HLB Culture Book

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Culture

Book

HLB Lighting Design



Table of Contents 1. Introduction 2. My HLB Story 3. Team Building 4. Boomerangs 5. GGOB 6. HLB Gives Back 7. HLB Enlighten & Culture Crusaders 8. Pets, Holidays, Birthdays & Potlucks 9. Events



SECTION ONE

Introduction


Introduction HLB One, I am truly excited to help introduce a new initiative, our HLB Culture Book! Developed collaboratively by our HR visionaries and MPACT graphics gurus, our new Culture Book will be a living, breathing book all about YOU - our amazing team! It will feature our personal WHYs - those things that bring value to each of us and keep us returning each day to take on the next challenge. It will be a collective scrapbook of images and stories that’s visual, creative and fun, and we’ll enjoy helping it evolve over the years into a deeper and more meaningful story of HLB Lighting Design through our personal contributions. I hope you’re excited as I am to dive in! Warm regards,

Carrie Hawley Senior Principal | CEO

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Welcome to HLB’s Culture Book! If you work at HLB, you know that we have an AMAZING culture built on professionalism, friendship, diversity, inclusion, collaboration, trust, integrity, openness, and transparency. We are not just colleagues; we are a family. Each one of us brings something unique and special to the firm which gets integrated into the HLB community. We come from a huge array of backgrounds and are spread across the globe, but that does not stop us from being united as HLB One. Our differences shine a light toward acceptance and tolerance, which creates a nurturing environment. Together we embrace our values of Artistry, Balance, Legacy, Integrity and Curiosity. During challenging times, we come together and support each other. In creating a safe place where we dream big, work hard and play hard, we have formulated a bond. We lean on each other; knowledge, feelings, visions, and ideas are shared. We pride ourselves on being part of a wonderful team, and that is what this culture book is all about! This is a thoughtful and illuminating collection of our team members’ individual definitions of HLB’s culture and values. What does HLB mean to you, in your own words? This book is to highlight your personal “why” – how you apply HLB’s culture and values to your life. Recalling your own stories, sharing your own photos, and citing the reason you initially chose (and continue to choose) to work here. This book will highlight your honest and transparent perspective, while creating unity and continuing to build on HLB One. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to share their own HLB journey – we all have a remarkable one! You will see as you flip through this book that there are a ton of fabulous photos that showcase the shared experiences that have built our culture. Take a look and relive some of our cherished memories and celebrations, which illustrate why we love coming to work every day, both on-site and virtually. Let us reminisce about all the fun! Our GGOB huddles, awards events, community service outings, office check-ins, and other unique activities and initiatives that we have collectively been a part of. (Including the creative ways we sometimes need to socialize!) Everyone at HLB will be a major contributor to this book – remember, this is YOUR STORY!

Elizabeth Schrott, Sennior Associate | TNT (HR) Manager

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SECTION TWO

My HLB Story


M y H L B S tory

My HLB Story

HLB is a place where magic happens. We learn, we educate, we grow, and we inspire one another. Everyone who walks through our doors has a story to tell… Lee Brandt | HLB New York I felt the HLB One Culture at my interview before I was even an HLB team member. I met with Stephen Lees and at the time our IT manager because she was also a Penn State graduate. Interesting cross-section of interviewees, but I felt comfortable from the first minute. I knew I would accept a position if I was lucky enough to get an offer and I did. I started my career at HLB right after I graduated. I learned so much so quickly from great mentors who trusted me to go into the deep end but had the life preserver when I needed it. I use this metaphor to this day when I speak to students and designers. Besides very exciting project work from athletic centers to large hotels, I quickly became involved in precursers to what we call C2Q (critical to quality) today. I wanted to streamline as many processes and project management tools as possible. I wanted to make day to day work efficient and impactful for our clients. At the same time, I always cared about the team and learning opportunities. I guess it is in my blood. As a Principal, my focus in my strategic role was people – the team. The Talent and Team group was created, and the Blueprints and Career Path process was generated along with an improved performance feedback process. The growth and development of the team while making processes streamlined was at the forefront of TNT along with adding Human Resource experts to the team. It was and is a great home base for me. When I am recruiting, I tell potential designers that we are excited to help grow your career, but also grow with you and keep you curious. This is exactly what happened to me. Through learning and mentoring of project management skills and care for the people and team, I have formed an amazing career that I am still developing and learning from every day.

