Browsing Helix People

Cale the Architect

Helix is proud to announce our newest licensed Architect: Cale Sadowski. Cale joined Helix in 2011 after a four-year stint in New York City where, as a junior architect with Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture, he worked on projects ranging from black box theatres to a 1,800-seat proscenium theatre.

Becoming a licensed Architect requires passing the Architect Registration Examination (ARE), which is a series of seven different exams totaling a grueling 33 hours. Since beginning his exams, Cale and his wife Ashley (also an architect) bought their first home and had their first child. If that’s not impressive enough, Cale also graduated from the AIA Kansas City’s 2014 Pillars Leadership Program.

We thought we would take this opportunity, while Cale is still in test mode, to give him a quiz of our own.

Q: What type of swag do you get now that you’re an architect?
A: I’ve jokingly considered getting my stamp tattooed on my palm, but I’ll probably settle for framing my license once it comes in the mail.

Q: When studying for your exams, did you have any favorite pump-up music or playlists?
A: Coffee and Sigur Ros (Icelandic Band with really atmospheric and ethereal sound, mostly instrumental). It was the perfect music for calm and focus without lulling you to sleep.

Q: Did you learn anything interesting about yourself while studying and taking the exams? A favorite subject matter?
A: Site Design. It’s inspired a lot of ideas about landscaping for my yard.

Q: Now that you’re finished with your exams, how do you plan on celebrating?
A: I’ll celebrate when my wife passes her last test, but the plan is to have a cookout and invite everybody we know.

Q: Anything else you want us (the world) to know?
A: Becoming an Architect is a LOT of hard work, but it’s a privilege to practice.

If you studied up on our recent personality trait post you also know that Cale is an INTP, otherwise known as the “quintessential architect”: inventive, creative, intellectual, and the most logically precise of all other personality types.  We couldn’t agree more.

From the Helix family – Congratulations, Cale!

18 February, 2015 | Helix People

A Toast to Twenty-Three

Throughout the years, one thing has always been important to us: people.  In the spirit of celebrating our people, we decided to have some fun by asking our employees to post pictures of themselves 23 years ago. While this year’s anniversary holds no particular significance, something felt right about celebrating. Perhaps it was the frigid, February weather, or our newly defined unique personality traits. Regardless, we had a great time looking back at where our people were when Helix began and raising a glass to the years ahead.

6 February, 2015 | Helix People, Leadership

Rising to the Top

Last year was hard to beat!  Two major commissions came Helix’s way, the new Conservatory of Music and Dance building for the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a new Health Education building for the University of Kansas Medical Center. This year, the excitement continues with the announcement of two promotions, Bryan Gross to Shareholder and Alissa Wehmueller to Principal.

As Director of Interior Design, Alissa Wehmueller, IIDA, LEED AP oversees Helix’s award-winning interiors team.  Alissa’s experience with several high-profile corporate clients has led to her passion for creating a happier American culture through workplace design. She inspires groups seeking transformational change and brings a proven track record delivering workplace environments as innovative, playful, and fast-paced as the companies themselves. An expert in workplace trends, Alissa participated on an International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Round Table on the subject in Chicago, and serves on their chapter board.

Recently, Helix awarded Alissa the impossible challenge of leading the charge on our own workplace refresh.   We felt anyone who could convince the entire office to pour ice water over their heads (for the ALS Challenge) was the right person for the job.  Alissa enthusiastically embraced the opportunity as a chance to “practice what she preaches” and came out with flying colors.

An Iowa State University graduate, Alissa has made Kansas City her home, spending weekends restoring a historic home with her husband in Liberty.

Senior architectural designer, Bryan Gross, AIA, LEED AP leads Helix’s quality assurance efforts with regards to design.  Joining Helix as a Principal in 2004, Bryan is known for his steady leadership and constant pursuit of excellence.  He has led over two million square feet of Helix’s most prominent and complex projects including, most recently, the Health Education Building at KU Medical Center.  His talents have gained national recognition, most notably in Architect and Architectural Record magazines.

