Meet Our Newest Principals: Lori Bongiorno and Carrie Boyd
While both Lori and Carrie have been part of M+A’s broader leadership team for a number of years, this transition offers firm ownership and starts a succession planning process for current shareholders. Naming a third generation of leadership is often something very difficult for businesses, but it promises a future for M+A.
We welcome the fresh perspectives and recharged energy Bongiorno and Boyd bring with their leadership!
Founded in 1980, by Denny Meacham and Bob Apel, M+A Architects has traditionally been a production firm, focusing on solid construction documents, building code analysis, and functional building designs.
In 1994, that started to change, as M+A hired an extremely driven and enthusiastic project coordinator — Lori Bongiorno. A driving force behind some of M+A’s most challenging and complex projects—including Easton Town Center and Bob Evans Farms Headquarters—Lori has helped push M+A beyond the production of construction documents.
Largely focused on mixed use, office and retail projects, Lori is actively involved in the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) at a national level and will be the incoming chair of the ICSC Ohio Government Relations Committee.
“Lori offers attention to detail, a commitment to a high level of service, and personal attention on all of her projects,” said Jim Mitchell, partner and executive vice president, “and Carrie has built a reputation of quality and forward thinking interior design services within M+A Architects.”
Joining the firm in 2007, Carrie brought a focus on design and innovation, further challenging M+A’s production background. She’s crafted an award-winning interior design team, while extending M+A’s service offerings—ultimately providing a more comprehensive experience for clients.
Always keeping an eye towards design trends, she has a contemporary, creative style that can be seen in Columbus through projects such as Turner Construction’s Columbus HQ, OSU’s Office of the Chief Information Officer and Distance Education and eLearning at Mount Hall and The Lane mixed-use development. Boyd is a licensed interior designer through the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ).
Looking to the Future
“M+A Architects is becoming stronger. By adding two very motivated, experienced and dynamic principals to the firm, Lori and Carrie will help M+A solidify longevity in the marketplace,” said partner and president, Mark Daniels.
Bongiorno and Boyd have helped grow and sculpt the firm into its current form, building successful teams, creating lasting relationships and embodying M+A’s culture of collaboration. They both bring a unique perspective and a style of leadership that better relates to the millennial generation, helping the firm attract talent and grow from within.
“Lori and Carrie are both very dedicated individuals and firmly believe that doing the right thing for the company is in everyone’s best interest. Their management styles and how they each make important decisions are very sound and they balance out the group with their perspectives,” said partner and treasurer, John Eymann.
Advice for Emerging Leaders
While Bongiorno and Boyd will be part of the third generation of leadership at M+A, there’s room for more seats at that table, as Boyd and Bongiorno explain they’re already thinking about fourth generation leadership. So, how do you become a principal? After reflecting on their own experiences Lori and Carrie shared their advice for emerging leaders:
Carrie said, “Don’t be afraid to step up and lead. Always be thinking about what’s best for M+A and not what’s best for you personally. Look to impress and go above and beyond what is expected. Think outside the box!”
And Lori offers advice for her fellow architects, “Work hard and be passionate about architecture. Strive to be a knowledgeable, well rounded architect and take opportunities to learn leadership skills.”
SiteOhio: Making Development in Ohio Easier
Last week, the Central Ohio Chapter of NAIOP held an event focused on SiteOhio and the current development climate in the State of Ohio. SiteOhio, a program started in 2013 as a joint endeavor of JobsOhio and the seven economic development organizations across Ohio (including Columbus 2020), aims to help prospective entities find development-ready, certified land in Ohio. With other regions already certifying sites for development, this program will help Ohio compete as a prospective destination for these projects.
When initially started, the program had three main goals: identification, gap analysis, and education. However, as the program started gathering information, it was clear another benefit was emerging. SiteOhio’s database of available sites helped the organization understand inventory when a prospective business sends a Request for Information (RFI). Even though the sites may not be certified, they could very well meet the requirements of the inquiring businesses.
