An Interview with Sal Impellitteri
Celebrating JLA’s 15 Year Anniversary
When did you start at JLA?
I started in January of 2017. Joe had reached out to me in mid-2016 to meet for lunch. At that point, there was only the Madison office and JLA was doing a lot more work in the Milwaukee area. We talked about what he wanted to do with the company—that he wanted to open the Milwaukee office – and wanted me to be part of the team.
What do you remember about those first days?
It was a new adventure… in the beginning, I was commuting several days a week to Madison, but I was also able to work out of my house. I had a laptop and could log in remotely (which at the time before COVID, working remotely for days at a time was not that common in our industry and in particular my role as a project architect).
The first week was good, I think I was employee number 13 or 14, I was assigned a project and if I had questions, I was to reach out to Joe. It was nice to be at a smaller firm—it allowed for a lot of flexibility and creativity. On my first day, I was already working on projects.
We eventually found temporary workspaces in the Milwaukee area (across from the public market). It was these two small rooms next to each other. At that point, Leah had agreed to start working in Milwaukee, so it was Jerry Wick, Leah Teske, and I, and then we hired Camron Blaine as an intern. Our doors were always open so we could talk to each other, and it was exciting because it felt like we were doing something really cool, just starting out in Milwaukee!
Do you remember your first project?
My first project was Highland Triangle, which is now called Jade at North Hills, located in Menomonee Falls. It was a good first project because I had worked 12 years at my previous firm, and I had gone from multi-family to schools, to office buildings and public projects – it had been a while since I’d done multi-family but I really enjoyed getting back to that market segment.
What has been one of your most memorable projects?
The Ballpark Commons Indoor Sports Complex (now known as MOSH Performance Center) was a unique project with a lot of different code implications. There are so many different aspects that go into an indoor sports practice facility. I was able to bring some of my expertise in steel frame construction to the project.
Any notable stories, funny moments or lessons learned along the way?
Just working through some of our growing pains, knowing that we were a part of something bigger. The fact that the first Milwaukee office was just two small suites and none of us seemed to mind that our workspace wasn’t fancy—we knew big things were on the horizon. We had interesting neighbors also – just part of working in a shared office suite!
What makes JLA unique and sets us apart from other firms?
I think even though we’ve grown in the last few years, we still maintain a small firm mentality—we take care of our team and our clients.
More About Sal:
Sal believes that good architecture is about creating spaces and environments that push the creative boundaries of the client, while effectively serving their needs in a timely and efficient manner. With over 17 years of experience in various market types, Sal brings a unique skill set to each project.
- Jade at North Hills | Menomonee Falls, WI
- Spring Harbor | Port Washington, WI
- Wright & Wagner Lofts | Beloit, WI
- Elm Grove Heights | Elm Grove, WI
- Taxco Apartments | Milwaukee
- Velo Village | Franklin, WI
- MOSH Performance Center | Franklin, WI
- Hub 13 | Oak Creek, WI
- The Brickyard | Milwaukee, WI
- Creekside Crossing | Oak Creek, WI