March is Women’s History Month and we want to celebrate a partner at BRS that made Colorado history – Roz Schneider nee Barhaugh. This is her story:Continue
In 1974 Roz was a single mother of two, going to school at Denver University and working for a Dean at the School of Dentistry. After she was told there would be a salary freeze, she started looking for something new. One of her classmates encouraged her to apply at ABR Partnership telling her that they were hiring a secretary and they have a lot of fun. She interviewed with Russ Seacat, who hired her on the spot.
The ABR Partnership respectfully parted ways in 1975 when Don Barker, Ron Rinker and Russ Seacat started BRS. Roz was faced with a choice and she decided to join Don, Ron and Russ at BRS. She says she “lucked out.” Roz recounts, “There were six of us that started at Barker Rinker Seacat. We had just gotten a project to design the Children's Museum of Denver and we were designing these small savings & loans. We had an office on Lawrence & 19th right next to the Spaghetti Factory. I answered the phones, poshéd drawings, typed up all the proposals, and made lunch on Fridays. Everybody did everything.” She introduced the office to several innovative ideas such as Myers Briggs, conflict resolution, retreats, improvisational theater and many creative interview strategies. Roz felt she was treated equally, and her ideas were supported.
Just four years later Roz was asked to become a partner. “For Don, Ron and Russ to have that kind of belief in me was pretty amazing...I think that speaks volumes to the kind of people that they are/were and that set the stage for the culture of the firm that was so inclusive.” In 1979, Roz became the first woman, non-architect and first Asian American woman to become a partner in an architecture firm in the State of Colorado.
Roz has been called the 'glue' because she united the office and was a liaison from the firm to the community. She was on 18 community boards for over 20 years. Her dedication and participation in the Denver community was in tandem to the socially responsible vision BRS had. “(We said) we are going to do architecture that people are going to respond to, and that people want to be in. It was always about the people," says Barhaugh.
Roz brought an ensemble spirit to BRS, overseeing operations and marketing, and retired in 2010. Roz, you continue to inspire us!Hide Full Post
Posted on March 18, 2021 at 10:19am
Zach Bisek has accepted an invitation to join the Partner team. Zach has progressed in his career at BRS since 2005. Along his journey, Zach has contributed to BRS’s continued success through his balancing act of both project work and firm-wide initiates, ongoing mentorship, and unyielding care and passion for the communities served. In addition to these talents, he has made strides in maintaining the pulse of staffing and operations at BRS, leading to his title and focus as operations partner.
“Zach has been integral to the BRS family since he started working here. We are both honored and proud he has accepted our invitation—we love having him on the team!” Katie Barnes, managing partner.
Zach’s personality and background rounds out the existing ownership team consisting of Katie Barnes, principal, managing partner; Craig Bouck, principal, strategy partner; Keith Hayes, principal, business partner; and Marcia Hocevar, principal, Interiors. This promotion comes after Zach celebrated his fourteenth year working at BRS. His time at BRS is highlighted with numerous community enriching projects including, The REC of Grapevine, Grapevine, TX, The Center of Recreational Excellence (CORE), Hobbs, New Mexico, The Moorhead Recreation Center, Aurora, and a variety of Colorado Parks & Wildlife projects, which were at the commencement of his journey with BRS.
“I come to work every day passionate to hear and learn from our community of connected clients while simultaneously working alongside extremely talented and compassionate co-workers. Who could ask for more?” Bisek comments on his career at BRS.
Zach attained both his Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design from North Dakota State University. He was born and raised in St. Cloud, MN, making him a diehard Viking fan. He currently resides in Denver, with his wife of 11 years, Megan, and two sons—Lucas and Cameron.Hide Full Post
Posted on August 14, 2020 at 11:52am
After a 43 year career at BRS, Dave is looking forward to retirement
Denver, CO—Barker Rinker Seacat (BRS) Architecture is announcing the retirement of David (Dave) Hammel on June 30, 2020 after a 43-year career at the firm. Dave has been instrumental at BRS since he joined in the firm's sophomore year back in 1977. He helped spearhead the company’s recreation focus, working on some of the initial projects that laid the groundwork in this market for years, including Recreation Centers in Englewood, Loveland, Westminster, and the Fort Collins Senior Center.
Commenting on Dave’s impact at the firm, Craig Bouck, Principal, Strategy Partner, recounts,“Dave contributed his creative energy, insatiable curiosity and hands-on design approach to over 100 community recreation projects while at BRS. I believe there is no other architect that has dedicated more of their career to the innovation and evolution of community recreation center design than Dave. Dave’s legacy will not only be the impactful buildings he helped create, but also the the thousands of lives he has helped improve in communities across the country.”
Dave progressed in his time at BRS, initially hired in 1977 as an architectural intern. As a result of Dave’s attention to detail and easily approachable nature, he quickly became the Contract Administration guru within the office for many years. As he transitioned into a design role, and eventually became a Principal in 1988, he applied his depth of knowledge gained while in the field to his design work. Between 1990-1998, Dave served as the CFO for the office, bringing his conservative leanings to the firm's financial health. Throughout his career, Dave was a true mentor to all of the architects in the firm – young and old.