From there, SiteOhio established a qualification process, with the help of Insight Consulting, to identify criteria that is important to the end user and provides a more offensive approach to site certification, rather than reacting to RFIs when they are submitted.
They anticipated approximately 150 sites to be submitted for certification—but over 400 sites were submitted! Of these sites, 336 sites met the qualifications. From there, further review was necessary, so the sites were divided into three categories: Certification Ready, Pipeline, and Fatally Flawed.
Certification Ready – site is zoned properly, has a survey, has a Phase I and Phase II (if necessary) report, and is ready to be developed, including all utilities and community support
Pipeline – site does not entirely meet qualifications, but can be remedied relatively quickly.
Fatally Flawed – site requires significant improvements to receive the “Certification Ready” grade. This may include utilities being run to the site, zoning issues, and other setbacks.
No sites were deemed certification ready, but 28 were identified as being very close and with some guidance could be certification ready with minimal work. SiteOhio will work hand-in-hand with these 28 sites to get them certified and is hoping to have 20 certified sites by August 2017.
The program will continue to update the database of information when new information becomes available for each site. They will also work with each site to ensure the reports and surveys remain up-to-date so site submission becomes a smoother process. While certification streamlines the process, it can’t always be obtained. Columbus 2020 and all the other economic development organizations across Ohio will continue to submit as many sites as they can to future businesses, but having certified sites allows the prospective organization to know the preliminary work is complete and the site is ready to be developed.
SiteOhio allows Ohio to be more competitive and provides distinct advantages to Ohio from an economic growth perspective. The certified sites will allow Ohio to be better marketed to a prospective business while the database will allow the economic development organizations to know the inventory of sites in their area and what improvements they may need to make. This information will continue to help bring businesses and jobs to Ohio and for Ohio based companies find land when they grow.
How to Design a Business Incubator
Leveraging design to create purposeful use of space is extremely important for a business incubator, as these spaces have become synonymous with innovation. While these spaces require heightened collaboration and idea-generating areas, at the same time, they need private spaces for individual work. So, how can the design of a business incubator help cultivate all of these things? I interviewed M+A’s Director of Design, Dan Pease, and Interior Designer, Kelly Heitkamp, to find out.
By Entrepreneur magazine’s definition, a business incubator is an organization designed to accelerate the growth and success of entrepreneurial companies through an array of business support resources and services that could include physical space, capital, coaching, common services, and networking connections.
Traditionally seen with technology startups, business incubators are spreading into other arenas. Cardinal Health recently launched Fuse Innovation Lab to develop innovative products for use in healthcare. Additionally many municipalities in the Central Ohio area are creating entrepreneurial centers to get small business owners out of their basement offices and into a space with infrastructure, collaboration, and most importantly, a network of support.
Q: Microsoft recently described its business accelerator, Microsoft Garage (pictured below), as “a protected habitat for Microsoft employees and their wild ideas.” How can you leverage design to promote a nonbiased, creative space conducive for an incubator?
Pease: Creative synergy can be initiated and promoted by considering each user’s requirements to conduct business. Having open creative areas with centrally-located amenities, promotes a relaxing environment – allowing better and more honest participation in discussions/workshops. People need to feel a level of acceptance to let their guard down and offer, in some cases, ideas that are a little out of the box.
Heitkamp: The design process should mirror the innovation of the start-up companies —and Microsoft Garage is a perfect example of this. Because the purpose of these spaces is to promote out of the box thinking, you have to approach the design in a similar way. Part of the design challenge is to determine exactly how this is done. To help foster innovative thinking, the environment should change your frame of mind as soon as you walk in the door. It could be through using materials in unexpected ways, incorporating amenities that allow the users to feel comfortable, or incorporating cutting edge technology.
Q: What are specific design elements/techniques that you would integrate into creative spaces?
Pease: The creative area should have a combination of casual seating and flex space with chairs positioned in a circle or u-shape to promote idea sharing. The lighting level should be designed to reduce glare and stress. And bold colors/materials should be used to invigorate the casual, yet fun environment. I’d also integrate a tabletop smart-screen to help efficiently capture creative sessions and a marker wall or pin-up area. Ideas left pinned-up for display helps engage stakeholders who may not have been in the discussion.
