Browsing Helix People

15 February, 2018 | Helix People, Recognition

New Helix Promotion

We are pleased to announce Kate Hulsen, Helix’s director of marketing and business development, was recently elevated to principal. In her role, she leads the execution and oversight of all marketing and business development initiatives across the firm’s core markets.

Over the course of her career, she has worked exclusively for architectural firms, cultivating a deep understanding of the profession and Kansas City. Since joining Helix in 2015, Kate has become a valuable asset to the team. Her drive and extensive knowledge of the local business community have helped our firm secure highly competitive pursuits, such as the Kansas City Art Institute student housing project, DEG Headquarters and Missouri State Hill Hall renovation.

Kate graduated from the Kansas City’s Chamber of Commerce Centurion’s Leadership Program in 2012 and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Public Administration from the University of Missouri – Columbia.

We asked her a few questions to help you get to know her a bit more.


What led you to a career in architecture?

I have been around the architecture industry my whole life – my dad is an architect in St. Louis. He owns a small firm there where I worked in various capacities for as long as I can remember. I did everything from collating specs as a small child (back before printers could do that for you – when each page was individually typed and photocopied!) to answering phones in high school and eventually, handling accounting systems when I was in college. Although I studied marketing in college, I love working around all of the creative personalities that exist in a design firm.

 

What brought you to Helix?

I have a deep love of old, historic buildings. As long as I’ve been in Kansas City, I’ve known about the work that Helix does revitalizing them. It is one of the things that drew me to the position here. It is really incredible to see new life brought into old, neglected structures. Getting to learn the stories behind these buildings and watch the transformation from design through construction is pretty incredible. I also really value the firm’s commitment to only do work that has a positive impact on the community, as well as the extensive community involvement of the firm and firm leaders.   

 

What do you love most about your job?

Getting a behind the scenes look at projects that are transforming our city. Since the majority of Helix’s work is in Kansas City, I get to see the impact our projects have all around us.  

 

Do you have any hobbies?

I love to travel. My husband and I have been working our way through the National Parks since we met. We are taking our little one on a road-trip through Germany and Austria this spring – fingers crossed we survive the international flight with a one year old!

 

What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Betty Rae’s s’mores ice cream

Congratulations Kate!


8 December, 2017 | Awards, Helix People, Recognition

Evan Fox named AIA KC’s Volunteer of the Year

Each year AIA Kansas City recognizes individuals and organizations that have had an exceptional positive impact on the local design community at their annual holiday party. Last night Helix principal, Evan Fox was honored with the “Volunteer of the Year” award.

Since moving to Kansas City seven years ago Evan has been a leader in the local design community and an active member of Kansas City’s chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) — serving as AIA KC Design Awards Co-Chair and the AIA KC Pillars Steering Committee Chair. 

“Evan was named the 2017 Chapter Volunteer of the Year for his constant support to AIA Kansas City,” said Kristen DaMetz, AIA Kansas City Communications Director. “Evan has been a thoughtful and reliable volunteer. His help has touched many of the programs that AIA Kansas City provides from Design Excellence Awards and Pillars to Education Outreach and our website redesign. We can always count on Evan to lend a hand or an idea.”

Throughout the course of his career, Evan has worked on prominent corporate and developer led projects throughout the Midwest, including Corrigan Station and the Creamery Building renovation in the Crossroads Arts District; AMC’s Theatre Support Center in Leawood, Kansas; and Olsson Associates Headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska. Prior to moving to Kansas City he worked in Chicago on corporate headquarters and high-rise residential projects.

In addition to overseeing staffing, project management and technology initiatives for the firm, Evan is a mentor to his fellow team members. He is known for his wealth of knowledge on the technical aspects of architecture, new technology platforms that enhance efficiency/communication and rock bands of the 70’s.   

Congratulations, Evan. In honor of this occasion we will crank up the Journey and toast to you this afternoon!  


9 October, 2017 | Awards, Helix People

Q&A with Erika Moody, IIDA Mid-America’s Vision Award Winner + 2017 Class of KCBJ Women Who Mean Business

In addition to recently being selected for the Kansas City Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business 2017 class, Helix principal Erika Moody was honored with the Vision Award at Thursday night’s International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Mid America ELEVATE Awards. The Vision Award is the highest award given to an individual who exemplifies notable qualities in leadership, design, and mentorship.

As a principal and owner at Helix, Erika leads the firm’s corporate workplace practice, which includes top Kansas City employers such as Cerner, DEG, Blue KC, McCownGordon Construction, and Olsson Associates. In addition to her role within the workplace practice, she oversees key aspects of practice management, including strategic direction and planning as well as attracting top talent to the firm.

