, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, watch the movie and you’ll get the title of this post. Regardless of how it’s phrased, I hope that you will join me in congratulating all of the men and women of HOK who fuel these and countless other stories that make this firm the big deal that it has been for nearly 55 years.