When not creating his next masterpiece, you will find Bryan mentoring any one of the firm’s architects.  He is Helix’s Rock of Gibraltar when it comes to detailing award-winning building designs.  But on weekends or after work you might see him racing through the streets either on foot or bicycle.  An avid runner and cyclist, Bryan is frequently running in marathons and biking to and from work.

Bryan is a graduate of the University of Kansas and the Architectural Association in London. A father of two, one of his children recently joined the profession as an intern architect in Toronto.

3 February, 2015 | Helix People

How to succeed in business? Surround yourself with really smart people!

To recognize the talent and contributions of two amazing individuals within our firm, we are happy to announce that Paul Weigel has been elevated to Director of Finance, and Kathy Whipple is elevated to Director of Human Relations.

Their combined contribution of over 15 years to our creative company have provided both a bedrock for us to build on, and the glue that makes our culture strong, healthy, and fun.

Congratulations Paul and Kathy!

28 January, 2015 | Helix People

Uniquely Helix

Happy hour is not for naught. A fun conversation transpired a few weeks ago over end-of-the-week beers that resulted in a census of the personality types in the office. As an office, we unanimously, and somewhat eagerly, opted to take an online version of the Myer-Briggs personality type indicator test  in order to get to know ourselves, each other, and our workplace a little bit better. The results were catalogued and studied to identify our individual and collective identities. Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert in analytical psychology. I am an interior designer with a sincere interest in people (my co-workers), workplace (both designing and working), and relationships. So if any of this doesn’t make sense, don’t be too surprised, or concerned. The following results are meant to delight and entertain.


Collectively, we are the most rare personality type in the Myers-Briggs matrix. The data reveals the following to be true at Helix:

  1. There are more Introverts than Extroverts (I>E)
  2. There are more Intuitive types than Sensing (N>S)
  3. There are more Feeling types than Thinking…nearly a 3:1 ratio! (F>T)
  4. There are more Judging types than Perceiving (J>P)


If this doesn’t mean much to you, the break-down (pictured right) defining the dichotomies may help.

If you take the greater of the two dichotomies listed above for each preference, you get the conglomerate personality type INFJ. The INFJ personality belongs to the “Diplomat” or “Idealist” category, and makes up less than 1% of the U.S. population. The INFJ is idealistic, moral, decisive, and uses energy to create balance, not for personal gain. The INFJ is a rare breed including an impressive list of infamous persons such as Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, and Mother Teresa to name a few! We at Helix are proud to be an INFJ company who seek meaning in our work, wish to create a lasting positive impact, and believe strongly that people matter. See more about our philosophy here:

Another take-away from this exercise is the fact that we have three majority personality types in the office.  Nearly everyone else is a floater, a single or pair of one-offs. A brief synopsis of the top three most common types in the office:

 ISFJ – The Protector. 18% of Helix employees. Quiet, friendly, responsible. Notice and remember specifics about people. Good listeners, eager to serve, great organizers.

ENFJ – The Teacher. 14% of Helix employees (50% of which are leadership). Warm, empathetic, responsible. Finds potential in everyone. Provides inspiring leadership. Communicative, affectionate and warm. Honors commitments.

ENFP – The Champion. 14% of Helix employees. Enthusiastic, imaginative, spontaneous, flexible. Improvises confidently. Fun, optimistic, reads others well.

As individuals, there are a handful of Helixers who have found the optimal vocation for them, based on the personality type career guidance book “Do What You Are” by Paul Tieger (pictured right).  We played a guessing game at our semi-annual meeting last Friday that I think those of you who know us may also enjoy. We had fun with it!

Guess who represents the Helix personality type identified above?

Guess who is a quintessential interior designer with irresistible style and who just wants to fun?!

Guess who are quintessential graphic designers and true idealists with a calm exterior and burning inner passion?!

