I grew up around the construction industry. Visiting job sites with the Boy Scouts and spending time around my family’s construction company’s warehouse as a child are some of my favorite memories. However, I wanted to be different. My mother has a passion for art and design that I fortunately inherited while my father works in construction. Growing up, I knew there had to be a career that married my interest in construction with my passion for art; architecture.

After two years as an undergraduate I decided that a traditional architecture career was something that did not meet my need for hands on method of design. My father and I discussed a method of project delivery called design-build. After researching the topic, I quickly signed up for a few construction management courses, which helped my understanding of the construction industry. Also, I enrolled in an independent study revolving around renovating a facility in downtown Muncie. The second semester of my senior year I was in luck. A project was being offered to students to design and build a ‘Playscape’ for a neighborhood in Indianapolis. The five thousand dollar budget seemed like a lot at the time. However, we quickly realized size limitations with our choice of materials. The project was thought provoking because a portion of the neighborhood had no desire for children to use the park, and instead wanted the whole area for themselves without children. This eliminated the option of a traditional playground with swings and a slide. Instead a series of platforms with key features was designed, approved, and built. These experiences led me to search for a graduate school program that expands upon the idea of design-build.



The single most important lesson I have learned from these programs in my undergraduate career, looking back during my final year of graduate school, has to be that design is on-going, even during construction. Design does not stop until construction is complete. This notion can be taken advantage of in a design-build situation to maximize efficiency. Sometimes you find a better method in the field than originally drawn in the documents. I had the privilege to work on a few special case projects that demonstrate that principle, one being a ‘fast track’ project with two components, a pre-engineered metal building (PEMB) and a stick built structure. The PEMB had broken ground and begun construction before the construction documents were even complete for this project.

Knowing firsthand how building systems come together is paramount to the understanding of this profession. There is a dramatic difference between drawing a detail for a set of construction documents and putting it together in the field. It makes you think critically when moving forward with the next project. Having those experiences on a construction site alter and improve your consideration for all aspects and phases of design. It has made me more aware of my design decisions that have an impact on schedule and budget.

There is also an added benefit of understanding a different perspective. Often as design professionals we hear the word contractor and moan while they do the same thing when they hear the word architect. The design-build delivery method allows those tensions to dissipate because unlike a typical design arrangement, all entities and firms, on both the architectural side and construction side are involved from the inception of the project. The client ultimately receives a better product as a result of proactive collaboration between the architect, contractor, and owner. Even when the design and construction is handled by two separate entities, this process is beneficial. There is a mutual understanding from day one that contractor and architect will work together to achieve a better product.

Design and construction both hold a very important place in my life. I am thankful for the opportunity to join my two passions into a career and hope that others will see the merit in enrolling in design-build courses while in college.


Max Wurster is an Architectural intern with Cripe. He studies Architecture at the University of Kansas with a focus on design-build and will be in his final year of graduate school in the fall.

Cripe has partnered with The Oaks Academy since 2008 for the “Math Matters” event, which allows 8th grade students to visit the office and learn about what the company does and how the professionals here do their jobs and work as a team.  These visits are an interesting topic for me personally as I have now been on both sides of the visit.  My 8th grade class was the first class to visit back in 2008.  Despite the fact that I missed the school sponsored visit due to a high school shadow day, the folks at Cripe were nice enough to allow me to come and shadow an engineer on my own to get a similar experience to the one I had missed out on.  Cripe has continued to invite The Oaks 8th grade classes back each year hoping to teach more students about the disciplines that are involved in engineering, architecture, surveying and real estate.  The visits are designed to teach the students about the everyday life of a professional working at Cripe.  They also convey to students an encouraging idea that the math and science courses they are taking are important and will benefit them in their future careers.

Members of The Oaks 8th grade class making a sugar cube building.

Members of The Oaks 8th grade class making a sugar cube building.

