We draw upon our varied experiences and knowledge in order to continually provide the latest technologies and innovations across all building types. Our design staff brings creativity, energy and commitment to every project. Take a closer look at our principals and staff.
Rebecca J. Lewis
John Gerzina, AIA, LEED APPrincipal
Whether my work is for an office, resort, transportation facility or school, I spend time with the people who will use the building so that I have a direct understanding of how the building design will best serve the users.
Understanding the distinctive character of each community is a special skill John Gerzina brings to architectural projects. John’s career has focused on how architecture plays a positive role in the development and growth of communities. He integrates knowledge of the community, functional considerations, natural settings, budget parameters and aesthetic sensibilities to deliver enduring buildings that are a source of community pride.
Randy Wagner, AIA, LEED APPrincipal
I have to say the most important role I have is to guide the client’s decision making process and help them understand the value of their investment.
Randy is your project’s North Star. He leads teams, processes and design in the right direction. His years of experience have shaped Randy’s practical approach to architecture. He is committed to keeping clients and their voices an integral part of the process. Randy’s work includes master planning for housing developments, entertainment and hospitality venues, community centers, healthcare facilities, schools and museums for Native American communities throughout the United States.
John Geissler, AIAPrincipal
Every project is different. Every day is different. It’s a very fun puzzle—that’s what keeps my job interesting and me inspired.
John keeps your project on track from concept to completion, as well as internal teams and consultants on the same page. He’s friendly, organized and hardworking—perfect qualities for overseeing project schedules and budgets. Familiar with all project delivery methods, John has a great rapport with his network of contractors and suppliers. His experience encompasses a full range of building types including retail, housing, healthcare, commercial and public facilities.
Rebecca J. Lewis, FAIA, FACHA, CIDPrincipal, Director of Healthcare Design
I enjoy master planning and programming healthcare facilities the most. During these stages, we discuss all aspects of the project and decide how to meet challenges by coming together as a team and addressing these issues together.
Rebecca is our resident (and nationally recognized) expert in codes, standards and guidelines for healthcare architecture. She is one of 50 American College of Healthcare Architect fellows in the country. With that experience, she brings a profound depth of knowledge in building healing communities. She is a Founding Member, Fellow and former President (2008) of the American College of Healthcare Architects. She has served the AIA AAH as one of the appointed representatives to the Health Guidelines Revision Committee since 2003.
Michael Laverdure, AIA, LEED APPrincipal, Director of First American Design
It is especially rewarding to develop a relationship with the client and help them turn a concept and vision into a reality. Designing a facility that incorporates architecture that reflects the culture of the community for the intended user is extremely gratifying.
Working together and building community spaces drive Mike’s work. Only after understanding client needs, and bringing all those involved into the process, can his team build a facility that best portrays its region. His Native American work includes master planning for entertainment and hospitality venues, cultural centers, museums and educational facilities. Mike is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa in North Dakota, as well as the vice president of the American Indian Council of Architects and Engineers (AICAE).
John Erickson, AIA, LEED APPrincipal
At DSGW, I manage the project through all phases of design. I enjoy getting to know the community when collaboration starts during the early phases of a project.
John is our in-house client champion. He’s driven not only to ensure each client is overjoyed with their finished building, but that they’re also heavily involved in the process along the way. While John guides the process and facilitates conversations, he believes client participation is critical to project success. The best way to make a project run smoothly is to gather stakeholder input upfront, and gauge reactions throughout each step.
Erik Wedge, AIA, LEED APPrincipal
Good architecture isn’t always about a big, innovative idea. It can simply be listening to a client’s needs, releasing a well-organized set of documents and satisfying project parameters on time and on budget.
Erik’s goal is to transcend the traditional architect-client relationship and function as one cohesive team. This approach is shaped by Erik’s 20 years of design and construction experience, along with an extensive background in public works facilities, institutional, hospitality, gaming, educational and community-oriented projects. In addition to collaborating with clients and helping to shape the vision of a project, Erik also assists the design team and makes sure clients are comfortable and excited about the work.
Julie Spiering, CID, LEED APPrincipal, Director of Interior Design
Thinking about how interior design can support the values of an organization is a discovery process. Interior design discussions with clients lead to thoughts that reflect the personality of the organization.
