RS&H’s annual Professional Practitioner of the Year Award recognizes an individual who provides excellence in technical deliverables to clients, is recognized as a thought leader in their field, applies their knowledge to create practical and innovative solutions, and is committed to mentoring others. This year’s winner is Robert Riggio, Jr., a licensed architect and interior designer who has raised the bar in the design of healthcare imaging facilities. Hear what Robert has to say about his work and the profession.
What was the first thing that came to mind when you heard you were selected for this year’s award?
I had immense gratitude for everyone who nominated me. I couldn’t even believe my name was being announced.
Tell me about your role as an imaging specialist and what inspires you to raise the bar in RS&H’s imaging capabilities.
Medical imaging projects are a subset of healthcare architecture. They involve unique conditions within hospital or outpatient settings using advanced equipment., such as MRIs, CTs, etc.). This equipment is highly complex, requiring multiple years of training to operate the device, and thus requires very specialized facility and room design. Completing these projects requires significant collaboration with physician groups, manufacturers, medical physicists, facility owners, and designers to ensure the facility is functional, safe and attractive.
What drives your desire to mentor others in your discipline?
Collaboration is important, not just with clients and owners, but also internally within our teams. Especially with the complexity of imaging equipment, it’s important to get everyone on the same playing field – bring others up to a level of understanding and learn from each other so we can have a much more successful project.
Why do you like working for RS&H?
We have the best people! When something comes up that I haven’t seen before or don’t have experience in, it’s amazing to know we have people we can go to – those who will take the time to discuss these challenges, leading to solutions I would have never thought of on my own.It’s also an advantage to have so many disciplines – architecture, mechanical, and interiors – all within our RS&H team. Especially with the complexity of imaging projects, having experts in-house saves time and helps us bring better solutions to our clients.
What is your biggest accomplishment while at RS&H?
Becoming a licensed architect – RS&H provided the ability and path for me to get there. I’ve also had the opportunity to earn my Evidence-Based Design Accreditation and Certification (EDAC), which informs the design of spaces that provides value to healthcare facility owners and patients years into the future.
What has been your favorite project you’ve worked on at RS&H?
We had a series of projects with Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville in which a portion of their five-story facility was left open for future imaging projects. This included spaces for two 3-TESLA MRI units and one 7-TESLA MRI unit, along with patient spaces. We designed and installed a beautiful back-lit acrylic feature with art panels on the ceiling with art panels, providing a serene and calming experience for the patient. The 7-TESLA MRI was one of the first ever installed in the US and its weight required a crane to lift and install. Additionally, the room had several highly specialized features to ensure safety and support the patient experience.
Which one of our values resonates with you the most?
Care – it speaks to our work and how we work. When we design imaging facilities, we are designing for the community – our friends and loved ones. We are all working toward the same goal of getting them the best care they deserve while helping them feel comfortable during what is usually a very stressful time for patients. Care also speaks to high-level of quality in our design – the thoughtfulness and diligence we take in our work while treating everyone with respect and dignity.
What is a go-to break you take during the day to re-energize?
I love walking around the lake by our office. It’s a great change of pace and good to get outside.
What is your favorite downtime activity?
I love to bike and have participated in the MS150 bike race for several years.
Stay in the Know
Sign up to receive RS&H and industry news, blogs, case studies, and more in our monthly newsletter.