Seven years later, I have now been hired on as a Site Design Intern at Cripe.  I am thrilled to be back in a place that really gave my goals and talents a direction way back in the 8th grade.  On May 29th, the current Oaks 8th grade class came to Cripe for their yearly field trip.  This time was very cool and special for me personally for two reasons.  The first being that I got to talk to the students that visited about my experiences here at Cripe and tell them all about how that visit really got my wheels turning and started me on the path toward Civil Engineering and Surveying that I am on today.  The second was that my younger sister Emily is a part of the 8th grade class this year and she got to see all of the interesting and fun things that I saw seven years ago. We are very similar in a lot of our interests and in talking about our Cripe visits we found that to be even truer as she was also very excited about all the things she learned during her classes’ visit.  It was really awesome to see how Cripe as a company cares about the community that they are in and cares about the lives they can affect.  They really enjoy investing in the lives of the students at The Oaks through our educational partnership, not to mention all of their other service ventures in the community.  I am very happy to be a part of Cripe this summer and I hope that I am able to do my part in contributing to our company as well as our community.

Me sharing my experiences and journey to an internship with Cripe.

Me sharing my experiences and journey to an internship with Cripe.


Josh Padgett is a Civil Engineering intern with Cripe.  He studies Civil Engineering at Purdue University and will be a senior in the fall.



Earlier this year the Cripe Architecture department had the opportunity to work on their first “CANstruction” project- designing a large scale, hand built art installation out of non-perishable food. Canstruction design competitions have become increasingly popular in cities around the country as a means of donating food to food pantries and having fun in the process. They are typically targeted at the design/architecture/construction sectors to solicit creative design solutions. Additionally, they provide an opportunity for fun, team building, and giving back.


Cripe was the design architect for the new food pantry for Lawrence Township here in the greater Indianapolis area this past year, called “The Cupboard”. They desired to have a Canstruction installation for their grand opening, partly as a centerpiece and partly as a way of providing a baseline stock of food to fill their shelves. Carl Sergio offered to lead a departmental design and construction team.

The design task was similar to that of any real building- provide something attractive, agreeable to the client, under budget, and on time. Playing the additional role of “contractor” on the job, since Cripe was also building it, provided the additional challenge- not only did we have to design it to stand up, we had to ensure that it actually did.

What follows is a series of images to illustrate the design process that took The Cupboard”s original logo (at the top of this post) and turned it into  an elliptical wall, pixelated to a scale that was readable, affordable, buildable, and designable using the colors of available canned-food labels. The ellipse was hoped to be relatively self-supporting, but also a nice elongated shape to complement the space it would be in.

Reformatting the logo into a shape that would wrap into a long (and not too tall!) ellipse…

The Cupboard Logo Revised


…pixelated into pixel sizes representative of the size and shape of canned food…

The Cupboard Logo Revised Pixelated


The final gridded graphic used as a map for the team to build the real thing.

Can Layout Print


(Turns out laying out an ellipse on the ground is more difficult than previously thought…)

Ellipse dimensions

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We also had to get an accurate count of the cans we would need, based on the type of food (i.e. color of the label!) and the number we would need…enough requiring a preorder.

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Every project has a hangup or two (yep, we had two)…so when we picked up our cans, a third of the order hadn”t arrived, and we had to raid the shelves at Kroger. TWO Krogers.

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This many cans required five cars to transport everything!


Let the construction begin!!

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(Cripe Design Associate Eric Beaman supervises as his volunteer wife Cassie does work) (credit william)

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(Design Associate Andrew Adegbamigbe”s sister Jumoke (left) also volunteered to help!)

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(It looks just like the logo, honest)


L-R: Matt Amore, Carl Sergio, Eric Beaman, Andrew Adegbamigbe, Shawnita Washington


(It was standing straighter than it looks…though we did have an accident later………..)

photo 5 (3) cropped



Dec 19

We Care

Cripe was honored to be a part of the national Herman Miller We Care event sponsored by Office Works on December 4th, 2014. We Care brings together interior designers and architecture firms across the country to collaborate with children who are members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to create Christmas gifts and ornaments that they can share with their families.

The Cripe team chose to make wreaths made of a pipe cleaner, colored pasta, beads, a bell and a hook to be hung on the Christmas tree. Our craft was a success! Even the smallest of the children were able to proudly create their wreath on their own. The atmosphere was festive and all of the children were excited to have an opportunity to give a gift to their parents, grandparents and caregivers.

A big thank you to Herman Miller and Office Works for giving us the opportunity to share the joy of the holiday spirit with the children at the Lily Boys & Girls Club Indianapolis and bring a smile to the faces of the young people in our community.

