Current projects: I’m overseeing construction of four ambulatory surgery centers and in design on a new proton therapy center. The proton therapy project has been a unique and exciting project to work on, as there are only around 40 of these centers across the U.S. and this one will be the first in North Carolina.

Sources of inspiration: Stories from nurses, patients, and staff members about how healthcare and the building we designed positively impacted their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Our firm has adopted this philosophy in our monthly company meetings of starting with a “connection to purpose,” which gives a staff member the opportunity to tell one of these stories. They help remind me that we are part of something much larger, and all the work we put into our design truly changes the lives of so many people.

Best advice you’ve received: One of my high school lacrosse coaches used to tell us: “1+1 does not equal 2, but 3.” He explained that you can achieve more as a team than you can as individuals. However, simply putting individuals into a group doesn’t make a team and will not net great results. It is something you need to work on every day to build trust and respect for each other and have the proper environment to inspire and grow.

Trends you’re tracking: Designing healthcare spaces to feel closer to a home or hospitality setting. [Making] these small changes can reduce the stress and discomfort that many people experience when visiting healthcare facilities. There needs to be this balance of home-like design elements built into the needed functions of healthcare, with considerations for ergonomics, safety, infection control, and so much more.

Dream project: It’s crazy to think, but the proton therapy project I’m currently working on is my dream project. It almost like stepping on the moon, because there are only a select few that have designed this type of facility. To be part of the team that brings this unique facility to a community that currently doesn’t have this specialty in the entire state is an amazing feeling.

Memorable pandemic moment: We had an after-hours virtual design meeting with head physicians and nurses on a new surgery center that I was quite nervous about. As the staff started to join the call with their videos on, I was surprised to see everyone in normal clothes and relaxing in their home with family and kids. It made me feel comfortable with leading the discussion because we got to meet the person behind the mask and break down the silos of our professional worlds.

Your crystal ball says: More healthcare systems will require design teams to submit building information modeling (BIM) as a deliverable. Learning how to utilize BIM can provide healthcare systems with a tremendous amount of value and information. For example, a savvy facility manager can easily track required maintenance across multiple projects with just a few clicks. This will allow systems to be more proactive in their facility management rather than reactive.