LJA celebrates the groundbreaking of the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Northfield, Minnesota!

LJA celebrates the groundbreaking of the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Northfield, Minnesota!

Picture by Philip Weyhe / Northfield News

Picture by Philip Weyhe / Northfield News

LJA is excited to announce that the Fairfield Inn and Suites hotel has broken ground in Northfield, Minnesota. The Fairfield Inn is expected to require one year of construction, and hopes are to open the hotel in April 2018.  The hotel will consist of 80 rooms and will also include a pool and fitness room. A bar with limited food will also be accessible to guests and to the public, with a deck and patio area facing the river.  Underground heated parking will also be provided, as part of the solution with the city to avoid any potential flooding issues.  Congratulations to everyone involved in this project!

LJA announces groundbreaking of the Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Event Center in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota

LJA announces groundbreaking of the Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Event Center in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota

LJA and SRK Development are excited to announce the ground breaking of a brand new, 92 unit Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Event Center in Dakota Dunes, SD. The Hotel will feature a swimming pool & hot tub, large fitness center, and the Event Center, which can host up to 500 people with approx. 7,000 SF of floor space. This is the third hotel that SRK and LJA have worked together on, and construction is scheduled to be completed by next summer. LJA is the architect and engineer of record for all major design services. 

 

LJA Reveals Its 2017 Architecture Week Project

LJA Reveals Its 2017 Architecture Week Project

In honor of Architecture Week, LJA decided to do something unique involving LEGOS. Keeping it nice and simple, we brought our minds together to construct a miniature model of the Fargo LJA office. We kept the project a secret, having fun teasing you all week on our social media pages, but the time has finally come to reveal the masterpiece.

We kept the project a secret, having fun teasing you all week on our social media pages, but the time has finally come to reveal the masterpiece. Introducing the LJA office made out of LEGOS!

Soup Contest & Potluck kickoff St. Patrick's Day at LJA

Soup Contest & Potluck kickoff St. Patrick's Day at LJA

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from LJA!

Five teams took to the challenge of making the ultimate bowl of soup during our annual St. Patrick’s Day Potluck.  Once again, it was a tough competition, with a record setting turnout in the Team Building Room.  Judges sampled knoephla, ham & cabbage, Guinness corn beef & cabbage, chicken wild rice and cheesy chicken tortilla soup. While their taste buds were blown away in amazement only one soup could claim the number one spot.  Todd Jelinski and his chicken wild rice soup took home the crown finishing with a comfortable win.  Congratulations to Todd and everyone that came out to make this a wonderful event!

Engineering Week 2017:       Kolton G Jungemann

Engineering Week 2017: Kolton G Jungemann

Background:

Kolton has worked at LJA as a Structural Engineer-in-Training for over a year.  He received LJA’s Core Value Reward in 2016 for Return on Effort in obtaining personal, business and financial satisfaction through efficient work practices.  He was nominated for this award by his fellow employees.  He graduated from the University of North Dakota in 2015.

What interested you about being an engineer?

When I was young, I always enjoyed creating/building with LEGO’s and as I grew those LEGO’s turned into wood. I have made items such as a filing cabinet, a kitchen table, and stools. Engineering was the choice rather than Architecture because I have always been intrigued by the science behind engineering.

What is your favorite part of being an engineer?

Being able to see the capabilities of the construction products we use. Taking those materials and forging them into something creative and real.

What have you enjoyed most since you've begun working at LJA?

Being able to apply what I have learned in my coursework to a higher degree and having exposure to different types of engineering material that I was unable to study through school.

Engineering Week 2017:  Kristi Brooks

Engineering Week 2017: Kristi Brooks

Background:

Kristi has recently joined the LJA team as an Electrical Engineer.  Her combination of job experience with the soft-skills developed in her various volunteer work has helped her develop into a goal-oriented individual with strong leadership capabilities.  She is organized, highly motivated and a detail-directed problem solver.  She has a proven ability to work in unison with people in both technical fields and skilled trades.

What interested you about being an engineer?

In high school, I had a keen interest in math. My Algebra/Geometry teacher was somebody for whom I had a great deal of respect. When I told him I was considering going to college to be a math teacher, he encouraged me to look into engineering. At that point in my life I really had no idea what an engineer did, but I took his advice. I found that I loved the logical approach to problem solving in the courses I took. I'm thankful for the small school I attended that allowed my math teacher to know enough about me to give me advice that helped shape my future.

What is your favorite part of being an engineer?

If I had to boil it down to one thing, my favorite part of being an engineer is that it allows me to get paid to feed my curiosity of finding how things work and be a part of the process of designing things that work better than before. When my children were younger, I liked being able to see them begin to take an interest in how things work. The engineer in me has always been right there with them, tearing into things to see what's inside something that was broken to see if we could fix it or make it work better.