Written by: Shawnita Washington


Imagine a doctor being called into emergency surgery. As they rush to the operating room, with a few voice commands, they are able to see the patient’s prep status, access the patient’s vitals, view the injury and view the pre-surgery check list all while in route to the OR. With Google Glass, this is possible. Technologically advanced doctors are able to do all of this through Google’s eye.

What is Google Glass?

Google Glass, in essence, is eyewear that has all of the capabilities of a smartphone. Information can be accessed through voice or touch. It has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, email access and a notepad for verbal notes and reminders. A built in camera also allows the wearer to transmit photos and video to anyone, anywhere.

How can Google Glass be used in Healthcare?

Google Glass allows healthcare professionals to view, disperse and collect information quickly in a hands-free manner without the restrictions of desktop computers, laptops or tablets.

Google Glass has been tested mostly in OR situations. This device gives doctors the ability to focus solely on their patient. They do not have to look away from their patient to view vitals, x-rays or any other patient information. All of the information they may need is available at a glance.

Doctors also have the option to consult with other doctors who are not present in the OR in real time. The consulting doctor will be able to see the procedure from the performing doctor’s point-of-view. Procedures can also be recorded for future educational use.

Even after the surgery is complete, doctors have the ability to view their patient in the recovery room and track their progress.

What are the drawbacks of using Google Glass?

With any new technology, there are benefits and drawbacks. One concern is the privacy of patient information. Because Google Glass can access patient information through touch or voice, there is a concern that anyone who picks up the eyewear will have access to private patient information. Also, there is a possibility that pictures and video can be taken without patient consent.

Also, the fact that Google Glass information can be accessed by touch, raises infection control concerns. If unsterile eyewear is touched during a procedure, everything touched after that is compromised.


Technological advances are quickly changing the way healthcare is provided. Healthcare providers are always on the lookout for ways to offer patients the best care possible. With Google Glass being in its infancy, there are still questions surrounding the security of patient records and the advantages of using this technology. The cost associated integrating Google Glass is also a major concern. Over time, Google will continue to work to perfect the use of Google Glass in Healthcare. Seeing patient care through Google’s view may not be as futuristic as one may think.


Written By:  Shawnita Washington

Recently I had the chance to visit the Miller House and Gardens in Columbus, IN. Commissioned by J. Irwin Miller in 1953, the home and gardens are a masterpiece of midcentury modern architecture. Designed by 3 leading designers of the day- architect Eero Saarinen, interior designer Alexander Girard, and landscape architect Dan Kiley- the home features an outstanding example of the integration between architecture and landscape. However, it was the function of the home that struck me the most.

Irwin and Xenia Miller, along with their five children, resided in the home full time following its completion.  That’s correct, the FAMILY lived there.  The Miller’s had the joy of raising 5 children in the house. When thinking about Mid-Century Modern homes, this is not something that most typically consider. Much of the tour actually discussed how the home was designed to create living spaces for the parents, children, and guests, as well as how the family lived within the space. (For example, the children often roller skated across the white terrazzo floor, and the colorful pillows designed by Girard made for a soft landing when diving into the sunken conversation pit.) While our tour guide detailed the excellent qualities of the architecture, textiles, and landscape, he made sure we understood that this was first and foremost a home, in which the Millers resided until 2008.

This is something that we should always consider.  Buildings and spaces only reach their full potential when we allow for interaction with the user.  Designers often fixate on resistance of wear (i.e. keeping things looking as good as new), and while longevity of a space or materials is important, we have to allow a user to personalize or take ownership of their space.  We need to give them opportunities to stretch their own creativity.  These opportunities allow architectural spaces to become what they are meant to be, spaces for memories, interactions, and relationships.

If you’d like to see more photographs of the interior of the home, go to the following link


With the Fourth of July holiday behind us, most of us have fully embraced the summer time staples of barbeques, suntan lotion and swimming pools. Winter is the furthest thing from our minds. The natural gas industry, however, is still reeling from last winter’s touch.

The last cold season has taken an unusually large bite out of the country’s natural gas storage. Unless Mother Nature is kinder this year, serious price spikes could be on the way. The system can handle normal seasonal fluctuations just fine, but when we have a long, harsh winter like last season, there is an increased risk that there is not enough supply to get to end-users in the time that it needs to be there.

