MICHELE DEMPSEY, AIA, LEED AP
I started DxDempsey 15 years ago in an attic apartment in Scranton. They were lonely times. Today, I have a team I love working with that feels more like a family. They make work a happy place. Sometimes I like to imagine that we will work together forever. I know that this can’t always be the case, but I try to will it to be so. I am incredibly honored they have chosen to work here. They have created a culture of collaboration, creativity, supportiveness, respect, innovation…and fun. Without further ado, meet the people who bring the X factor to DxDempsey:
Corey started his journey at DxDempsey as an intern 6 years ago while he was attending the Marywood University School of Architecture. Even then his thoughtful, elegant, detail-oriented designs stood out from the crowd when I was invited to sit on a jury to critique the student’s work. When I hired Corey as an intern, he brought his incredible talent with him to the firm. It was a nobrainer to make the position full time. Corey is an architect and an artist. He is that rare person who can make beautiful hand drawings as well as elegant construction details. He can visualize the big picture and then design it right down to the location of the nuts and bolts. He has a keen eye and finely tuned aesthetic intuition. Corey’s talent has touched most of the projects at DxDempsey since he began here. As a highly collaborative firm, we all participate in the design of the projects often bouncing around between the Huddle Room and each other’s desks. Corey brings nothing but original ideas to the table and his input always makes the design better. He is quiet by nature, but his voice is heard. His second language is sketching and he speaks it fluently. If a picture can paint a thousand words, his simple line sketches paint 10,000.
More recently, Corey has managed and played a major role the design of the Welcome to Las Vegas store and Lightspeed Technologies corporate headquarters. His beautiful 3-D renderings for the Iron District Comprehensive Plan were not only instrumental in receiving a prestigious Design Excellence Award from the Pennsylvania American Institute of Architects (AIA), but also in enrolling the local community in the Plan, which is almost certain to begin Phase 1 within the next year. Corey is a deep thinker. He is meticulous. He is passionate about design and architecture. He is also one of the kindest, most honest, and most genuine people you will ever meet. He cares for each project as if it is his own and Clients love him for it. His demeanor is calm and his laugh is infectious. Corey makes our office and the world a better place.
Andrea also started her journey at DxDempsey as an intern 6 years ago. Even as an intern she possessed remarkable talent. I secretly hoped she would return to Scranton after completing her Bachelor of Architecture at Temple University and a Masters in Interior Architecture at Philadelphia University. Alas, the city life called to her and she worked for years in Philadelphia and New York City. Then came that fateful day.
I needed to hire for a position that was perfect for her and immediately yearned to have her back. I knew my chances of stealing her away from Manhattan were dim, but as Wayne Gretzsky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” So I found her on LinkedIn one evening and wrote a message. I put it in my draft folder to read it with fresh eyes in the morning so I could make sure it was perfect before hitting send. The next morning, I opened LinkedIn and to my great surprise, there was a message from Andrea! She was wrapping up her job in NYC and wondered if we were in need of another designer on our team. I checked my draft folder and my message was still there—I hadn’t accidentally sent it. Talk about the stars aligning! Within a month, she was back and she brought her positive spirit, fresh ideas and honed talent with her.
Andrea is gifted at design and, particularly, interiors. She loves nothing more than looking at a building or space that others would consider “road kill” and imagining how to transform it into something wonderful. In addition, her graphic design skills align perfectly with our Strategic Branded Experiences niche and her taste in furniture, colors and finishes is impeccable. She is genuinely great to work with and clients quickly take to her professionalism, friendliness and dependability. But don’t ever mistake her kindness for weakness. She is a stalwart advocate for her clients and their projects. She will take a stand to make sure they are done right. In the two years she has been back at the fi rm, she has already brought ideas to the table that will take us in new and exciting directions. In addition, she has recently managed and played a major role in the design of the new headquarters for the Moses Taylor Foundation as well as the Munley Law Office renovation and addition. Andrea is like that famous person that you always felt could be your best friend. She makes everyone feel special and I am very lucky to have her…and to call her a friend.
Jennifer joined the team 3 years ago and has become our Business Manager. Jen is the firm’s secret weapon. She plays a mild-mannered accountant by day, but she has super powers that have helped transform the
fi rm. For example, out of nowhere I started getting emails about a marketing fi rm that works exclusively with architects. Jen had signed me up for their newsletter and soon after, we were working with them. Among other things, they helped us define our niche–and write better newsletters. It is clear that Jen cares deeply about each person who works at DxDempsey. At the same time, she realizes our success is tied to the company’s success and, therefore, she takes great care of the company. She believes in all of us and makes us feel like we can do anything. With her skill set, we have realized that the fi rm can be so much more than we ever thought was possible.
Outside of the office, Jen is calm and unassuming. Inside, she has a take-charge, can-do spirit that is inspiring. She holds us all to account and keeps us on task. She understands that creative minds need energy and keeps us well-stocked with coffee and snacks. Jen makes the office run so that we can focus on our clients and projects and be the designers and architects that we are. She has made very successfully raising 4 great kids look easy, so solving the vexing challenges of office management with grace is just par for the course. Jen is often the first person we all see when we come into the office in the morning. There is no better way to start the day than being greeted by someone who genuinely believes that together we can change the world.
Ryan. Where do I start with Ryan? About a year and a half ago, a family friend called me and asked if I could give Ryan’s resume a look because he was “a good kid.” I invited him to interview for an internship position. The interview went well, but it was the last thing he said to me that stuck. He looked me in the eye and said, “I’m not going to let you down.” No truer sentence has ever been spoken. Ryan quickly became more than an intern. He instantaneously galvanized with our culture and his work and work ethic were incredible. Everything we give to Ryan comes back better than expected. He is confident, fast, efficient and talented. He handles difficult challenges so easily that we keep upping the anty and he keeps making us redefine what the “anty” should be as he wows us over and over again.
Much like seeing your kids off to college, we have to say good-bye to Ryan for a little while. He is still in school at the University of New Mexico and he is about to embark on a semester abroad in Scotland. We know that, like Andrea, there are places he has to go and people he has to see after he graduates and before the day he returns. In the office we speak only about when he will return, never if. We have memorialized him by naming the resource area that he organized in the office “Ryan’s Corner.” That’s what happens when you do great work, make people laugh, and when you feel like part of the family. Ryan’s only downfall is making us feel old. Just the other day we realized he didn’t know the band Hootie and the Blow Fish. We love him anyway. It’s impossible not to.
I also want to acknowledge our extended DxDempsey team. In order to expand the resources of our fi rm, we often team up with another fi rm, LAYER Architects, started by friends of mine, Jeff Lew and Wolfram Arendt, whom I worked with for years in my first job out of grad school. Their talent and experience is deep and impressive. As they look more towards Institutional base building project work, we look more towards our
niche in Strategic Branded Experiences so they dovetail well together. For over a decade, we have also worked with Anna Hochstadt of J.A. Marcus Designs, who assists us with surveys and drafting. She is fast and efficient and we can count on her for accuracy and precision. We love when we have the opportunity to bring her on board for a project because she is always a pleasure to work with. We also work with a team of trusted consultants too numerous to mention here, but we will highlight them in a future issue.