Diana Vera | HLB San Francisco When I first started at HLB, I hadn’t actually worked a purely administrative job before. I had done work in spreadsheets, record keeping, and customer service before but those were always additional tasks, never the main focus of my roles. So, on my first day as an Administrative Assistant, I wasn’t fully sure what to expect or what was expected of me beyond the job description I was given. I did feel a lot of support right off the bat – everyone I worked with or talked to knew there was a learning curve involved and offered me help or advice when I needed it. It was a very welcoming experience and one I’m very grateful for. As time went on and I met more folks at HLB, I was trusted with tasks beyond managing the San Francisco office. I was introduced to the world of accounts receivables under the tutelage of Joanna and Chris, helping with the ongoing efforts to maintain a healthy cash balance for the company. Before too long, Beth and Anna were showing me the ropes of recognizing contract language, where and how to mark up documents, and how to negotiate terms with clients. These are wonderful tasks to have – I really enjoy doing some of the supportive work that keeps HLB moving along and growing. I look forward to continuing this path with HLB. I have many more things to learn and plenty of areas to continue growing in. I’m excited to see what the future with HLB holds!

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Simi Burg | HLB Miami My lighting career started in the suburbs of Philadelphia in high school theater, where I learned the power of light and how to paint with such a transformative medium. Eager to use my strong technical skills and influenced by my cousin who was childhood friends with Lee Brandt, I studied Architectural Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University, with a focus in lighting design. At the time, my end game was to move to New York City and work at a world-renowned lighting consultancy. During my 4th year at Penn State, I pioneered a mentoring program, which connected Alumni with students and through the mentoring program, I eventually connected with Lee, who made the introduction for me to HLB and Barbara Horton. It was the 2011 AE career fair where I met Barbara and it was an instant connection. After chatting for almost 2 hours she offered me my dream summer internship in the New York office. As expected, I had an amazing summer and knew my future was at HLB. However, the economy was still recovering from the 2008 crash, so there was still a bit of uncertainty leading up to graduation. More than anything I wanted to work at HLB, so the winter break before graduation, I spent 2 weeks with Carrie and the Boston office (just in case there wasn’t an opening in New York). Within 2 weeks, I knew either Boston or New York would be a good fit since even back then we were HLB One; the concept was just not branded yet. By February of 2012, I knew I was moving to New York and was over the moon with excitement. Fast forward 2 and a half years, I was thriving in NYC, but in a long-distance relationship with my college boyfriend. My boyfriend and I decided we were tired of traveling back and forth between New York and Florida and that one of us needed to make a move. During an HLB University, the principals put on the screen the 10:10 vision, with a map showing all the potential locations for HLB offices… one of them being Miami. I was ready to move to Florida, but not ready to leave HLB, and I finally had the opportunity to bring up that I’d like to move and work remotely. After talking to Barbara about the idea, she said “okay, lets check it out”. I spent hours doing research on potential clients and contacts. Every month Barbara and I would make trips to South Florida and set up meetings, AIA presentations, and dinners. We discovered the Miami construction market was exploding, there were tons of potential clients and completely underserved by the lighting industry. After 9 months of due diligence, developing a SWOT analysis, and preparing a business plan, we got the approval from the Principals to open a 1-man office in Miami. Since opening day, we have been in growth mode. The second employee of the Miami office was Amaia Puras-Ustarroz and the third was Eddy Garcia. We are now up to 7 teammates and growing. Our team of creative designers has been leaving fingerprints of light all over the Southeastern United States for the past 5 years. I am inspired by my surroundings and the local design community. We are always trying to push the boundary on design and innovation. I am passionate about living and working in a booming city that is colored by Latin flare, a prominent art and music scene, and backdropped by beautiful waters, beaches, and stunning sunsets. My favorite part of being a lighting designer is being able to exercise both my “left brain and right brain” daily. I enjoy being extremely creative and then technically engineering the solution. My experience within different market sectors allows me to be flexible with my designs and develop unique solutions for each application. My favorite markets are Workplace and Urban and Master Planning. I love using light to enhance the comfort and wellness for people that spend most of their day in these spaces. I also get a huge amount of joy being involved in exterior public projects that are changing the landscape of the city. I love using the power of light to transform the nighttime experience. I love the HLB One family. The connection between the offices is immeasurable, and even though Miami is only an office of 7, we have the strength of 90+ people. I often tell clients we are “glocal” and you get that hands-on boutique experience but have a massive team to get those big projects done. Our culture supports team members to be their very best and we celebrate growth and learning. Our focus on mentoring and coaching is really unique and I am so grateful to have found such a special company that provides an inspirational environment for designers that cultivates curiosity, artistry, integrity, balance, and legacy.

