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Megan Apostol

DMR Names Pradeep Kapoor Its First COO and Promotes Five Others; Continues Recruiting to Address Rapid Growth

DMR Names Pradeep Kapoor Its First COO and Promotes Five Others; Continues Recruiting to Address Rapid Growth 2000 1125 DMR Architects

DMR has named Pradeep Kapoor, AIA, LEED AP BD+C its new Chief Operating Officer and promoted five others in response to the firm’s continued growth and expansion into new practice areas, which includes doubling its staff to more than 40 over the past five years.

“Supporting the scope and volume of our new projects and absorbing and directing new staff members is made all the more complex by the layers of practice areas and services we have added in recent years,” said Lloyd Rosenberg, President & CEO.  “Pradeep has been managing the firm’s operations and I am pleased to be able to recognize his success at this role by naming him DMR’s first Chief Operating Officer.”

Pradeep’s 21-year tenure at DMR has included several roles through which he has managed many of the firm’s most complex design and construction projects, primarily focusing on the municipal, healthcare, and education practices.  In 2017 he was named a partner in the firm while serving as Director of Sustainability.  A passionate sustainable designer, he was among the first architects in New Jersey to achieve LEED accreditation, and helped build DMR’s esteemed sustainable design program, which today includes certified, silver and gold level projects, notably the Frank J. Gargiulo Campus for the Hudson County Schools of Technology, a LEED Gold recipient, and the Carlstadt Elementary School, the first LEED Silver public school in New Jersey.

While still managing day to day responsibilities for significant firm projects, as Chief Operating Officer, Pradeep provides managerial support for all ongoing projects, offering guidance on contracts, project management, budget, schedule adherence and staff development.

“It has been a privilege to take on a leadership role during a time when the firm has literally created a new practice format that bridges traditional architecture with planning, design, construction management and other services that provides clients with exceptional skill, efficiency and value,” he said. “As we lift the standards for architects, we have been able to lift the careers of our people.  I am a prime example of DMR’s culture of nurturing staff, fostering professional achievement, and recognizing talent and hard work, and I am proud to recognize five other staff members whose achievements also warrant promotions.”

DMR’s other recent promotions include five new positions for existing staff with tenures that range from 2 to 27 years.

Maria Perez, Director of Human Resources

Maria Perez has managed DMR’s office and staff since 1994, guiding the firm’s organizational development, creating a diverse staff and performance management structure, as well as managing benefits, compensation and training. She implemented a streamlined onboarding process to facilitate DMR’s growth from 10 to a team of more than 40 including continued rapid staff growth year over year since 2016.  She’s also coordinated communication throughout the pandemic which continues to be instrumental in keeping clients informed and projects on schedule.

Donna Coen O’Gorman, Director of Business Development – Education 

A registered architect whose 35-year career included roles at clients of DMR, Donna Coen O’Gorman has dedicated her entire professional life to the education sector, bringing the unique perspective of the customer to her managerial role.  Through a commitment to continuing education, conference involvement and thought leadership, her project management work in the educational sector has naturally expanded to client advocacy, business development and thought leadership, having been published and a frequent lecturer on topics such as school security, new project delivery methods, and design trends.

Megan Apostol, Director of Marketing

During her decade at DMR, Megan Apostol has raised DMR Architects’ reputation through publicity initiatives, print and digital communications, and marketing initiatives highlighting its talented team and diverse practice capabilities.   She is responsible for securing architectural and real estate industry awards for DMR including NJBiz Best Places to Work, and prestigious awards for team members including the ICON award and inclusion in influencer lists in ROI-NJ and NJBiz.

Kevin Johnson, Project Manager

Kevin Johnson joined the DMR production staff in 2012, quickly establishing himself as an integral member of DMR’s New York City School Construction Authority (NYCSCA) team, helping complete more than 200 projects valued at $500 million over his nearly 10 years with firm.

Pierre Talisse, Project Manager

Pierre Talisse joined the DMR team in 2019, bringing with him worldwide experiences ranging from a 550,000 SF development in India to capital improvements across New Jersey preK-12 school districts. At DMR, he fit perfectly into its educational design team, supporting capital improvement projects for many of DMR’s school district clients, including Bayonne, Hackensack, Edison, and New Brunswick, as well as supporting the new construction of schools in Plainfield and Jersey City. As a project manager at DMR, he will support the education and public sectors, which currently accounts for more than $500 million of DMR’s pipeline.

