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Employee Spotlight – Caroline Kabus

Employee Spotlight – Caroline Kabus

Caroline Kabus is a new PMI family member this year. She recently graduated from K-State, but she has already likely logged hundreds of hours after working in our internship program at K-State for three years. In fact, she served here in our office in Dallas last summer – and couldn’t wait to come back! Well, welcome to Texas, Caroline. So glad you’re here!  See below for a few nuggets Caroline decided to share about herself. Enjoy!

1. I graduated in May 2017 from Kansas State University’s Architectural Engineering Program. I am a 5th generation woman in my family to attend K-State on my mother’s side. The picture to the left shows me with another new Purdy-McGuire employee from K-State – Bridger Schwasinger.

2. I grew up in Topeka, Kansas and my parents are John and Kaye Kabus. I lived on what I lovingly, and a little sarcastically, refer to as the “hobby farm”. We grew pumpkins as a 4-H project and to earn college money. My parents still live there, and if you are ever in Topeka in October, my brother will gladly sell you a pumpkin from the front yard stand. I was in 4-H for 10 years and earned the Key Award – the highest honor you can get as a Kansas 4-Her.

3. Aside from a couple of cousins, no one else in my family is an engineer. My parents wonder where I got my love for math. My father worked as the county noxious weed director and now is an insurance agent, and my mother is the food service director for the school district I grew up in. My younger brother, Conrad, is about to start his senior year at K-State as a food science major. My other brother, Carter, will be a senior in high school this fall. The picture on the right shows my mom and me with the K-State mascot, Willie.

4. I first got excited about construction in high school where I took drafting and building classes that partnered with Habitat for Humanity. Each year, students in that class build a home in two halves in the back parking lot at Seaman High School, to be trucked to its final site after we were done. I purposely took the class twice and gained amazing life skills and patience. Plus I just loved using the nail gun.

5. I was a member of the golf team throughout high school. I still very much enjoy the game, and can usually hold my own, but don’t expect too much if you need good scramble partner! I was on JV for all four years.

6. I am only a little ashamed to admit that the Introduction to Wine class was my favorite college course. It had the best homework. That favorite is closely followed by Introduction to Golf and Fred’s Senior Project.

7. I am a big fan of tours and I especially love construction tours. One of my first and favorite tours was of the new the West Addition to Bill Snyder Family Stadium as a freshman in college. I have also taken construction tours of the KSU Business Building, KSU Engineering Building Expansion, KSU Architecture Building Expansion, State of Kansas Capital Building in Topeka, Cerner’s new campus in Kansas City and the new Toyota Headquarters in Plano. However, I am not exclusive to construction tours, some of my other favorite tour experiences have been the KSU Institute for Environmental Research Thermal testing labs (which helped develop the ASHRAE Standard 55 for Thermal Comfort), the Cook Fan manufacturing plant tour in Springfield, MO, and the H.E. Williams lighting manufacturing plant tour in Carthage, MO. That’s Karis and I in a mechanical room on the Toyota campus.

8. I am a member of Tau Beta Pi. TBP is a national honor society that does community service and initiates top engineering students into lifetime membership. Honestly, I did not want to join at first, but I am glad that I did. One of my favorite college memories is whitewashing the “KS” hill letters. TBP was one of those college student groups where your best friends coerce you into being the next officer. The ArchEs had a 6+ year streak at having one of their own in the President’s office. Now I am out of college and would have already long forgotten about the group, if it didn’t have such a positive impact on my life. I really appreciate the connections I have through TBP. Our own Kristin is a past TBP President, and past interns that were TBP Presidents include Jacob L and Emily G. However sadly, my presidential legacy will be tainted. I am responsible for breaking the ArchE streak and allowing an Industrial Engineering major to be elected to the office of president after me. But don’t worry, I am keeping close tabs on him, we started dating this past March.

9. I’ll always be a K-State fan and will think of myself originally as a Kansan deep down. However, I love the sun and the heat. I am so happy to have moved to the warmth of Texas.

