Giving back to our community is very much valued at VAA – in this case, the Haldorson and Jansen Scholarship program recognizes long-standing community ties to the Dunwoody College of Technology (Dunwoody). Founded in 2014, the VAA program includes two scholarships named for current VAA Principals and Dunwoody alumni Gene Haldorson and Bernie Jansen. The program has awarded a total of $16,000 to Dunwoody students since its launch. In addition to the monetary award, the scholarship recipients meet Bernie and Gene for a celebratory lunch and VAA office tour.
“Supporting dedicated students and their progress in our field is important to us,” Gene said. “We’re glad we can help students financially – it gives them the opportunity to continue their education and focus on learning the skills they need to succeed.”
Recent scholarship recipients Karla Schmitt and Kyle Huberty were selected from a pool of seven candidates. The candidates were interviewed and evaluated for commitment, academic achievement, benefit from scholarship, community involvement and previous employment. Congratulations to our 2018 recipients.
About the Dunwoody Scholarship Recipients:
Karla Schmitt is a second-year student in the Dunwoody Architectural Drafting and Design Program. As an active community member, Karla participates in Feed My Starving Children, Kate’s Club and initiatives to get professional clothing in the hands of women entering the workforce. She says her love of art supports and reinforces her career path.
Kyle Huberty is in his fourth year of the five-year Bachelor of Architectural Degree at Dunwoody. He is heavily involved in a range of student organizations and community activities. Prior to his architectural pursuits, Kyle’s career path included a role as a stone carver – designing, carving, fabricating and installing custom architectural and ornamental stone work.
Construction continues at VAA’s Plymouth, MN headquarters with walls in place, painted and an early spring move date slated for employees.
In April 2013, the engineering and design firm relocated to its current Plymouth (Berkshire) location and worked with Bauer Design Build, LLC to renovate the space. The contractor continues its role on this expansion and has been working closely with VAA.
VAA’s industrial architecture group’s plan for the new space was inspired by the original Berkshire office design, developed by RSP Architects. “The spaces are similar but different...when you walk through both, it's inviting to see a built form of our Vision + Values,” said David Selinsky, AIA, NCARB, VAA Principal / Senior Architect. “Working with the partners, the group is motivated to make a space for our VAA team and make it right – it’s fun.”
New office elements will reflect the same “feel” as VAA’s current space and feature amenities, including two kitchen areas, a large-group training center and fitness and game rooms to support employee wellness.
With 2018 comes a major milestone – VAA’s 40 anniversary. This anniversary creates a moment to appreciate our history and the class-act clients who have helped establish who we are today.
The company’s roots were established in August 1978 by Founders, Dick Van Sickle and Chuck Allen and within those four decades, VAA emerged as a multidiscipline engineering and design firm.
With new faces among our 160+ employees, we will celebrate our past throughout 2018, including our long-term client relationships, our employees and the community efforts we hold close in our culture.
What does a potluck and Toys for Tots have in common? Two ways VAA gives back during the holiday season. VAA's 11 owners thank employees through their tradition of providing a Partner-served holiday lunch, including home cooked dishes and desserts. “It’s our way to thank employees for their service throughout the year,” stated Jeff Schrock, CEO (pictured in the festive sweater on the left). “Each individual is important to VAA and during this lunch we (the Partners) are able to share our gratitude one-on-one while serving a meal.”
To help make Christmas a bit brighter for children in need, employees donated 12 bags of toys and raised over $700.00 for the Twin Cities Toys for Tots program. Since beginning the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program in 1947, Marines have distributed more than 512 million toys to more than 237 million needy children.
Happy Holidays everyone!
The doors officially opened to VAA’s Sioux Falls, SD office with an Open House last week. The gathering welcomed clients, vendors and school representatives. Shawn Vanhove, PE, Associate / Sr. Structural Engineer, manages the office bringing VAA’s engineering and design services closer to its clients in the Dakotas. “This office allows us to be more available to our clients,” says Vanhove, “being accessible is a priority for VAA, along with expanding our reach with new, meaningful relationships.”
The Sioux Falls office opening follows the recent announcement of VAA doubling its Minneapolis corporate space slated for a tentative completion in early 2018. For location of the Sioux Falls office, visit our Contact Us page.