Reflecting on his career and stride in recreation design, Dave states, "I can't think of another building type that is as rewarding and challenging as Community Recreation.”
Katie Barnes, Principal, Managing Partner, warmly adds, “I was lucky to work with Dave when I first started at BRS in 1997 and I never stopped learning from him. His steady demeanor and technical savy were invaluable. We will miss Dave immensely.”
Dave, along with his wife Debbie, will remain in Colorado and will enjoy more time at their tiny home in Granby. The pair will be filling their days with competitive tennis matches, and Dave will be sharpening his amateur photography skills and relaxing with his easel and watercolors. They also foresee increased family time with their two children, Scott and Grant and daughter-in-law Jessica.
Posted on July 2, 2020 at 11:38am
BRS is heartbroken to share that co-founder of Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture Ronald E. Rinker passed away on April 23 after a battle with cancer – He was 87. Ron believed that we are stronger together when he co-founded BRS in 1975 with Don Barker and Russ Seacat. He set out to build a socially responsible architecture firm that championed projects such as Writers Square, first mixed use project in lower downtown Denver; Westminster Recreation Center, first indoor leisure pool in the country; Mesa Verde National Park Far View Lodge and Far View Terrace, first BRS National Park Service project; The Dam, first zero lot line housing development in Denver; Copper Mountain Village Center and Mountain Plaza; Chaska Recreation Center in Minnesota, first out of state BRS project and a variety of civic projects. Ron was a talented designer who dreamed up ideas and identified the context of each individual project. He believed in creating a family culture at BRS and to be of service to the larger community. Ron had a genuine and caring manner, a gift for connecting with people and a fun sense of humor. Ron retired in 1993 in New Mexico. At our 40th anniversary his closing remarks were “I think it’s a really important time to be compassionate and grateful. There is a lot to be grateful for.” Our thoughts are with his husband Jay Geiger and family. We will miss our friend and colleague who made this world a better place.
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Posted on April 24, 2020 at 05:05pm
Stay up-to-date with how BRS is making adjustments during the time of coronavirus.Continue
3/31/20: We know you all are getting bombarded with news, articles, alerts, and emails regarding COVID-19. Like many others, we have adjusted to allow for work from home, that's not the only adjustment we're seeing.
We know it's an unnerving time and everyone is anxious. We also know that out of all hardships come strength. To build up some strength, we're sharing some of the positive consequences that we've witnessed over the past two weeks.
Our employees are more vigilant, stronger, and more connected than we ever imagined. Our extroverts are reaching out to our introverts (more surprisingly) our introverts are reaching out to our extroverts! And we're all getting on an all-company video chat twice a day. We don't do it to catch up on to-do lists. We do it to check-in with each other, person-to-person.
Our passion is pushing us through. We noticed in our clients and employees; everyone is channeling their passion into the energy required to keep their projects running. It's inspiring and oh-so motivating to watch.
We are taking notes from our clients. We know you are running on emergency protocols and making decisions you never thought you would face. We're listening to our clients to take note of what actions your community has taken, were they successful and how can we benefit to learn from each other?
How can we implement best practices of virus containment into future buildings? We're asking big questions and while the answer might not be clear right now, we're tracking everything happening around COVID-19 to make us stronger for the future. Stay tuned for more or write in to share!
04/03/20: Taxi 2 (our Denver office location) Lobby doors will be locked - Consultants: Please coordinate sample deliveries, etc, with your team as there may be a better location to send them.
05/08/20: Staff will begin to go back to the Denver studio May 19th with 50% of staff working remotely. Grapevine, Texas office opened back up on May 5th. Please continue to work with your team to coordinate deliveries and meetings. We will continue to work remotely in many functions. We are still developing our office plan.
05/19/20: BRS has taken the following steps to move back to the office:
- Employees must take their temperature when they arrive.
- If they are above 100 degrees they must record it and go home.
- You must wear a mask in social spaces except for at your desk.
- Maintain 6' or more when talking or interacting with coworkers and guests.
- Use arrows to adhere to directional path of travel in the studio.
- Maintain maximum occupancy (or what is comfortable) of conference rooms.
- Wipe down and sanitize all surfaces often, plus there are nightly cleanings.
- We will continue to meet virtually and use Microsoft Teams for internal communications.
We are currently at 25% or less of staff in the office.
Our goal is to be back in the office by June but we are monitoring CDC and adjusting as needed.
05/21/20: Transitioning to a New Business as Usual
Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture (BRS), a 40-person firm headquartered in Denver, Colorado shares their transition to working remotely, staying connected culturally and their silver linings of the COVID epidemic.
Getting to 100% Remote
BRS has always been flexible regarding employee work hours. Previously, it was limited to whether someone was more productive working from 9:30 to 6:30 as opposed to 9 to 5, or because it provided a convenient option on a sporadic day, such as staying at home with a sick child. We offered this flexibility as an amenity for employees. However, since we are a relatively small firm with an extremely tight-knit and collaborative culture, we did not promote this as more than a short-term solution. All of this changed in March 2020.
