Tell us about your role at LS3P.

I am a Senior Specifications Writer based in LS3P’s Charlotte office.  Having joined the firm in 2006 with a background in Facility Management, I never imagined the passion I now have in a career that has no college curriculum or course dedicated to this important role within a project team. I enjoy the many project types I work on and the collaboration I have with so many talented and dedicated individuals at LS3P.

I like to come up with ways to streamline various processes to involve your Specifier early on in a project; implementing the Spec Work Order form online (with IT’s help of course) via LS3P’s Dashboard and Knowledge page was one of the first tasks I accomplished after being away from LS3P for about two years and then becoming a “boomerang” employee.  I value my hardworking Specifications team members, on whom I depend greatly during our department’s leanest times.  It gets overwhelming juggling a dozen or more projects at any given time but we all support each another and get the job done. I was excited to be a member of our JEDI Group during its first year of inception and found ways to implement our D+I Advisory Group’s Strategic Plan. Participation in our D+I efforts enabled me to raise my hand as a volunteer in the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) DE+I Task Force in a national level.  I plan to deliver our efforts and awareness to my CSI Charlotte chapter, as I was just recently appointed as Director on the Board. (I won my first election)!

What are the greatest challenges we’re facing in the industry?

I can think of two challenges that, in my opinion, weigh equally in their concern.  The first one has been evident in the past several years, and that’s the shortage of skilled workers. We can design brilliant and beautiful projects, but how good are they if they can’t be constructed properly and meet project schedules due to unskilled labor? The second challenge is the lag and disruption to our supply chain due to the global pandemic.  Components are getting harder to obtain, which is causing a rise in material costs, and delays in manufacture and delivery of products to project sites. As a result of all this, our designers are being forced to re-evaluate and re-design various elements of our projects.  

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in your role?

When someone hands you a redlined set of specs for you to revise (or in the case these days, on a Bluebeam session), don’t just edit them – READ and understand what you’re editing. And ASK QUESTIONS.  To reiterate LS3P’s Quality Leader Roger Attanasio, “the only bad question is the one not asked.”

What is your favorite hometown restaurant, and what should I order if I go there?

White Manna in Hackensack, NJ,  a quintessential greasy-spoon NJ landmark.  Order about a dozen sliders, crinkle fries and why not, a shake. Warning: you WILL smell like fried onions when you walk out of the place.  Fun Fact:  White Manna has made it to many “Best Burger in America” polls in the past.

What previous job outside of architecture taught you the most?

When I worked in Retail Facility Management, I was responsible for repairs, maintenance, and janitorial national accounts for one of America’s top and iconic designers, and I learned that people often misbehave in fitting rooms.

What is your superpower?

I’ve been told by many that my superpower of cooking AND baking delicious food is typically not normal, meaning that people are typically good at either but not both.  Fortunately for my family and friends, I do enjoy both and am pretty good at it.

What is your favorite building?

Those who know me, and even when you walk into my office, know I love all things Biltmore in Asheville, NC.  My husband bought us day-passes for my birthday several years ago and now we are annual passholders.  We go countless times during the year and there is always something new I discover about its architecture each time we tour the house.  If you’re nice to me, I’ll share one of the free passes we receive each year.

What is your all-time favorite song?

My Ever-Changing Mood by The Style Council (bet you thought it would be a Bon Jovi or Bruce Springsteen song)!

About Carlota

As a Senior Specifications Writer, Associate Carlota Longo collaborates with project teams across LS3P’s eleven offices to provide the technical specifications that help translate the firm’s designs a three-dimensional reality. She enjoys the challenge of working on a broad range of projects at all scales. Carlota’s previous professional experience as a Retail Facilities Coordinator for Ralph Lauren led to her interest in architecture and construction; she joined LS3P in 2006.

Carlota recently served as a member of the firm’s JEDI Group working for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the firm, the profession, and our wider communities. She is also a member of the Construction Specifications Institute at the local and national level, and is an accredited Construction Documents Technologist and LEED AP.