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Gabriel Vasquez | HLB New York I can honestly say that I never thought I would be where I am today! In high school, I was in a biomedical program that taught me that I absolutely did not want to be a doctor anymore (sorry Mom)! In college, I realized that Architecture, Interior Designing and Marketing was not it either! I ended up with a degree in Art Education with a Minor in Psychology. All the while, I was building and destroying computers in my spare time. That was my start into the wonderful world of computing. My HLB story was a fortunate turn of events. A good friend of mine needed to bring a body to the NY office opening party. Being the only person that she knew that lived in the city, she asked if I would like to attend. I obliged. I remember being introduced to various people at the party and I felt that it was a happy family. I ran into some people from my past and for some strange reason, the place felt right. I was asked to come in for an interview after having gone through two phone interviews. The interview process was very interesting. It felt like I interviewed with everybody! I was offered the position and I did not hesitate to accept it. Soon I was indoctrinated into my new job in the most interesting way that I have ever experienced in the 20+ years that I have worked in IT up to that point. I was off to meet the rest of the HLB family. I travelled to all the offices - LA, SF, DV, BN…it was a whirlwind experience. Meeting everyone helped me understand the passion that everyone shared. Watching everyone work and tell me what they needed to get their work done gave me a sense of what we needed to accomplish from the IT side of things. This passion is the drive that helps us truly become HLB One! As an IT professional, my goal is always to provide the end user with the most effective IT solutions as possible. And to that end, I love the challenges that HLB provides day in and day out.

Clifton Manahan | HLB Denver | Los Angeles | San Francisco I graduated from CU-Boulder with a degree in Architectural Engineering and focus in lighting in May 2009 (right in the middle of the recession) so I couldn’t find a full time design job right away. I had interviewed with several firms and was waiting on responses (and they were waiting for the economy to improve), so I worked part time for a local design firm for several months in the meantime. Finally in late 2009 Teal called me and said they had an opening in the HLB LA office, to start in February 2010. LA wasn’t my first choice for a city but HLB was a great firm and the LA office seemed like a great place to work so I took the opportunity – over the next 7 years in LA I would grow to love the city as well. I grew quickly working under Tina and Teal, within a few years starting to manage my own projects and designers with a lot of independence. The high-profile projects were fun and gratifying to work on, and the HLB One culture was supportive and inclusive. The best example of this was when my (now) wife and I decided to try something new and move to San Francisco and take several months off in between to visit family and travel through Europe. HLB was very accommodating in allowing me to take this time off for myself while ensuring continued design quality and continuity on my projects. Even though the SF office didn’t have work for another project manager, they were very welcoming in allowing me to join their office and the firm worked hard to make sure I could continue working productively remotely with the LA office. This was just a preview of things to come, as a few years later the COVID pandemic accelerated the dispersion of designers to different locations supported by HLB’s robust IT and organizational infrastructure. I took advantage of this to move one more time from San Francisco to Denver, Colorado to be closer to family. HLB worked with me to accommodate a three-week break during the move (we were unable to go to Asia as planned due to COVID but did a wonderful camping road trip of the Southwest), and none of this would have been possible without the encouraging culture of HLB. I still enjoy working on beautiful projects with great coworkers and clients, am very grateful for this firm and the time I’ve spent here, and hope to become an even more integral part of the team for many years to come!

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Ken Douglas | HLB New York My HLB Story begins well before any thought of becoming part of HLB. For much of my career, I have been very active in the IALD, serving in many volunteer roles over the years, and for nine years serving on the association’s Board of Directors. It was during my time on the board that I came to know Barbara Horton. Over the years, Barbara and I would meet for the occasional lunch to catch up and talk about our lives and businesses. It was one of these lunches that would ultimately bring me and the rest of the Illumination Arts team to HLB. During one of these lunches in summer 2017, our discussion turned to the areas where we felt our businesses needed to grow and what we needed to do to get there. It quickly became apparent that HLB had the maturity and depth Illumination Arts was lacking and IA had some of the skills and market sectors Barbara was looking for. Before long, the discussion turned to the idea of joining the two companies. Merger planning began and in April 2018, the IA team joined HLB. From my perspective, I could not ask for more from that merger. Our IA teammates are a fully integrated part of the HLB family and are thriving with a large array of opportunities and teammates to learn and grow with. While personally, I enjoy this part of my thirty-year career more and more every day, with an amazing team of principals and teammates to learn from and collaborate with on a daily basis, I feel that I too am growing every day.

