Last month Dreyfuss + Blackford welcomed Brian Lefholz and Stephanie Swain as leaders within our growing firm. Individually, they have made a significant impact on our firm culture, inspired confidence with our clients, and demonstrated a collaborative spirit dedicated to quality design that is an example to the rest of our staff. Together they are a power team to be reckoned with. Below are some character defining features they shared with us about each other.
Courtney McLeod Golden, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB
Partner / Civic and Education Director
When I think about what Stephanie has accomplished in her short time at Dreyfuss+Blackford, I like to think of it as someone who just got their learner’s permit to drive a car and was immediately handed the keys to a rocket ship. Without hesitation, she jumped in and hit the big red button that says “let’s do this”! Her work ethic has become the stuff of legends, not quite Herculean but close. She has a truly authentic passion for each project. She works tirelessly to understand the needs of our clients and translate those words, numbers, and lines on paper to the built environment.
But… it is not all sunshine and roses. I happen to sit next her so I know a thing or two that others may not. She has a few bad habits which include humming obscure indie folk songs terribly out of tune. She also has a ‘delightful’ ability to interrupt you without even batting an eye. Finally I asked why she interrupts me so much, she smiles and tells me, “maybe what I have to say is just a little more important than what you have to say”.
She can be a bit salty in the way that she doesn’t sugar coat anything. You know where you stand and what you are getting straight out. She respects the opinions of others but is certainly not afraid to challenge or share her point of view in return. Her candid approach to honest collaboration is rare and appreciated. Above all else, the thing I truly appreciate most about Stephanie is that she is a real Annie Oakley type straight shooter. She’s honest, direct and sincere.
Associate / Project Designer
Everyone who has had the pleasure of working with Brian will agree with me when I say that working with him is as easy as spreading mayonnaise on a sandwich – only we enjoy it more that he does.
I met Brian just over 3 years ago on my first day at Dreyfuss+Blackford. I remember he made a “funny” and I thought, “this one is going to be tough”. But in the same breath he reached over and opened up his drawer and pulled out a jar of Nutella, and I knew that all would be good.
Fast forward to today. I have had the pleasure of working with Brian on several projects during my time with Dreyfuss+Blackford.
It is refreshing to work with a designer who approaches his work holistically – bridging that divide between the interior and exterior emphasis. His ability to look through different design lenses lends itself to a highly collaborative approach; ultimately delivering better projects for our clients.
I have sat next to Brian for the better part of my tenure since joining the firm, and not once has he been approached with a question or request for design advice and ever said “I’m too busy.” His dedication to mentoring and monthly design discussions has enhanced the firm’s collaboration and creativity. He does love to talk, and will tell you that I love to interrupt – but I see it as a health and safety measure, because otherwise he does not come up for air…
He actually reminds me of one of my old professors – which is really funny as he always manages to work in the fact that I am older than him – but we all know that he is an old soul wrapped up under all those scarves.
Stephanie S. Swain, Associate AIA
Associate / Director of Interior Design