What has been your favorite or most rewarding project of your career?

I've got a plethora of great memories as I reflect back on my career. The best memories of rewarding projects have always involved a team effort from a variety of people who all have the same goal in mind. One that comes to mind was in my volunteer world. I got involved with volunteering in IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) nearly 20 years ago and some of the best friends I have were made through volunteering. The PBS station in Boston, WGBH, was creating a pilot for a show called "Design Squad", and IEEE was a major supporter. I was asked to represent IEEE in helping define the basis for the show. We stumbled some at first but eventually found our footing. The end result was a successful show that is still in production, helping high school students through design challenges each week. The best take-away from that whole process was seeing how the students were encouraged to try their designs and work through determining what worked well and why something didn't work. Giving up was never something that was discussed. Teamwork was crucial to the success of every design project, and in order for their team to succeed, these teens had no choice but to discover their strengths and help their team win the challenge. Witnessing them learn these lessons served to strengthen my approach to teamwork in my personal and professional worlds.

We developed a program for volunteers to take to their local middle-school and high-school to hold either a multi-week, after-school activity or a full-day activity of team-based design challenges. To encourage this, I attended several large IEEE meetings, my time focused on having the attendees participate in one of the design challenges. While reluctant at first, I was approached the remainder of the weekend by many who were excited to plan an event at their local school or, at the very least, have a fun new activity for the next time their grand-kids were visiting them. It was a project that allowed the stereotypical "boring" or "geeky" engineer to see that we can still have fun and laugh while designing and learning.

Engineering Week 2017:  Troy Tooz

Engineering Week 2017: Troy Tooz

Background:

Mr. Tooz is the President of LJA and has been a professional Civil Engineer with over 20 years of experience in the consulting engineering field. His experience has included projects for state and municipal government entities and private clients. He has a strong background in concrete and pavement design, including streets, roadways and parking lots. His experience includes planning, design and construction observation.  His experience also includes underground utilities, grading and drainage. Mr. Tooz has also provided inspection and quality control services for various types of construction projects.

What interested you about being an engineer?

I have been in construction my entire life.  I have always viewed the construction industry as a whole full of people willing to work hard for what they want in life; for themselves and their families.

What is your favorite part of being an engineer?

My favorite part of being an engineer is being part of something much bigger than any one person.  Big projects happen not because of one person but of the efforts of many.

What has been your favorite or most rewarding project of your career?

I like the big projects like SDSP, MNSP, Prairie Pride but sometimes just as much satisfaction comes in helping people on the small projects that could not have happened without us.

Engineering Week 2017:  Rachel Poitra

Engineering Week 2017: Rachel Poitra

Background:

Rachel recently joined the LJA team and is a dedicated, professional engineer with over 9 years of experience in structural design. She is committed to providing excellent engineering services to every project. A self-motivated individual capable of working independently she continues to expand her experience in structural engineering at LJA.

What interested you about becoming an engineer?

Math. I have always been good at math. I didn’t care for it in high school but I met a math professor that showed me how fun it could be, especially when the result had some sort of meaning to me. Engineering allowed me to take math and apply it in such a way that the results are buildings, bridges, roads, water utilities, foundations, etc.

What is your favorite part of being an engineer?

My favorite part is the result of my work.  I love being able to look at something, whether it was just the foundation, and say “I helped create that.”

What has been your favorite or most rewarding project of your career?

I have two favorite projects.  The first is the design of all the interior and exterior displays for the Amway Center in Orlando, FL, where the Orlando Magic play.  The other is the stadium display at the LA Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA.

Engineering Week 2017:  Aaron Faiman

Engineering Week 2017: Aaron Faiman

Background:

Mr. Faiman is a professional mechanical engineer with over 15 years of experience. He has been involved in a variety of commercial, healthcare, industrial, and retail projects. His experience in green design includes geothermal systems, energy recovery units, energy modeling, and LEED certified projects.

What interested you about becoming and engineer?

It is a job that allows you to solve problems while being creative.  It is satisfying to see your solution implemented by the construction team and to see the end user enjoy the final product.

What is your favorite part of being an engineer?

The variety of tasks and challenges that come up each day.  Each day is different.

What has been your favorite or most rewarding project of your career?

Working on the new airport terminal in Grand Forks, North Dakota, in 2011 that included a restaurant.  This project pursued LEED certification and was built to be very energy efficient and green.

LJA hires Don Evenson to lead Hospitality Development

LJA hires Don Evenson to lead Hospitality Development

Lightowler Johnson Associates (LJA), Fargo, has hired Don Evenson to lead Hospitality Development. Don joins LJA with over 40 years of experience in hotel development. He specializes in hospitality site selection and acquisition, government agency coordination, franchise consulting and coordination, navigation through approvals/entitlement process and project expediter. Don will also assist LJA in their marketing efforts by attending hospitality tradeshows and conferences in 2017.

