CSI National Conference

CSI National Conference

The Construction Specification Institute’s National Conference was recently held in Denver, Colorado where Ray Gaines had the opportunity to attend this year’s event. It was a week filled with learning, connecting with fellow industry professionals, and visiting with old friends.

Ray CSI Fellowship
Ray being presented with Fellowship in 2009

Ray, a founding member of Central Virginia CSI Chapter, has been an active participant in the association since 1988. He has served in a variety of positions in the local, regional and institute level in an effort to improve communications across the industry – the main focus of CSI. Awarded Fellowship in the association, Ray is known for his passion for helping others through mentorship and leadership. He is a regular attendee of the CSI conference and has said that CSI relationships allow him to do his job better. Charles has been active in CSI since 2003 at the local, regional, and institute level as well. In fact, he was awarded the Andrew Drozda award back in 2009 for “setting a standard for what an Emerging Professional can and should do.” It is no surprise that others in the firm are following his example. Adrienne, Deborah, and Paul are all also current members of Central Virginia CSI.

First Friday Featuring Mae Stoll

First Friday Featuring Mae Stoll

Mae Stoll will be featured during November’s First Friday Gallery Opening.

The walls of the Depot continue to shine with local artist’s work and we are grateful for the opportunity to celebrate the arts in our community. With only two more gallery openings left this year, we are excited to feature artist Mae Stoll at the Depot on Friday, November 4th. The gallery opening will be from 5:00-7:00PM and as always, the event is free and open to everyone! Get to know Mae before the event by reading her bio below.

Originally from the island of Malta, new artist Mae Stoll moved to Virginia three years ago after more than 40 years in Texas.  She thinks that it was the beauty of the Valley that inspired her to buy her first set of acrylics late in 2020 and start dabbling.  Not having any formal art instruction aside from a couple of elective art classes in college, Mae is still adjusting to her late-in-life “art awakening” and new identity as an artist.  She says, “…sometimes, things flow, and life is good.  Other times, the work is mentally and emotionally exhausting; but somehow, it always feels like it’s what I should be doing.”

In addition to her success at local area art festivals, Mae was the featured artist at the Crozet Artisan Depot last April, and some of her work can be found at Cabell Gallery in Lexington.  She was also recently awarded first place in the Painting category at a local fall foliage festival this month! Mae also makes lovely wire-wrapped jewelry, which can be seen along with her many paintings on her website www.adornmentsbymae.com .

Learn more about the event and RSVP on our event page here.

Building a Stronger Community.

Building a Stronger Community.

We hold to our belief that it requires action, time, and energy to build a stronger, more vibrant community. Community has many scales and our collective actions create a ripple effect. Last week Charles had a full schedule of events and he was reminded of the value each of us plays in serving our community. He attended his regular Tuesday morning Rotary Club of Rockingham County meeting which focused on Polio vaccinations around the world. This terrible disease is very close to eradication but simultaneously on the brink of another worldwide outbreak. The work of Rotarians to raise awareness, money, and to take action has made a significant difference with now only two countries in the world reporting wild Polio cases. As an aside, there has been a minor outbreak in a small community in New York, but it is not reported as a wild outbreak. These cases in New York remind everyone of the critical importance of vaccinations.

Mary Baldwin University

After Rotary, Charles headed South to Mary Baldwin University to talk sustainability with business majors. The first class he participated in consisted of freshman students who were eager to discuss and learn how an architect applies sustainability to their work. The excellent conversation and questions showed these students have deep desires to understand the impacts business has on the environment how they can be a part of creating a better future for everyone. The second class was a small group of students who have a primary focus and deep understanding of sustainability in business. The conversation was focused on how to build a sustainable business using the three principles of sustainability; people, planet, and profit.

Charles hit the road after meeting with the MBU students and went directly to Eastern Mennonite School for a second day of teaching Sketch Up and floor plan creation to high school students. The class is tasked with designing a 900 square foot house with 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom as a tool to learn this software and create three dimensional spaces.

To round out his day of service, Charles participated in a spirit night that he helped organize at Harmony Square Dairy Queen. Named “Pints for Polio” this twist on a traditional fundraiser is an annual event that raises Polio awareness in a family0friendly environment.

Not all of our days can be this jam-packed with community service, but is not lost on us how it takes many hands and willing hearts to intentionally build a better, stronger, more vibrant community.

Celebrating Universal Music Day

Celebrating Universal Music Day

gaines group architects spotify playlist
Check out the Gaines Group Spotify playlist.

It’s common to catch our team members focused on work while silently humming along to familiar tunes in our ears. Working in a studio environment gives us the ability to easily collaborate and join forces on our design work, but we collectively enjoy the inspiration and mood-boosting effects of listening to our favorite tunes throughout the day.

We have varying tastes in music throughout our team, but we enjoy recommending both our old and newfound favorites to each other. In honor of #UniveralMusicDay, we are sharing a compiled playlist of the go-to tunes we turn to.

To check out the playlist, it’s free to access and play HERE on Spotify. Bonus points to anyone who can guess which songs were suggested by which team members!

A Weekend with Rotary and SLI

A Weekend with Rotary and SLI

Charles with students from Eastern Mennonite School picking up trash.

It was a busy weekend for Rockingham Rotary Club and Eastern Mennonite School’s Interact Club as they teamed up to pick up trash along Rt. 42 in Rockingham County. As a sponsor and liaison between these two clubs, Charles helps these clubs collaborate on projects. This clean up effort happens twice a year and and is necessary for keeping our community clean. The sunshine and cheerful volunteers made this weekend’s cleanup extra special!

The work of Rotary is known around the world for putting service above self. This organization’s main work is to eradicate Polio worldwide, to build friendships through service to the community, and to make the world a better place. Charles says that seeing the energy and enthusiasm of the Interact members inspires him to do more service for the community. If you want to be involved in serving your community or have a potential service project, feel free to reach out to Charles to learn more about the power of Rotary or learn more here and here.

Later into the weekend, we were thrilled to join the 10th Anniversary celebration of the Scholars Latino Initiative. This organization goes beyond an after-school program or mentor pairing system or college preparation group. SLI is a family that supports each other to help fulfill dreams, break down barriers, share frustrations, and achieve goals. Their mission reads “Scholars Latino Initiative supports Latino/a/x high school students with college access through rigorous academic challenge, leadership development, scholarships, and supportive mentorships.” 

The celebration last night was filled with fun and friends as well as incredible Latino inspired foods. There were celebrations of past successes and reunions of old friends. Lua Project played a fusion of Appalachian and Latino music and the medleys were magical.

The important work being done through SLI is critical for our community. We all need to come together to help one another and those that are the most marginalized need systems in place like SLI to find their full potential. 

Congratulations on 10 years, we look forward to the next decade.