Keeping It Real with Patrick Giordano

The Keeping it Real series is your chance to hear from Allen & Shariff staff on life, lessons, and leadership, straight from the trenches. Sometimes literally.

Name: Patrick (Pat) Giordano, Senior Plumbing Designer
Office: Salisbury, MD
Years at Allen & Shariff: 15

You’ve been with Allen & Shariff for fifteen years. How has the company changed for the better since you started?
I feel we’ve become more refined, more sleek in regards to personnel and the company’s project portfolio. We’ve grown to encompass nearly all types of projects of any size and shape.

What is the most stunning way you’ve seen the industry change since you started? How is it most notably different than when you began your career?
I think in a bad way, the in-field contractors/builders are not thinking or working solutions out. They’ve become more and more reliant on computer-aided drafting than the actual field condition of the project. As the old guard slowly retires from the industry, there is a learning gap that is not passed on to the next generation, and that to me is a sad state of affairs and causes more time on the back end of the project than the design side.

Maryland. Eastern shore or mainland? Why or why not?
Eastern Shore fershure!  I do not have to go far to find a beautiful beach or secluded wooded area to do my daily walk/cycle routine. And parking is a lot easier.

What’s the corniest joke that you constantly hear in your field?
In regard to the plumbing discipline: “Hot on the left, cold on the right, stuff flows downhill…”

Allen & Shariff is about to celebrate its 25th anniversary. What do you think has given this organization its staying power?
In my humble opinion, it is our unique diversity of experience that we bring to the table on every project. Whether is a single-story metal pole building or an 18-story hotel, we have the resources to do it all.

Was there ever a project where you felt monumentally stuck? Where you didn’t know how you were going to get it done? Tell us the story and how you got through it.
Turkish American Community Center (TACC): Five different occupancy structures that, while separate, had systems that intertwined with each other. While my part of the project was not overly complex, the difficulty was meeting all the shared deadlines for all five buildings. I took the slow and steady design approach of dissecting the overall project by system type importance and focusing on a single system before going on to the next. This ensured a smooth overall completed view of the project versus the disjointed feel of a system being partially completed, and work resuming on it again a week or month later.

What’s the #1 “rookie mistake” you see in those just starting out their career in your field? Explain.
Not checking or thoroughly researching the codes to which we must adhere. Far too often we assume what is acceptable in one jurisdiction is acceptable in all.

Do you have a personal hero? Someone that really inspires you in your professional or personal life?
My father, an old-world Italian armed with only a 6th grade education who went on to own his own company. He taught me that your quality of work will speak volumes for your character, to work smarter not harder, do it right, do it once, and do it to the best of your capabilities. Oh, and never play pool against someone who is nicknamed after a state.

If Allen & Shariff were a car, what kind of car would it be and why?
Chevrolet Corvette: we’re a classic and we’re the best. Plus, I’m still hoping to wake up one morning and find one in my driveway as a thank-you gift from Zack and Dave V.

What book(s) are on your nightstand right now?
In the absence of the next George R. R. Martin chapter of The Song of Ice and Fire, it’s been a random mix of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, Terry Brooks’ The Shannara series, and Golf magazine.

Thank you to all of our clients, colleagues, and friends who voted for Allen & Shariff as part of the AIA Design Pittsburgh People’s Choice Award. We’re proud to report that Allen & Shariff was the MEP/FP engineer for the winning project, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater Byham Center for Dance, as well as for three other projects that received awards in specific categories.

As a firm dedicated to providing the best service for the client, the project, and the surrounding community, Allen & Shariff closely identifies with Design Pittsburgh’s 2017 theme, Design with Purpose.

Allen & Shariff came together with other members of the design and building community at the 2017 Awards Ceremony and Gala to celebrate the successes achieved together this year.

“We are honored to be part of the IKM Incorporated team that won the People’s Choice Award for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Byham Center for Dance,” said Tom Taylor of the Allen & Shariff Pittsburgh office. “This project is an example of what happens when collaboration between great architecture, engineering, and construction converge. It was a true team effort to bring this project to fruition.”

Here are all the Allen & Shariff winning projects from the awards event:

Architecture Certificate of Merit
PROJECT NAME: Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Byham Center for Dance
CLIENT: Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
DESIGN TEAM: Joel Bernard, AIA; Melanie Como Harris, AIA; Doug Lieb, AIA; Daniel Snider; Robyn Engel, Assoc. AIA
ENGINEERS: Allen & Shariff; Atlantic Engineering Services, Inc.; The Gateway Engineers, Inc.
CONTRACTORS: Jendoco Construction Company
PHOTOGRAPHERS: Warner; Massery Photography, Inc.
JURY COMMENTS: The building doesn’t dance – it’s under control. It does everything it needs to support the dancer, and nothing to get in the way. It’s like an incomplete sentence and the dancer completes it.

Interior Architect Certificate of Merit
PROJECT NAME: Sorrells Library, Carnegie Mellon University
CLIENT: Carnegie Mellon University
DESIGN TEAM: Anne Chen, AIA; Amanda Markovic, AIA
ENGINEERS: Allen & Shariff
CONTRACTORS: Mosites Construction
PHOTOGRAPHERS: Massery Photography, Inc.
JURY COMMENTS: The wood inserts are a very smart, strategic intervention. They modernize the space while keeping the integrity of the original building.


Architecture Certificate of Merit
CLIENT: Fort Willow Developers
Rothschild Doyno Collaborative
Daniel Rothschild, AIA; Mike Gwin, AIA; Kevin Kunak, Assoc. AIA; Drew Mosher, AIA; Robert Tunon, AIA; Jeff Kalina; Kim Rullo; Daniel Tse
ENGINEERS: Atlantic Engineering Services, Allen & Shariff, Clearstory, Caruso Design Group
CONTRACTORS: PJ Dick Incorporated
PHOTOGRAPHERS: Massery Photography, Inc.

You can view all of the winning projects here.

From the entire Allen & Shariff team, a sincere thank you to everyone that voted for the AIA Pittsburgh People’s Choice Award and  supported us over the years.

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