As an active member of Kansas City’s civic and philanthropic community, Erika’s leadership extends beyond the firm. She is a 2009 graduate of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Centurions Leadership Program and served as the president of the Kansas City chapter of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA). Having a strong belief in supporting the education of designers and architects, Erika has served on the Board of Interior Design at the University of Arkansas and on the Board of Interior Architecture at Kansas State University, her alma mater. She has also served three consecutive terms of the Board of Directors for Synergy Services, an organization she was introduced to while working on their Synergy House and Youth Resiliency Center.

We asked Erika to share a bit more on her role as a leader in our firm, the design industry and throughout the Kansas City community:

Goal as a firm leader

“I don’t just want Helix to be a great place to work, I want it to be the best place to work. It’s been a priority of mine to create an environment for our team members, both women and men, that offers flexibility for different stages of life. Our industry loses a lot of talent because we haven’t historically made it easy for people to juggle work and family. I want to provide a framework for all of our team members to feel successful, valued and proud of their role at work and at home. At Helix we’ve made it a priority to tailor roles to each team member’s individual needs. We’re lucky that our size and tight-knit management team allows us to do that.”

 

Biggest career accomplishment to date

“Starting Blackbird Design Studio was one of the most challenging but rewarding experiences of my career. I left the security of an established firm where I was a principal to create a successful venture that tripled in size over three years. While growing Blackbird, we completed notable projects, like Corrigan Station, Synergy Services Children’s Center and Olsson Associate’s corporate headquarters. Our quality work helped us draw the admiration and attention of a firm with whom we ultimately merged with, Helix Architecture + Design. Building Blackbird not only shaped the course of my career, but also taught me a lot about how businesses work. Starting a business from the ground-up is no easy feat, but one of which I’m incredibly proud.”

 

Community organization she’s passionate about

“Approximately eight years ago, I began working with Synergy Services. This incredible non-profit organization helps victims of family violence find the safety, support, strength and skills needed to change their lives. In our first project for Synergy House and the Youth Resiliency Center, we were able to double bed capacity and improve an existing facility, bringing it up to a new standard. I developed such a deep connection with the organization that I joined the board after our first project completed and have remained involved with Synergy ever since. We had the opportunity to work with them again on the newly completed Children’s Center, which included the renovation of a 100-year-old farmhouse and addition of a new building. The project allowed them to expand their programming and double the number of children they can serve.”

 

Championing women

“As an owner with Helix, I have been a champion for diversity and am extremely proud that our firm currently has a balance of seventeen women to thirteen men. In an industry where many women leave once they’ve had children we have created an environment that offers flexibility and mentorship to help them create a path that allows them to balance work and family commitments.”


“Also, as president of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), I helped to bolster our mentorship program, building networks among members. In the past, more experienced professionals phased out of the organization, leaving those who were just beginning their careers to make up the majority of the group. To mitigate this, we created a “principal roundtable” event and developed a new mentorship program. In fact, I am currently mentoring two, female designers from IIDA this year.”

You can read more about Erika’s “advice to her younger self” and the “philosophy she lives” by in this feature article from the Kansas City Business Journal.

Congratulations, Erika!  


14 September, 2017 | Helix People, Recognition

Ellen Hailey, AIA

Ellen Hailey
We are excited to announce Ellen Hailey is officially a licensed architect. She has passed all seven of the Architectural Registration Exams (ARE), logged the required Intern Development Program (IDP) hours, and can now formally call herself an architect.

A New Orleans native, Ellen graduated from Tulane in 2012 and joined Helix in 2017. Over the last year, she has been working with clients, such as BicMedia, DEG and Copaken Brooks. We asked Ellen to share her secrets to success and how she plans to celebrate.

Q: Any weird study habits?

A: Keeping my headphones in with no music playing. I was reading a lot of dense material, so I couldn’t always listen to music, but having the headphones in seemed to help me focus.

 

Q: While taking the exams, did you find you have a favorite subject matter?

A: I actually found the vignettes to be sort of fun. This is the drawing section of the exam, using the NCARB software. Each ARE has at least one. Some as many as three. You get a problem to solve (like designing a stair and ramp or laying out a building) with a limited time to draw your solution to satisfy code and ADA standards. I enjoyed the problem solving aspects, and there is usually little time left to overthink your solution!

 

Q: Any favorite pump up music or playlists?

A: I found this song My Only Swerving by El Ten Eleven in Spotify’s Focus playlists section. I think I listened to it a million times..

 

Q: What do you plan on doing with all your extra free time now that you aren’t studying for your exams?

