40 Under 40 retrospective: Where are they now?

BD+C catches up with two past 40 Under 40 honorees: a designer who credits trapeze work with boosting her confidence, and a security expert who also knows a lot about squash.

October 02, 2013

BD+C catches up with two past 40 Under 40 honorees: a designer who credits trapeze work with boosting her confidence, and a security expert who also knows a lot about squash.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BRET EMERSON

President and Owner
Commtech Design, Rockford, Mich.
Class of 2006

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Emerson continues as owner of Commtech, which specializes in networking, security, and A/V design. Government clients who need video security and access control systems are a key market. “We are a growing company that has survived the recession well. The world wants more cameras and access control.”

Working with Michigan’s Department of Corrections to design a new video security system for all facilities statewide.

Also working on: court building for Kalamazoo County; health sciences building for Baker College, Muskegon, Mich.; new telephone system for 26 buildings operated by the Traverse City Area Public Schools.

EXTRACURRICULAR
Regular presenter on security technology design at conferences and meetings (Michigan Department of Corrections, Michigan Department of Education).

Member, Plainfield (Mich.) Township Zoning Board of Appeals.

OFF THE CLOCK
Emerson is building a house, runs to stay in shape, and dabbles in farming. “I have started growing pumpkins as a hobby. It isn’t office work, and it gets me outside. It ties me back to my youth growing up on a farm.”

 

 

 

LORI JAMES
IIDA, NCIDQ, LEED AP ID+C

Principal
SmithGroupJJR, Detroit
Class of 2012

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Since her U40 recognition, James has been promoted to a Principal and stockholder, and elevated to lead the Interior Design group in Detroit.

Represents her site in the companywide Interior Design Discipline Committee, which develops standards and best practices.  Has assumed new responsibilities with the firm’s Workplace Practice and led virtual training to teach nationwide staff about the proprietary WorkSIM database and planning tool.

Participated in a two-day Client Advisory Board hosted by the firm’s Learning Practice, attended by leaders in the nursing and allied health community.

EXTRACURRICULAR
Selected for the Urban Land Institute-Michigan’s Larson Center for Leadership, an eight-month program covering land use and economic, governmental, and infrastructure issues.

Mentors interior design students at Wayne State and Michigan State universities.

Leads the firm’s local involvement in Herman Miller’s annual holiday WeCare event, benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Committee member, DIFFA Dining by Design auction and gala supporting the Michigan AIDS Coalition.

OFF THE CLOCK
James has recently taken up aerial yoga. “There is something incredibly exhilarating about suspending yourself in a fabric trapeze. It is physically and mentally challenging. You have to trust in your personal strength and flexibility, as well as the trapeze.”

 


 

LAST CHANCE! SIGN UP FOR THIS YEAR'S U40 LEADERSHIP SUMMIT

Join our 40 Under 40 alumni and other outstanding young AEC professionals nominated by their firms at the 3rd Annual Under 40 Leadership Summit (Hyatt Regency San Francisco, October 9-11). Visit our website for information about this inspiring, AIA-accredited opportunity for learning and networking: www.BDCnetwork.com/Under40Summit/index.html.
         
 

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