In early March we had a few concerned employees contact their managers and express their desire to work from home. At the time we had other employees who were not concerned and wanted to continue to come into the office. It was a delicate situation. The management team had to balance both reactions and respect that each employee has a unique situation and individual needs to cope during a tough situation. We talked about it openly and discussed it as a group. Following the discussion on March 16th the majority of the office began working from home. When the Mayor's stay at home directive was issued on March 24th, we closed the Denver office and transitioned to everyone working from home.
This ‘new abnormal’, was challenging for the executive team for a multitude of reasons. There were time-sensitive technical requirements to meet as well as the management of fundamental emotional intelligence skills.
By the time the Mayor's directive was issued, we were already working with our IT consultant to provide everyone a work-provided laptop, as needed. We issued an office-wide survey checking in on home internet speeds, computer virus protection, etc. to assist our IT department in understanding the needs of each person, with one-on-one follow-up. The first day we were working from home 80% of people were up and running. Within three days, by setting up VPN's and remote desktop applications, we were 100% functional and working from home!
Meanwhile, we were bombarded with hourly news updates and needed to discern the best resources amongst the rapidly developing information. With the media posting breaking news 24/7 our employees were looking to firm leadership to provide timely responses. Staying up to date on ever-changing government policies, understanding how they affect our firm and our employees as soon as possible was and continues to be our goal.
We were also nervous our work would suffer missed deadlines, sluggish response rates, etc. Although we know BRS employees are flexible and adaptable, we had no idea how amazingly resilient BRSers are in difficult circumstances! We're continuing to offer the same level of service, meeting our deadlines and creating innovative digital workarounds for in-person activities. In fact, our utilization actually rose the first three weeks working from home. We made it a point to bring this back to the staff with a celebratory 'cheers' during our Friday happy hour.
We feel lucky to have a previously established intranet we call BoRiS (an acronym for Barker Rinker Seacat Office Intranet) which has been hugely helpful in enabling people to work from home while still feeling connected to others in the office. Not only is it a place where an employee could access project related information, write a post, or provide support, but we've also been using it to educate our employees on new office policy in the world of COVID-19 as well as share financial and health resources. We also hosted a webinar to help guide employees in understanding use of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave and the Expanded Family and Medical Leave Act under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
The Silver Linings
As mentioned previously, we take pride in what we believe to be a unique and close-knit office culture. Feeling forced apart so unexpectedly we were all drawn toward experiences which would bring us together, if only virtually. We are still maintaining our Monday morning all-company meeting virtually. We have added non-mandatory staying connected meetings twice a day and host happy hours every Friday. Although working remotely isn't ideal, we have noticed some extraordinary moments with our employees.
Whether family includes a spouse and three kids, or it's you and a puzzle—we're celebrating “family” on our web check-ins. Kids are showing off their spring dresses and lego sets, dogs pop-in and out and steal the show and we're motiving others to stay committed to their crotched blankets. As a result of our employees’ generously sharing a glimpse into their daily lives, multiple times per day and connecting with their families, our bond is stronger than ever.
Along with our Friday happy hours, our culture committee didn't want to see all activities take a pause while in quarantine. Throughout the year we host maker nights, where we get together after hours and learn a new craft. During quarantine, one committee member is planning to lead a group virtually through DIY silk-screening kits. We're looking forward to hosting this first-ever digital maker night!
Construction is identified as an essential service and we continue to work on a variety of projects under construction using suggested safe practices. Many of our initial architectural programming activities include in-person community meetings. We are innovating opportunities for members of the communities we are working with to engage virtually in the design of their new community center. These opportunities will provide services for future clients which might not be able to support public facilitation.
Throughout history, we've seen people overcome challenges with innovative solutions. We've seen our employees’ passion carry them through this tough time and inspire new initiatives that we're now working to implement. It's an exciting way we're keeping energy high and rewarding creative thinking.
Our marketing team is working to create webinars to provide our clients with support during this tough time as they navigate through transitioned re-openings of their community centers. Others around the office are taking on the task of tracking Recreation Centers nationwide, how they have reacted to COVID and having to temporarily close, what worked and what didn’t. With this knowledge, we can be a resource to our clients and continue to maintain our pulse on the recreation industry. We’re also working with our recreation clients to initiate new remote esports leagues and tournaments to help keep their members connected.
Our annual conference we call Rec Camp, has been delayed by three months but we continue to have registrants trickle in, and we are modifying content to be most relevant in the new normal. We’re also hoping to still celebrate the original dates with an e-version of relevant content for those who signed up but are no longer able to attend.
Reading this article in mid-May many of us are hopefully now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We're also acutely aware it will be a slow drip back to society as we know it—some things will be altered forever. Now we’re focusing on keeping track of public policy adjustments associated with recreation centers and libraries and how any changes may impact the programming and design of our buildings. Next, we’re looking forward to hosting a think tank post-pandemic with past and current clients. We will be assessing their new needs, what keeps them up at night and how we can leverage architecture to make our future a safer, healthier place.
Posted on March 31, 2020 at 04:22pm
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