DMR Dimensions – 30th Anniversary Edition

DMR Dimensions – 30th Anniversary Edition 2000 1125 DMR Architects

On July 15, 1991, a team of four opened DMR Architects. Led by Lloyd Rosenberg, AIA, the group set off first to find a client and a project, then on to building the firm as we know it today. Since then, we’ve designed thousands of projects valued at billions of dollars in construction work. We’ve worked right in our own backyard and across the world in China, Costa Rica, Nigeria and Romania. We’ve designed elementary schools, luxury lofts, downtown master plans, police stations, modern offices, and renovations to an elementary school forced to close following Superstorm Sandy. We’ve seen technology and trends come and go, but we’ve always maintained our commitment to inspire through functional and aesthetically pleasing design. In our anniversary issue of DMR Dimensions, we recap the latest DMR news, and also look back on many of our most significant professional milestones and projects over the years.

Working with Your Architect to Support the Next Generation of Creative Thinkers with Divergent Learning Spaces

Working with Your Architect to Support the Next Generation of Creative Thinkers with Divergent Learning Spaces 960 540 DMR Architects

By Donna Coen O’Gorman

Where STEM and STEAM curriculum were once offered as after-school clubs—and in whatever classroom space was available—that students with an already existing interest or aptitude in math and the sciences could opt into, more schools are now incorporating these education modes into regular classes and expanding the applications beyond science and math.

This shift in education practices requires a physical shift away from the traditional classroom layout with student desks lined in rows facing the teacher to flexible spaces and furniture, materials and spaces that can be incorporated into the lesson plan, and ever-advancing technologies that engage students and better support more forward-thinking practices.

DMR has been the go-to firm for nearly a quarter of all public school buildings in New Jersey since its inception in 1991—responsible for some of the state’s most advanced learning institutions and spaces—with a current roster that includes the new Junior High School in Carteret and several projects in Passaic at the Passaic Academy for Science and Engineering (P.A.S.E), Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School No. 6 and Theodore Roosevelt School No. 10.

Building New

In Carteret, DMR’s plans applied the most forward-thinking divergent learning practices to the school district’s program curriculum and the State’s Department of Education Facility Efficient Standards with classrooms for traditional subjects with dedicated spaces for enhanced art and music education, a think tank, a flexible media center that will replace the library, a dance studio, and a STEM lab for the municipalities 600 seventh and eighth graders.  These plans satisfied the community’s need for adaptable spaces that could be easily updated as education practices and students’ needs continue to evolve.

“This Junior High School has been a long time coming, but previous attempts for community support failed, because plans only addressed one issue – overcrowding,” said Rosa Diaz, Superintendent of Schools in Carteret.  “The DMR team’s thoughtful application of knowledge regarding current learning environments and their ability to identify ways that a facility we build today can continue to adapt and support the best educational modalities to come, helped us present a funding referendum that everyone in Carteret could support.”

Our plans were used as background materials that led to the approval of the first new educational facility in Carteret in more than 40 years.

Working Within 

While DMR met Carteret’s needs with a new facility, in Passaic our plans at Passaic Academy for Science and Engineering (P.A.S.E) addressed practical concerns like how to maximize the functionality of an existing space, find adaptable furniture, and provide appropriate ventilation so that the school could expand its biomedical science program.  In this case, DMR’s decision to hang the utilities and the ventilation hood from the ceiling freed up space in the lab for furniture including an anatomage table, a highly sophisticated technology that will position its students on par or ahead of even some college and university pre-med programs.

DMR’s work in Passaic also includes the art studio at P.A.S.E that acts as a classroom and an art gallery for its students through moveable workstations, soft lighting and interactive exhibit areas.  We have also designed state-of-the-art auditoriums in its School No. 6 and School No. 10 and a data center in support of the data analytics program at P.A.S.E, complete with an interactive, LCD tile video wall to be used to teach digital signage technologies.

Looking Forward

The requests for alternative learning options have been growing for several years. In 2018, we completed the Frank J. Gargiulo Campus, where all aspects of the physical facility are incorporated into the learning experience and the building itself doubles as a teaching tool. Numerous architectural elements provide this level of education. Architectural and engineering students learn firsthand about building systems as infrastructure, such as mechanical lines and the school’s server room, are exposed. Students in the culinary program grow their own food in the hydroponic garden. The theatre is not simply a space for large school gatherings, but rather an intimate learning space with functions such as a control room and catwalk. Television production students coordinate the broadcasting of school news and events across academies.

