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.
Alex MasonArchitectural Intern
In his senior year 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
Angela holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and works to create interiors that truly connects with the vision of the client while retaining function. She sees her work as a way to create spaces that deepen a sense of place and community for the areas they serve.
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, 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.
Emily JacobsIntern Design Professional
After earning her Bachelor’s from California Polytechnic State University, Emily joined the DSGW team to lend 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, enriching communities involves 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
A graduate of North Dakota State University, Eric works on projects from early concept designs through construction completion. He knows that, for many clients, hiring an Architect is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and Eric 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, and Eric believes achieving great work requires 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 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 Revisions.
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.
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.
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.
Norah SwiftArchitectural Intern
Heading into her senior year at the University of Kansas, Norah joined DSGW to work in the field of interiors. She enjoys creating spaces that improve communities and takes special pride in projects that spark community revitalization. Through her work, she aims to draw people together. She believes a building should be an extension of the work a client is doing, and should meet their needs holistically so that they can focus on their work.
Fun Facts About Norah
Norah spent a memorable six months in Newcastle, Australia.
When she was in the 6th grade, she appeared on an Emmy-winning TV show.
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.
Vicki NoeIntern Design Professional
Vicki holds a Masters of Architecture from North Dakota State University, and joined DSGW to collaborate on projects, helping to 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 enjoys 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.