Moe and Madeline’s One-Year MWA Anniversaries

MWA has had the privilege of working with Designer Muhammed El-Sayed and Architectural Intern Madeline Phillips for the past year. They are hard-working, detail-oriented individuals, and MWA is delighted to have them on our team. To celebrate one year with MWA, Moe and Madeline share their current projects, their favorite thing about working with MWA, and their future career goals. Continue reading to get to know these incredible individuals on our team.

Muhammed El-Sayed

What project are you working on right now?

I am currently working on the Palmdale Water Demonstration facility in the Antelope Valley in Southern California, the Water Pollution Control Facility’s New Administration/ Laboratory Building in Hayward, the San Jose Dewatering Facility, and the White Slough Water Pollution Control Facility’s Electrical Building.

Industrial concrete building with process equipment exposed along the exterior

What project phase is your favorite?

The Design Development Phase. Developing a project from Schematic design into reality by getting into specifications and details to control constructability and methodologies really suits me, as I have a knack for being detail-oriented.

What’s your favorite thing about working at MWA?

Our team always aspires to provide our utmost, deliver the best results, and have fun while doing so. The learning curve is astounding. I am not the same designer that I was before my time with MWA, and I owe it to the way MWA structures the firm and transfers knowledge.

“I appreciate Moe’s eagerness to engage with his work and our team. I’m equally thankful for his excellent work and delicious cooking.”

– Trevor Gotfredson, MWA Project Manager

How do you maintain a work/life balance?

“Moe is one heck of a cook, specializing in traditional dishes from his Egyptian homeland. He’s also quite proud of this culinary skills and will insist that you clean your plate and go back for seconds.”

– Greg Robley, MWA Principal

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

Become a homeowner. Bring my mom and cats to live with me here in the US. Become a licensed architect.

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

Become LEED accredited and become a licensed architect.

Why did you want to become an architect when you started your career?

I got very high grades that could get me into any discipline I wanted. In Egypt, one is only considered successful if they become an engineer or a doctor. I did my research and found that my hobbies (drawing, puzzle solving, and creating things, whether by hand or digitally) align more with architecture. Then, I started to learn the impact of architecture on the world and history, which immediately made sense that this is where I belong.

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

I have many architects who inspire me. As corny as this may sound, Hemiunu, the architect of the pyramids, in addition to Imhotep, who built the stepped pyramid of Saqqara. Frank Lloyd Wright taught me to respect nature, and that buildings can be a part of nature. I was heavily influenced by Zaha Hadid in my university years, I never imagined building to have such forms. The architects involved in the Bauhaus movement taught me that a building does not need to follow mainstream criteria. The architects who act as my mentors, especially the architects of MWA.

Madeline Phillips

What projects are you working on right now?

At the moment, I am working on completing the Net Zero Emerging Leaders Internship through the Energy Trust of Oregon. The internship is focused on energy modeling for the last year’s projects and incorporating carbon tracking, which is reported to track progress towards MWA’s 2030 Commitment.

“I appreciate how hardworking Madeline is, especially through her internship while balancing schoolwork on top of it. She has remained focused and eager to learn, which has only benefitted her as she learned two new programs to complete the internship. I’ve enjoyed getting to work alongside Madeline as her mentor and look forward to our continued work together!”

– Celia Zapanta, MWA Interior Designer and Madeline’s ETO NZELI Mentor

What project phase is your favorite?

I haven’t worked on many projects, but my favorite phase is early schematic design, because of the excitement around all the opportunities for the project. Some of the early meetings that I have been in, where everyone is just sketching and getting ideas out, have been the most fun.

What’s your favorite thing about working at MWA?

Since I started, everyone has been so helpful, willing to answer any questions I have, and be a mentor. This has allowed me to learn so much and work on many different skills: rendering, 3D printing, creating diagrams, presentations, energy modeling, carbon tracking, marketing work, etc! I also have loved the events in the office (super proud of my worst golfer award)!

“There’s so much to love about working with Madeline. She is kind and funny, sometimes I go say hello to her just to brighten my spirit. She’s also a quick learner, willing to jump into any project, and detail-oriented. Each marketing project I had the pleasure of working on with Madeline, I was impressed and thankful for the work that she provided.”

– Cassidy Beckley, Sr. Marketing Coordinator

How do you maintain a work/life balance?

I am still in school full time (so I am doing my best to have a good balance), but I try to spend time outside of school/work working on crochet, knitting, and art projects, seeing friends and family, and getting out when the weather is finally nice!

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

I would love to travel more, even if it’s only small trips once I am out of school! I am looking forward to having more free time after graduating and would love to be able to spend time away from my laptop, doing some reading and drawing that isn’t 100% studio-related!

Work-related, I am looking forward to learning as much as I can from everyone in the office, further growing my skills, and getting to work on new projects!

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

It’s not exactly a career goal, but I am excited to be able to work full-time in the office and not have to worry about class anymore! Sometime in the future, I hope to get licensed!

Why did you want to become an architect when you started your career?

I was first interested in architecture because of its impact on our lives and how each user’s experience with architecture can be unique. I am also interested in the problem-solving aspect of architecture and how something so technical and practical can be beautiful.

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