SPOTLIGHT: Our women leaders in building services

KSS Partners Merilee Meacock and Pamela Rew are featured by the New York Real Estate Journal covering 2019 Women in Real Estate: Building Services. Here is a sampling of Q&As from each partner, in which they expand on their perspectives on various trends and topics in the architecture and construction industry. 


What trend(s) do you predict to dominate your industry in 2019?

Increasing project complexity will continue exponentially in 2019 as a direct result of non-traditional funding sources, complex stakeholder relationships, and intersecting programs and building uses. 

Taking a meta view, we see society’s desire for connection driving this change. Connectivity compels consumer demand for immediacy, requiring localized global distribution and centralized urban centers on more complex sites. Connectivity sparks innovation at the intersections of disciplines where interactive collisions can serendipitously occur and fosters engagement amongst a diverse population. Building community, fostering collaboration, and facilitating human connection occurs at varying levels whether in elementary schools, higher education, workplace or industry.

What does it mean to you to be a team player? 

Being a team player means to give everyone a voice and find mechanisms to allow that to happen. I believe that we cannot succeed and grow in quality as an organization without empowering every individual within the firm. I have been instrumental in the development of our Practice Groups to provide a framework that offers employees the structure, agency, and space to advance architectural practice. These groups consist of individuals across operational teams, disciplines and experience levels who are passionate about specific initiatives to facilitate change, advancing the firm’s impact-centric mission and vision and transform architecture.

Which of your philanthropic endeavors are you most proud of?

Last year, upon completion of the Bancroft campus, we undertook a significant fundraising effort to support the “ONE can change the World Campaign” and raised $25,000 to help fund the capital campaign for the campus expansion. For several years prior, our firm participated annually in the Bike for Bancroft event, a 10-65 mile ride on varying routes throughout Burlington County. Although personally exhilarating, the impact we were able to make last year as an active fundraiser leading up to Bancroft’s annual Butter Fly Ball was even more rewarding than we could have ever imagined.


What was your greatest professional achievement or most notable project in the last 12 months?

As a steward of campus architecture, I view each project as a continuum, leading a rich process of conversation and imagining, using drawing, observing and a shared descriptive vocabulary to build the common language necessary to work with a variety of users. Therefore, I believe my most notable project is the Barbara Walters Campus Center at Sarah Lawrence College. It weaves together the college’s intellectual, cultural, and social threads, acting as a platform for sharing and showcasing Sarah Lawrence’s community achievements and uniqueness. The design approach honors the layered, natural landscape that so seamlessly characterizes the Sarah Lawrence experience.

Which of your philanthropic endeavors are you most proud of?

I am committed to giving back to my community, supporting organizations and issues close to my heart, and embracing what is local to enrich resources and opportunities. After Hurricane Sandy battered the coastal community I cherish, I have dedicated my spare time support the restoration of municipal facilities, homes and businesses devastated by the hurricane. I have been helping to define new architectural design guidelines which reflect the essence of the community and are crucial for its survival. The dedication of a new Town Hall is just weeks away, the project has created a foundation for several of the next generations, a multi-use town resource and a source of pride and accomplishment after devastating loss. 

What does it mean to you to be a team player? 

To be a team player means to empower others through a collaborative effort. As a product of the educational system in the 70-80’s, we were taught to do it ourselves, but I have learned throughout my career that the process of teamwork can create something better and something more powerful. I have been instrumental in developing the charette process in our firm to facilitate and institutionalize a collaborative process and approach to design that yields a more creative and innovative architectural solution. Through this collaborative design process, we continue to improve the quality of work and value to our clients.