Exceeding expectations: A culture for growth

Sometimes concrete masonry units can surprise you. 

The four buildings I have been working on the past six months for the Camp Ripley project (Minnesota Army National Guard) have taught me so much. Holding an entry-level position in architecture, I never thought I would be working out program diagrams, coordinating with engineers, and creating reports and graphics to better understand our project and processes.

The fast-paced project involved the full design of four buildings in six months to replace structures that were destroyed in a tornado in Fall 2016. The buildings include a barracks building with company supply and dining facilities, an officers’ quarters (like a hotel), a vehicle maintenance training shop and a battalion supply headquarters.

This was the first time I had worked on any buildings of this type, and I had never brought a building (let alone four) through the construction documents phase of work. It was a large learning curve, but with the trust and support of my project manager, lead architect and colleagues, we were able to hit our target deadlines.

I also developed a case study report for the project, analyzing the process of the project development. The case study looks at the procedures the team had in place to accomplish the client’s goals and identifies areas were lessons can be learned for future projects.

This has been a great opportunity, and I can’t wait to see what bidding and construction have in store.


Kindall Shannon is an architectural intern working on both aviation and government projects. Her work thus far has included: airport finish change-outs, Air and Army National Guard charrettes, and the development of Army National Guard facilities. Kindall also serves on the American Institute of Architects Southwest Wisconsin Advisory Board and the Landscape Design Committee for her church.

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