It’s the turn of a new year and we are happy to share that our team continues to grow with the recent addition of Asha Beck. Asha is a talented young professional entering our industry and is eager to begin her career around other creatives.
Originally from Michiana, Asha moved to Linville, Virginia when she was young and considers the valley her home. Both her home and life are filled with family, friends, as well as her two German Shepherds. She is a recent graduate of Eastern Mennonite University with a degree in Digital Media & Communications and a minor in Spanish. (Deborah also graduated from EMU.) Asha completed a diverse range of design projects in and out of her time at EMU including producing a documentary, designing and translating a website, designing ads for a local business, mural painting, and writing and exhibiting her thesis.
Asha has a diverse range of experience spanning design, leadership, and organization. She has enjoyed many positions and learning opportunities including working in construction, being a camp counselor, leading a club for lgbtq+ students and allies, and being a barista and baker at Black Sheep Coffee. These experiences have helped develop her organizational and design skills that will greatly support our team and help her succeed in the Office Manager position.
She is also eager to be around fellow design-minded people because there is “just something about being around other creatives.” Growing up, she was always interested in arts and math, which weren’t often paired in early education. She found their intersection in designing spaces both in the digital and physical realms. Over the years, this has taken the form of building construction, website design, accessibility, and graphic design. Architecture is where she found this intersection, and it has been something that she’s been drawn to by her interest in the way spaces can influence our lives. She considers architecture as an option for a future graduate degree.
On the side, Asha enjoys filling journals with doodles, caring for her plants, and throwing pottery on the wheel. You can probably find her learning some new craft or skill or hanging out with her friends and family. She finds energy from a sense of community and seeing people light up when talking about something they are passionate about. She is inspired and humbled by unique perspectives and strives to continually learn from people who are both different and similar to her. She aims to approach design from an adaptable and intersectional lens and is excited to further cultivate her skills while working at the Gaines Group.
Meet Myles Perdue, one of our newest designers at Gaines Group Architects. Originally from the U.S. Virgin Islands on the Island of St. Croix, Myles has called Winchester home since he was 5 years old. Over the last 4 years he has attended James Madison University, picking it for their architectural program. He found that JMU Architecture has a different approach to design that intrigued him over other architectural programs. The first time he stepped on campus and got to explore Harrisonburg, he knew that this could be home away from home.
Myles’ interest in architecture focuses on the relationship of the built environment and the human experience. He loves the way that architects are able to sculpt spaces that have a positive impact on people’s lives. He says “I have seen cold dark spaces that zap the energy out of a room and bright warm spaces that invigorate those in that space. I hope to design better spaces that encourage and uplift the people using those spaces.”
Joining Gaines Group Architects in a part-time capacity while finishing his four years at James Madison University, he is gaining valuable experience. Upon graduating in May, Myles will go full-time with our team. Outside of Architecture, he has also worked on campus as an orientation peer advisor and residential advisor. He loves the idea of giving back to the JMU community and this support of his peers is just one way he accomplishes this goal.
In his free time, he enjoys being involved in campus organizations and hanging out with friends. He loves to eat out and some of his favorite spots are Hokkaido, Billy Jack’s, and CiCi’s. Myles plays dodgeball and volleyball intramural staying active and reducing stress. He also likes to relax watching Netflix reality shows like Love is Blind and Married at First Sight. Another way he gives back to his community of peers is volunteering with JMU SafeRides, an organization dedicated to the fight against drunk driving. They operate Friday and Saturday nights from 10:00 pm – 3:00 am.
Myles says that his mother, Anabel, always encourages him to be great and supports him through everything. He is a strong believer in finding inspiration in everything, including family and friends. He is inspired by people who don’t let barriers get in the way of their goals and those that can resist the urge to bite their fingernails.
Architect, family man, explorer, and coach; all of these are hats worn by Gaines Group team member Paul Tassell. Paul began his career at the Gaines Group in 2002 and we are excited to share more about him and his journey below.
Paul grew up in Albemarle County where from a young age, he was drawn to the arts. He remembers spending much of his time sketching and drawing which snowballed into an interest in architecture. Following this interest, he attended Virginia Tech to study architecture and design. Through his studies, he enjoyed being exposed to architecture from both the artistic and the building science side. During his 4th year, he had the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to Europe with the architecture department visiting 9 countries over 4 months. These travels greatly influenced his appreciation of architecture and its global influences.