To Julie, interior design is about advocating for the people who will occupy the space. Julie and her team start by visualizing how visitors and staff experience an environment from the moment they walk in. She balances functionality and aesthetics to create welcoming and complete buildings. The best outcomes happen when architecture and interiors are designed in tandem, which is why her work begins in programming. Her detail-oriented work style means she explores the reaches of possibility while staying within project parameters.
Ryan Turner, AIA, ACHA, EDAC, LEED APPrincipal, Healthcare
I am focused on the long-term relationship with clients. We are here in the beginning and throughout the building process. When a client takes occupancy that is not the end of the relationship — we are always available to clients as a resource.
Ryan creates efficient environments for healing for healthcare facilities. He does so with empathy for what the patient is experiencing and a knowledge of the latest industry trends and accreditations, while staying grounded in evidence-based design. Ryan is EDAC and LEED Accredited, a member of ASHE, and holds a board certificate from the American College of Healthcare Architects (ACHA). By staying involved in the industry this way, Ryan can bring clients the best practices in healthcare architecture out there.
Angie Wilson, AIA, LEED APArchitect
Angie marries form and function by interpreting client input through a refined design lens. Her work values future growth as much as current conditions so that clients are as happy when the building opens as they are for years to come. Her ability to stay in constant contact with contractors and clients makes her a great partner, no matter the industry or project. She keeps her clients’ best interests in mind while offering her expertise.
Fun Facts about Angie
Angie’s favorite part of her work is the variety and pace.
Her favorite place to travel is Italy because of the rich history, intricately designed architectural buildings, and of course, the food!
Brian Claseman, CSI, CCCATechnician, Project & Construction Manager - Healthcare
With a deep understanding of codes and requirements, Brian helps translate complex ideas into highly efficient buildings by managing projects from the very beginning. He coordinates with consultants and leads user meetings in order to keep projects moving toward the best possible outcome. When construction starts, Brian’s in the field, managing quality control and building integrity by comparing progress against documents and drawings.
Fun Facts about Brian
What he loves about working at DSGW is being involved in every phase of a project.
His favorite pastime is watching his kids compete in sports they love.
Carlie Kemp, CID, NCIDQInterior Designer
While many designers bring their own identity to projects, Carlie aims for the opposite. Instead, her work reflects the client’s values and the needs of those who will occupy the interiors she designs. She understands how design influences work environments, and uses her broad range of experience with healthcare, office interiors, entertainment and education to craft high-performance spaces that are built around making life safer, easier and better.
Fun Facts about Carlie
In addition to being a designer and a mom, Carlie is a musician—she writes songs, sings and plays the guitar.
Her favorite thing about DSGW is how supportive the firm is of her both personally and professionally.
Charmin ThramerBIM Administrator & Technician
Charmin masterfully operates drawing software to create working documents for the construction of buildings. She also manages the firm’s drawing standards, templates and hardware. Charmin brings troubleshooting and multi-tasking skills, along with over 18 years of experience, to the DSGW team.
Fun Facts about Charmin
In 2010, she earned Officer of the Year while Secretary for the Duluth Elks Lodge.
Summer is Charmin’s favorite season because she can get out and ride her motorcycle.
Chris KroegerIntern Design Professional
Chris actively participates in every step of the design process, contributing his well-rounded skills whenever he can. Refusing to commit to just one specialty, Chris brings an understanding of Revit and Lumion, hand-drawing, renderings and overall coordination to his work. No matter what Chris is working on, he’s not happy until his clients are.
Fun Facts about Chris
Outside of work hours, Chris volunteers with the Kids in Need Foundation and Habitat for Humanity.
He’s also an associate for AIA.
Emerson SmithIntern Design Professional
For Emerson, each project starts with research. He strives to make sure that the design fits into the context of the environment and that it simultaneously fits into the vision of the client. He enjoys taking that research and creating multiple iterations of a design until it fulfills the client’s wishes all the way around.
Fun facts about Emerson
He draws inspiration from classic designers, Oliver Traphagen and Edwin Lundie as well as the more modern look of Scandinavian designs.
He spent a semester abroad in Brussels, Belgium.
Eric RhameProject Manager
As a technician and project manager with over 15 years of experience in architectural design, Eric specializes in the drawing production and construction administration side of a project. His strong leadership style allows him to bring the architectural team, consultants and stakeholders together to work toward the same vision from schematic design through construction.
