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. Whether his work is for an office, resort, transportation facility or school, he spends time with the people who will use the building so that he has a direct understanding of how the building design will best serve the users.
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.
A national expert in healthcare architecture, gerontology, codes and standards and guidelines for healthcare architecture, Rebecca’s depth of knowledge in the field of healing communities is motivated by her pursuit to create environments that reflect these ideas. On a national level, Rebecca plays a leadership role speaking throughout the country to professionals about new architectural approaches that improve the experience of patients and staff. She is a member of the Facilities Guidelines Institute Health Guidelines Revision Committee and 2022 Steering Committee as well as the FGI Emergency Conditions Committee. Her experience working with small rural hospitals and healthcare providers has made her a much-needed voice in the national arena.
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.
Julie loves to speculate and analyze how individuals use interior spaces, and in turn how those spaces impact the way people function and feel. Julie believes that as an interior designer she has the opportunity to positively impact the people in the space by balancing function and beauty. Julie knows when interior designers and architects work together from the beginning of a project, they challenge and complement one another…each think differently and stick up for different elements of the design as it takes shape. With bringing different perspectives to the table, that professional tension draws out the very best design of a project.
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.
With a passion for helping people, Ryan listens, empathizes and works tirelessly to lead teams in the right direction. He loves finding ways to leverage the generations of experience at DSGW and evidence-based practices to solve problems and find creative solutions to make people healthier and happier. He is committed to learning the latest trends, writing rural-friendly codes, and bringing the highest credentials to the communities that DSGW serves. He believes that well-designed buildings are the result of a proven creative process that involves listening and exploring to create spaces that provide the best experiences for users, owners, and communities to carve out a better life.
Steve Knutson, LEED AP BD+CPrincipal, Architect
I want to make sure every voice on a project team is utilized as we work thru a project. Building a team with strong client trust relationship results in projects that are celebrated by everyone and benefit the greater community.
As a collaborative designer, Steve works with everyone to shape the best response to client needs. Understanding that everyone brings a unique perspective to a design challenge and making sure all voices are heard is his focus. By building teams and working through consensus decision making processes, he assists owners in being engaged and active, with the goal of a fun and rewarding experience. He has a knack for understanding the ramifications of decisions and from there communicating quickly and clearly with all those involved.
Alex MasonArchitectural Intern
Completing his master’s degree at North Dakota State University, Alex joined the DSGW team as a designer, using his skills and training to improve how people live their daily lives through design. Alex strives to make the design experience the most positive it can be for clients and occupants, because he believes that success doesn’t arrive when the project is completed, only years down the line, when the space is being utilized daily by occupants who enjoy the space.
Fun Facts About Alex
Alex is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys discovering places off the beaten trail.
He loves to travel and aims to visit new places every chance he can get.
Angela SwartzwelderInterior Designer
Angie truly enjoys connecting with and getting to know each client’s background, working closely with them to help establish their unique vision while retaining function. She designs distinct interiors that reflect the client’s personality, lifestyle, and culture. She sees her work as a way to create spaces that deepen a sense of place and community for the areas they serve. Angie brings all parts of the design together as a whole to create a complete vision that is cohesive and carried through to the very last detail.
Fun Facts About Angela
Angela enjoys biking with her children.
She travels with her family to National Parks throughout the country, exploring America’s great exteriors.
Angie Wilson, NCARB, AIA, LEED APSenior Architect
Thriving on variety, 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, CCCAProject Design Technician
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 is in the field managing quality control and building integrity by comparing progress against documents and drawings. His commitment to accuracy means no detail goes overlooked.
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, NCIDQSenior Interior Designer
Carlie is enthusiastic about her clients’ projects, design, and having the opportunity to leave an imprint on the built world. She strives to be adaptable to each client’s specific values and needs and her work reflects their 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 ThramerProject Design Technician & Technology/BIM Specialist
As a Design Technician, Charmin uses Autodesk Revit software to complete working documents for the construction of buildings. In addition to working as a Design Technician, Charmin is also a Bim Administrator, managing the company standards, templates and computer aided design software and tools. She handles various responsibilities as the in-house technical support and coordinates solutions with DSGW’s IT consultant. Charmin brings troubleshooting and multi-tasking skills, along with many 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 Kroeger, AIADesign Professional
Chris actively participates in every step of the design process, contributing his well-rounded skills whenever and wherever 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. He’s committed to delivering client-focused designs by listening, not dictating. He works hard to understand the needs of the project before translating them into a well-functioning, creative and aesthetically focused building. No matter what Chris is working on, he is 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, research is the starting point of each project. An informed design is created through working hands on with clients and observing the values of the community. He strives to bridge tradition and innovation, letting a space feel familiar, while harnessing contemporary architectural theory and sustainable practices. Designs constantly evolve and Emerson provides multiple solutions to meet building criteria. Refining these ideas with the help of industry experts leads to a final product that serves not only the client but enhances its surroundings for generations.
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.