10. I have worked as a pool concessions and admissions manager, calculus tutor, K-State Architectural Engineering and Construction Science orientation teaching assistant, undergraduate researcher, intern in St. Louis for Ross & Baruzzini, and intern with Purdy-McGuire in Manhattan, Kansas and in Dallas. I cherish all the experiences that got me to this point, and I am glad to continue my favorite one here at Purdy-McGuire full time.

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Employee Spotlight – Joseph Guerra

Employee Spotlight – Joseph Guerra

We’ve got some ‘new kids on the block’ and they’re all great! Joseph graduated from UTA this year, and we’re glad he chose to work with the PMI family. Below are a few things Joseph wants to share with us. Welcome aboard, Joe! No matter what you say, we’ll be looking for some great dish(es) from you come potluck time…

I was born and raised in Dallas. I am a first-generation American as well as the first to earn a college degree on my mom’s side of the family, which is from Mexico.

I have two brothers and two sisters who, hopefully, will follow my footsteps.

I grew up playing baseball, which was a paramount passion of mine from adolescence to high school. This sport has significant meaning in my life since it’s what bonded a strong father-son relationship between my stepdad and me. I still play recreationally during the summer months (don’t ask about my hitting skills, I’ve been swinging and missing a lot lately).

Another sport I recently picked up is golf; I’m new to it, so don’t ask me about my golf swing either – most of the time, the ball ends up on the other fairway or in the woods. I enjoy golfing most when I’m playing with my dad – we enjoy the quality time.

I started taking Salsa dance lessons about a year and a half ago; this has been one of my favorite hobbies and I have no intention of stopping – I love it. If you ever see me at my desk with my hips moving, it’s a safe bet that I’m listening to some salsa music. You should spice up your life and try it sometime.

During the 2016 summer, I had the privilege of studying abroad in Paris, France. I took a French language course and grew to absolutely love and embrace their culture. The Parisian motto is “Fluctuat Nec Mergitur,” which, in Latin, means “She is tossed by the waves, but does not sink;” that’s definitely my favorite. During my time abroad, I was also able to see Versailles, Rome, Venice, and Barcelona. My time in Europe definitely ignited wanderlust within me! Careful when sparking a relative conversation cause I might not shut up about it.

I’ve worked numerous jobs since the age of 16, including Braum’s, Champs Sports, Best Buy, STEM tutor, a produce warehouse, and an aerospace internship. I saved the best for last, Purdy-McGuire! Super happy to be here and thankful for the opportunity the company has extended to me. Everyone at work is great, they constantly feed me, answer all of my questions (probably in the thousands by now), and they encourage each other; can’t wait to reflect in a few years.

I’m a sucker for live music. Much of the office already knows me as an avid concert goer with a wide range of music choices. You’ll find me at a show almost every month.

I’m also a huge foodie and love trying new restaurants, which is an expensive recreation. Don’t ever ask me what my favorite restaurant is because I’ll probably break my brain trying to decide.

Spending time outdoors is another thing I love to do. During the summer months, I like to go to the lake with family and take a cruise on my dad’s pontoon boat. Other favored activities include hiking, kayaking, jogging, sand volleyball, etc.

Currently learning how to cook and be self-sufficient now that I’m living on my own; I enjoy it. I come from a family with MEAN cooking skills. So, who would I be if I didn’t develop the ability to throw down in the kitchen as well? I’m still practicing, so don’t expect any homemade potluck contributions anytime soon.

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Employee Profile – Lucas Plant

Employee Profile – Lucas Plant

Lucas Plant joined us just two short years ago, and is confirmation of the value of our K-State internship program. Already, we’ve watched history in the making in his life as we welcomed his bride into the Dallas fold. She works at another local MEP, but that’s ok. She was ours first – see below.  Here are a few things about Luke in his own words. Enjoy!

I was born and raised in Colorado Springs with my dad (Vern), mom (Lorie), older brother (Mitchell)), and younger brother (Ken). And now, I have a sister in law, Rene, who’s married to Mitch.

I hail from a family of engineers; my dad and brother are both electrical engineers providing MEP system design in Colorado Springs, and my little brother will be a sophomore at Wyoming State studying architectural engineering.