We expect these requests to continue as divergent education spaces like these can prepare and create excitement for careers that are becoming more and more technical and students prove to be more prepared for the modern demands of higher education and the workforce. After location, the school system is the most important attribute that homebuyers look at; even people who don’t have children. Community leaders are wise to invest in creating learning environments that help current students stay competitive in a very crowded college environment.

Hanover’s River Park Town Center to Transform 88 Acres into Municipality’s First Walkable Downtown District

Hanover’s River Park Town Center to Transform 88 Acres into Municipality’s First Walkable Downtown District 789 444 DMR Architects

Construction has begun on the first phase to transform 88 acres in the Whippany area of Hanover Township into the DMR Architects-designed River Park Town Center, a downtown destination featuring 967 residential units, 80,000 SF of retail, two 125-room extended stay hotels, an outdoor amphitheater, and the completion of the Patriot Trail along the Whippany River. The first phase includes the construction of building one of eleven, and will offer 81 residential units, a pool, a fitness center and community amenities.

DMR’s plans for the first town center in Hanover Township’s 220+ year history will completely transform the way that people and businesses interface with the area that is currently largely populated by corporate office campuses.

“The creative challenge in Hanover was to design something that served a lot of functions that are completely new here while still preserving the community character and existing physical and natural landscaping,” said Francis Reiner, Redevelopment Consultant and Partner for DMR Architects.  “This is a great example of pro-active municipal planning and placemaking and the successful collaboration of a municipality, developer, planners and architects. This project will promote smart growth with elements that will appeal to residents, shoppers, employers and their staffs.”

When completed, River Park Town Center will also feature more than 20 acres of public recreation space including an amphitheater and park, generous convocation areas for community engagement, and deck, curbside and surface lot parking options. More than 40% of the land will be left in its natural state.

DMR eyes continued growth, pipeline diversity as design firm marks 30th anniversary

DMR eyes continued growth, pipeline diversity as design firm marks 30th anniversary 2000 1125 DMR Architects

By Joshua Burd

Lloyd Rosenberg walks through the halls of the Frank J. Gargiulo Campus in Secaucus with an obvious pride, pointing out everything from the color scheme and curvature of the hallways to a fully equipped teaching kitchen for students at the 350,000-square-foot high school.

His affinity for the space is understandable. Completed in 2018, the $150 million complex is not only a signature project for his firm, DMR Architects, but the largest of its kind for a practice that has spent three decades designing educational facilities.

“The firm was founded doing schools,” said Rosenberg, DMR’s CEO and president. “If you look around this building, you see that … it has a great number of elements — colors, materials, acoustics — that are a higher end of creativity than a typical school building.”

Education remains a cornerstone of DMR’s business, as evidenced by the state-of-the-art vocational school, but the firm is now every bit as prolific in sectors such as multifamily, government, health care and interiors. That growth has helped it build a portfolio of more than 3,000 projects since its founding — as the practice marks its 30th anniversary — and a current pipeline that spans 200 projects valued at more than $1 billion.

That means there are likely more milestones to come for the Hasbrouck Heights-based firm, which has grown from a team of three to 45, whose services now range from design to redevelopment planning.

“We’re busier than we’ve ever been — across the board,” Rosenberg said.

The Jersey City native started his career in the mid-1960s after attending the acclaimed College of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma. Fittingly, his first major project after returning to New Jersey was the new Glen Ridge High School, he said, recalling a design that involved a large cantilever overhang at the main entry and a central library surrounded by classrooms.

Rosenberg would spend the next 25 or so years working on not only schools, but on office, residential and other project types, building a diverse foundation that would guide the rest of his career. Still, it was education that helped him launch DMR in mid-1991, in the wake of a recession, as a three-person operation.

“There was not a lot of work in the business to go after,” he said. “I was lucky to get some of the school clients that I had to continue with us to do their work.”

Among its early projects was a new Sparta Middle School, a 127,000-square-foot facility that would open in the late 1990s. The local school board retained DMR early in the process after voters approved the project, which would become the largest building in Sussex County at the time and showcased the firm’s capabilities.

“I felt like I had hit a milestone doing that,” Rosenberg said, noting that the firm had only about 10 employees at the time, making it all the more notable to work on the roughly $35 million project. It was also a chance to bring high-end design to a school after a period — starting around the 1950s, he said — in which aesthetics had seemingly faded from public buildings.

