We Are QE's 54%, Part II
by 
Samantha Malott Brown
March 20, 2020

Meet more of Quinn Evans’ 54%! Our firm employs 23% more women than the architecture industry average – and their expertise comprises a broad range of roles. Of course we have architects + designers, but we also have history scholars, biz dev pros, administrative gurus, and operations whizzes. And throughout the month of March, we’re showing them off!

They responded to a few questions to offer insight on what inspires and fulfills them. Take a moment here and get to know more about the women that power QE.

Be sure to visit our channels throughout the month for more employee spotlights.

Imman Suleiman, AIA, Fitwel Ambassador \\ Architectural Designer

What is your favorite part of your role with QE? I am currently a part of the Michigan Central Station team, so the obvious answer would be that I get to work on such a historically significant building to Detroit and the community. But really, my favorite part is working with a team of highly-skilled and talented experts on historical preservation. And as challenging as coordination with 33 people across three offices might be, it is definitely sharpening my communication and interpersonal skills.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Best advice I've ever received is to define my own success.

How do you enjoy spending your time outside of work? I really love exploring new pastry shops and cafes whenever I go to new places.

Kelley Holmes, AIA \\ Architect

What is your favorite part of your role with QE? My favorite part of my role at QE is the impact we have on the communities that we serve through our work. Seeing the public attend openings of our projects and rush to immediately start using the new amenities makes all this worth doing! It brings me great joy to know that I am truly helping people and contributing to something bigger than myself.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Never lose your child-like sense of curiosity. Learn to ask the right questions, such that you get to the real answers that make change.

How do you enjoy spending your time outside of work? Giving back to the local Richmond community by volunteering on the Richmond Women in Design Steering Committee, the ACE Mentor Program of RVA board, and participating in the USGBC VA Connect the Dots program.

Allie Jarett, AIA \\ Architect

What is your favorite QE project you've worked on, and why? The renovation of Courtland High School. The existing, outdated school was completely transformed. Seeing the students’ excitement and watching them take ownership of their new space has been so rewarding.

What is your favorite part of your role with QE? Working with like-minded, passionate people. Seeing our ideas materialize and positively impact communities.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Always be open to learning. Understand how you learn and empathize with how others learn.

How do you enjoy spending your time outside of work? Spending time in, on, and around the James River. Exploring local restaurants, watching good movies, going to trivia nights.

Angela Wyrembelski \\ Senior Architectural Designer

What is your favorite part of your role with QE? I love all the time I get to spend onsite in the historic buildings we work on; investigating, getting my “hands dirty,” and really getting to know and understand the buildings and sites. I love figuring out how these old buildings work and how to give them their second life.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Trust your gut. Act on things you want to see change. Surround yourself with a great team and learn to lean on them.

How do you enjoy spending your time outside of work? Spending time with my young children, painting, and dancing.

Nakita Reed, AIA, CPHC, LEED AP BD+C, NOMA \\ Senior Architect

What is your favorite part of your role with QE? Being a connector. Blending preservation with sustainability and connecting QE with new, underserved clients.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? “Have the courage to live the life you want, not the life you think others expect you to.” I don’t remember who told me that, but it stuck with me.

How do you enjoy spending your time outside of work? Connecting with other professionals in the sustainability, historic preservation, and affordable housing spaces AND watching various sci-fi TV shows.

What woman inspires you, and why? Celebrity: Priyanka Chopra Jonas. She juggles her multi-hyphenate career and does amazing philanthropy work with some of the most vulnerable populations. Family: My Grandma Charlotte. She has made an impressive life for herself without much formal education and has amazing survival instincts.

Kristina von Tish, CPSM, LEED Green Associate \\ Senior Marketing Coordinator

What inspired you to work at Quinn Evans? I sought out QE specifically because of the firm’s expertise in the restoration of historic buildings and the creation of engaging museum spaces. As a marketer, I think and write about the firm’s projects all day long; architectural history and museum visitor experience are the topics I want to be thinking and writing about.

What is your favorite QE project you've worked on, and why? A proposal to Virginia Commonwealth University for a study to reuse the West Hospital building. Adaptive use projects are always exciting, and this building would make a particularly stunning transformation – from a decommissioned 1940s hospital to a mixed-use tower, right in Richmond’s downtown. QE did perform the study, and the renderings for what the space could be are inspiring. As an added bonus, QE partnered with BCWH on the project, which is now QE’s Richmond office – so that proposal was my first experience working with my now-colleagues!