Beth Nilsen | HLB Austin HLB has become my home. I know that sounds pretty cheesy, but I truly do feel that way. As a creative soul working in a technical field (accounting), I’ve made it part of my professional journey to not just analyze numbers, but to learn the stories they are telling and attempt to use that to influence all aspects of a business. Some businesses are receptive to having their “numbers person” involved in the people and strategic sides of their businesses, but most are not. As an accountant, I get my most joy and satisfaction knowing I am getting my information across, people understand it or feel comfortable asking questions, and then use it to make each project, process and decision better than the last. I started in this industry with an incredible engineering firm and a business savvy leader who enjoyed collaborating with me and getting me involved in a large variety of the functions of the business. This started me on the path of knowing exactly how I wanted to use my accounting know how. I never wanted to go back to just being a spreadsheet jockey after that. And I knew I wanted to stay specifically in the AE industry. After leaving that firm to return to my native Texas, I had the pleasure of working in an architectural firm with a very similar and open approach to my involvement. I was inspired by their focus on children’s hospitals and proud of the projects the firm was involved in. However, after only a few years there I received a most intriguing call about a lighting design firm called HLB and would I be interested? I wasn’t looking and I was happy where I was, but something in the recruiters message made me curious, so I agreed to an initial interview. Talking with the HLB recruiting team – we immediately clicked! I’ve never enjoyed an interview process so much. I could hear intelligence, business savvy, creative fire and a true enthusiasm for the future of the firm in everyone’s voice. However, after talking with my family about a potential relocation to New York and realizing how it would change our standard of living, I decided to pull my hat out of the ring. It was a very difficult decision to make. But lo and behold, the recruiter called me back the following week and asked if I would consider the position if I could work from Houston and travel to New York as needed. I will say this is the conversation that changed my life. I’ve never looked back. Working with Stephen Lees to learn the history of the company and the amazing business systems he put in place over the years was a real privilege. Usually in my role you are replacing someone who has already exited and you don’t have the luxury of picking their brain. Not only was Stephen available to me, we have had an amazing 3 plus years collaborating. And that’s the key. HLB is collaborative. It takes the best from all the brains present and is always looking to do better. And to do so in a creative, fulfilling environment. I’m now a proud owner in HLB. I’m thrilled for our future; the potential for new services, geographies, talent, the amazing current leadership as well as the leaders we have lined up and waiting in the wings. I am committed to maintain the culture and values of HLB for future generations of owners and employees to enjoy as much as I do. 13

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Eddy Garcia | HLB Miami To understand my HLB story, you have to look into my past and what decisions led me to be where I am today. And believe me, it is a lot of decisions because if I had slightly taken a left turn somewhere along the way, I wouldn’t even be writing this piece. I was born in Cuba to a family that decided to get into the ice cream manufacturing business when I was three years old. I can’t complain, I think that is every kid’s dream, and I loved waking up in the mornings to eat freshly made ice cream for breakfast, especially when the production room was our guestroom. When I was around six years old, I somehow started aspiring to be an architect, even when I didn’t know what it meant to be one or what it took to be one. I can’t even remember when I first heard that word or how I even heard it. But my mind was set on my career goals. When I was ten, my parents and I moved to Miami, where I understood what an architect was, and boy was I set out for quite the ride. Through my middle and high school years, I took various courses in drafting where I got the feel of what an architect did. At this point, I knew what I wanted to focus on, and in 2009 I went on to a local community college where I got my Associates in Architecture. I then later went on to Florida International University (FIU) to get an M.Arch degree. But my journey was far from perfect. Through the six years I was in school, I tried to change career paths twice. After I got my first DSLR camera and discovered I could take good pictures, I thought of photography. I even applied to the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and got accepted for the program. The second time I thought of changing careers, we have to dig in a bit deeper. While I was in high school, my parents opened a business. If you guessed ice cream manufacturing, you are right! But this time around, I was older and was immersed in creating a business from scratch, the inner workings of coming up with ice cream recipes, trying to be a graphic designer, and playing an accountant to keep track of finances. All while trying not to eat up all the profits. Through this process I discovered a passion for finance and business and looked into switching to a finance and business major. Luckily, that urge faded away quickly, and I continued the course and graduated from FIU in 2016 with a full-time position as a Designer at HLB. I’m what our former CEO, Barbara Horton likes to call an “accidental tourist”. I never took courses in lighting, and the most I knew about lighting was that daylighting is good if used right. I remember applying to a part-time job as a Design Assistant at HLB a few months before graduating, and it was only because I needed to get my feet into the AEC industry to kick start my career. Little did I know that I would catch the lighting bug and have now been here for four years and counting. You may be curious how someone who aspired to be an architect may have caught the lighting bug, but it was not just about lighting for me. My favorite part of being a Lighting Designer is seeing how lighting can create architectural poetry when used as a building material and not an afterthought, a poem that creates a rhythm of movement and enhances a habitant’s emotional state within a space. Looking back at my last four years, I sometimes wonder what my life would be like if I had explored photography or even finance and business. But somehow, I realize that all those small steps I took led me to where I am today and my career, and do not regret a single decision. Being part of HLB One and now a Lighting Designer (accidental and all) and an Associate within the firm has made me think of how everything happened in a serendipitous way to get me here. I’m grateful to my education in a multi-disciplinary field such as architecture that allows anyone to walk towards many different routes. But most importantly, I’m thankful for HLB One and the mentorship our firm’s leaders offer. To me, HLB One means family, a family that works together towards the same goal, and during the bad times, we all try to make it better.