I played a lot of sports growing up, but my favorite was, and still is, volleyball (both court and sand).

I went to Kansas State University for my degree in Architectural Engineering. I love going back to visit and work from PMI’s intern office, but Manhattan could use some more mountains…

Had multiple jobs in college including landscaping, professional window washing (commercial and residential), line cook and dishwasher at a BBQ restaurant. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to work my final two years of college as an intern for PMI. I met my wife at Kansas State in one of our classes, and we celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary in June!

My wife’s family is from Wisconsin (they say they have “mountains”), so I’ve become a pretty big fan of good Wisconsin cheese and beer.

Moved to Dallas, TX in 2015 and am coming up on two years with PMI full time. (BTW, ya’ll could use some more mountains in Texas…)

Lauren and I have an adorable cat named Snickers who can’t decide if he’s a kitten, dog, or toddler.

I love the outdoors like going camping, snowboarding, hiking, etc. I especially love the mountains J (in case you haven’t figure that out by now).

 

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Sandi Danna – A Fond Fare Well

Sandi Danna – A Fond Fare Well

When I landed at Purdy-McGuire in 2010, Sandi Danna was one of the first people I met. In many ways, she’s the kind of woman I want to be if I ever decide to grow up. Her tenure here is longer than the age of many reading this post, yet I have found her to be eternally young at heart! She has been a teacher and a student, the company’s historian, a sister to many, and a trusted adviser for many others. She has been the face of our Accounting/Contracts Administration for many years, and has worked with our clients displaying what I call “professional grace.” I so admire her love for capturing history with her camera lens, along with all the beauty it includes. Surely PMI won’t be the same without her, but it’s time for her to turn the page and enter the next chapter of her life. So here’s to Sandi Danna – never to be forgotten at Purdy-McGuire. Below is some information about Sandi in her own words. Enjoy! (rhh)

How did I arrive at Purdy-McGuire? On October 13, 1969, Snelling and Snelling (used to be a huge staffing company) sent me to a place called Ratliff-Purdy-McGuire. Dianne Fletcher hired me to be her assistant, typing specifications and answering ALL THREE telephone lines!! Thank goodness I graduated from those duties to processing contract administration on all of our projects.  I truly love the aspect of providing service to our clients. Most of the young people may think that the present construction boom in the DFW area is exciting but the construction in the 1980’s in Dallas was AWESOME! So much of the downtown Dallas skyline was developed during this timeframe and Purdy-McGuire was a huge player on that field.  I’ve always pridefully boasted of being a participant in this great organization with a superior reputation!

What have the past 47.5 years meant to me? It has meant a supportive family and friendship thru joys, celebrations, rewards, and sorrows. This has been a wonderful environment to both work hard and play hard.

What will I miss most in leaving Purdy-McGuire? Besides the interaction with the people I will no longer be the “historian” or “photographer”.  So many of the photographs that I have taken throughout the years at company events continue to pop up in slide shows sometimes to the embarrassment of the photo subject. (Don’t worry, Sandi; I’ve got your back-rhh)

How did I meet my husband?I met John B. Danna, Jr. (my second husband) at a party. We literally bumped into each other and started up a conversation.  He knew where I worked and said “put the coffee pot on and I’ll be by on Monday morning for a cup”.  And as they say….”the rest is history”!  We dated 5 years before I convinced or coerced him to marry me.  We were married 33 years before he passed away September, 2015. Since John was an Architect following in his dad’s footsteps it was great to be able to “talk shop” at the end of each day and understand what the other person’s workday was all about. These A/E people are a breed all of their own! John and I just “clicked on all cylinders” and enjoyed our married life whether traveling the world or sitting on the patio at our small ranch in Palo Pinto County watching the sunset.

Family? I have one son Michael Martin, and John has three children with spouses Jeff Danna (Karla), Paul Danna (Linnea), and Tricia Johnson (Doug). Between us we have 10 grandchildren and have enjoyed being a participant in their lives into young adulthood watching them enjoy their college years and then choosing a myriad of careers.