What is your favorite part of your role with QE? I love that even though I’m not an architect, I get to play a part in the process that breathes new life into old buildings.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” This quote has been thrown around forever and attributed to lots of different people, but I still find it a great reminder to take a risk every once in a while.

How do you enjoy spending your time outside of work? Playing with my dogs – although QE’s Richmond office is dog-friendly, so sometimes I get to do that at work, too!

Jennifer Henriksen, AIA \\ Project Manager

What is your favorite part of your role with QE? Our projects. We get access to some very cool buildings that are fun to explore, and then we transform them into amazing projects.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? To consider my role on any historic building project as an advocate for the building. I’ve interpreted that as a challenge to myself to find a way to meet the client’s needs while respecting and celebrating the building’s story.

How do you enjoy spending your time outside of work? Watching my kids’ sporting events. I spend a lot of time in hockey rinks and gyms.

Nancy Fonte \\ Administrative Assistant

What is your favorite part of your role with QE? I consider myself lucky to work at QE because every day I get to work with talented and hard-working architects who genuinely want to make the world a better place. It’s inspiring.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? The best advice I ever received was to Be Nancy. In life, you can spend a lot of time trying to be like someone else, someone that you look up to or think is somehow better than you. Instead, focus on yourself and your strengths, and be the best YOU you can be.

How do you enjoy spending your time outside of work? Outside of work, I like to spend time with my family, bake, and scrapbook. I am also a huge fan of Michigan Women’s Basketball, so I go to all of their games (even some away ones) and cheer them on!

Caroline Matteson \\ Interior Designer

What inspired you to become an interior designer? I switched from pursuing a career in psychotherapy and moved over to interior design for several reasons, but ultimately I realized that pursuing my passion would allow me to help people more readily than trying to be a counselor - which would be emotionally exhausting. I chose to pursue interior design because being creative rejuvenates me and others benefit from the creation of beautiful public spaces. Much like speaking with a counselor can help to reframe one’s thinking, interior design can influence the way that we feel, and a harmonious space can help us to reset and be our best selves.

What is your favorite part of your role with QE? There is much about the design process that I enjoy, but the best part is walking into a completed space that had only come alive in your mind until construction. Watching the public interact within the space and find joy in the work I’ve done is what it is really all about.

How do you enjoy spending your time outside of work? I love to sing (looking for a choir!), play piano, paint, spend time with friends and camp in the mountains. <3

Tracy Hucul, AIA, LEED AP BD+C \\ Architect

What inspired you to become an architect? For me, architecture is the perfect mixture of my love of art, history, science, and math. It is the most thrilling form of problem-solving that allows one to be technical and creative at the same time.

What is your favorite QE project you've worked on, and why? McKinley Middle School is one of my all-time favorite QE projects. This project not only strived to produce spaces for the district's leading STEM curriculum, but it was the first project that I worked on as a Project Architect. My design-build team shared a similar goal to create a state-of-the-art middle school facility for STEM students, and we strived to encourage curiosity and exploration through our design and material selection.

What is your favorite part of your role with QE? My favorite part of my role at QE is working with an amazing group of supportive and creative people.

What is your ultimate career goal? My ultimate career goal is to create beautiful and inspirational spaces that ignite people's love of learning.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Keep it simple.

How do you enjoy spending your time outside of work? I like to spend my time outside of work with my family, exploring new areas, and learning about the history of places.

Lindsey Suardini, AIA \\ Architect

What is your favorite part of your role with QE? There is always an opportunity to grow and learn something new with every part of my role at QE. I enjoy helping to lead projects but also enjoy consulting with all of our in-house resources – together we make a good team.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Take risks; doing something is better than doing nothing.

How do you enjoy spending your time outside of work? Outside of work, I am always up for trying new things but mainly enjoy staying active through being outdoors with my family and dog, lifting weights, gardening, and DIY projects.

There are plenty more experts you should get to know.
Go here to meet the team members featured in
We Are QE's 54%, Part I \\ Part III \\ ‍Part IV.

Questions or ideas? Let's get in touch.