This month’s employee spotlight features Lee Pierce, Project Manager. We sat down with Lee to learn more about her role with ICON.
1. You have been working in architectural design for over 20 years. Can you talk a little more about your background and your role with ICON? As mentioned, I have been working in the design and construction field for more than 20 years, with most of my career taking place in the Mandan/Bismarck area. I am a graduate of North Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and Environmental Design. I have been with ICON for almost three years, starting in 2018. A lot of my role involves projects in the Mandan and Bismarck communities including K-12 and municipal.
2. What projects are you currently a part of? Currently, I am involved in the design and construction of two new elementary schools for Bismarck Public Schools. BPS is the largest school district in the state and is continuing to grow, creating the need for the new elementary schools to accommodate the enrollment. We are continuing to make progress, with the groundbreaking of the Northwest school happening last fall and the Northeast groundbreaking happening this spring. 3D renderings have been completed and shared, and we are excited for the next steps of this project. I am also involved in preliminary work with the Mandan Public School and Wilton School Districts that are also experiencing aging facilities and growing enrollment.
3. ICON has completed over 100 K-12 design projects, varying from high school to elementary buildings. Explain ICON’s approach to educational design and what makes ICON’s process different than your competitors. ICON’s approach to K-12 education design stems from the concept that the future of a community is defined by its schools. The spaces we design and the environments we create have a direct impact on the students and their community. Our goal is always to provide the schools and their stakeholders the building blocks necessary to craft a vision for the future of their school district’s facilities. What makes ICON different is our referendum support that most schools are unable to provide on their own. From the very beginning stages, we assist schools in engaging their community and staff to create a plan for what the future of education looks like in their District.
4. You’ve worked and lived in the Mandan/Bismarck area for several years. What is it like to work on the facilities that will have a direct impact on your community and family? Does it change your approach to projects? As if you are the designer and the end-user? Because I am a community member myself, I can fully understand the ideas or concerns other members may have towards a project I am a part of. I know firsthand the impact facilities can have on families and the importance of keeping our schools, parks, and community updated and inclusive for everyone. I have found that really listening to each perspective has helped me to better understand the impact of the built form and its design on each person on a daily basis. It gives me a great perspective when thinking about what parents and educators expect and look for while designing a learning space.
5. You are involved in the Bismarck Mandan EDC. Can you explain more about your role with the organization and other programs you are involved in? I have been a member of the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce, now the EDC, for many years. It has been a great place to meet other leaders within each of the communities and to discuss the opportunities within our region and the challenges we face together. The mission of the EDC is to advocate for businesses, foster economic growth, and shape the future of the community. By being an active member of this group, I have met some wonderful mentors and learned a great deal about the industries within the region and how they are continuing to grow, adapt, and recruit others to be part of the Mandan and Bismarck communities. Outside of my community, I am also a member of the NDAIA Board and the NDSU School of Design, Architecture, and Art Advisory Board.