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Leah Teske, JLA 15th Anniversary

An Interview with Leah Teske

In celebration of our 15-year anniversary, Wisconsin Market Office Director Leah Teske sat down with us to reflect on her last 10 years at JLA.

Leah, what do you remember about your first days of working at JLA?

Well, it was a very small office on Wall Street, it was basically four workstations, a closet, and maybe a work counter.  I was the fourth employee and what I remember about those early days, was that I liked the way that we worked together closely.  You always knew what other people were working on and it was very easy to collaborate.

Do you remember your first project?

The Vue Apartments, a project Leah Teske worked on

I don’t remember if this was my first project, but it is the project that I remember most from the early days, was Post Road, which is now known as the VUE, in Fitchburg. I think the reason I remember it so well, is because I was relatively new to using Revit and was working on something for the project and thought I was doing great.  But the next day, I came in and one of our colleagues, Mike, pulled me aside and said, “I just want to show you something”. I had evidently not realized that I had copied something in a group in Revit and now there were six roofs on the building, and they were all six inches apart. It was very memorable because that was a very clear ‘whoops, pay attention to what you’re doing’ moment.

What has been one of your most memorable projects?

I have parts of different projects that I’ve worked on that I really enjoyed, but I really enjoyed working on the Salvation Army of Dane County programming. That was a fun project team, both internally and externally. Plus, it was a unique phase, and I learned a lot about the municipal approval process.  The learning process, while stressful, was cool to be able to see. Plus, the project in general is a ‘heart’ project—you’re helping the social side of the world, not just the architectural side of the world.

Any notable stories, funny moments or lessons learned along the way?

No specific memory.  But I love thinking back on the times when at the end of the day we get into a philosophical discussion or a debate on code interpretation or even the occasional time when we all stayed to support another team’s deadline.  Those moments add to the things I love about my experience at JLA.

Leah Teske with the JLA Milwaukee Team on a job site

What makes JLA unique and sets us apart from other firms?

I want to think about this for a second, because I often wonder if my experience is different since I was here when we were just four people.  I have had the pleasure of seeing our growth. I think one of the things that makes us unique is that people are approachable. There’s not the ego of ‘I know more than you, just because I’m this and you’re that title’, everyone really wants to learn, and I think we all really want to see our team members grow and succeed.  Joe is accessible, our leadership is accessible, and I think that is very important to our culture.

Anything else you want to share?

Okay, so wow, 15 years of JLA!  This year marks ten for me, but it honestly does not feel like it’s been that long. Even at the most stressful times that I’ve experienced at JLA, I have never said anything other than ‘I love my job’. I love where I work, I love the people I work with, I love what I do. Flat out I can say that about all of it. So to me, I mean maybe that is what makes it special.

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