Hobbies? Besides the expensive hobby of traveling I enjoy creating greeting cards and invitations from all forms of paper and embellishments as well as with the photographs that I have taken. Perhaps after a two-year hiatus I will now have time to regenerate some creativity.

Favorite trips? That’s a difficult question as I genuinely love every place I’ve ever been. A 3-week photo safari in South Africa is definitely at the top of the list!  My husband and I enjoyed salmon fishing in Alaska.

What will I do after retirement? I already have a trip planned at the end of May to Prague in conjunction with a riverboat cruise on the Danube. I am also looking forward to having a leisurely paced lunch with Dianne Fletcher and not having to be concerned with rushing back to the office or violating office rules with a glass of wine at lunch!

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Employee Spotlight – Mariah Rice

Employee Spotlight – Mariah Rice

Mariah holds a very specialized position here at Purdy-McGuire. She is our Revit Coordinator, and works

  1. I was born and raised in Greenville, Texas and still live there today. Family is the most important thing to me, and that’s why last year I moved from Garland back to Greenville.
  2. I’m the first person on my dad’s side to graduate from high school.
  3. My name came from a song in a famous Broadway musical (Paint Your Wagon) called “They Call the Wind Mariah” by Harve Presnell. It was later made into a movie with Lee Marvin, Clint Eastwood, Jean Seberg.
  4. By age 10 I had won four blue ribbons at the County Fair for my charcoal drawings.  I took drawing lessons until middle school.
  5. Flew on my first plane at age 10 to Grand Forks North Dakota to visit my uncle who was stationed there for the US Air Force. Swam in the coldest lake ever.
  6. My middle name, “Dale,” has been passed down 5 generations on my dad’s side.  It’s also the middle name of my daughter, Maci.
  7. During High school I was an officer for Future Farmers of America and showed animals (sheep and steer).
  8. When I was 17 I started working at Raytheon in their engineering department.  My first project was the airplane for the Prince of Saudi Arabia. Woman were not allowed on the plane without a male escort. Everything on that plane was 14K gold even the screws for the seats.
  9. I’m a huge history buff.  I plan our vacations around historic places.
  10. I have dyslexia and it’s very hereditary – my dad, grandmother, nephew and both of my children have it. I wasn’t tested for it until my senior year in high school, so I’ve had no formal training.  I struggle with it every day but I’ve found reading now is very easy.
  11. Never read a book until 2012.  In 2014 I read 374 books with 300 pages or more.  I always have three books going. 1 audible, 1 hard back, and 1 Kindle.  I always have to finish the book … even it’s really bad…

 

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Employee Spotlight – Todd Johnson, P.E. / Associate Principal

Employee Spotlight – Todd Johnson, P.E. / Associate Principal

I have worked at Purdy-McGuire since 1994 and have headed interior project teams since 2001.  I believe our office will truly move the needle this year with client relationships and better quality of service.  Each of the leaders in our office has specific talents that are being shared throughout the office. I am a fan of lists – partly out of necessity, since I have been involved in 1,467 interior projects since 2001, with a peak having of issuing 19 projects in 20 straight working days.  Organizing schedules, tasks, and project criteria is key when juggling so much.   I am sharing ideas of organization of project criteria to help improve project quality throughout the office.

Here are some other items of interest about me:

  • I am originally from Topeka, Kansas and graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in Architectural Engineering. My wife Georgia also graduated from K-State and is a veterinarian here in Dallas.
  • My wife and I are supporters of Kansas State and root for their sports teams by attending road games and home games in Manhattan, KS whenever our schedules allow.
  • We spend a lot of time watching or attending professional sporting events – including baseball, basketball, football, hockey, tennis and golf. My wife and I have visited 18 MLB baseball games at different ballparks since 1999.
  • I enjoy learning about history either being a tourist or reading books. I want to know what happened and why. History always has at least two sides of the story and I am fascinated by each perspective.
  • Whenever I get a chance either at a local trail or while traveling, it always nice to be outdoors. Our most challenging hike was Mount Kilimanjaro in 1999 and ascended to 17,500 ft above sea level .
  • Snorkeling is one our favorite but rare travel activities. We have snorkeled in Hawaii, Greece, Africa, and Caribbean but believe the south pacific islands is our favorite.
  • I became an Orthodox Christian prior to my Greek Wedding
  • Oddity: since 1983 I have filled out and kept the NCAA basketball tournament bracket from the local newspaper. Before the internet thiis was a great way to look back at past years.  Now that I have 33 years of them – I continue doing it purely because I don’t want to break my streak!