Fun Facts about Eric
Eric has completed 12 (yes, 12) American Birkebeiner Ski Marathons.
He’s also involved with the Superior Hiking Trail Association, MN DOT Adopt-A-Highway and the Salvation Army Holiday Drive.
Erik SundmarkDesigner / Project Manager
Erik enjoys seeing a project go from paper to the built environment. A highly versatile member of the DSGW team, Erik brings knowledge and experience in conceptualization and project delivery to commercial, education and retail projects. He’s also very detail oriented, thorough and hardworking in all facets of his work.
Fun Facts about Erik
Erik has plans to design and build an off-grid cabin in Northern Minnesota.
He’s also a Frank Lloyd Wright fan because of his organic design approach and thoughtful integration within the landscape.
Greg brings over 30 years of technical experience to DSGW. When Greg is on your project, you know it’s going to be as thought out and detailed as possible. He’s also a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks, focused on offering support for veterans and children.
Fun Facts about Greg
Greg’s favorite part of the job is seeing a building come to fruition, knowing it will be there for the next 50 years.
Beyond his current commitment, Greg is Past Exalted Ruler of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks for Lodge #133 in Duluth, MN.
Jarrid HoustonSpecification Writer / Estimator & Construction Consultant
For every set of drawings, there’s Jarrid, and the thorough specifications he writes to uphold the quality of the planned facilities. Jarrid works with architects, interior designers and drafters to complete a project manual for final documents. His field-tested construction management expertise allows him to anticipate potential opportunities and risks.
Fun Facts about Jarrid
Jarrid owns and operates a small fishing charter business.
He’s also part of the house band, The Ugly Sweaters.
Jessica Derynck, AIA, LEED APArchitect
Many healthcare architects will try to think like a patient. Jessica has lived it. Her career started in patient services at the Mayo Clinic’s department of oncology, then moved onto Mayo’s facilities project management team. She translates that understanding of what patients and families need in difficult times to her design. With an incredible eye for solving the problems that are not visible to everyone, she makes sense of the details that patients, staff and building management require.
Fun Facts about Jessica
Jessica loves to travel. Her favorite trip was a week in Northern Germany with her mom and grandpa learning about her family history.
She is a 2017 Leadership Duluth graduate; a program focused on educating and inspiring leaders to take action.
Jessica LautigarExecutive Assistant
Jessica is DSGW’s ultra-efficient executive assistant. Two decades of experience and quick-learning capabilities makes her a key member of the team. Jessica is also a Paul Harris Fellow in the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.
Fun Facts about Jessica
Jessica has been involved with the Virginia Rotary Club since 1993.
Her favorite part of coming to work is seeing her second family.
Jim Gregory, AIAArchitect
Jim sees architecture as an iterative process. He aims to constantly improve the design with every decision, taking client input, tried-and-true expertise and a fresh perspective into consideration. He strives for open and honest communication that drives a shared understanding between the design team, client and community. His attentiveness allows him to respond to any needs and concerns as they come up, protecting the owner’s vision but still staying flexible throughout the process.
Fun Facts about Jim
Jim’s favorite part of working at DSGW is the creativity in design.
His biggest design influence is Frank Lloyd Wright.
Jody Anderson, AIA, LEED APArchitect
With over 25 years of experience and a polished aesthetic, Jody develops building concepts that will work best for the operations and goals of a business. Her collaborative spirit, understanding of project requirements and visual skills form the basis of her ongoing and trusting client relationships.
Fun Facts about Jody
In Jody’s free time, she volunteers with the Boys and Girls Club of the Northland and Lutheran Social Services.
The designer who influences her the most is Christopher Alexander, who wrote about how patterns help people form the world around them.
Katherine Gerzina, AIA, Fitwel AmbassadorArchitect
Katherine brings nearly 9 years of experience to DSGW’s civic building and multi-family residential and mixed-use projects. As a fitwel ambassador, she enjoys pushing the boundaries when it comes to design by focusing on incorporating health and wellness into the design. Katherine also applies her knowledge of architectural history and her travels throughout the world to her work.
Fun Facts about Katherine
Katherine played tennis with Andy Roddick and John Isner after winning a raffle.
