2015 Session 1: Working Together

Date: October 10, 2014
Location: SmithGroupJJR
Time: 12:00 pm – 5:00pm
Led by: Tracy Hucul, LEED AP BD+C & Stephanie Traynor, Assoc. AIA

Session 1 PDF


The first session of the Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program (CKLDP) was held at the offices of SmithGroupJJR on Friday, October 10. Tracey Hucul and Stephanie Traynor lead the session about working together which featured segments on how individual personality traits influence team dynamics, working with local regulatory processes, an office tour, and working internationally.

DSC03682(rev)The session led with a presentation by Cable Clarke of Clarke Consulating on the Life Styles Inventory (LSI) results that the scholars completed earlier in the week. Cable provided each scholar with their individual results along with a self development guide to help each scholar understand how their results can impact the way that they work and interact with those around them. The LSI results break down into three categories – constructive, passive/defensive, and aggressive/defensive. Cable’s presentation explained these three categories, as well as the four styles that make up each category, including examples of how to correct undesirable behavior and enhance other, more positive, characteristics. Through this segment the class learned how our their behavior contributes to and interacts with the culture of a company and the importance of changing behaviors to become more effective at what they do.

DSC03689(rev)The second segment was a roundtable panel moderated by Stephanie that focused on working within local regulatory processes. The panel, comprised of an attorney, Leila Batties, Partner at Holland and Knight, a developer, Adam Weers, Principal at Trammell Crow Company, and an architect, Mark Gilliand, Principal at Shalom Baranes Associates, provided a variety of viewpoints for the class. The focus of the roundtable was on the process of gaining approval from the city of Washington, DC for Planned Unit Developments, or PUDs. The PUD process allows developers to negotiate things that are advantageous to them, such as increased density, in exchange for things which are beneficial to the city, such as hiring of local workers or a guarantee to provide certain amenities. This process requires that the developer work closely with the city and Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANC). The heavy involvement and weight that the ANC carries is unique to the process in Washington, DC, which allows for real results to be reached at the neighborhood level. Through this segment and an interactive question and answer participation we learned about the intricacies of the PUD process, as well as the roles that the various team members play.

DSC03700(rev)The breakout session during the afternoon was a tour of the Washington, DC, office of SmithGroupJJR, to understand how the interior design of an architecture firm can facilitate working together. The tour was led by Luis Velez-Alvarez, a 2014 CKLDP scholar and architect with SmithGroupJJR. The tour began on the ground floor, which houses formal conferencing, a café and rear patio, and the materials library. This amenity floor provide spaces for client meetings and casual interactions between staff members. From there the tour progressed to a typical studio floor, made up of an open office plan and adjacent support spaces. Luis explained the mix of rooms provided to support various types of meetings and interaction, from formal to informal and for teams of different sizes, and for heads down work in a quiet environment.

DSC03732(rev)The final segment of the afternoon focused on working internationally, considering communication, cultural differences, and technology, with two presentations by Matt Larson, a senior structural engineer with Arup, and Suzette Goldstein, an urban planner and senior principal with HOK, both of whom have extensive experience with projects abroad.. Matt prefaced his presentation with the importance of understanding the motivation for working abroad and evaluating the risks associated with working in different countries. Through various project examples he explained partnering with local architects and engineers, difficulties of communication, technological considerations, and how different regional conditions can impact a project’s design and likelihood of success. Suzette opened her presentation in the same way that Matt closed his – with a discussion of the merits of working internationally, such as the chance to work on exciting projects on very large scales, and give structure to the urban fabric of new developments. Suzette discussed the project management pitfalls, such as securing payment and negotiating fees, as well as the importance of understanding common goals and standards of construction, representation, and responsibilities.DSC03726(rev)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s