This roundtable discussion will focus on recruitment and management strategies that help attract and support a diverse staff. The panel will consist of firm leaders, HR/recruiting managers, and professionals from structural engineering, architecture, and general contracting firms, who will share their experiences implementing strategies or programs to diversify their staff and improve their workplace culture and retention metrics.
About the Speakers:
Lori Burbridge, CPSM, Associate Principal/Business Manager at Buehler. A graduate of UC Davis, Lori is an experienced business professional in the architecture and engineering industry. As part of the Executive Group, Lori is an integral part of strategic planning decisions and tactical implementation at the highest level of Buehler. Lori brings an unparalleled combination of big picture vision, institutional knowledge and industry awareness.
Her natural leadership abilities give her a powerful voice. Adding to this, her strong organizational skills along with a unique combination of passion and patience makes her a true force of nature. She brings these dynamic talents to the complete realm of the business including executive leadership, marketing, human resources, accounting and operations.
In addition, Lori is committed to mentoring others. Through programs such as CREATE, SMPS Mentoring Pathways, and the development of an internal mentoring program, Lori encourages others to find their voice and embrace the power in bringing a different perspective to any conversation. She regularly participates in discussions within SEAOC, AIA and SMPS on diversity, equity and inclusion topics, and advocates for the industry to redefine what an engineer, architect and tradesperson looks like.
Denny Kwan, S.E., Principal, Residential Studio Lead, Holmes Structures. Denny Kwan is Principal at Holmes Structures, a structural engineering firm committed to improving diversity and equity among its staff. As part of the firm’s management group, Denny leads strategic growth initiatives—regarding both scaling up and enriching company culture. To this end, he recruits and hires exceptional people across a wide spectrum of identifiers. For over two decades, he has impacted the company through his exceptional work ethic and mentorship of up-and-coming leaders. Denny brings integrity and respect to each of the relationships and projects that he builds.
Denny also founded Holmes Structures’ residential studio, specializing in high-end single-family residences along the West Coast. Denny and his team collaborate with design and construction professionals to realize design-driven homes. He strives to engineer value into solutions that maximize volume and light while enabling gravity-defying architecture.
Holmes Structures is part of the international Holmes Group, with employees around the Pacific Rim. We believe projects become great by what you put into them. With inspired practicality, we reconcile the complex, competing interests and constraints, providing not just engineering but optimal solutions. In this way, we create more meaningful, integrated designs as a collaborative process in the vital pursuit of building great things.
Kelli Quinn, LEED BD+C, Project Executive, Rudolph & Sletten. Kelli lives in San Jose and has been in the construction industry for 27 years. She has been with Rudolph and Sletten (R&S), a leading general contractor working in the Bay Area, for 26+ of those 27 years. Kelli currently is the Project Executive responsible for a $500M+ project in Mountain View for a confidential Silicon Valley client.
Kelli shares the responsibility for hiring Bay Area operations staffing for R&S. R&S focuses on hiring high performing, dynamic individuals who can continue to adapt to the ever changing construction industry. Kelli is focused on mentoring up and attracting more women to R&S. She is also one of the key members on R&S’ Committee for Diversity & Inclusion. Kelli has been very active and supportive of WiOPS (Women in Construction Operations) Northern California Chapter since their beginning days 3+ years ago.
Kelli enjoys construction because “every day is different and each day brings new challenges. But it is our people that build these fantastic projects, and I have a great passion for coaching and mentoring our team members. I also have the perspective of being a part of our executive team, while also onsite leading a project team of 65 people. This gives me daily direct contact with our team members to have that all-important pulse with our employees.”
Gabrielle Bullock, FAIA, NOMA, IIDA, LEED AP, Director of Global Diversity, Principal at Perkins and Will. Born in Harlem and raised in the Bronx, Gabrielle knew from the time that she was twelve years old that architecture would be her calling. Her motivation to enter the profession was a direct response to the design of public housing and her strong desire to positively impact the lives of African Americans and people of color living in her community. Her career path was driven by a passion to design for others and foster access to the design industry for all genders and racial backgrounds.
As the second black female to graduate from the architecture department of the Rhode Island School of Design, Gabrielle has been a key player in our firm’s success for over three decades, working in both the New York and Los Angeles studios where she became the first African American and first woman to rise to the position of Managing Director. Over the course of her career, she has led numerous complex and high-profile projects, including the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences.
Her unique role as the firm’s Director of Global Diversity and an award-winning principal, enables her to combine her passion for architecture and social justice to effect positive change.
In 2014, she was elected by her peers as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and served on the AIA’s Equity in Architecture Commission. She is a member of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), served as the 2018-2019 President of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), and has been named as the recipient of the 2020 Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award by the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
Saskia Dennis-Van Dijl , Director of Global Diversity, Principal Consultant at Cameron MacAllister Group, Executive Director for the Global Design Alliance. Saskia’s love of design and the people who practice it drive her work. Applying highly strategic thinking and her knowledge of the design industry, she helps clients improve their competitive messaging and compete successfully for projects. Her clients rely on her intent listening and honest counsel. Passionate about supporting the role of women in the workplace, Saskia has channeled her beliefs into diversity consulting, helping firms better understand their challenges and opportunities in those areas. This focus carries over into her work with the AIA San Francisco’s Equity by Design Committee for which she is an active spokesperson. Saskia also works with clients—often on an ongoing basis—on strategic marketing planning, positioning, and marketing assessments, as well as retreat and planning-meeting facilitation. Saskia lives in Portland and is building a house in the Columbia River Gorge, strategically located within hiking distance of the Pacific Crest Trail.