However with the recent advent of the shale has boom, the U.S. has unlocked decades, or even more, in natural gas resources. Gas is plainly seizing new roles in power, industry and transportation. Nevertheless, despite large and growing supplies, brief imbalances in supply and demand continue to appear. When they do, they work themselves out through price. Myriad factors go into that price and storage is just one of them as it doesn’t often take center stage.

It did in early 2012, when markets saw storage levels nearly maxed out by prodigious supplies of shale gas. With this oversupply – the possibility of gas with nowhere to go – natural gas prices crashed below $2 per million British thermal units (MMbtu).

This year, the question is whether gas supply stocks can recover from last winter’s deep drawdowns. The EIA currently estimate the U.S. has 1.93 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of working gas in storage. That’s nearly 26% less than this time a year ago and 29% below the five-year average.

A course correction is currently underway, with market observers already seeing large, even record-setting injection numbers. Most are forecasting 3.3 to 3.5 tcf in storage by the end of injection season. This is still less than average but will help alleviate market shivers and help keep gas supplier costs down.

It used to be that you had only one choice when it came to your energy supplier. Current laws have introduced deregulation, which means you now have options other than the local utility company when choosing your natural gas supply. Homes and businesses in deregulated states may now get there energy from suppliers who work within a competitive market to offer different options for your energy needs. There are plenty of choices out there. Here at Cripe our Energy + Facilities team helps clients make informed decisions and take advantage of deregulation to control energy costs.

The more suppliers involved that compete for your business, the better your rates.

Our Energy + Facilities team has had notable success in the natural gas procurement field and bringing significant savings to our clients. This process typically results in quick and early success, forming a great starting point to build an ongoing relationship, with Cripe acting as a trusted advisor and consultant on energy and facilities related endeavors.

  •      For a large school corporation in southern Indiana, Cripe Energy + Facilities facilitated a competitive bid of natural gas transportation. With no change in operations or capital investment and without complex hedging strategies, the equivalent of nearly two teacher’s annual salaries, approximately $70,000 annually was saved by this simple measure. This was just the first step in a larger initiative in which Cripe Energy + Facilities has so far been able to orchestrate a combined total annual savings of $340,000 for the school corporation.
  •      For a sizeable poultry processing plant and feed mill, the Cripe team orchestrated the use of a natural gas marketer over the typical “bundled” rate through the local utility and managed a 20% savings or approximately $100,000 annually.
  •      Most recently, for a statewide healthcare system in Kentucky, Cripe was able to consolidate existing natural gas contracts for multiple facilities and orchestrate a competitive bidding process which brought multiple facilities under a unified contract and consistent transport cost. Again, without any major change in operations or capital investment and without complex hedging strategies, with this simple measure Cripe is on track to bring over $300,000 in savings over a multi-year contract.

For most of these clients, after the initial success of the gas procurement process and the realization of the savings that our Energy + Facilities team can leverage, more in-depth, holistic programs are entered into encompassing other aspects of energy management. These aspects include energy auditing, demand-side management or behavior modification, measurement & verification and capital projects. In other words, natural gas procurement is not the only energy management service Cripe can provide, it is just the start.

We pride ourselves on coupling the social aspects of energy management with real bottom-line savings. Implementing true sustainability in a facility is an ongoing process. Cripe believes in real returns on investment and significant energy reduction to put clients on the path to responsible stewardship and true sustainability.

-Written By Adam Oak-


Literacy in America has always been a major topic of discussion and a crucial point of concern for our communities as well as the nation as a whole. With the recent turbulent changes in global economy, the importance of higher education is paramount now more than ever. In order for young adults of today and future generations to be able to compete in increasingly globalized job markets, they must learn to define their career paths as early as possible. There are a great number of programs and initiatives dedicated to this cause, and majority of them are always looking for more volunteers to help support the cause. Cripe is committed to supporting these programs that help to build and sustain our communities. I recently had the opportunity to participate on behalf of Cripe in the Read Across America program on March 2nd 2014 at the Riverside 44 Elementary school, as well as the ongoing ACE Mentorship Program. On the surface, these gestures may appear to some as merely a show of community involvement, but the reality is it goes beyond that. As we interacted with the students, the impact became more apparent in their reception towards adults who weren’t their teachers, taking time out to help them learn something new. Whether they were kindergartners being read the Cat in the hat book, or high school students working through a whole building design project, they all shared one thing in common; they cared about learning at least in that brief moment. As individuals and corporate organizations, it is understandable in this day and age that our commitments might be somewhat restricting with regards to what we can invest our time in. However, the truth of the matter is that the most valuable thing we can invest in is our future.


