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Emerging Professionals: It All Comes Down to Core Values

Kate Thuesen

Each year we welcome a new group of emerging professionals, from interns to new graduates, into our firm from a pool of thousands of applicants; approximately 6% find a place with us for a semester – or longer. Over the last several years, DLR Group has committed to reimagining its emerging professional experience and formalizing a program that continues to attract some of the best, brightest, and boldest minds.

“I enjoy the transparency DLR Group is willing to share with emerging professionals and provide resources and connections for us to grow as an individual and as a whole,” one architectural intern in Texas shared.

Here are a few highlights from our annual emerging professional feedback survey we conduct each year.

Why did you extend your experience as an intern into this upcoming semester?

young professionals walking to a site visit with hard hats and vest, commitment plays on screen

“The work is fulfilling, the people are really great, and the culture of the firm is one of the best I’ve seen or heard. I feel valued and cared about, and like my work is making a difference.”
– Architectural Intern

“There are a ton of opportunities here and people here are supportive of your skills and interests.”
– Architectural Intern

“I already have recommended DLR Group to another student for an internship or full-time employment opportunity! It’s a strong, multifaceted environment, meaning there’s always an opportunity to learn, explore, and create.”
– Interiors Intern

“I would absolutely recommend DLR Group because of how much the firm values work/life balance as well as giving opportunities into many different sectors across the country.”
– Interiors Intern

What is it about integrated design that makes DLR Group unique?

Creativity

“My manager gave me directions to go in and ask questions as I had them. It was as close to working as a full electrical engineer as possible. I also had ample opportunities to visit sites and shadow different people in the company – integrated building design is legit here.”
– Engineering Intern

“Growth! With the reach and opportunities DLR Group has to offer, I was not pigeon-holed into any one area. I also appreciate the flexibility, personable, and casual atmosphere while still maintaining excellent design work.”
– Landscape Architecture Intern

“I’m invited to meetings often and am asked for my perspective. A continuous example of this is when my manager and I go through lighting design intent with our interior designer. Lighting design is open-ended often so I’m able to build on my design with their help.”
– Engineering Intern

“As someone who does not come from a design background, I still felt like my design voice was valued. I was given a lot of responsibility in terms of visual and graphic design, and felt like my design voice was valued when designing strategies and research efforts.”
– Planning Intern

“It feels like every day there’s an opportunity. A notable example is being able to design the entry canopy on one of the buildings in our project. While there were a few tweaks the design intent remained, which is pretty neat.”
– Architectural Intern

Why did you choose to work with a firm that leads in sustainability and technology?

Environmental stewardship

“One of the main reasons I chose DLR Group was because of their involvement with timber structures. I got the opportunity to work on T3 in Toronto. We did drawings and renderings: it was demanding but very rewarding.”
– Architectural Intern

“I enjoyed learning about the High Performance Design team. I love to work with simulations and to interpret the findings of such simulations.”
– Engineering Intern

“Throughout the summer, I researched materials and learned a lot about what to look for and what to avoid when citing sustainability certifications on products. I’m very grateful to have interned at a firm that understands the importance and values this kind of work as much as I do.”
– Architectural Intern

How would you describe the projects and people you worked with?

Fun

“A strong foundation isn’t necessarily a fun foundation. So, it’s nice that I got to escape some of the more monotonous tasks and was asked to work on true design elements.”
– Interiors Intern

“There is a strong work culture that would be hard to find at another firm. I’ve also noticed that everyone at the company is so kind and welcoming to new people – it’s great to see that they care about everyone.”
– Architectural Intern

“I believe in the business, the company, and – most importantly – the people. I love working with people who are passionate about what they do and want to truly make a difference.”
– Architectural Intern

“I appreciated that everyone at the office was willing to help and/or guide me through new tasks. The culture of the office is the best I’ve worked in so far.”
– Architectural Intern

Why did you feel valued, like your work with DLR Group made a difference?

integrity

“I’m the only one in my class that received PTO for working as an intern. This wasn’t what made me love working here, but woah! Makes me feel like a full-valued, employee-owner already.”
– Engineering Intern

“Everyone values interns here and it shows. Having personal conversations with principals and leadership helped me feel engaged. We are actually a part of DLR Group.”
– Engineering Intern

“I really felt a lot of kindness and welcome this summer at the Dallas office. The engineering team was always willing to talk with me and explain the work they were doing.”
– Engineering Intern

What made you feel like you were really contributing to a project?

ownership

“I always had dreams of working on inner city projects that directly impact underserved communities, especially of color like mine. While working with senior designers, associates, design leaders, and principals, my voice was included at every step. I felt I grew as a designer through my passions.”
– Interiors Intern

“The knowledge around me elevated me as a professional.  I feel like I have good control of both work and personal life, and alignment with my personal values; a good balance can be maintained here. Knowing my work was not being dismissed as busy work but actually used in the design felt great.”
– Engineering Intern

“The most rewarding experience I had was traveling with the team for a student engagement barely 1 month after starting at DLR Group. I felt very inspired to be given the opportunity to travel for such an intense research engagement early into my career. It made me feel valued and I gave it my all.”
– Engineering Intern

What about the firm’s culture helped you learn so much?

sharing

“I really felt a lot of kindness and welcome this summer at the Dallas office. The engineering team was always willing to talk with me and explain the work they were doing. James Whitt and Jessica Miller were really great mentors to me during the whole experience.”
– Engineering Intern

“The transparency showed us how DLR Group works, and the professionals in my office were not only awesome but also career-focused. The environment allowed me to invest in myself while investing in the firm.”
– Architecture Intern

“I’m interested in returning to DLR Group because the culture is very supportive of new knowledge and of sharing knowledge. The size of the firm also encourages that since there are all sorts of resources to reference and learn from.”
– Architecture Intern

What’s the key ingredient of collaborative, integrated design at DLR Group?

teamwork

“DLR Group was the only firm I looked at with a set-in-stone vision for new hires and interns, and also the only firm with office events to build comradery. As a new graduate, I can meet and socialize with other graduates/young people and build a network of my own.”
– Landscape Architecture Intern

“The environment and expertise here is creating a new generation of designers that will tackle challenges in the future. The fear of making mistakes was diminished. Because of this learning and back up, I feel less afraid about my work going through the design process.”
– Engineering Intern

“My team was extremely helpful when it comes to understanding concepts and knowing what to do. They are extremely intellectual, and I want to come back to continue to absorb their knowledge and work alongside them!”
– Engineering Intern

“As an engineer, I chose DLR Group because I knew it was more than just working with other engineers of my discipline. Working along other disciplines is more engaging and exciting, makes your role feel more important, and yields a better result.”
– Engineering Intern

Curious to learn more about our EPX program? Here’s what you need to know.

DLR Group Senior Associate Kate Thuesen, AIA
Connect with me to start a conversation ➔ Kate Thuesen, Architect

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