Jamie Medeiros | HLB Boston When I first started at HLB in 2016 as an Administrative Assistant, I knew that I could advance my career at this great company. With a background in Art and Photography, I was very interested in working with the Marketing team and I wanted to apply my skills and knowledge to my day to day work. I expressed interest in Social Media and started posting for the firm, it was a great opportunity to get involved with the Marketing team. Abby was a great mentor since she started in an Admin position as well, and she helped me develop the skills that I needed to become a Marketing Assistant. HLB has great resources and training opportunities that allowed me to grow into a position that really interested me. Shortly after, I joined SMPS (Society of Marketing Professionals) Boston Chapter that allowed me to develop my career even further. Now I am a Senior Marketing Coordinator and it’s fun to work with the entire Marketing team and to collaborate with many designers from across the firm. I love being part of HLB One and I’m excited for future opportunities ahead! HLB Lighting Design

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Karen Park | HLB Los Angeles | Austin “Congrats, Karen and Jae!” I was so shy to walk into a conference room decorated with pink balloons, baby photos, and printed fun posters. My husband’s colleagues with big smiles surprised us with a lovely baby shower. At that moment, I could not imagine that they would be my colleagues several years later. Yes, my husband started HLB as an intern in 2006 before I joined HLB in 2013. I can tell that HLB has grown amazingly since I got to know the firm in 2006, but the essence of HLB has not changed at all. One of the biggest reasons why I wanted to join HLB was how much HLB cares about its people. All team members listen carefully to each other and respect each one’s authenticity. I believe this helps our talented people to be more creative and grow for their next steps. As a group within this environment, we can raise the bar for the entire industry by implementing creative ideas and experimenting with new technologies. Personally, I appreciate that HLB helped me break out of my own shell with a lot of encouragement. I was able to grow so much under the big umbrella of “HLB Life and People” over the years. Working with people that I can learn from and respect is truly invaluable.

Nishat Alam | HLB San Francisco I have been with HLB for quite some time and have had the pleasure of watching our company grow into the robust and highly collaborative workforce it is today. Since day one however, HLB has been a nurturing environment for me. Even through changes in leadership over the years and occasional shuffling of teams, there is steady mentorship and support for us to not only do our work but meaningfully grow in the process. One of HLB’s values that resonates with me is “balance”. When it was time for me to grow my family, I had the resources and support at HLB that made taking maternity leaves and being a working mom seem like second nature. I feel HLB really cares and invests in its employees and wants to see us become leaders in our own ‘light’. I am excited to continue my journey and cannot wait to see what the future holds for HLB.

Azusa Yabe | HLB Los Angeles I joined HLB when I moved to Los Angeles from New York City in 2013, as a Senior Designer. My first impression of the HLB LA office was very friendly, welcoming, easy going and everyone worked very hard while keeping the office very lively. It did not take long for me to feel at home and as a part of the team – I felt that I fit right in with the culture consisting of open communication, respect for each other and professionalism while maintaining levity. The LA office is always very busy – while everyone works very hard, it is not unusual to see a baby, children on school closure days, and dogs and birds in the office. I love that the HLB family extended into our own family. I became a mother shortly after joining and I received so much encouragement and professional/emotional support from everyone, especially from Teal and Tina. I love the small office feel within a large network of community. There are so many resources within the HLB community and I’ve learned many aspects of this profession throughout the years, in marketing, negotiating, and dealing with difficult situations. I have also been enjoying getting to know other people from all over the nation as we finessed our virtual collaboration over the past year. #HLBONE!