A: Enjoying my weekends a lot more!

 

Q: What was your first thought after finding out you passed your last exam?

A:  Total relief! I took my last four in about six months, so I was constantly studying. After I passed the final one, it was weird to realize I didn’t need to jump to the next and could just relax.

 

Q: How did you celebrate?

A: I went out to see a band called We Are The Mummies at Knuckleheads. They are a funk band that performs completely dressed as mummies. It was a strange and good ending to a stressful month.

 

Q: Any words of encouragement for other architects who are currently studying for and/or taking their AREs?

A:  Always sign up for another one! I had trouble making time to study unless I had set a test date. I tried to sign up for my next exam right after I finished one – even before I knew if I had passed. I still gave myself some time between to relax, but wanted to push myself to keep moving forward.

 

Congratulations, Ellen! We are so proud.


28 June, 2017 | Helix People, Recognition

Congratulations to newly certified interior designer, Kate Phillips!

We’re proud to announce our newest certified interior designer: Kate Phillips! Kate joined Helix in 2016 and has since worked with clients such as Academy for Integrated Arts, DEG and The University of Kansas Medical Center. When she’s not improving workplaces around Kansas City, she’s busy planning the next big office party. 

NCIDQ Certification is the highest level of certification in the interior design profession. The exam is taken in three sections, all of which candidates must pass to become certified.  We thought we’d take this opportunity to hear about Kate’s secret to success:

Q: When studying for your exams, what rituals did you have? Any pump-up music or favorite snacks?
A: During the summer I enjoyed “multi-tasking” by laying out at the pool while reading through my textbook. However, studying for the Practicum in the winter was far less exciting. My dining table disappeared under piles of trace paper, post-its, and practice tests. I also listened to a lot of alt-J and The Japanese House in those months.

Q: Did you find a particular favorite subject matter?
A: I really enjoy puzzling together a space plan.

Q: Now that you’ve passed exams, how do you plan on celebrating?
A: A bottle of Veuve and a nap.

Q: What advice would you give any designers out there studying for their certification?
A: Practice tests are key! You not only have to learn and memorize the material, but I found it was just as important to know how the test was formatted. Also, make a study schedule and routine that works for you and stick with it.

From your Helix family — Congratulations, Kate! We’re celebrating with you on achieving this incredible accomplishment.


Helix Principal Takes Home Top Honor with IIDA

Alissa Wehmueller, Principal, was presented with the International Interior Design Association’s (IIDA) 2017 Member of the Year award at their Annual Meeting in Chicago on Sunday evening.

This award is given to an IIDA member whose commitment to the industry is visibly demonstrated through extensive volunteer efforts and dedication to the organization’s mission of advancing interior design and advocating for its excellence. The recipient receives $7,500, as well as a complimentary 2018 IIDA membership.

Alissa has served in various leadership roles within the IIDA Mid America Chapter, including Chapter president. She was also instrumental in helping the Chapter win two Chapter of the Year awards. Under her guidance, the Chapter has added mentoring opportunities, provided preparation for interior design licensing exams and advocated for statewide registration of the interior design profession.

“Every IIDA chapter needs and wants an Alissa Wehmueller. She celebrates accomplishments and then, asks what’s next. The Mid America Chapter has clearly benefited from her vision and ability to share it well.” said Erika Moody, Principal, Helix Architecture + Design.

Alissa’s work with Helix includes (top left going clockwise) the Boulevard Tours & Recreation Center, Blue Cross Blue Shield KC headquarters, Olson Performing Arts Center at UMKC and Service Management Group’s headquarters.


In addition to her service with IIDA, Alissa was also selected for this honor, because of her commitment to uniting the Kansas City design community. She co-chaired Kansas City Design Week  on behalf of IIDA from 2013-2015 and collaborated on the creation of the Center for Architecture and Design, which brings together design professionals across the city.

“My involvement with IIDA has truly been one of the most impactful things I’ve done in my career. The skills I’ve learned, the resources I’ve found, initiatives I’ve been able to see through and the relationships I’ve made in Kansas City, as well as within the national design community, are invaluable,” said Alissa.

Watch the IIDA 2017 Annual Meeting in which Alissa was awarded (1:20:00 mark):

Congratulations Alissa! We’re proud to work alongside you and look forward to what’s yet to come.


1 June, 2017 | Helix People, Recognition

Helix Employees Celebrate 5 Years with the Firm

We’re pleased to share three Helix employees are celebrating their five-year anniversary with the firm. In that group, you’ll find our resource librarian, Marcie Miller Gross; interior designer, Erin Stork; and our office concierge, Nina Grimes.

