At Holland Basham Architects, community involvement plays a vital role in the office culture and our work in the Omaha area. A mid-sized architecture firm located in midtown; Holland Basham takes pride in giving back to our community. This is shown in our contribution of time and energy to many organizations throughout Omaha. Whether the team serves as mentors, volunteer soccer coaches, or Girl Scout board members, the people of Holland Basham are as dedicated to our work in the community as they are to our professional careers.
Holland Basham’s passion for improving the community is showcased through projects benefiting the city, including renovations and additions to the Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands, master planning for Heartland Family Service, and renovation to the Omaha Ronald McDonald House.
“This is such a human-centric industry,” said Allie Laurenzo, Senior Associate and interior designer. “Being a part of the community, then working on projects that are benefiting the city brings out our passion.”
Partner, Susan Seidel, said being out in the community allows the team to have something in common and makes the office more unified and cohesive. “I think we are all more aware of the greater Omaha community and its offerings by being active. This gives us something in common to share,” Seidel said.
The team challenges themselves with making a space functional and equitable for clients and future visitors. “I think our team is good at ensuring we’re putting ourselves in our clients’ shoes,” Colee Maass, Associate, said. “We work closely with our clients and the communities we help throughout the entire experience.”
The team is collectively involved with the ACE Mentor Program of America (ACE) outside of the office. ACE is a free, nationwide afterschool program designed to attract high school students into pursuing careers in the architecture, construction, and engineering industries. Brittany Miller, associate, has been involved with ACE since its 2017 establishment in Omaha.
“ACE allows under-represented students the opportunity to learn about these fields and have a front-row seat into how our industry works,” Miller said.
Through the team’s work with ACE, they have been able to go to Omaha high schools and help expose students to the architecture, engineering, and construction fields with site visits and hands-on activities. In 2019, students in Omaha’s ACE program had the opportunity to create a mock design project for the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. The project required students to design a modern animal structure within the zoo’s campus.
To continue its passion for mentorship, Holland Basham Architects hires new architecture and design students to join the team. As interns, they can learn and immerse themselves in the industry by working alongside other project architects and designers. Miller ensures that the firm’s interns have a memorable experience. “We want our interns to feel supported and to feel like they’re learning about what we do. We want to ensure that they feel like they’re a part of our team,” Miller said.
Holland Basham Architects’ passion for teaching and mentoring the next generation of architects and designers is a vital step for the community. Working for a business that caters to the city provides a level of support for our team and allows them to get outside of their comfort zones. The stimulation, inspiration, and creativity we’re receiving from the Omaha community ultimately make us better designers.
“We’re fortunate that we get to cultivate and define our leadership path throughout our work and community,” said Megan Jarosz, Associate Partner.
Our team’s role in the community encourages us to develop our leadership style and is further showcased by our active leadership within the Holland Basham Architects office. By gaining perspective and enhancing our personal and professional growth, our service to others and our profession is impacted.