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SECTION THREE

Team Building


team building

HLB Team Building

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team building

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SECTION FOUR

Boomerangs


boomerangs

HLB Boomerangs

Our Boomerangs are team members who left us, but found their way back home to HLB! Carrie Hawley | HLB Boston Why did I originally choose to work at HLB? Originally trained as an architect, I entered the lighting industry in the early 90’s after graduating from the Lighting Research Center, and what immediately stood out to me when I first met Barbara was the true sense of care and interest she had for the employees. She, Stephen and Jules really believed in mentoring the staff not only in lighting design theory and technical skills, but also financial literacy, project management and business development. It was always a collaboration from the start. Jules used to say “I don’t care who’s idea it is – if the UPS guy passes through and shouts out the best idea, then we’re going with his idea”. Stephen would always bolster the junior staff, saying “you are more expert in lighting design even now in your career than pretty much any of the architects and contractors you’re working with – you’re adding value”. And he’d also say “our company’s assets walk in through the front door and then leave out that same door every night… and we just hope they wanna come back again the next day.” I would say that they really got it – for them, it was about developing people, about developing a legacy they had created, and it was about developing the future. I found it to be a really exciting and supportive place to work. With the exception of a couple of years’ detour that I took in the late 90’s to see how things were done at another firm, I have been fortunate to have created and developed my career alongside some of the best mentors in the lighting industry. I’m proud to be one of 8 “boomerangs” who chose to return to HLB. Why did I return? It was simple - I saw my future here. Early communication about my value and potential, in addition to some ongoing trust, opportunity and development, allowed me to dream big and actually visualize my future. I became an owner in 2007 and continued to be mentored in more strategic areas alongside our current shareholder team of 13, and early this year, I was delighted to step into the role of CEO in early 2021, followng in the footsteps of my ultimate mentor, Barbara Horton. I’m truly honored to have taken this journey with Barbara and Stephen, and I hope that my experience can inspire you

Darcie Chinnis| HLB Denver Part of what drew me to lighting in the first place was the people, and I love that it’s continued to be the people that make me excited to do what we do. As an undergrad student in Architectural Engineering at University of Colorado, I was struck by the lighting professors. Their passion for lighting was so clearly evident and I took every lighting class possible, developing my own deep passion for the science and art of lighting. When it was time to venture into the industry, again it was about the people. We were lucky enough to have Teal come speak to the program, and I instantaneously saw and heard the same passion in her that I had seen in my professors. During my time in Los Angeles, I enjoyed the mentorship, variety of projects, the challenges of new and difficult designs, and seeing the results. Leaving Los Angeles was part of my personal journey, with Colorado calling me back for the lifestyle it offers. Nearly a decade, a PhD, a couple of other lighting design firms, and two kids later, I found myself on the cusp of an amazing opportunity. I had stayed in touch with many fellow HLB-ers over the years and was beyond thrilled when Michael reached out. He, too, had felt the pull back to Colorado and had worked with HLB leadership to create a compelling business plan to support opening a Denver office. With exactly zero trepidation, I was excited to rejoin the HLB team but this time from a place that felt like home. I had found that nexus – the place that I wanted to be and the people I wanted to work with had collided, and I couldn’t have asked for more.

