How Do RTM Engineers & Ware Malcomb Bring National Resources to Local Relationships?
Recall the last time you opened a door in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store. Remember that chilly breeze across your face as you reached for your favorite frozen dessert?
Ever thought about how that treat arrived there for the taking without collapsing into a melty mess? Who designs the buildings that keep foods and other perishables so cold?
How do we bring the advantages of our national relationship to apply on a local level at places like your neighborhood mini mart?
Earlier this year, I sat down with Kate Bolen Lyle, Director of Cold & Food at Ware Malcomb, to discuss the professional practices and shared values that make our collaborative partnership successful.
Here are highlights from that conversation with Kate:
Kate, explain what the title “Industrial Cold & Food” means day to day as an architect.
I lead a team of experts here at Ware Malcomb that really focus on industrial cold storage and food-processing projects, which often go hand in hand. Food processing projects often have a large cold storage component. Cold storage often times has a small processing component involved in it. Repacking and that kind of thing.
I have a small team of experts that support all Ware Malcomb offices across the Americas. Working with different local experts is what my team does. We can bring all that local expertise – folks who know what the local codes are, what all the requirements are – and tie that together with people who really know how to build these very special buildings.
The first time I walked into a freezer building and realized: Here is 200,000 square feet of frozen food that’s going to make its way across the country, it just blew my mind.
You think about what’s in your refrigerator, or what’s in your grocery store. It’s a manageable scale. But when you think about really how much food is out there in order to feed a country of this size, it’s just amazing to me that these buildings exist.
It’s always fantastic working with a company [like RTM] that can bring that local knowledge to all of the different locations where we have projects. But also, those national experts that mirror my team, who know how to do cold storage projects and can deal with all the unique challenges.
Your passion for your work is obvious. What energizes you each day?
The great thing about doing cold storage and food processing is that I’m always learning new things…new technologies, new ways of doing things, better ways of doing things. And so, I’m always learning. That’s really what I love to do: I love to learn. And then, I love to teach people about what I’ve learned.
One of the great things about working with Ware Malcomb is that collaborative relationship. It’s really fun to work with so many offices across the U.S. that share core values with RTM. That makes our work much easier.
And one of the things that I know you’ve done so well is forge a path for other professional women in this field. So, thank you for that!
Why are women so vital to the future in this field?
I think it’s important to have a diversity of perspectives coming to any project.
I have my viewpoints, my way of seeing the world, my way of doing design. But the next person that I talk to might have a different perspective. We all bring our backgrounds to things. We all bring different perspectives to things. And so, the more diversity we have in terms of designers, in terms of contractors, in terms of engineers, the better we’re able to design buildings.
Agreed. And I’ll add some advice here for other women working in business development in this field:
Find female mentors to support you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, seek as many resources, and learn as much as you can across many markets.
[Business development] is a fascinating position in this industry. I love it. I particularly love industrial design. It’s growing and changing so fast.
So, I’ll close by asking: When I asked you to have this conversation, why did you say “yes?”
I really love my nerdy little world of refrigeration and cold-storage design. So, I love talking with people about it.
There is much more to my chat with Kate Bolen Lyle. Hear our unedited conversation about industrial cold storage design in RTM’s Beyond Engineering podcast:
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