-Written by Andrew Adegbamigbe-

I was originally bitten by “the travel bug” in 2002 when my dad followed through on a long-standing dream to do as his dad had done for him- take his son(s) to Italy, the land of our not-so-distant-anscestors. During my Master”s of Architecture program in 2009, three months living in Barcelona and four months abroad total, in eleven different countries, permanently imprinted me with the value of the personal and professional impact of traveling on my career as an Architect. Experiencing things firsthand is important to me, which is a large part of why I travel- everything becomes suddenly and amazingly real when you see it with your own eyes.

This past February I took advantage of the amazing chance to visit an old friend in South Africa, living and researching for nine months in a small town an hour outside of Cape Town. I wasn”t fully or nearly prepared for the impact of a trip flying 21 total hours, across the Equator, to the Southern tip of a new continent, to a country of many languages and peoples, still awash in racial, political, and economic strife the likes of which we only (rarely) read about in the papers blogs.

My ten days in South Africa was less architecture and more history/language/politics/culture than expected- but more educational than I”d hoped. Personally and professionally, I am particularly interested in residential design- the small scale, the Psychology of the impact the spaces can have on your day to day life. Additionally, I feel a moral obligation and tremendous opportunity as an Architect to use design (and blood, sweat, and tears) to effect social change.

In a confluence of the two, I had the rare chance to tour a “township” outside of Cape Town- a “shantytown”, a settlement of metal shacks- known as a “favela” in Brazil. It was known as “Imizamo Yethu”, which is Xhosa for “Our Struggle”. While a bit disconcerting to be a tourist gawking at the living conditions of some of the poorest in the Western Cape, it was a unique opportunity to experience it firsthand, with a tour guide who lived in the area, for a fee that ostensibly went directly to the community.


I was immediately struck by the contrast between their poverty and the fact that they still had the basic pieces of a normal life. Many had electricity, some had running water, there was a shocking number of satellite dishes mounted on fences, and people had shoes, clothing, paved streets (with street signs!), some cars here and there, televisions, bars strew about town, a school down the street…but the poverty was obvious in their one-room, corrugated-metal homes.


Yet I noticed that their basic needs of food, shelter, clothing were met in those humble abodes. I thought back to the 200 square foot apartment I had in Chicago, with a *large* closet and air conditioning, and found myself wondering if I really “needed” such a *lavish* living situation to be happy- or better yet to be actualized, to borrow Abraham Maslow”s term. What do we really NEED from our homes and our lives to happy? How could homes be more modestly designed for necessity rather than contingency?

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A wealthy Irishman had been coming to Imizamo Yethu for five years, bringing money and muscle to build homes and a library. Germans had just built a new school the past year. It seemed a bit “white guilt” or the typical helicoptering help to Africa from the Western World, but it had made a profound impact (credit william). I”m aware of the American concern “why should we send help and money overseas with so much poverty and need here at home” yet I couldn”t help wondering about the impact I could make there in South Africa- and the need and opportunity were clearly there.

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Spring is coming!  Warmer temperatures promise to bring more and more bicycle riders out of hibernation.  Bicycling has become the second most popular outdoor activity in the United States (especially in urban areas).  Not only are people more conscious about each dollar spent and getting their daily exercise, they are also more conscious of the footprint they leave on the environment.  With the shift towards increased daily exercise, decreasing expenses and Green initiatives, almost all major cities in the Unites States are developing bikeways.  The increase in cyclists, in turn, increases every year as does the need for bicycle corrals. 

More and more we are finding that cities are developing plans and policies to make bicycling a safe, enjoyable and feasible transportation choice. As a result, Urban Planning policies and regulations are increasingly requiring accommodations for bicycle parking in new and newly remodeled developments.

As equipment planners, we evolve with the ever-changing needs of our clients.  Staying abreast of the latest trends and regulations allows us to be on the cutting edge of our industry.  By collecting and analyzing data, we are able to suggest pertinent and essential information about bicycle storage equipment and its required maintenance allowing our client to make informed choices, abide by regulations, provide a Green alternative and enhance the cycling experience of those they serve.

Written By:  Shawnita Washington