She’s a big fan of Great White Sharks and wanted to be an ichthyologist when she was younger.
Kelly Mortensen, CSI, CDTProject Manager
Kelly views architecture at both a macro and micro level. Her strength lies in producing complete and highly accurate drawings that reduce the possibility of complications in construction. A champion of organization, codes and guidelines, Kelly thrives in healthcare projects where she can spot opportunities where others might see only limitations.
Fun Facts about Kelly
Kelly enjoys gardening, cooking and being on the lake with her family in her free time.
She’s also a fan of Cuba and homemade soup.
Kelsey is an interior designer whose inquisitive and upbeat personality is reflected in her designs. She strives to find new design solutions while working closely with the design team to create a unique user experience. Kelsey appreciates the supportive work environment at DSGW as she continues to grow as an interior designer.
Fun facts about Kelsey
Her favorite place that she’s traveled to is Copenhagen, Denmark where she was inspired by the vibrant architecture and energetic people.
Her favorite thing about living in Duluth, MN is watching the ore ships come through the harbor.
Maria JamesMarketing Assistant
Maria is a marketing and business development hybrid, supporting both new business efforts and brand initiatives at the same time. Her work captures the firm’s unique positioning and shares that with its specialty markets, across various communication touch points. Maria makes sure that the DSGW brand is perfectly polished and relevant to its audience.
Fun Facts about Maria
In her free time, Maria is involved with Fuse Duluth Leadership Council and Events Committee, is the Co-Chair for Mentor Connection through Northforce and is an archery instructor for the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute.
Her most memorable experience was skydiving in Mexico, although trips to Scotland and Australia are up there, too.
Matt Smith, AIAArchitect
During his time at DSGW, Matt has refined his space planning and programming skills while working in a range of industries and projects. Of everything he does, Matt enjoys the design process most, where he finds solutions to the challenges that arise along the way. A North Dakota State University graduate, Matt is also a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
Fun Facts about Matt
Matt is a board member for the Twin Ports chapter of Construction Specifications Institute (CSI).
His favorite place to visit was Dubai; he snowboarded indoors at the Mall of the Emirates.
Melissa LefebvreIntern Design Professional
Melissa possesses the unique ability to read the energy in a room or among other people. This skill helps her listen to client discussions and interactions, as well as remain open to the needs of a patient or employee of a facility. She approaches her work with both practicality and creativity, which are both aided by her people and organizational skills.
Fun Facts about Melissa
Melissa has helped build Habitat for Humanity houses.
Her design for a public bench monument was chosen to signify Steamboat Springs as one of the stops for the USA Pro Challenge cycling race in 2014.
Stephanie ElzenInterior Designer
In a word, Stephanie is meticulous. There’s a reason (or two) behind every decision, and every decision is intertwined with layout, design, space and finishes. Her priority is to make interiors cohesive, functional and enjoyable to use.
Fun Facts about Stephanie
Stephanie loves getting to work with leaders in Duluth who are helping to develop and grow the city.
When not at DSGW, you can find her outside—hiking, rock collecting along the shore or walking her golden retriever.
Steve Knutson, LEED AP BD+CArchitect
Steve is the seamless connector between the client, project stakeholders, the DSGW team, the city and all project consultants. He has a knack for understanding the ramifications of each decision, and from there, communicating quickly and clearly with all those involved. He applies building codes, regulations and guidelines to make sure planning is as thorough as it can be.
Fun Facts about Steve
Steve’s favorite part of his job is the 11-month walkthrough with clients.
What he enjoys most about DSGW is knowing that everyone is committed to doing their best work.
Tiersa Wodash, AIA, LEED APArchitect
Tiersa’s ultimate goal when designing buildings is to improve the community around it. She does this by weaving her design into the fabric of the neighborhood, understanding user needs and creating sustainable spaces. Her community involvement with groups such as the Parks and Recreation Commission, Ecolibrium 3, the Duluth Chamber of Commerce and the USGBC board mirrors the dedication she has for her profession and our region.
Fun Facts about Tiersa
Tiersa’s favorite part about her job is helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams.
She is a graduate of Leadership Duluth and was recently recognized with a Duluth News Tribune 20 Under 40 Award for her community involvement.