LJA's 2017 Super Bowl Chili Cook-Off

LJA's 2017 Super Bowl Chili Cook-Off

LJA's 2017 Super Bowl Chili Cook-Off

Four teams took to the challenge of making the ultimate bowl of chili, but only one could claim the title of best chili in the office.  It was a tough competition with the defending champion returning.  In the end "You Know You Want Some Chili" received 3 votes,  and "Ditch Chicken Chili" tied the defending champion with 5 votes each.  Coming out on top with 7 votes was the "Spicy Gobbler".  It was a great way to kick off Super Bowl celebrations at LJA, and we hope everyone has a great Super Bowl weekend!

LJA announces new President and Executive Vice President

LJA announces new President and Executive Vice President

                   Todd Jelinski (Executive Vice President)                                                            Troy Tooz (President)

                   Todd Jelinski (Executive Vice President)                                                            Troy Tooz (President)

Lightowler Johnson Associates (LJA), has named Troy Tooz, PE, as its new President and Todd Jelinksi, AIA, as its new Executive Vice President.   

Troy Tooz, PE, is a professional civil engineer with over 20 years of experience in the consulting engineering field, specializing in projects for state and municipal government entities and private clients.  He has been with LJA for 22 years and was previously the Executive Vice President.   

Todd Jelinski, AIA, is the Architectural Department Head at LJA. He has over 20 years of experience in the design of commercial buildings, with two of those years being at LJA.  Mr. Jelinski’s projects have included hospitality, office, K-12, higher education, government, senior housing, religious, retail and recreation. 

Puklich Chevrolet Buick GMC is Open for Business!

Puklich Chevrolet Buick GMC Grand Opening Celebration in Valley City, ND

Local business representatives and other community members cut the ceremonial ribbon on October 13th, opening a brand new car dealership in Valley City, ND.  This new facility includes a two-story volume showroom, sales and finance offices directly off the showroom, customer lounge, parts department, new car delivery area, and service writers, all as customer touch point areas.  LJA is proud to be a part of this beautiful project.

LJA to Attend 2016 Lodging Conference

LJA, in partnership with JSM, will be attending and exhibiting at the 2016 Lodging Conference in Phoenix, AZ. 

The Lodging Conference is one of the top hotel industry events in the world. Over the past 21 years, tens of thousands of high-powered hotel owners and executives from around the globe have participated. The event has been sold out for the last five years with attendance of 1600+ in 2015, bringing together the hotel industry's most influential owners, operators, presidents, CEOs and dealmakers to strategize about development, finance, franchising, management, construction, design, and operations. More than just a conference, the entire event is a THINK TANK where everybody in attendance has the opportunity to join in the conversation, discuss issues, and solve problems.

Come and visit with our team at Booth 203 about your upcoming hospitality design needs!

LJA Launching New Website

With the acquisition of WAI Continuum comes a time to assess firm marketing vehicles and bridge the relationship between two strong firms, unified under LJA.

As this merger unrolls publicly over the coming year, LJA is pleased to introduce the first change in that process . . . a new website!  This website will provide greater insight into our body of work as specialists to the hospitality industry, as well as a closer look at the processes and culture of this great team.

Change is good!

We invite you to check back over the coming weeks to see our robust new website take shape! 

LJA Acquires WAI, Expanding Portfolio to Include Senior Living

The transaction allows both firms to expand into new geographic locations and market sectors

Fargo, ND – LJA (Lightowler Johnson Associates, Inc.), a full-service architecture and engineering firm with a comprehensive portfolio in hospitality design, has acquired WAI Continuum, an architecture firm located in St. Paul, MN, specializing in the field of senior living.  Both firms are nationally recognized in their trade.

Building upon the strengths of LJA’s 60 plus year history and established practices that include architectural design, engineering and planning services, WAI brings to the table 35 years of design specialization in the senior living market and projects completed in 34 states that include award winning work in skilled nursing care, memory care, independent and assisted living.  

Ribbon cutting ceremony with the Fargo - Moorhead Chamber of Commerce celebrating the acquisition.  (Shown L to R LJA VP Nate Anderson, LJA President Stevan Dewald, WAI President David Wolterstorff, LJA VP Troy Tooz)

 “We are excited to be acquiring this exceptional team of architects and designers,” said Stevan Dewald, President of LJA.  “Combining teams with portfolios as comprehensive as ours is an amazing opportunity to expand LJA’s depth of work in the senior industry while creating solutions that inspire and serve future clients successfully.” 

With the acquisition of WAI, LJA will employ 63 staff members among four offices and its portfolio will include completed projects that span all fifty states and Canada.

To learn more about WAI Continuum, visit their website at www.waicontinuum.com.