What’s Your Connection?

Sometimes you have these “small world” moments as you figure out odd connections between your past and present or work and personal life. Most stories about these kinds of connections I hear today involve social media. This “small world” connection is a bit different than that, you see it involves a Rippe Associates employee, a major educational institution, and an architect.  As Mike Rowe might say, this is the way I heard it . . .

During Shane Cory’s first year the University of Minnesota, he lived in Frontier Hall and was looking for ways to connect to the campus. As an avid participant in student programs in high school, he saw a poster to join the Frontier Community Council and thought he’d give it a try. While on this council Shane worked with the Assistant Residential Advisor, whom then asked if he wanted to be on a panel that gave a student’s perspective during the programming and design of a new residence hall. As an architecture and art student, Shane decided to jump at the offer and thought this could provide valuable and potentially applicable experience.

During the planning of 17th Avenue Residence Hall, Shane was surprised by many things, the soil testing, the thought that went into the landscape design, that they discussed many shades of paint and brick. The most memorable for Shane was when Shawn, from Studio Hive, filled a huge room full of variations of furniture that could go into the residence hall. Chairs, tables, couches and so much more were all there for the entire panel to try out and give opinions on.

17th Avenue Residence Hall

View of the finished salad bar area at 17th Avenue Residence Hall

Another part of the experience he remembers were all the digital walkthroughs that were done because you could visually see what the space would look like. He remembers architects from TKDA and KWK, Brian, Sara & Paul, adjusting the plan based on feedback given during these sessions and seeing the updated versions right then or at the next meeting.

He also gained some experience at Centennial foodservice during his freshman and part of his sophomore year. After being a part of the ground-breaking ceremony, Shane went on to live in Comstock Hall and get involved in the Community Council at Comstock as well. “Living in the dorms you are presented a lot of opportunities you don’t get living off campus,” says Shane.

Later in his college career, Shane was given an assignment in one of his classes to interview people and find out what they like about their job, Shane interviewed Shawn and Brian. Through these interviews and his experience on the student panel, he learned that customer service is extremely important. Being able to listen and react to the customer’s questions, comments and answers are valuable. Nobody wants just the cookie cutter design or equipment package.

After graduating, Shane was looking for his next step. He saw an advertisement for a position that required the ability to utilize Revit. Being the self-confident one that he is, he took it upon himself to start learning Revit. As it turned out, his AutoCAD skills were not as translatable to Revit as he would have liked, but this company called him in for an interview and to take a Revit test! “Oh man, I freaked out during that Revit test! I knew I missed a measurement. I sat in my apartment debating if I should call and fess up to my error or not. I finally called Jan and started telling her what I missed. After I hung up, I convinced myself I had no chance of getting the job.”

But at this company, they thought he was ideal! He knew enough to be dangerous, but not enough that he was too set in his ways. Once here for a few weeks, he heard people talking about the 17th Avenue Residence Hall project and decided to join the conversation. After everyone figured out the “small world” connection, it was an interesting exchange of stories and perspectives. Its things like this that prove to me repeatedly that you don’t know how the connections you are making now, will be useful later. And sometimes, you even get to dig out that groundbreaking hard hat and golden shovel for one more photo op!

Shane & His Golden Shovel

Do you have a small-world connection in your work life?

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