Trivers was recently honored with the 2022 Outstanding Emerging Professional (EP) Friendly Firm Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Central States Region (CSR).
Comprised of AIA chapters from Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma, AIA CSR annually recognizes architecture firms that display an outstanding commitment to the professional development and personal growth of EPs, who the AIA defines as students, recent graduates or architects licensed within the last 10 years. While 18 firms qualified for AIA CSR EP Friendly Firm status, Trivers was one of only three organizations that earned an AIA CSR Outstanding EP Friendly Firm Award, which is given to firms that demonstrate exceptional support for EPs.
“Perhaps even more now in a post-COVID environment, quality experiences and purposeful projects created in a collaborative and supportive culture are what we strive to foster within Trivers, particularly with our emerging professionals as they embark on their early careers,” said Trivers Principal Joel Fuoss, AIA, LEED AP.
Trivers was recognized for multiple initiatives that not only promote mentorship, continuing education and growth, but also define the Trivers experience for EPs. While their personal and professional backgrounds differ, EPs at Trivers all benefit from five overarching approaches:
The people. From firmwide company meetings to regular presentations on individual passions to community activities like hikes, baseball games and picnics, Trivers has cultivated a culture of open communication, collaboration and respect.
Sponsorship and mentorship. EPs are encouraged to build supportive and lasting relationships with their co-workers during activities like mentor groups that meet regularly to converse about their experience in the profession and at Trivers. The firm also sponsors work visas and the legal costs to support international team members.
“Trivers generously sponsored my work visa last year that gives me access to work for the next three to six years,” said Nandan Kelotra, LEED Green Associate, architectural designer at Trivers. “Trivers has created an environment that not only boosts access to work, but also creates lifetime opportunities for EPs from different countries and cultures.”
Exposure. EPs are involved in a wide variety of project types and phases, from conception to construction. The firm also helps EPs expand their personal networks by supporting membership in professional associations and professional development opportunities. Additionally, EPs learn about practical aspects of the architecture industry such as contracts, insurance and project scheduling through initiatives to support Architect Registration Examination licensure.
Identity. Trivers helps EPs explore and discover their professional and personal interests by supporting individual award submissions and flexible work schedules, providing paid time for community engagement and volunteer efforts, and more.
“I greatly appreciate that Trivers recognizes the value of education and development not only within the firm but outside,” said Carmen Chee, LEED Green Associate, architectural designer at Trivers. “Some employees teach with local universities like Washington University and Maryville University, but this is only possible because the firm gives people the flexibility to pursue these interests. People here are involved in all kinds of professional and nonprofessional organizations, and if you have an interest, there is likely someone in the firm who shares it with you.”
The human condition. Trivers not only supports EPs as employees, but also as people with interests and passions that go beyond billable hours. EPs can get involved in the firm’s special interest committees, including the Sustainability Committee, Community Committee, and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. The firm also ensures everyone can dedicate quality time to themselves and their friends and family.
“Trivers is open to international employees working from overseas for a period of time, which provides opportunities for us to be with loved ones,” Kelotra said. “I got a chance to work from India for three months this year. I was able to celebrate my birthday with my family after not seeing them for 12 years. No words can express that feeling, and it was only possible because of support from Trivers.”