Emily JacobsIntern Design Professional
As a creative, good listener who is unafraid of a challenge, Emily lends her drafting and 3D modeling skills to projects and presentations. She believes that projects are successful when they provide a design solution for the client as well as the community. For Emily, architecture has always been about providing a community with something that will benefit them in one way or another. She finds it exciting to be able to design a built environment that at the end of the day, helps people and the surroundings. She finds joy in enriching communities through her work, which contributes to her passions in environmental conservation and the biking community.
Fun Facts About Emily
Emily can often be found hiking Chester Creek or biking the Lakewalk.
She loves the thrill and challenge of open water swimming.
Eric Lagergren, AIA, CSI, NCARBArchitect
Eric has several years of experience engaging projects from Programming through Construction Administration. He cultivates positive outcomes by harnessing simple design solutions and straight-forward project delivery to achieve the client’s vision. Eric acknowledges that for many clients hiring an Architect is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and he feels an obligation to do everything he can to ensure a positive experience. The work of Eric and his colleagues will be present in the daily lives of communities for decades. Eric believes that he has a responsibility to cultivate quality design by helping clients tell their story through attention to detail and passion.
Fun Facts About Eric
His first son, Ben, was born just a few weeks prior to Eric joining DSGW.
Eric’s hard at work on a restoration of a 45-year-old sailboat. Look for it soon on Lake Superior.
Eric Rhame, CSI, CDTSenior Project 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 SundmarkDesign Professional
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 PlantingProject Design Technician
Greg has many years of experience working in architecture as a CADD Tech, BIM Tech and Revit Tech. He has worked on many types of buildings ranging from space build-outs to schools to manufacturing facilities. Greg’s favorite part of the job is seeing a building come to fruition, with the knowledge that it will be there for the next 50 years. When Greg is on your project, you know it’s going to be as thought out and detailed as possible.
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 Houston, CSI, USCG CaptainSpecification Manager
Jarrid is experienced as a Technical Document Control Writer, Estimator and Construction Project Manager for major national and well renowned companies. His field-tested construction management expertise allows him to anticipate potential opportunities and risks. He combines excellent organizational skills with proven ability to strategically plan, create, and manage projects of all calibers, and does it with success. Jarrid plays an integral role in relaying all relevant requirements to project consultants by working with architects, interior designers and drafters to complete a project manual for final documents. He relies on value-engineering ideas for preliminary estimating to budget without sacrificing quality.
Fun Facts about Jarrid
Jarrid owns and operates a small fishing charter business.
He’s also part of the house band, The Revisions.
Jessica LautigarSenior Project Coordinator
Jessica’s 25 years with DSGW has given her a vast knowledge of the process of a project from beginning with proposals and contracts to end with project closeout tasks. She is responsible for facilitating communication between team members and managers, preparing reports and documentation and dividing project goals into actionable tasks. Jessica assists project managers with resource coordination, meetings and information flow. She is responsible for collaborating with small to large, company-wide, mission-critical programs/projects from original concept through final implementation. Jessica is part of the bridge between your idea and the final outcome of your project.
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.
Katherine Gerzina, AIA, Fitwel Ambassador, NCARBSenior Project Architect
Katherine is driven not only to ensure each client is overjoyed with their finished building, but that they are also heavily involved in the process along the way. While Katherine is guiding the project, she is also facilitating conversations and encouraging client participation, which she recognizes as critical to a building’s success. Beyond her affinity for client-architect collaboration, Katherine also values environments that support health and sustainability. She is working with clients across all markets to incorporate health and wellness as part of a sustainable strategy, focusing on healthy, reusable, and sustainable materials, air quality and active design using Fitwel standards.
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, CDTSenior Project Manager
Specializing in problem solving, leadership and working together as a team, Kelly views architecture at both a macro and micro level. She can make sense of the intricacies of design while seeing a project through from schematic design to occupancy. Her strength lies in producing complete and highly accurate drawings that reduce the possibility of complications in construction. Throughout her career she has worked on a variety of projects ranging from Education to Hospitality with a prime focus on Healthcare. 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.
Melissa Lefebvre, AIAArchitect
After receiving her Master of Architecture, Melissa joined the DSGW team with more than 3 years of experience under her belt. Working on projects with aggressive schedules has taught her to be detail oriented, organized and proactive. Melissa’s passion is in the healthcare and education sectors of architecture. She uses each new project as an opportunity to meet and learn from new people and expand her understanding of how we experience the built environment. 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.
Vicki NoeIntern Design Professional
Originally from central Minnesota, Vicki transferred to North Dakota State University during college to study architecture where she discovered her own creativity and a passion for design. Vicki supports and collaborates with the architects on projects utilizing her own design and problem-solving abilities to help develop design and technical solutions for clients. Vicki prides herself on being an involved and responsible community member. She is passionate about helping people and improving communities. She finds the most enjoyment working on projects that serve the communities who need it most.
Fun Facts About Vicki
Vicki owns a 1956 International Pickup and enjoys helping her car club put on car shows and cruises throughout the summer.
She’s working toward becoming a skilled gardener.