Even with the milestone, Rosenberg saw the need to branch out.

“It was important for us to diversify our practice because the last thing we want to do is specialize in one particular area and then when that area dries up … we run out of work,” he said. “In my career I’ve seen some of those spikes and highs and lows, so we purposely diversified in all of these other areas.”

That was no easy task for a firm that was “known as a school architect,” he said, but DMR succeeded in the years that followed. Rosenberg attributes that to key hires such as Pradeep Kapoor, who has spearheaded its growth in areas such as government and public safety, which were a natural choice due to its experience with school districts. That has led to a long list of projects such as the Bergen County Public Safety Operations Center in Mahwah and the Jersey City Justice Complex.

Additionally, Rosenberg cites the growth of DMR’s multifamily residential practice, which has designed 10,000 units in New Jersey in recent years, amid an ongoing apartment boom that is poised to continue. That has included everything from Russo Development’s conversion of the historic Annin Flag factory in Verona to new midrise rental buildings throughout the state.

“We can’t build enough multifamily housing,” said Rosenberg, who hopes to see the pace continue for at least the near future. “I’m old enough to know that it doesn’t last forever, but we’re certainly taking the ride right now.”

The past decade has also seen the growth of DMR’s redevelopment and municipal planning practice, which is best-known for crafting a rehabilitation plan for Hackensack’s downtown. Led by Francis Reiner, who joined the firm in 2008 to launch the practice, the team has guided the city’s efforts to create a mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly environment around its aging Main Street corridor, helping to attract developers and resulting in more than 3,500 new apartments completed, under construction or in development in the district.

The effort has also yielded new community and outdoor public spaces, plus improved pedestrian and automobile circulation by bringing two-way traffic back to Main and State streets.

“From my perspective, the city had great leadership and was willing to listen to new ideas and opportunities,” Reiner said. “We were at the table when all of those things happened, so that was really both personally and professionally very rewarding, and the city has supported what our plans were and we’ve had great success there.”

Reiner, a partner and senior urban designer with DMR, credited Rosenberg for supporting the growth of the practice and having the vision that being a leader in planning and redevelopment would “provide the firm with a pipeline of opportunities from an architectural standpoint.” To be sure, the platform began to expand in earnest around 2015, bringing the firm to municipalities ranging from Elmwood Park to East Brunswick. It now has about 100 active planning projects in a given month, Reiner said, thanks in part to its ability to offer both design services and consulting in areas such as zoning, construction pricing and navigating the state’s redevelopment law.

“I think we look at a broader picture,” he said. “It’s usually a problem or an issue that the municipality has to solve and we believe we bring a lot to the table in helping them solve that problem. As opposed to just solving the problem for the architect or solving the problem for a planner, we’re trying to solve a problem for how you finance it, how you get it built, what’s the timeframe, what’s the cost — all of those things come into play.”

DMR’s planning and residential practices are now intertwined as integral parts of its pipeline going forward. Look no further than communities such as Ridgefield Park, where the firm developed the master plan for the mixed-use, 55-acre Skymark Town Center, while designing a 19-story high-rise in the borough with 552 apartments.

Its foothold in education also remains as strong as ever. Having completed more than 1,000 school projects to date, equating to more than $900 million in development, its pipeline in the sector now comprises roughly $325 million in activity. That includes new schools in Plainfield, Paterson, Carteret, New Brunswick and Jersey City, as well as 25 upgrade projects in New Jersey and 40 in New York City.

Even DMR’s corporate interiors practice is busy, Rosenberg said, despite the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. As it were, he said the firm is fortunate that COVID-19 impacted its pipeline far less than anyone had feared.

“We were worried about what was going to happen, but we didn’t have any breakdown in projects or clients. I think it was more about managing the staff and managing people,” Rosenberg said. He added that the firm was about 90 percent remote for the first few months of the crisis before bringing team members back to the office for much-needed collaboration.

The diversity of DMR’s portfolio has been critical to withstanding the pandemic and other past downturns, which is a point of pride for Rosenberg. He’s also proud of how his team has grown in recent years, he said, noting that “I would hire more people if they were available.”

“Finding good people right now is very hard,” he added, but he believes that the firm’s multidisciplinary platform is a key draw for prospective employees.

