Bergmeyer Spotlight: Dee Spiro
Bergmeyer Spotlight is an online series of informal interviews with members of the Bergmeyer team. We invite you to meet Associate Dee Spiro, LEED AP BD+C, O+M, our Director of Sustainability who has been with the firm 5 1/2 years. Here is what she had to say during her Spotlight interview:
How did you become the Director of Sustainability at Bergmeyer?
My career path certainly hasn’t been linear. I have worked in a variety of industries, but my job has always involved a component of sustainability. I began my career in media and promoted environmental programming for a broadcasting company. From there, I transitioned over to urban planning and development, and it was actually due to pure luck I wound up in the design industry. A friend of mine told me Bergmeyer was looking for a coordinator to lead their sustainability efforts, and the firm seemed like a great organization so I applied.
When I joined Bergmeyer, my position was primarily focused on LEED and increasing internal capacity since the firm had a large number of LEED projects in development. I’ve had the ability to shift this emphasis towards more general sustainability efforts and in essence mold what my job functions are. As the Director of Sustainability, my position now encompasses so much more than just LEED and really helps drive the firm’s sustainable vision which has been great.
What are you currently working on at Bergmeyer?
I’m working on a variety of initiatives and projects at the moment. First and foremost, I’m working on implementing the firm’s 2016-2017 SMART goals and sustainability plan, which focuses on integrating sustainability more deeply into our practice. Since sustainability is such a central part of the firm’s culture, both internally with our own policies and procedures and externally with our design approach, I am working to create more opportunities for staff to work on sustainable projects and programs. I’m also very involved in our internal educational and training programs for new as well as current employees. And I’m involved in several LEED projects the firm is currently working on and in getting the staff up-to-speed on LEED v4.
What is your favorite project that you have worked on at Bergmeyer?
I really enjoyed working on The Unlikely Story bookstore at 111 South Street in Plainville, MA. We worked with a client who was very committed to sustainability and who was committed to designing an energy efficient building. I enjoy working with clients who share the firm’s commitment to sustainability since it provides us the opportunity to explore different sustainable strategies. With this project we were able to get really creative with the design and how we could incorporate sustainable measures throughout the entire building.
What do you love about working at Bergmeyer?
Bergmeyer affords me so much autonomy in my position, and the role that initially brought me to the firm quickly grew into one of my own creation. I joined the firm as it was looking to enhance its sustainability program, and Bergmeyer has given me the freedom to shape what my position is, and can be, which in turn helps influence and drive the efforts of the firm.
Also, as cliché as it sounds, I truly enjoy the people I get to work with every day at Bergmeyer. The level of dedication, engagement and creativity exhibited by everyone is very inspiring. People genuinely like each other, and enjoy working together; the level of ego is very low. We have a strong support system and there are always opportunities to learn from each other since everyone deeply cares for the work they’re doing.
From the director of sustainability perspective, it’s also amazing how much everyone embraces the firm’s sustainability efforts and outlook. It’s something that really permeates the culture here, and everyone from new hires to the president of the firm is deeply committed to our sustainability goals.
Where has been your favorite place you’ve visited?
I spent three months working in the Durban, South Africa planning department as part of a fellowship while in graduate school. Decades of apartheid had ended just six years prior to my visit, so being in a culture that had just experienced something so divisive and was now trying to rebuild from it was incredibly meaningful. Observing how everyone was learning to adapt to this new way of life and culture was truly fascinating to witness. I was overwhelmed with how calm and relatively peaceful the atmosphere was and the whole experience made a huge impact on me.