Design. Done.

Twentieth Anniversary Q&A with Senior Associate Carolyn Roman

As a senior associate at Marmon Mok, Carolyn Roman has been an instrumental part of the design team for the past 20 years. With a wealth of experience across a wide range of healthcare design projects, including public health, acute care, medical office, imaging, physical therapy/rehabilitation, and senior living facilities, she has proven to be an invaluable asset to the firm. Throughout her career, Carolyn has been involved in every aspect of the design process, from project programming and schematic design to production drawings, specifications, construction administration, and project close-outs. Her exceptional attention to detail and technical skills has produced some incredible project deliveries to clientele. In this article, Carolyn will reflect on her 20th anniversary at the firm, sharing insights into her experiences, achievements, and the lessons she has learned along the way.

What inspired you to pursue a career in architecture, and how did you get started in this industry?

Through high school, I was strong in math and art and thought that architecture would be a good combination of my strengths. Additionally, my father had experience in multiple building trades, which led to home renovation projects becoming whole family activities. Later he worked for a large computer company excelling in critical thinking and problem solving – skills that he passed on to my brother and me.  

How do you stay current with the advances in technology and building materials, and how have they impacted your work? 

Marmon Mok is fortunate to have a very healthy continuing education program. I try to attend as many programs as possible to learn about the latest offerings from industry-leading manufacturers. We watch new materials carefully before specifying them in our projects. In particular, improvements in the building envelope have become really interesting with the latest code editions.  

Can you share any particularly memorable or challenging projects you have worked on and what you learned from them?

During the first few years of my work with Marmon Mok, I worked on multiple projects in the non-profit, senior living market. One project involved a client building committee comprised mostly of Sisters. I really gained respect and appreciation for working with larger building committees and non-profit organizations. Every project is the Client’s most important project, no matter how large or how small. 

How do you work with contractors, engineers, and other team members on a project, and how would you describe your leadership style?

I try to make sure that all parties feel like equal members of the team. We are all responsible for the end product, and what the Client remembers is how we finish a project. I’m best at helping multiple parties arrive at a mutual decision; I tend to encourage and convince rather than critique and direct.

What advice would you give to someone just starting in architecture?

The advice I would offer someone just starting out would be: 

  1. If possible, find a position where you can learn from (and along with) your coworkers; where colleagues share lessons learned and are collaborative.
  2. Don’t worry about finishing your exams quickly, take them when you are ready. Also, don’t let them linger too long- when you are managing small projects, it’s time.
  3. Ask for opportunities to be involved in the design, don’t assume they will be given to you.