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Guy Smith | HLB Los Angeles I only knew of HLB (Horton Lees at the time) as a well-regarded lighting design entity while I was working for a competing lighting design firm in Los Angeles during the mid-1990’s. Having transitioned into the lighting design world from architecture firms of varying sizes, I felt I was entering a brave new world, learning a specialty skill that would only enhance my architectural experience while still maintaining my associations and hard won design acumen. This single office firm was a friendly competitor with Horton Lees in the small fraternity of an emerging profession in an exciting city. During this period, I met Teal Brogden through a mutual friend at the opening of a furniture showroom in West Hollywood’s PDC. It was a project she had recently completed with Horton Lees and it was stunning. We met on other occasions, and I certainly enjoyed her humor, generosity of spirit, her outlook, and her company. Eventually, when I left the other firm, Teal reached out to me in an effort to gauge my interest in coming to work at Horton Lees. My instinct was that this would be a difficult corporate environment, possibly not a good fit. As intrigued as I was to possibly work with Teal, and however well-known and highly regarded the firm was, I didn’t know any one else and figured a three office lighting design firm would be overly competitive, possibly political in nature…maybe even cut-throat. I was hesitant. Eventually, with curiosity, I made my way to the Los Angeles office to meet with Teal, see the projects on the boards and get to know the team there. My perceptions changed, quite a bit. A creative, thoughtful, energetic welcoming environment presented itself. The genuine friendliness and good nature of everyone I met won me over. Immediately upon joining Horton Lees, now Horton Lees Brogden or HLB, I was able to participate in an inter-office retreat in Colorado meeting every member of the firm. Getting to know Stephen Lees and Barbara Horton reinforced my sense that this was an extraordinary and nurturing culture populated by dynamic, talented, and supportive people. Back at the office and through the subsequent few years, the sense that the three offices or studios – New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles- were truly one was evident. One only had to pick up the phone and call Stephen or Barbara with a question and guidance was offered. Their generous accessibility and interest was immediate. It engendered trust. Beyond the traditional concerns of a design business, HLB embraced a commitment to the highest standards of professional ethics, imbuing discussions large and small with the concern for representing not only the best interests of our clients but ensuring that fairness, honesty and authenticity would be a salient factor in every decision and all discourse with the design team, and with owners and consultants. In 2004 I left HLB to open my own Architecture and Lighting Design practice in Los Angeles. The subsequent 12 plus years were incredibly rewarding, challenging, and eye-opening. Establishing an architectural practice is a rich experience in itself and the ability to offer architectural lighting design as an enhanced service ensured a steady flow and variety of projects. A continued close relationship with HLB meant that referrals for potential clients were generously shared and friendly advice could be procured when needed. It was a lovely and much appreciated gift that I will always remember. This brings me to the fall of 2015 and an offer by HLB to consult part time on a monthly contract to provide regular initial Schematic Design for a variety of projects in Los Angeles and San Francisco….sort of a pinch-hitter gig to help kick off solid thought leadership efforts. The renewed acquaintances and welcoming atmosphere made me feel that I had never left. The space was as I remembered but there was something else. There was a sense that HLB, in its growth to seven offices had evolved into an even better, more fluid, responsive and vital organization, but the people remained as personable, engaging, generous and friendly. This was not accidental, but the result of a real, sustained office culture maintained over time. In the intervening years since my employment there, some of the staff had changed, new, young, and energetic designers had flexed their design muscles and grown in experience in this rich, stimulating field. Grown and prospered and encouraged to take the reigns of leadership, remaining true to the same ethos of excellence that drew me to HLB many years before. This is legacy. There were several reasons I accepted the offer to return to HLB, but none stand out as strongly and simply as this: the people. I am a boomerang. I came back. I’m not the only one. I will not be the last.

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boomerangs

Haley Darst | HLB Boston In 2006, I walked into my first ever career fair as a freshman. I was nervous, intimidated, and felt silly even being there as I was not officially in my major (and had been in my college classes for about one month). But, I knew exactly what I wanted to do after graduation: I wanted to be an architectural lighting designer, and influence the way people think, live, and feel in the built environment. How did I know this at 17 years old? Well, as a high school senior, I had met with an undergraduate advisor in the Architectural Engineering program at Penn State. After we chatted about my interests and what piqued my curiosities with architecture, he pulled up a website on his computer and it was HLB Lighting Design’s website. I jotted down several notable lighting design firm’s names and information that day to do my own research on, but HLB always stuck out to me, even at such a young age. So at my first career fair, I worked up the courage to introduce myself to a group of women at the HLB Lighting Design booth and was instantly drawn to their passion, humility, and infectious personalities. I knew right away this was a team I wanted to work with! As most know in the AE major at Penn State, HLB hires 4th year students for summer internships, making sure they have the fundamental lighting coursework and design skills necessary for an impactful experience. Even though I was aware of this, I visited the HLB booth at the career fair every year after my first – second year, third year, and finally my fourth year, when I knew I could potentially land an internship position. I was thrilled to be selected as a summer intern with the NY team and truly had one of the best summers of my life at HLB and in NY. I worked with multiple principals and staff on several projects (interior, exterior and daylighting), learning the intricacies of the design process and how each principal approached design. I was fortunate enough to have 3 other internships prior to my summer at HLB, and no other firm shared the same passion, camaraderie, and authentic desire to make the world a better place through light, more than HLB. Fast forward to about 6.5 years post-graduation - I was well into my career and living and working in a lighting studio within a large AE firm in Boston. I had been dating my long-distance boyfriend for over a year at the time, and it was then that I knew if I was going make the relationship work, I needed to make a move soon. Simi became aware of my plans and reached out to me personally, but I wasn’t quite ready to make the jump. However, I soon realized, after multiple conversations with Carrie and meeting the Boston team in person, I could see myself working with HLB again. I couldn’t even believe the opportunity had presented itself to me and knew it was fate. How could I NOT say yes after how much fun I had had with the NY team?! I can’t even begin to describe what my journey from and back into HLB means to me. There are so many paths you can take in life and crossroads you come to and I love how my path has circled back to HLB. No other company has supported my growth, my personal and professional goals, inspired me to become more business savvy, and has challenged me more than HLB. I am honored to work with the best of the best in the industry, and I’m so thankful for my HLB Family. Thank you for taking a chance on me and for asking me to join back in on the fun!