“One of the things we like to consider with staff is that they don’t get pigeonholed into a particular area,” Rosenberg said. “So a young architect that comes into the firm, if they’ve always done houses (but) they want to see other things, we offer them the ability from project to project to work on different things so they get experience, they get knowledge. They may eventually like one particular area and become better at it than others.”

This article originally appeared in Real Estate New Jersey

DMR Promotes Two Long-Term Practice Leaders

DMR Promotes Two Long-Term Practice Leaders 2000 1125 DMR Architects

DMR has promoted long-term team members Janet Pini, AIA and Fernando Robledo, AIA to Associates. They have been with the firm for 19 and 14 years respectively, working on some of the firm’s most significant projects, including the Frank J. Gargiulo Campus and Middlesex College’s West Hall.

Janet began her architectural career at DMR, consistently taking on greater responsibilities as she mastered her understanding of and ability to communicate with clients about New Jersey’s complicated codes and procedures. Her work on education and municipal projects also includes the Blanquita B. Valenti Community School and the Ridgefield Municipal Complex. She has a Bachelor of Architecture from New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Fernando has applied his design experience to projects including the Joseph A. Taub School in Paterson, a design-build contract with the New Jersey Schools Development Authority that serves 1,000 junior high school students. He also designed Joseph M. Sanzari’s headquarters in Hackensack. He has a Bachelor of Arts, Urban Design and Architecture, from the University of Puebla in Mexico.

“Janet and Fernando have been invaluable members to their practice areas, loaning their expertise to manifest feasible plans that incorporate our clients’ needs and ideas,” said Lloyd A. Rosenberg, AIA, President and CEO. “They have also played crucial roles in growing DMR into the multifaceted architectural firm that it is today, and we are honored that they have both made their professional homes here for well over a decade.”

To get things done in N.J., he knows how to break all the rules

To get things done in N.J., he knows how to break all the rules 2000 1125 DMR Architects

by George E. Jordan

Redeveloping communities so they are livable, look nice and stay nice sounds easy.

But in New Jersey, a tangled maze of zoning codes can derail even the most modest projects, according to legendary architect Lloyd A. Rosenberg, whose work can be seen across the state.

Too often, Rosenberg said, out-of-date zoning laws devolve into a restrictive blanket of codes, historic districts and development zones. The patchwork means virtually all projects require an exemption, a process long used by opponents of development to stifle construction.

But two very different projects some 40 miles apart – Hackensack’s historic downtown and East Brunswick’s plan to create a town center – are experiencing a revival through skillful revision of their zoning codes.

Their success can be a lesson for others.

“They’re different, but they seek the same results,” said Rosenberg, who founded DMR Architects in Hasbrouck Heights 30 years ago. “The municipalities are looking for some type of town center. At one point, Hackensack had it and lost it. … East Brunswick didn’t have one, but we’re helping them plan something.”

Rosenberg’s firm helped write the land use plan for both towns. The vision relies on New Urbanism, high-density development that assumes people prefer to drive less and have the option to walk to take care of their ordinary daily needs – food, health, work, play and school.

East Brunswick Mayor Brad Cohen, who made building a town center a platform of his 2016 election campaign, said Covid-era hybrid work has only amplified the opportunities.

“The pandemic has people more accepting of hybrid work. So it makes sense to activate some of the retail that people feared would be empty during the day,” said Cohen, who is also a gynecological surgeon. “The architects have been very helpful in designing the redevelopment plan.”

East Brunswick’s plan calls for 700 residential units, retail outlets, a parking deck, parks, an ice skating rink, a theater, dog park and other amenities on 66 acres in the auto-centric town that ultimately will resemble the quant downtowns of Robbinsville and Metuchen, the mayor said.

“People bought into this because the properties were blighted. It was a strain on the community. The buildings are burnt out and there’s nobody in them,” Cohen said.

Unlike East Brunswick, downtown Hackensack, the Bergen County seat, is a one-time industrial powerhouse that had fallen on hard times in recent years.

“Hackensack never had a vision. What Lloyd and DMR said is you didn’t have development for 30 years because there were too many small properties,” said Francis Reiner, an urban planner at DMR Architects who works with Hackensack’s planning officials.

Reiner said the 39-acre downtown included almost 400 lots between 35 feet to 75 feet wide, too narrow to develop into multifamily apartments or condominiums.

So beginning in 2012, Hackensack offered property owners an incentive: land assemblages of 200 liner feet or greater could build as high as 14 stories tall instead of 6 stories high under the old zoning law.

