Five Years With Leslee Randolph

Project Manager and Associate Leslee Randolph is celebrating five years in MWA’s Portland Infrastructure Studio. With a passion for elevating the human experience and respecting the environment, Leslee brings value to her projects. Thank you, Leslee, for your continued commitment to your projects and your team. 

I’ve known Leslee for over 15 years and her resilience and commitment to design has only grown over time. She is as inspiring as her story of how she came to design. Ask her about this; she’ll embrace you with her unbounded spirit.”

– Jean von Bargen Root

What projects are you working on right now? 

King County Jameson Building, Sunnyvale Cleanwater Center, Port of Portland P1 and P2 Parking Modifications, Portland Water Bureau Wall Repair, Bureau of Environmental Services Digester Upgrades, PDX Terminal Core Gate-C3 Restrooms. 

What project phase is your favorite? Why? 

It is hard to pick one. Schematic design because I love the initial concept sketching and collaboration of the design team. And construction documents because I love to detail to make it come to life.  

How have the responsibilities and expectations of your job changed in the last few years?   

I am now doing more business development and project/client management than when I first started. 

“Leslee is ready to work at whatever is needed to get the project done. She has been known to show up at the office at 3 AM to get everything ready for a presentation. If someone needs advice, she is there to listen and then to provide input where needed. She is a pleasure to have in class. Stay cool always and have a cool summer. (Wait this isn’t a yearbook signing?) Leslee is also ready to have fun and bring the office together.”

– Nathan Streib

How do you maintain work/life balance? During COVID, how have you been maintaining your sanity?  

We are working on our new home, mostly finishes, so that is keeping me busy. I am able to have my own private office now, so that helps separate my work from my home life. Taking long walks and bike rides exploring my new neighborhood.  

Leslee’s two cats, Anaconda (left) and Mr.Chips (right) 

What do you hope to do more of in the next few years?   

More design work and business development. 

I like doing collaborative design, so on future projects, I will make sure design charrettes and discussions are more incorporated into the process at the beginning. I chose architecture because of the design aspect, so I don’t want to lose that moving forward.

As an Associate at MWA, I am interested in expanding our typology, which in turn can open up more design opportunities for MWA. Business development will help diversify our typology.

What is the next career goal that you would like to tackle?  

Licensure which I am actively working on now, but also bringing in a new project for transportation or solid waste transfer stations to expand design opportunities. 

When you started your career, why did you want to become an architect?   

Perpetuate beauty, support mental health and create moments of respite for all through architecture. Support the human experience on the planet by not destroying it with noisy/detrimental or exclusionary architecture. Respect and (at times) incorporate the natural world with architecture and design because by framing nature in a respectful manner you achieve user acknowledgment of its importance.   

Is there a particular architect’s work that inspires you? Why?  

Louis KahnPeter ZumthorRichard Meir and Tadao Ando. I have many that inspire me. My first experience with mood transformative architecture was the Kimball Art Museum in Ft. Worth Texas (by Kahn). That building showed me what is possible with architecture, how it can have a positive effect on communities by establishing place and removing social class/socioeconomics from the equation. It was truly a place for everyone.  

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