March 2019 Print

Project Spotlight

Written by: Laura Gentner, JE Dunn
Owner: Sackman Enterprises, Inc.
Architect: Sixthriver Architects
Civil Engineer: Big Red Dog
Structural Engineer: DCI Engineers
General Contractor: JE Dunn
Interior Architect: Studio 8
Photographer: Lars Frazer

Project Description: 2010 South Lamar is a Class A office building with two levels of below grade parking, two stories of office space and one level of retail and parking. This is a concrete structure with curtainwall and metal panels facade.

The design of the building is progressive with a boutique format. Located on a core transit corridor in South Austin, 2010 South Lamar offers creative space in a mixed-used environment. The building’s subtle angular geometry, outdoor terrace and office amenities reflect the urban and energetic district of South Lamar.

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Luncheon Recap

What's Next in the City of Austin? An overview of the recently passed COA bonds.

Presented by: Katy Zamesnik and Cynthia Gonzales with the City of Austin
Written by: Kelly Maxwell, Sabre Commercial
During the most recent election, Austin voters approved seven bond propositions totaling more than $925 million. During our most recent luncheon, Katy Zamesnik, Business Process Consultant for the City of Austin and Cynthia Gonzales, Deputy Officer of the Capitol Contracting Office for the City of Austin shed some light on the City's next steps for the money.

Proposition A -- $250 million for affordable housing;
Proposition B -- $128 million for libraries, museums and cultural centers;
Proposition C -- $149 million for parks and recreation;
Proposition D -- $184 million for flood mitigation, open space, and water quality protection;
Proposition E -- $16 million for health and human services;
Proposition F -- $38 million for public safety; and
Proposition G -- $160 million for transportation infrastructure.
Please visit this link for more details regarding the breakdown of funding for each proposition.

On March 7, 2019, City Council passed a budget amendment appropriating $151.2 million for the 2018 GO Bond projects. This will allow many of their departments to start seeking contracts and make the appropriate hires needed for the full package. The number was decided upon by determining which projects will be ready soonest. The full scope of many of those projects is yet to be settled as the council will still need to approve before things can move forward. Please reach out to with questions.

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Coordinators' Club Recap

Finding Your Original and Authentic Voice on Social Media

Presented by: Gerardo Gandy, Gensler
Written by: Jena Naylor, Perkins+Will
Partnering with AIA Austin, our most recent Coordinators' Club featured Gerardo Gandy of Gensler to share his insight on how to create an authentic voice for your firm on Instagram. As personable in person as the Gensler account is on Instagram, Gerardo provided accessible, creative, and comical insight into his social media strategy that is garnering attention across Austin. His top tips include utilizing an app that can report account traffic, engaging team members from all practices to leverage authentic voices and connect with a variety of users, and to always, always, add more dogs.

Click through to see images from the event, provided by Rachel Paul Photography.

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Board Member Spotlight

Brief description of your firm: From offices in Austin, Houston, San Antonio and Reston, VA, Cardno Structural Engineering has provided industry leading structural engineering design services for a variety of office, multi-family, higher education, public and institutional projects nationwide for over 40 years.

Where are you originally from? Although I was born right here in Austin, I grew up in Center, a small town in deep East Texas, home to tall pine trees, chickens and watermelons. I returned to Austin to attend The University of Texas School of Architecture and do not intend to leave again.

What is your perfect weekend? With 6 and 9 year old boys it often doesn’t matter what I want to do but spending a relatively quiet, lazy Sunday at a great pool is about as good as it gets!

What's the best vacation you have been on? Although it may not be the absolute best vacation I've ever been on, for the last five years we have had a tradition of going to Port A over the 4th of July weekend. It is such a great relaxing, small town Texas getaway. Last year, it was so nice to see the amazing progress that had been made rebuilding since Hurricane Harvey devastated the entire area. They are definitely on their way to being 100% back and stronger than ever.

What are your hobbies? Again, with two young boys, my hobbies seem to be whatever they are into. So currently I am infatuated with magic, little league baseball, Monopoly, Nerf guns, Hot Wheels and so much more.

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Active Listening: How Being a Better Listener Makes Big Impacts

Presented by: Maggie Seay, Emerald Fox Marketing & Consulting
Written by: Katie Evans, RVi Landscape Architecture
Maggie Seay, CPSM, Co-Founder and Principal at Emerald Fox Marketing & Consulting, closed out the Connect sessions on Friday, February 1, with her presentation on Active Listening: How Being a Better Listener Makes Big Impacts.

Listening skills are the foundation for better conversations which lead to more effective leadership, confident management, employee engagement, client satisfaction, and overall positive relationship development.

Hearing and listening are vastly different actions. Hearing is incidental, involuntary, and effortless; whereas, listening is focused, voluntary, and intentional. Just because someone is physically able to hear you, doesn’t mean that they’re consciously listening and processing what you’re saying.

When we actively listen to others, we are given the opportunity to expand our capacities and knowledge in order to contribute more effectively. We can make others feel valued by giving them our undivided attention, which also helps us avoid misunderstandings, overcome disagreements, and improve productivity.

There are plenty of factors that can get in the way of active listening, including:

Technology – You don’t have to feel too guilty if you suffer from occasional bouts of distraction – we’ve all paid way too much attention to our phone or email than is appropriate. However, when you are supposed to be listening to a speaker or attending a class, you are missing out on important information that you will likely need down the line.
Distractions – It is impossible to truly listen effectively when you can’t actually hear what is going on. The nuance gets lost, and it becomes very easy to mishear what someone is trying to tell you.
Receiver Bias – Our own mind set can be one of the biggest barriers to effective listening. Everyone has biases but good listeners hold them in check while listening.
Listening Apprehension - This is the fear that you might be unable to understand the message or process the information correctly or be able to adapt your thinking to include the new information coherently. In some situations, you might worry that the information presented will be too complex for you to understand fully.
Maggie provided 10 simple ways to listen better and overcome barriers to active listening:

  1. Stop talking - use the 80/20 Rule and speak 20% of the time and listen 80% of the time
  2. Remove distractions – check it at the door – make a conscience decision to leave any distractions “at the door” when you are about to engage in conversation
  3. Relax and focus – give yourself one task – focus on the person in front of you
  4. Make eye contact
  5. Pay attention to non-verbal communication (yours and theirs)
  6. Go with the flow – take yourself out of the conversation – decide that you will not contribute to the conversation unless asked questions
  7. Use open-ended questions
  8. Empathize
  9. Be patient
  10. Listen for ideas, not just words

At the end of the session, attendees left with a better understanding of what constitutes active listening, why it’s an important skill, as well as being equipped to implement better listening skills into their everyday activities.

Maggie Seay, CPSM is a Co-Founder and Principal at Emerald Fox Marketing & Consulting, a marketing group dedicated to helping A/E/C firms look, think, and act their best. With over a decade in the industry, Maggie has collaborated with architects, engineers and contractors to help them create a positive change for their companies through strategic planning, business development advising, marketing, skill training and coaching. She is a Past President of the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) San Antonio Chapter, the recipient of the 2012 SMPS Leonardo Marketer of the Year Award and continues to serve SMPS at both the local and regional levels.

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Thank You to Our Sponsors

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