In 1996, HERA President, Laurie Sperling, M.Arch, LEED AP, CPSM, and business partner, Janet Baum, left comfortable jobs at established architecture firms to create an independent lab planning firm. In 25 years, the firm has changed a great deal.
We have added key team members. We have increased our services. We have expanded our geographic reach. But much has stayed the same. We remain committed to building lasting relationships with our partners and institutions. We value hard work, smart design and strategic planning. And above all, we love science.
One other constant has been Laurie. On March 31, Laurie will once again leave a comfortable job at an established firm, this time to enter retirement.
Her retirement is bittersweet for us. Laurie certainly has earned uninterrupted time to relax and pursue her passions, but she is more than just HERA’s founder and president; she is also our mentor, cheerleader and friend.
HERA staff describe Laurie as “a tireless worker,” “a visionary,” “collaborative,” “strategic,” “a relationship builder,” “business minded” and “inspirational.” Above all, the characteristic most cited and admired, is her ability to truly listen – a quality common in great leaders.
We thought it only fitting to create the Laurie A. Sperling MArch79 Graduate Scholarship in Architecture at Washington University to continue Laurie’s influence on the architectural community. The scholarship will benefit diverse architectural students in the coming years and allow Laurie to continue mentoring, listening and building.
What does this change mean for you and our work together? We have been planning for our transition for several years by investing in our next generation of staff, and Laurie is leaving HERA in capable, familiar hands you know.
Principals Ken Mohr, Assoc. AIA, Amy Tongay, AIA and Carlos Perez-Rubio, AIA, LEED AP, will continue leading the firm. Ken – Laurie’s first hire five months after the firm’s inception – will become president on April 1. We have added a senior operations manager to ensure a seamless organizational transition, along with directors in each of our satellite offices and HERA associates support other key aspects of our business, such as technology, design, marketing and finance.
Laurie’s DNA is woven throughout the company and we know, thanks to the scientists making incredible discoveries in HERA-designed labs, that DNA is passed from one generation to the next. Laurie has cemented her legacy by imparting her wisdom to each of us over these 25 years, giving HERA a strong foundation for continued growth and success.
What’s next for Laurie? She will now have more time to devote to some of her favorite things – visiting her sons on both coasts, snuggling with her new grandson and making extended trips to her and Larry’s second home in Mexico.
We wish her the best in retirement. Please join us in congratulating Laurie!