Heitkamp: From a space planning standpoint, it’s all about an open environment promoting connection and interaction between the users.
Another component—one that can be hard for us, as architects and designers—is taking a step back from the design and avoiding the urge to make things look “too perfect.” Not only does a space with some raw edges communicate authenticity, it is a reality for most start-up companies. A space designed for a startup company shouldn’t look or feel the same as a corporate headquarters. I think harnessing the charm and excitement of a start-up space through the building design is important.
Q: On one hand, you need to foster cutting-edge ideas that challenge normal business practices, but on the other hand these ideas should serve the business and its market. Are there any traditional office elements you would incorporate?
Pease: Sometimes an individual user or small group will want to take time to work on their own. There needs to be intimate break-out rooms, in close proximity to the creative space, that are enclosed to control sound. The size should accommodate four to six people and should include similar amenities as the creative space. Locating both types of spaces near a kitchenette aids in creating a non-stress setting. Again, we want the users to be comfortable and relaxed, making conversations honest and personable. This attitude promotes teamwork and makes the process fun, resulting in more efficient productivity.
Heitkamp: In an open office environment, it’s important to incorporate quiet, private spaces for respite and contemplation. Striking a balance between private and public spaces, while maximizing flexibility, is the sweet spot. A lot of this has to do with boundaries in the space. Is a stud and gypsum board wall really better suited to be a glazed modular wall or a visual division of space created by high backed seating piece? This is an example of the kind of questions that you should be prepared to ask when designing the space.
With millennial entrepreneurs launching about twice as many businesses as boomers, business incubators could have a huge impact. The “millennipreneurs,” as they’re called, are taking the entrepreneurial leap at a younger age and have higher targets in mind. Business incubator design that can offer an innovative, collaborative, technology-integrated space, business coaching and opportunities for networking could be a huge asset.
Share your thoughts! Do you think business incubators can lead to startup success and/or idea generation? What would you want to see designed into an incubator space?
Using Design Details to Improve Patient Experience
In life, it’s often the little details that we appreciate the most; the little details make the patient experience.
As an interior designer who has focused my entire career in the healthcare industry, I’ve become acutely aware of how patient-centered environments tell a story and provide evidence of that story to customers, day-in and day-out. By incorporating the latest trends into the design, it creates the intended experience – typically presenting itself in the little details that patients remember.
It all starts with the greeting experience. Healthcare providers are taking cues from the hospitality and retail markets. Five star hotels call every guest by name, anticipating their arrival and personalizing the guest experience. Employees are trained to focus on the client and it shows with a smile and warm hello as you enter their properties. The opportunity to provide a warm friendly greeting to patients and visitors sets the tone for the entire experience. Leveraging design, make registration and waiting areas a focal point upon arrival, allowing clients to focus on their patients and visitors immediately. The greeting experience can instill an enormous amount of loyalty. The interiors must be warm and inviting and allow more casual interactions. The use of self-check-in kiosks are also becoming more common to appeal to tech-savvy consumers.
Recently, waiting areas are becoming referred to as “living rooms.” To align with that expectation, they should come with all the comforts of home. These spaces must be inviting, user-friendly, and convenient to visitors. From areas of technology such as, free Wi-Fi or charging stations for mobile devices, to comfortable residential type lounge chairs, the furnishings should provide variety. With an aging population, some seating should include arms and have a seat height of 19 inches for elderly accessibility. Natural palettes that are inspired by the outdoors with elements of organic textures or patterns are a welcomed sight in the high tech world we live in today. All of these items improve the patient experience.
Branding is another big trend. Taken from the corporate world, branding and environmental graphics are now prominent in healthcare. Promotion of your brand and your tie to the community around you can be shown through digital imaging, which now can be printed on virtually any substrate. Showcasing your pride and involvement in local efforts promotes stewardship and recognition of community improvements. Creating multi-functional spaces where community events can occur, allows occupants to experience the space in a positive environment. For instance, a coffee bar can also be used to teach healthy cooking classes—which helps promote wellness and can create a VIP experience.