In short order, 25 different partnerships submitted redevelopment plans. So far, Hackensack officials said the city has added 1,000 residential units, 1,500 more are under construction and another 3,500 are on the drawing board.

Outdated zoning codes tend to focus on design features – cornices, mullions, rooflines, massing and setbacks on new buildings. Frequently, those requirements are a convenient excuse for New Jersey towns and villages to keep everything the same.

And the buildings that do win approval often are more expensive because of delays in government approvals, low density and small square footage in the name of controlling traffic congestion.

To counter that inertia, the plans for East Brunswick and Hackensack included expedited approvals of redevelopment plans and building permits to prevent delays and hold down costs, Rosenberg said.

Then there’s the “third place,’’ a development concept encouraged in the master plan that says part of the community is neither at work nor home. Instead, that space is for people to meet and interact. That could be a park or a performing arts center.

Rosenberg, 78, does extensive work on public projects and has a reputation for his political connections and good bedside manner with clients.

His staff argues the odds are good most New Jersey residents have seen some of his work, which includes dozens of public buildings, the Secaucus NJ Transit rail station, Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, the NJ Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Holmdel and dozens of large residential developments.

Rosenberg studied architecture at Oklahoma University under the celebrated urban planner Herb Green and Lloyd Wright, the brother of the renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

That influence shows in the plans for Hackensack, where the rules for the gentrification of buildings call for variegated façades, receding rooflines, lots of glass and intersecting cubes in different colors and materials.

At street level, those features make the new high-rise apartments feel smaller.

“Hackensack is on the way to be successful. There’s more restaurants coming, there is more foot traffic on main street,” Rosenberg said. “In two or three years, it should be bustling just based on the volume of the number of people living there.”

This article originally appeared in The Star Ledger. 

 

Reflections on the First 30 Years of DMR Architects

Reflections on the First 30 Years of DMR Architects 2000 1125 DMR Architects

By Lloyd A. Rosenberg, AIA, President & CEO of DMR Architects

In anticipation of our 30th Anniversary, I was asked often about how we built the firm that DMR is today. But as I reflect on this answer, I find that the key to our longevity is just as much in the answers to “what?” and most importantly, “who?”

We opened in 1991 with four employees who had a vision to push boundaries with technology, innovative design and attentiveness to our client’s operational opportunities and objectives.

It was a vision that began more than 30 years prior at the College of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma, which I attended during its golden era, studying under famous architects including Lloyd Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright, Bruce Goff, Herb Greene and Paolo Soleri. The program shaped not only a design sensibility in me, but the grueling 5-year program instilled in me a high energy for the work.

My career prior to founding DMR provided a wide variety of experiences and projects that were excellent preparation for creating and running the practice we have today. I built an entire city in Nigeria, where I would spend three months at a time and once even hid out in a safe house during a coup. I also designed a $100 million luxury apartment complex that received attention as the units were rentals, an uncommon concept at the time.

Eventually, the nature of the projects I worked on grew to focus largely on the educational sector. Appropriately, when I founded DMR, we set out to provide professional services primarily to school districts and we landed our first major project, a new elementary school in Brewster, NY.

At that time, we never could have mapped out a plan for creating and sustaining the broad set of practice areas and disciplines that now comprise DMR. But from the first day I knew that we would achieve one of the most elusive aspects of architecture: a durable enterprise.

I envisioned a firm ingrained in the fabric of New Jersey’s real estate industry and most importantly, a place where talented people do great work. This meant building a company that could withstand economic cycles, keep pace with emerging technologies and practices and one that was constantly cultivating and empowering new talent. Diversification was critical to this goal.

Of course, the trust that our clients have put in us to construct some of the region’s most meaningful and essential projects over the years has also facilitated our execution of this vision. But, ultimately creating the base from which we grew was not just about timing; it was about intention.

Clients tend to emerge within cycles and reacting to market evolution was particularly essential to achieving stability in our practice. Identifying solutions for our client’s needs is the very basis of our mission – a commitment that calls on our passion to overcome challenges.

For us, diversification was a reflexive opportunity: because we had a practice that was cross pollinated, we saw solutions that more narrowly organized firms could never see. Because we had diverse clients, our people always had new and exciting challenges.

Every business has its own culture and value system and at DMR our focus is on guiding the firm based on a core belief that creating a rewarding environment for employees is one of the most important objectives of the firm. In service businesses, our staff is the most prized asset and we are devoted to nurturing our people so that they strive to reach their potential within our walls.

