Careers, Promotions, and Finding Your Fit

Allison Plass’ Ten-year Journey with MWA

With a lifetime of love for all things art and architecture, Allison has led graphics for MWA for ten years. A bright light at MWA, Allison is known for her positivity, dedication to her projects, and lasting relationships with those she works with. After working as our graphic designer for ten years, Allison was recently promoted to MWA’s Branding and Graphic Design Lead. To commemorate this milestone, Allison shares the story of how she got to this point in her career.

The First Sparks of a Lifetime Career

Remembering back to her high school days, Allison shared the story of the first graphic design class that sparked her interest in pursuing graphics as a career. She did well in the class, and her final project was selected to be displayed at a local coffee shop, marking the first time she knew that this was something she was really good at. Like most young folks, Allison struggled to decide which of her many talents was worth pursuing a degree in. She moved to Portland and took architecture classes at PSU, where she met fellow MWAer, Leslee Randolph. After a year, Allison realized that while she loved architecture, that spark of interest in graphics caught fire, and she followed her high school heart back to graphic design. As soon as she started taking classes in graphics, it was an instant click. The years flew by, and by the time she graduated, she had majored in graphic design and minored in architecture.

Discovering Marketing for AEC

Allison’s first job in the AEC industry was as a marketing coordinator at HHPR. It was here that she discovered her love for the industry but realized that she missed the creativity of Architecture. Allison’s mentor at SMPS introduced her to MWA Architects, knowing that it would exercise her creativity for marketing, graphics, and architecture. She quickly felt at home with the culture of the firm. Allison shared that she first noticed that “everyone biked into the office, and sketches were hanging on the wall. I felt like I fit right in.”

“Allison is a valuable member of MWA, and her integrated skill set contributes to marketing, visual branding, and built projects across market sectors. She is an absolute delight to work with, and it is a bonus that we both share a love of all things costumes.”

– Kate Kearney, Marketing Manager

Finding a Niche Position

Originally hired as a Marketing Coordinator, Allison worked with her manager on all things marketing. Seeing Allison’s natural talent for graphics, once MWA hired a Proposal Coordinator and became a three-person team, Allison was able focus on supporting the graphic needs of the firm. After a few years at MWA, Allison began working with project staff on presentations, design reviews, signage, and renderings. At this point in her career, Allison is still an integral part of the marketing team but is now entirely brand and graphics-focused.

To this day, Allison loves brainstorming with her fellow creatives at the firm. She says that her favorite thing about her role is “bringing people’s ideas to life by translating thoughts to page.” Being at MWA for ten years, she has had many projects that she has seen through from start to finish. Allison is most proud of the longevity of her work at MWA, signage that will last decades, and photography that will continue to represent MWA’s portfolio. However, she admits that what she really wants to be known for at MWA, is her implementation of the annual Halloween contest.

When Allison tells people about where she works, she loves how much emphasis there is on helping the community. Whether a project provides clean water for an entire community or gives disadvantaged people a place to live, she is “proud to be part of these project types.” Being part of a mission-based firm gives her work meaning and gives her something to be proud of.

Maintaining Life Outside of Work

Allison has always appreciated MWA’s focus on work/life balance. She works primarily from home with her two cats, who remind her to stop working at 5:30 every day for dinner. She makes sure to get out in nature every day, starting with each morning when Allison and her partner, Josh, go on a 3.5-mile walk before work. She is a master gardener and takes refuge in her yard.

We at MWA count ourselves fortunate to have Allison on our team. Thank you, Allison, for devoting a decade of your career to the betterment of our firm. Congratulations on your recent promotion to Branding and Graphic Design Lead. We are excited to see where this takes us together.

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