After graduation, Paul moved to Charlottesville to be close to his family and began his career with the Gaines Group. His talent was quickly recognized, and he continued to grow within the firm and eventually achieved his architectural license in 2016. As he reflects on his 20+ year tenure thus far at the Gaines Group, he most appreciates working at a small firm that allows him to work on every part of a project. He especially enjoys producing conceptual renderings at the beginning of a project and figuring out the many building details.
Paul has been an integral part of countless projects but says his favorite was designing an addition to his daughter’s preschool which is housed in a historical building in Charlottesville. He also enjoyed working on the Minor-Nelson House addition which turned into an investigation to recreate a historically accurate front porch and detailing.
Outside of being an architect at the Gaines Group, Paul spends much of his time with his wife Linde and two daughters, Ainsley (9) and Mabyn (6). They are an adventurous family with a history of being involved in both Boys and Girls Scouts. Their love for the outdoors has taken them on many trips to Virginia State Parks, Yellowstone National Park, and even a visit abroad to France. A soccer player himself, you can also find Paul on the sidelines coaching different teams. “Coach Tassell” has been working with different skill levels since 2006 and has recently been able to coach both of his daughters.
Next in our lineup of “faces behind the design” is our talented designer, Maggie Bebel. It takes a special skill set to develop an idea from numerous small samples and renderings and turn that into a cohesive design that allows for a space to function better, safer, and more beautiful. This is exactly what Maggie loves most about being a designer at the Gaines Group. She has eyes and influence on almost every project and is a tremendous support to the clients throughout the design process.
Maggie is originally from outside of Chicago but eventually moved to Virginia and settled in Charlottesville. She credits her early love of working with Legos as the greatest influence and catalyst into the world of design. She has early memories of crafting elaborate house designs from Legos that were continuously improved upon and very detailed. It was this experience combined with her interests in building house models on computer games and HGTV that led her to Radford University to study interior design. Maggie credits her dad for recognizing this passion in her and nudging her in the direction of design.
Maggie says Radford “snuck up on her”, as it wasn’t high on her list of schools to attend. The university drew her in with its small class sizes and professors who were excited to be hands-on. The accredited design program, walkable campus, and familiar faces sealed the deal. As a student, Maggie immersed herself not only in the design program but also led campus tours, served as the Treasurer for the school’s chapter of ASID, was member of AST, and the Honors Academy. It was during this time she developed a passion for color theory and had the opportunity to intern at multiple residential design firms.
After graduating from Radford in 2016 with a BFA in Interior Design, Maggie joined the team at the Gaines Group. It was a funny, full-circle moment as she had previously been high school classmates with Ray Gaines (firm founder’s) daughter and then college classmates with another one of Ray’s daughters. Maggie instantly made these numerous connections the minute she saw a familiar face in the Charlottesville office and felt at ease catching up almost immediately.
Maggie’s role as a full-time designer is to guide clients through the entire selection process. She is a part of all the phases of the design process but spends most of her time working one-on-one with each client to develop the overall design aesthetic. She then coordinates this key information back to the construction documents. She works on a wide range of projects undertaken by the Gaines Group including multi-family, residential, light commercial, and education settings. She values being flexible and enjoys the opportunity to work on a variety of projects.
When asked about her favorite projects to work on, there are two that really stand out. First, she deeply enjoyed designing Weiler Orthodontics as it was one of the first projects she was a part of. She had the opportunity to apply much of her knowledge gained during college in rendering and furniture selection and she loves how it all came together in the end. On the residential side, Maggie says she enjoys working so closely with many amazing clients over the years and one project that stands out is the Pleasant Valley Modern House. This project was characterized by stunning views and was the first larger residential project she played a key role in designing the numerous small details.
Outside of the Gaines Group, you can catch Maggie serving up local beers at Restless Moons Brewing just a few blocks from the Depot. She also enjoys gardening, thrifting and antiquing, photography, reading, and playing games with friends. Maggie laughs that most people don’t recognize her outside of work without her four-legged adventure buddy, Pippa who she adopted while in college.
In honor of #nationalsandwichday our team is celebrating by ordering takeout from Lola’s and enjoying a delicious lunch together! While national sandwich day exists to honor the inventor of the sandwich (John Montagu) we are taking this time to take a breather and enjoy quality time with one another.
And if you are curious about some of the best sandwiches in Harrisonburg, we have attached our Lola’s order for those who would like their own piece of #nationalsandwichday.