DMR is a place that celebrates not only big things like our 30th anniversary but also, holidays, professional achievements and personal milestones. We have fun together with ugly sweater and pumpkin carving contests, cruises around the Meadowlands and nights at the nearby racetrack.

When I reflect on the most important stats of DMR, it’s not project metrics that I am most proud of; it’s that our staff tenure averages over 10 years and that I have had the privilege to grow this firm along with a team of professionals just as invested in our success as I was, which includes many who have been here for upwards of 20 of DMR’s 30 years.

Of course, reflecting on our people also means preparing for the next 30 years of DMR. A threshold moment of the firm came in 2016, when for the first time, DMR named five partners. While I am as engaged and driven as at any other time in my career, I also recognize that a new generation is emerging here.

At our scale, we can provide opportunities for advancement for everyone who has the ambition and the energy to make things happen. The most gratifying aspect of this is that our management meetings focus on sustaining DMR by extending and enhancing the culture that brought us here.

Charles H. Sarlo Reappointed Vice Chairman of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority

Charles H. Sarlo Reappointed Vice Chairman of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority 2000 1125 DMR Architects

On Sept. 22 the board of directors of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority reappointed Charles H.  Sarlo, Esq. vice chairman of the board, upon the recommendation of Chairman Kevin Quinn and the unanimous approval of board members. The board of directors also reappointed Charles chairman of the Real Estate Committee, member of the Audit Committee, and member of the Policy Committee.

Now in his 16th year on the board, Charles has been appointed and/or reappointed five times by four governors: Gov. Richard J. Codey in 2005, Gov. Jon Corzine in 2010, Gov. Chris Christie 2014 and 2017, and Gov. Phil Murphy in 2020.

Charles joined DMR Architects in 2001, and is a valued resource on the DMR team, resulting in honors including being named one of the firm’s first partners and a finalist in the NJBiz General Counsel of the Year awards. Charles brings a diverse set of skills to the firm, which stems from a unique set of academic credentials with includes degrees in law, finance and engineering.

Blue Foundry Bank’s New HQ Supports Seamless Blending of Personalized Banking Practices with Progressive Vision and Collaborative Culture

Blue Foundry Bank’s New HQ Supports Seamless Blending of Personalized Banking Practices with Progressive Vision and Collaborative Culture 789 444 DMR Architects

While many businesses are downsizing and relying on technology to keep people connected, Blue Foundry Bank’s new DMR-designed headquarters is a physical embodiment of the bank’s new branding and business plan that encourages the personal relationships and visionary ideas that can only be created from face-to-face interactions.

Through a progressive office design statement, this new paradigm for professional environments was designed to encourage ingenuity through a highly customized interior design concept, and on-site creature comforts not traditionally seen in New Jersey office environments.

Just as Blue Foundry’s corporate vision is to create unique and personalized solutions for its clients, the DMR team designed the new facility so that each of its 40,000 square feet can be functional for the tailored needs of its staff, while maintaining a sense of community through appropriate proportions and an intuitive circulation.

Impressive design elements cover nearly every square foot of the office, through program, finishes, furniture, and layout such as 14 different ceiling types; non-assigned reservable stations with sit/stand desks; and a reduced number of private offices, with those offices more toward the center.  Unusual amenities also include a wellness room, lounges with fire features, and a cafeteria with dispensers for wine, beer and kombucha.

“We have found that our staff is excited to come to a workplace that is a showpiece,” said James Nesci, President and CEO of Blue Foundry.  “DMR has created an experiential and comforting environment where our staff have the space and services to satisfy their personal preferences and projects.”

“Our design meetings with Jim and his team were not only about where they wanted walls, windows and stairwells; they were about creating the physical embodiment of Blue Foundry’s culture of collaboration, flexibility and connectivity,” said Lloyd Rosenberg, AIA, President and CEO.  “There are a lot of areas that can be used regularly and for many purposes; intimate meetings, team brainstorms and larger staff meetings and trainings, as well as during breaks and after-hours. The design provides flexibility so that no matter how an employee chooses to work, collaborate, gather, or entertain there is an energetic and stimulating space to do so.”

The new facility complements DMR’s design of branch locations for Blue Foundry—which are also a departure from the current bank retail world in which the customer might do their business without encountering another person—supporting the financial institution’s intent to provide reasons for its customers to extend their visit to the branch.