Tell us about your role at LS3P. Since I started working at LS3P a little over three years ago, I have had the roles of Contract Data Coordinator, Contract Coordinator, Knowledge Management Analyst, and have recently transitioned to a Project Accountant position. Through this time, I have worked on contracts, data, and data visualization in PowerBI, while helping others with other tasks whenever requested. These roles have allowed me to learn from and collaborate with many of our talented team members. What’s inspiring you right now? The Next Big Idea podcast. This podcast features a new nonfiction book each episode and discusses the main ideas from the book with the author. It helps me pick out books that I want to read fully and also generates interest in some books that I would probably have not picked up otherwise. What are the greatest challenges we’re facing in the industry? The industry growth in the Southeast is a double-edged sword. I believe internally our challenge is to implement the most efficient and effective processes to complete tasks in hopes of creating more time for design. What advice would you give to someone just starting out in your role? Search for ways to complete internal business tasks more efficiently with less reliance on practice staff where possible. They are busy people, so those of us supporting practice staff should take ownership of tasks when we can. What is your favorite hometown restaurant, and what should I order if I go there? I recently moved to Pittsburgh from Charleston, so I’ll give two answers! Charleston – Wild Olive. Order the ricotta gnocchi with extra mozzarella and a meatball on the side. Ask if they have olive oil gelato first so you can save room! Pittsburgh – Casbah. Order the Ricotta Cavatelli. What previous job outside of architecture taught you the most? I previously danced with a professional ballet company before injuring my ankle. Dance has taught me the intangible qualities of discipline, work ethic, and a constant search for improvement. I have carried all of those qualities over to any job or task that I take on. I also have taught ballet in the past and try to instill each of these qualities in my students. Whether they go on to have a professional career or move on to something else, these qualities can provide success no matter what they are accomplishing in the future. What is your superpower? (Anything you’re unusually good at) Pinball. There is a brewery about 10 minutes from my house that has over 50 pinball machines, so I have been playing pinball a lot lately and actually joined a Pinball league. What is your all-time favorite song? Pretty much anything that Michael Buble sings. What place have you visited that changed you the most? Pittsburgh. I travelled to Pittsburgh for a summer dance program in high school and fell in love with the city. Something just felt like home to me. I returned the following summer and attended college here. I moved away for work and back home to Charleston after an injury. I met my husband in Charleston (both of us were born and raised in Charleston) and coincidentally, the headquarters of the company he works for is in Pittsburgh. Somehow I always knew I would make it back someday! About Melissa Associate Melissa Strickland serves as a Contract Coordinator for LS3P’s eight offices, coordinating the drafting and execution of client and consultant contracts. She also assists with knowledge management efforts across the firm by collecting and inputting data, running reports, and creating data visualization for analysis. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance at Point Park University, Melissa became a professional ballet dancer; she joined LS3P in 2018 and earned a Master of Science in Accounting from St. Leo University in 2020.