To thank them for their service and mark the milestone, they received a $1,000 voucher to be used for travel of their choice. These are given to team members for every five years of service. We capped off the festivities with a new tradition –  a celebratory lunch.

Thank you to Marcie, Erin and Nina, for your contributions, dedication and friendship. Helix greatly benefits from the gifts and talents each of you bring.


9 May, 2017 | Design, Helix People

Helix Adds New Talent to the Executive Team

Several years ago, the Helix executive team met to discuss what was next for the firm. They discussed a wide range of options, floating new ideas by one another. Then, big things started to happen.

The first step was announced in August of last year. We merged with the talented designers and architects at Blackbird Design Studio. We knew we were on the right track when we were named AIA Kansas City’s Firm of the Year in December. Now, we’re continuing that growth by adding a respected, local architect as a new partner.

STOCKMAN_Doug04

We’re pleased to announce Doug Stockman, a former founding principal of El Dorado, Inc., will be joining Helix. Doug brings over 23 years of design experience to the firm. Over the course of his career, he’s accumulated an expansive portfolio with work not only in Kansas City, but also throughout the Midwest.

I wanted to be part of a group comprised of thought provoking leaders and designers focused on elevating the human experience through architecture. I have known the leaders of Helix for many years and have the greatest respect for their work within the community. The decision to join Helix was easy,” said Doug Stockman, Principal, Helix.

His background and extensive portfolio complement ours. Doug has been recognized nationally by the American Institute of Architects for his design of the Girls Scouts’ Camp Prairie Schooner Trail Center. In the last decade, his work has primarily focused on mixed-use projects within the urban context. Most of which are multi-family apartments with retail and workplace as a component of the overall project. Ongoing projects nearing completion include new fabrication labs at Kansas State University’s College of Architecture, Planning and Design, as well as a new modular apartment building at 3435 Main Street in Kansas City, Missouri.

Active in the community, Doug has served on a variety of boards and committees: the Kansas City Free Health Clinic, Christmas in October, the MS Society, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Girl Scouts of Northeast Kansas & Northwest Missouri. Since 1999, he has also served in numerous capacities for the Kansas City Downtown Council (DTC). He currently sits on the DTC’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors as Chairman and the Dean’s Advisory Council at Kansas State University’s College of Architecture, Planning & Design. He is also a board member of Planet Play.


9 February, 2017 | Community, Crossroads, Downtown, Helix People

Celebrating 25 years: A Love Letter to Kansas City

Helix 25h Anniversary PartyThank you, Kansas City.

Twenty-five years ago we were a bunch of young buck architects that optimistically saw opportunity where there were dilapidated buildings and empty parking lots. We took a risk, left our jobs and struck out on our own. We opened up shop at 9th + Baltimore, moved to 10th + Broadway and eventually landed at 16th + Walnut – where we are today. We hoped that there were others that shared our passion for revitalizing our city. At least enough to help keep our lights on.

You have delivered.

What you have become, what we have been able to be a part of over these last 25 years is inspiring.

When we talk about our city’s entrepreneurial story, this is it. It’s not all fast-growth tech startups (although they are terrific). It is small businesses coming together each day to support one another. It is the support of extraordinary clients and committed partners. And it is an ecosystem of programs (like HEMP) that nurture the passion to build something great and provide the framework for success.

Thanks to you we have been a part of something meaningful. Great work. Our life’s work. We have been able to restore some of the city’s greatest architectural treasures and add new life to the streetscapes we walk each day.

Your investment, your commitment makes our work possible. Because of you, we get to spend our days doing what we love. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all are striving for?

And while one can’t help but reflect when crossing any major milestone, our attention is focused on the next 25 years. Not only what is next for our firm, but also our industry and most importantly, for you – our city. How do we steer Kansas City’s growth in the right direction and create spaces that we will be proud of 25 years from now? How do we create places that will attract talent so that we can continue to grow as a city?

These are the questions that drive us and our work each day.

As we look towards the next 25 years, we remain committed to the principles and passion we were founded on – advancing our community through great design and civic engagement, maintaining exceptional quality in all that we do, supporting the arts, preserving our historic structures, and most of all placing the human experience at the center of everything we do.

We look around at the young talent that fills our office, the new energy they bring and fresh perspective on what this city can continue to become. They bring dreams and ideas beyond what we could have imagined 25 years ago. They challenge us. They inspire us. And we are proud to work side by side with them to design and dream and build our city for the next 25 years.

So thank you, Kansas City. We are proud to be part of your story and hope you are proud to be part of ours.

Fondly,
Helix


1 of 812345...Last »