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Katherine Stekr | HLB Denver Hi there! I’m Katherine, and I’m a proud HLB boomerang! I started my journey with HLB as a summer intern during the summer before my senior year of college. A classmate of mine and I shared a room while we both interned at HLB LA. We even got to house sit for Teal while she was on a family vacation, which resulted in quite a humorous lobster story… too long for this! After college, I moved to LA to become a full time HLBer. I worked in the HLB LA office with Teal, Tina, Michael and Darcie until it was time for me to move back to Denver and be closer to family. Upon returning to Denver, I worked for an MEP firm for 4 years and then moved to an Architecture firm for another 4 years. The experience of having worked at HLB in LA stayed with me and I kept wondering, what would happen if there was ever an HLB Denver office? While my experiences at the MEP and Architectural firms have provided me with extremely valuable project experience and knowledge, I still always felt that I needed to find a company whose drive and values more equaled my own. In a male dominated industry, having the ability to grow and learn from women who have blazed a trail in business was important to me. Women leaders have different challenges to overcome, and I wanted to be part of a place that allowed me to tap into that collective experience. As you know, lighting is somewhat of a niche market, its tiny! So most jobs I have found myself in, I was the one with the most lighting experience. I know enough to know that I don’t know everything, so I was also constantly looking for mentorship or to work at a place in which there was a wealth of experience. I wanted to learn from the best. Fast forward to the opening of the Denver HLB office… I had worked with Michael and Darcie when I was in LA and knew the Denver office was going to be a special place to work. So I immediately called Michael and let him know that I was definitely interested in becoming an HLB Boomerang. It took a few more years, meetings and chats before we were able to make this a reality. Working at HLB is really important to me. I’m happy at work. And being happy at work makes me happy in other aspects of my life. I love that HLB has such a diverse group of talented individuals, with varying interests and skill sets. Being able to work closely with so many great lighting designers has made me a better lighting designer. Knowing there is always someone who will have an answer to my questions, or will be willing to sit down and figure out a solution to me is invaluable. Working at HLB, I get to participate in lighting designs for some amazing projects, I get to be a full nerd and research topics with the DSD Holistic lighting team and I get to explore other avenues that interest me, like product development and authoring blogs. HLB is kind of like a trampoline, the more effort you put into jumping, the higher it will throw you.

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SECTION FIVE

The Great Game of Business


ggob at hlb

The Great Game of Business

The Great Game of Business (GGOB) gives us the navigation tools to chart our course into the future and maximize our team’s success. GGOB focuses on openbook management and firm transparency.

“If you want people to grow, you have to take risks.“ - Jack Stack

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ggob at hlb

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SECTION SIX

HLB Gives Back


volunteering

HLB Gives Back

Every year our firm gives back to their communities during Volunteer month in October.

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volunteering

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SECTION EIGHT

HLB Enlighten & Culture Crusaders


HLB ENLIGHTEN

HLB Enlighten

HLB Enlighten is an extra-curricular platform designed by creators and for creators, with the purpose of experimentation, collaboration and growth. It is a great place for you to share your skills and sharpen your craft, experiment, test your limits, and become a thought leader.

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culture crusaders

Culture Crusaders

We are a group of enthusiastic HLB team members who plan virtual team-building events to bring unity to the firm. Activities have included a cooking club and yoga!

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SECTION NINE

HLB Pets, Holidays, Birthdays & Potlucks


office C omradery

HLB Pets, Holidays, Birthdays & Potlucks

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office C omradery

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SECTION TEN

Events


events

Industry Events

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events

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HLB Lighting Design


HLB Lighting Design info@HLBlighting.com HLBlighting.com

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