As healthcare shifts to a value-based service model, where outcomes and satisfaction drive reimbursements, we must leverage the front-of-the-house and provide engaging spaces that add value. The details in the design can set the tone for the entire patient experience.
Top 12 Ohio Building Code Updates for 2016
The Ohio Board of Building Standards has kicked off 2016 with a laundry list of Ohio Building Code updates. Typically, Ohio Building Code updates are grammatical improvements, additional definitions, and minor clarifications to improve the text of the code and enhance understanding of the code’s intent, but the 2016 New Year update is full of code changes. Many of the Ohio Building Code updates realize some of the more desired modifications in later versions of the International Building Code (IBC), which forms the basis of our Ohio Building codes. These changes also address some overdue revisions to clarify the use group and application for some specific building types.
The Laundry List –
First, let me start off by saying that this should not be viewed as a complete list of code updates. These are my takeaways after a quick read-through. For a copy of the complete changes to the Ohio Building Code, please visit the Ohio Board of Building Standards. Also, I am leveraging the expertise of M+A’s Healthcare and Higher Education Studio Director, P’liz Koelker, to clarify the changes to ambulatory care facilities.
Below are my insights into the New Year Ohio Building Code updates:
1. While casinos first appeared in Ohio in 2012, they make their debut in the Ohio Building Code as an A2 Use. It’s also important to note that Table 2902.1 has been updated to reflect the required plumbing fixture counts.
2. Mop sinks are no longer required in mercantile and business uses with an occupant load of less than 15. This represents a square footage of less than 450 sq. ft. for mercantile and 1500 sq. ft. for business, so this isn’t earth shattering, but it goes a long way in addressing actual use where these small spaces are often cleaned with household cleaning products.
3. The required clearances for toilet partitions (excluding accessible facilities) has been updated to distinguish between wall-hung and floor-hung toilets. This recognizes that typical wall-hung toilets are more compact than tank-type and floor-spud toilets, allowing compartments to be reduced from 60 inches to 56 inches.
4. Spaces that are required to have only a single men’s and women’s restroom—with a single water closet and lavatory in each—can each be designated as a unisex restroom. This is a huge improvement for any parent who needs to get their children into a single, public restroom.
5. The exception to 2902.2 has been revised increasing the occupant load, permitted to have a single restroom to serve both men and women in a mercantile use from 50 to 100. Even though, not a reflection of the fixture counts found in Table 2902.1, (if it was a true representation, the occupant load would have been increased 10 fold!) regardless, it’s a welcome change permitting smaller mercantile uses up to 3,000 sq. ft. to have only a single restroom.
6. Cafeterias and similar spaces with a commercial kitchen are also now clarified to be an A2 Use.
7. Hoistway venting for elevators is not required in pressurized elevator shafts per the exception added to 708.14.2.1.
8. Clarifications have been added to distinguish between a doctor’s office and an ambulatory care space. Both are still B Uses, but there was plenty of confusion surrounding the requirements of what could be a doctor’s office and what was required to meet the stricter ambulatory care requirements.
9. Expect to see more questions pertaining to patients being rendered incapable of self-preservation. This will be the primary litmus test for requirements pertaining to ambulatory care spaces.
10. Sprinklers are required in ambulatory care uses when there may be four or more patients incapable of self-preservation on the level of exit discharge or just one patient when the space is on a different level. This may impact dental practices.
11. Manual fire alarms and smoke detection is required for ambulatory care facilities, unless fully sprinklered.
12. The march of the voice notification fire alarm continues and it is now a requirement for ambulatory care. It would not be a surprise that it becomes standard across all project types in the future.
As stated above, for a complete copy of all the 2016 New Year Ohio Building Code updates, please visit the Ohio Board of Building Standards. But I hope my laundry list of takeaways is helpful in the meantime!