* Editor’s Note: Todd is being very modest about his contributions. Here are some stats for Todd and his interiors staff:

    • Projects: 1,503
    • SF to Date: 25,809,000 sf
    • Project Hours: 199,000 (since 2002 when he began to track hours)
    • Buildings:  I counted 66 and quit…and that’s only up to the Gs
      • Includes multiple projects at 2100 Ross, Trammell Crow Center, Bank of America Tower, 717 Harwood, Chase Tower, and more.
    • Clients: 70+

/rhh

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Moving the Needle … Camille Barton

When I started at TCU in 2003, being the Chief Executive Officer of a nearly 60-year-old company wasn’t really on my radar. But ten years later with hard work and some good timing, here I am – excited, determined, focused, nervous but always ready. Ready to perpetuate the Purdy-McGuire legacy for providing exceptional service to our clients and our employees.  I look forward to continuing to work with our clients and business owners to ensure that their MEP design expectations are met and exceeded.

I look forward every day to addressing the needs of our employees – all while learning and growing with them.  This is an ever-changing industry, and Purdy-McGuire will change and grow and morph as needed to continue to serve our PMI family.  Every employee is charged with ensuring that our clients’ expectations are met and exceeded. But make no mistake: ultimate responsibility for client satisfaction and employee delight rests with me.  A task that I do not take lightly — to say the least.

As you’ve heard from Kip, Dan, and Scott through the blog, at our annual retreat, we explored ways we all can provide better service to external and internal clients. With a new year just starting, we want to feel the pulse of our clients and make sure we’re on the right track. So we’ll be reaching out in various ways to ask a simple question – “How can we move YOUR needle?”  I am here to serve — in every way, shape, or form that I can.

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Moving the Needle … Scott Brown

The first time I walked through the doors of Purdy-McGuire, I knew it was a unique company. Not only did we focus on providing excellent service and growing relationships with our clients, vendors, and contractors. We also take pride in providing opportunity for our staff to grow and develop their talents. As we go forward we’re constantly looking for ways to move the needle and grow both in our efforts to serve our clients and to continue to make Purdy-McGuire a great place for our employees to work and to grow.

 

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Moving the Needle … Dan Thien

When I started at Purdy-McGuire in 2000, I knew this company was different. Purdy-McGuire always focused on the human element of our engineering projects. The culture in our office and the relationships we have with others is very important at Purdy-McGuire.  I’m proud to be part of the new leadership of this firm going forward, and we recommit ourselves to serving you – our clients, employees, contractors, vendors, and community partners – with renewed vigor and enthusiasm. It’s important to Purdy-McGuire that you see our efforts to move the needle. So let us know how we’re doing (good and bad) – we’re here to serve you.

 

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Moving the Needle … Kip Hanzlicek

I’ve worked at Purdy-McGuire for over 30 years and have seen the company go through many changes. But one thing has remained constant:  “to always strive toward excellence in service to our clients,” which is part of our mission statement. With the change in leadership, we renew our commitment to you with a promise to continue to “move the needle” forward until we exceed your expectations.  In addition, we continue to foster a culture where our employees come to work each day expecting a positive experience in their workplace – a place they are proud to share with their own families. During 2017, we will reach out to all of our clients to thank you in our own special way; but if we miss a personal appearance at your workplace in 2017 know that we invite you to celebrate our 60th year of serving you. So thank you to all of our employees, clients, and business/community partners for allowing us to serve you for 60 years and counting.

Pictures below are from Purdy-McGuire’s annual retreats held between 2004 and 2016.

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