November Professional Member of the Month | Linda Schemmel


Linda Schemmel

Place of work and role:

City of West Des Moines, Development Coordinator

Our profession is built on the value of relationships and opportunities; how do you prepare for a meeting with a new client?

I am in a "non-traditional" job as I work for the City of West Des Moines and do not have clients per say.  However, I do work very closely with developers, design professionals, residents and elected officials, and would consider all of them my clients.  Each group has very different needs and concerns, and it's important to understand that context and respond appropriately.  Previous to joining the City of West Des Moines, I was in private practice for many years, giving me the perspective with developers and design professionals of being "in their shoes".  When find yourself in the situation of meeting with a new client, any work you can do prior to the meeting to understand their world is a good first step.

We often design to improve the health of people and the environment; how do you wind down in the evenings to maintain a balanced lifestyle?

I am not unique in struggling with how to strike that balance.  I'm over-committed and often exhausted when I come home.  Since my work in the office is often meetings, paperwork and no tangible results, having an ongoing home addition project gives me that ability to decompress.  I can work at my own pace, tinker and experiment without someone telling me I'm doing it wrong and the result is something physical that you can actually see progress!

In 2016 technology is at our fingertips - what is your favorite app and/or website?

I can't say that I have a favorite, I am just constantly surprised at what technology can enable and what an impact it has had on the design world.  Funny enough, at home I have made the choice to unplug as much as possible - there is too much temptation to spend hours in electronic distraction rather than being engaged in what's important with the free time I have.

As architects, we are versed in community interaction and collaboration; what are you involved in outside the realm of architecture?

In addition to sitting on the Board of iaWia, I serve or have served on several other boards related to architecture and the construction industry.  I am a strong proponent for the design profession and the power of what we do and how it benefits the community.

We are Iowa Women in Architecture; who were the female role models that inspired you?

My first role model was my mother, an un-conventional lady very much ahead of her time.  She fought the impositions of traditional role models in her time and made sure her daughter did not buy into such nonsense.  As I have had an opportunity to work with the next generation of women in the design profession, I can say I am absolutely floored by the caliber of these women and they have become my new role models.