A celebration of commitment and expertise

At DLA we realize that our people are what make the firm stand out. Last month, the partners hosted a reception to thank everyone for their dedication and recognize that each person on the team contributes unique talents and skills to making us best there is.

The event was also an opportunity to recognize important milestones for individuals that have dedicated their career to making DLA the amazing architectural firm that we are.

Lorena Diaz celebrated her 5-year anniversary

Marketing Coordinator Lorena Diaz started with the firm 5 years ago as the receptionist. She quickly became known for her attention to detail and her ability to multi-task. When she helped with the preparations for Bruce Dahlquist’s retirement celebration, her creativity stood out. Soon after, there was an opening in the marketing department, and she was able to hit the ground running. She quickly learned to create, compile, and edit marketing collateral, always focused on promoting DLA Architects’ qualifications. Lorena played a major role in the overhaul of the DLA website and manages the details for several events and entries into competitions. Lorena is also the point person for the DLA Architects THINK [about architecture] Scholarship.

Peter Pontarelli celebrated his 10-year anniversary

Peter one of our brightest technical architects, but he is also a very talented designer which is a tremendous asset for him when working on his projects and for DLA. It is comforting to know that when Peter is involved in a project, he will go through all the detail questions needed to come up with a sound aesthetically pleasing solution that meets our client’s needs.

Peter is good at juggling multiple project and clients at the same time. He has recently involved in a diverse assortment of projects, including improvements at Will County School District 92, School District U-46, River Trails Park District, Streamwood Park District, and Lockport High School District 205. One of this year’s highlights was his work with West Chicago Community High School, where a large addition and remodeling project enhanced the ability of a nearly century-old facility to align with modern technology and curricula.

Brian Scully celebrated his 15-year anniversary

Brian is a master at the technical aspect of architecture. This combined with his great personality make him a great mentor of the staff. He takes the time to sit down and review project specifics with colleagues encountering a challenge or just providing general guidance how to tackle this all-encompassing profession we call Architecture.

Not only does he display this knowledge here at the firm, but he is also past president of AIA Northwest Illinois. He shares his expertise at Conferences and Workshops and is involved with Illinois ASBO’s Professional Development Committees.

Brian also happens to be our resident Bourbon expert. He has a discerning palette and a knack for identifying the nuances in the spirit. He supplements this with a sense of curiosity, researching different distilleries and their offerings. Always the mentor, he recognizes that everyone has different tastes and enjoys guiding others to discover their preferences.

Brian is very good at juggling multiple projects and clients. His recent portfolio includes multiple projects for clients including St. Mary of Gostyn School, Lincoln-way High School District 210, Western Springs School District 101, Lemont High School District 210, Pennoyer School District 79, Newark School District 18, Lisbon District 90, and Oak Lawn Park District.

Eric Kretschmer celebrated his 15-year anniversary

Eric has a great attitude and is always willing to jump in and help on a project. He is very good at multi-tasking and will always do whatever it takes to complete a project.  Eric is again one of our most technically savvy architects. He does not take short cuts and has the attitude to always do what’s right for any given situation. Eric has excellent estimating skills, too. It is comforting to know that when you ask Eric to tackle a task or project that it will be taken care of in a very professional manner. He is also a good mentor to the younger staff which we love.

Eric is well liked by the clients he works with. This includes Cantigny Park, Ombudsman, Meridian School District 233, Golf School District 67, and, of course, Schiller Park School District 81.

Shannon Baird celebrated her 20-year anniversary

Shannon is one of our most tenured Architects. She is technically savvy, has a cheerful personality, she is very organized, and always has a great attitude. Shannon is an exceptional mentor to the staff.

What we love about Shannon is that the world could be crumbling around her (hmm, like maybe a world pandemic), and she maintains her cool, calm composure. No matter if it is a nonperforming contractor, a coworker challenge, or the final stressful hours getting a project out to bid, Shannon has the same levelheaded, composed demeanor. We’ve never met a contractor or a client that didn’t love to work with her or respect her as an architect. That speaks volumes about who she is as an architect and a person.

In addition to multiple projects at Elgin Community College, School District U-46, and Rolling Meadows Library, Shannon is project architect for the capital improvements at Lake Zurich CUSD 95. From air conditioning, to renovated libraries, to a new May Whitney and more, the everyday learning environments across the district are being transformed.

Wendy Covich celebrated her 25-year anniversary

Wendy started as an Administrative Assistant at DLA Architects in 1996. During this time, she learned to navigate the specialized, miscellaneous tasks that arise in an architectural office exceptionally well. In 2002, Wendy earned a Bachelor of Arts focusing on Business Administration from DePaul University in Chicago, and she moved to DLA’s marketing department. In 2017 Wendy was promoted to Marketing Director. Her team performs the day-to-day marketing efforts to support business development. Wendy has led the overhaul of the DLA website and the THINK [about architecture] Scholarship website. She oversees the creative for the marketing campaigns and brand collateral materials throughout the year.

Each of these talented individuals was recognized for their service to DLA. Those celebrating a 5-year anniversary received a key chain, a glass cube for the 10-year, and a clock for the 15-year anniversary. To recognize 20 years, Shannon Baird was offered her choice of 1 week of extra PTO, a paid weekend trip valued at or below $1,500, an electronic device valued at or below $1,500, or a check for $1,000. To celebrate 25-years, Wendy Covich was presented a check for $2,500. These gifts are a symbol that reflects to each employee that they have accomplished something important during their time here with DLA.