A Story of Impact
This is a story of how a small Architecture firm is making a big contribution toward female representation in the Architecture and Engineering industry. Interplan was founded by two architects, Ray Chocholek and Lou Narcisi, in an old converted schoolhouse in the suburbs of Chicago over 50 years ago. However, it quickly grew to become a firm surpassing all the national averages for women in the Architecture and Engineering fields, creating space for female Architects and Engineers to follow their passion and contribute valuable skills to the Architecture and Engineering profession. When Interplan was formed in 1972, women in the Architecture and Engineering industries were represented by less than 3%. Today, the average is 23.3%, yet Interplan proudly celebrates that it reflects more than double that average. The women at Interplan make up 53% of the company, where 8 of the 18 Directors, Principals, and Department Heads of the company are all female!
A Journey of Growth and Service
In 1983, when Interplan opened its Florida office led by the late Harvey Jacoby, the Orlando office was a small team of one. The company continued to expand to assist national brands in reaching their development goals resulting in exponential team member growth in the Orlando office. As the office expanded, so did the services offered to meet client needs. New departments were brought in-house, such as MEP Engineering, Civil Engineering, and a Development Services department. Interplan was truly a pioneer in creating a full-service, multi-disciplinary Architecture, and Engineering firm. Today, the firm has over two hundred employees.
A Representation of Women Throughout
By the year 2000, David Boyce was leading the company as Managing Principal alongside Harvey. As the Orlando office grew, so did its need for more leadership. Louise Craver was an experienced and talented Architect within the department and was promoted to becoming the first female Principal of the Orlando Architecture Department! This was a huge step for representing women in the Architectural industry, and it didn’t end there. When Louise announced her retirement in 2021, it created an opportunity for another skilled and seasoned female Architect within the department, Laurel Martin, to take that honored title of not only Principal of Architecture in the Orlando office, but also promoted to the Principal-in-Charge for all Architectural services across the company’s three offices in Orlando, Chicago, and Fort Worth. Between all three Architectural departments, women represent 43% of the workforce.
The MEP Engineering department was the first department to come in-house, followed by the Civil Engineering department. Both departments began very small in the early 90s but quickly grew both in numbers and in their female representation. Today, the MEP department is 34% women, which is more than triple the national average for female engineers in the workforce, with 75% of the MEP Studios being female-led.
The Civil Engineering department currently is 32% women, which is more than double the national average for women in the Civil Engineering workforce, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) ASCE Demographic Profile Report. It’s pretty amazing to see the diversity throughout the entire company and the impact that gender diversity has on the overall work environment.
Finally, we want to recognize our Development Services department, which was added in the early 90s to help support client programs with Due Diligence and Permitting services by placing a laser focus on the permitting process and assisting clients in getting their permits more timely. The department was established by AnnMarie “Bemmie” Eustace and today is led by Monica Pomroy, Director of Development Services. Did we mention that it is a department of 27 people, and 89 % are women!
Today, as a company with over half of its workforce being female, there are so many benefits that are experienced through this gender diversity. Interplan has seen:
• More enriched company culture
• Diversity of thoughts and skill sets
• Strengthened project management
• Multidimensional problem-solving and collaboration
• Enhanced team-building experiences
“Being a company with such diversity, we really get to experience a rich company culture that is supported with strong team engagement because of the unique perspectives and life experiences that each team member contributes.”
Patrick Ringlever, Managing Director