Guess who the quintessential architects are: inventive, creative, intellectual and most logically precise of all personality types?!

Guess who is a quintessential entrepreneur on a constant quest for knowledge and who often plays devil’s advocate?!

Helix’s demographics are unique and reflect a character that is creative, idealistic, and supportive of each other (i.e. The Teacher, the Protector, and the Champion). These are my teammates, my bosses, my co-workers, and my friends. I am happy to learn what I knew all along: we are great people individually and even better when we’re together!

18 September, 2014 | Culture, Cycling, Helix People

Helix Bikers Join the 2014 Bike MS

Continuing our company’s “Bike MS” yearly tradition, Helix bikers Mark Neibling and Sam Loring, rode this past weekend with team “Cutters” to raise money for the MS cause.  Their route started in Olathe and ended in Lawrence where a “Gears and Grooves” festival awaited their arrival.  The rewards were worthwhile, as bikers enjoyed food, musical entertainment, and Boulevard Beer, but most importantly made an impact for the MS cause.

Open PhotoTeam Cutters during the Bike MS Team Cutters during the Bike MS
Open Photo

2 August, 2014 | Awards, Culture, Helix People

Helix Named One of Kansas City’s “Best Companies to Work For” for the 5th Year in a Row!

Ingram’s “Best Companies to Work For” recognizes workplaces of the highest quality in the greater Kansas City area, those whose management practices, educational and advancement opportunities, benefits and spirit of teamwork set them apart from thousands of other companies throughout the region.

This year, we are very proud to know that Helix is receiving this title for the 5th year in a row!  Thank you Ingrams, and thank you Helix for making our work such an enjoyable experience for all!

3 April, 2014 | Helix People, Leadership, Recognition

A New Generation of Leaders

Helix joined in celebration with Kristine Sutherlin and Brad Kingsley as their elevation to Principal status was announced.  The festivities were launched into great heights with some competitive champagne-cork shooting and commemorative bottle signing.

Kristine Sutherlin AIA, LEED AP is leading our new project management initiatives at Helix.  Her contributions to Helix include the successful repositioning of the Richard D. Bolling Federal Building in downtown Kansas City for the General Services Administration.  Kristine’s work on this $250 million project received national recognition for Design Excellence from GSA, serving now as the ‘model’ for other mid-century federal office building renovations underway throughout the country.  Today, she is an active member of the American Institute of Architects serving on the local steering committee for AIA’s Pillars Leadership Program and the board of directors for the Architectural Foundation.

Brad Kingsley AIA is leading our new design initiatives at Helix. An award winning architect, he was trained by the some of the world’s best architectural firms, including Skidmore Owings & Merrill and Thomas Phifer and Partners located in New York.   He is a graduate of Kansas State University’s School of Architecture and holds a master’s degree in Urban Design from Columbia University.  Today, he is an active member of the American Institute of Architects and serves on Kansas City’s Downtown Council Tactical Urbanism Steering Committee.

We congratulate the both of you, Kristine and Brad, as we proudly add your congratulatory champagne bottles to the collection!

17 January, 2014 | Helix People

Not goodbye but see you soon…

After 12 years at Helix, our dear friend and colleague Kathy Kelly has decided to return to her entrepreneurial roots to start her own consulting practice. At her new company, Kathy will be focused on helping companies and organizations enhance employee engagement as well as customer experience.

Helix would not be the firm we are today without the leadership and contributions of Kathy. She was there at the beginning when we were nothing more than an idea and a dream…a dream to not just design great buildings and spaces, but improve the human experience.  And, Kathy has been a part of so many of the projects that have helped us grow to the firm we have become, one widely recognized for creativity, innovation and collaboration. It is only fitting that these same characteristics could also be used to describe Kathy. We wish her all the best in her new adventure and know we will find opportunities to partner together going forward.

Thanks for everything, Kathy.  You will be missed.

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