The first week of post-graduate employment comes with a lot of hand-shaking, a pile of paperwork, and, for many, a good bit of nerves. For Jordan Whitman, it also happened to include a last-minute client presentation.
Five years ago, on her second day with the company, the now lead interior designer for the Corporate Practice Texas Region walked into a client meeting and successfully presented interior finish options. She hasn’t slowed since.
“That story defines who she is,” said Nixon Exantus, Senior Architect in the Dallas office. “She knocked it out of the park. And the client said, ‘Wow, I really want to work with her.’ You couldn’t tell Jordan was nervous. She had a job to do, and she did it.”
Team Player & Company Leader
Jordan, a graduate of Texas Tech University, was the first RS&H interior designer hired in Texas. That meant she had an unparalleled level of responsibility beginning on her first day. She hasn’t disappointed.
“If I’m working on a project, I want her on my team, and I think everyone here would say the same,” said Nixon. “She will perform. She will own her responsibility. She will not let you down.”
In recent years, Jordan’s responsibilities have expanded to include work as a project manager, a position less commonly assigned to interior designers.
“Project managers are typically experienced architects and engineers,” said Chung Rutter, Corporate Practice Vice President and Jordan’s direct supervisor. “She’s earned the respect of her colleagues and senior management, and that really is a testament to her skills and work ethic.”
Jordan initially started in the Houston office. When Chung relocated from Jacksonville to Dallas a few years ago to expand RS&H’s presence in Texas, Jordan was one of the first people he asked to relocate to his new city.
“In order to build a successful business, you have to surround yourself with talented people that are reliable, results oriented, and trustworthy,” said Chung. “She has been an integral and a critical part of our team success in Texas.”
But her work has not been limited to Texas or even the Corporate Practice.
“In addition to leading large Corporate Practice projects in Ohio and Tennessee, she has assisted other Practices with their projects in other regions,” said Chung. “You know you have a valuable associate when other Practices are requesting her specific services. That’s a testament to her value as a company resource at RS&H.”
Roddy Boggus, Vice President of Aviation Buildings Service Group, said that Jordan has been an invaluable asset in her work with the Aviation Practice.
“She’s really proven herself to be a chameleon or jack of all trades or utility infielder—whatever you want to call it,” said Roddy. “She’s been extremely flexible and adaptable.”
Part of her work with the Aviation Practice revolved around rethinking the departures area, known in the industry as a “hold room.”
Together, Jordan and several other associates created a plan for a new kind of hold room, in the process designing the very future of airport departure areas, said Roddy.
Jordan’s dedication to her work leads her to expect a lot from herself and from others, Nixon said.
“She makes everyone around her better,” said Nixon. “She’s the kind of person who elevates everyone else in the room.”
Jordan is actively involved in the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) in Dallas and now leads a team of interior designers who report directly to her. Jordan has supervised fellow interior designer Michelle Price for several years.
“In the beginning, she would lead me through the projects and walk me through the standards, giving me guidance,” said Michelle. “As I have been here longer, she’s pushed me to take on new things and really focus on my own personal growth.”
She’s done this partly by facilitating a culture of openness within the Texas office.
“No project is perfect,” said Michelle. “So when there is a flaw or mistake, she addresses it in a way so the whole team can focus on learning from it.”
From day one of her mentorship, Jordan has been available for questions or concerns, Michelle said.
“It wasn’t too long after I started that we got a relatively new client; the idea was that I was going to work without Jordan, but directly with one of the architects, who would also be the project manager,” Michelle said. “So, it was my first solo project, and I was staying late one night.”
Jordan stayed late, too.
“I remember saying, ‘Oh, do you have a bunch of work to do, too?’” Michelle said. “And she said, ‘Oh, I have some stuff I can work on, but I stayed late just in case you had any questions.’ I did end up having a couple, and she was there to help.”
Five Years In, Looking to the Future
In her first five years at RS&H, Jordan has proven herself a leader among her peers. That distinction is not lost on her fellow associates, from those she supervises to those who supervise her.
“When I think about RS&H in the coming years, I think people like Jordan, and Jordan in particular, are the future,” said Roddy. “Trust is hard to earn and easy to lose. Trusting Jordan is easy.”
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