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H/The Building Blocks of a Career in Architecture

The Building Blocks of a Career in Architecture

When Jessica Klocek began her career at MKSD in 2005 she did not envision that one day she would be an associate partner at one of the Lehigh Valley’s leading architectural firms. While she didn’t know where her career would take her, her love for building and architecture took hold when she was a young girl. 

 “As a child, I loved playing with Legos and built housing and buildings for my older brothers’ action figures. On family vacations I was the one looking at architecture instead of playing with toys.” 

Jessica’s parents encouraged her interest in architecture and as a student at Emmaus High School she had opportunities to take drafting and other related classes. She then studied architecture at Lehigh and Drexel Universities.  

Jessica specializes in space planning and architectural interiors focusing the last 15 years of her career on design of health care facilities. She has also worked on many sustainable projects and is a LEED AP BD+C accreditation.  

Working on the design and construction on the science center may seem worlds away from health care but Jessica points out one particularly important similarity: 

“I love how buildings can make you feel. It is important to make people feel comfortable and relaxed in a space. And to never lose sight of what the guest will experience.” 

Other similarities are the practical aspects of designing any new structure – staying on time, within budget and meeting clients’ expectations.  

That said, Jessica emphasizes that this is a complex project with unique features.  

“There are so many moving parts, and at such a fast pace. Ten years ago, this would have taken twice as long to complete but technology has sped up many aspects of the project that need constant coordination and communication. And you don’t create an otter exhibit every day.” 

When asked about the challenges of being a woman in this field, Jessica explains that architecture has come a long way since the days when contractors would look to her male counterpart for answers to questions on a project she was overseeing; 50% of the team at MKSD are women, including 3 of the 4 partners.  

“Women are good listeners who are focused on collaborating with the client to get a project done. Plus, we can juggle a lot.” 

What does a busy architect do for fun? Jessica spends her time with her husband and two daughters, ages 7 and 11. The girls are both active in dance, following in mom’s dance shoes, attending the same studio Jessica belonged to when she was a competitive dancer. When she isn’t busy with her family, you can find her tending to her garden or together with her husband, working on their 1918 home, which they have been renovating for 15 years and counting! 

What advice would she give a young person interested in pursuing a similar career?  

“Make sure you are passionate about what you are doing because you will be asked to do a lot of work and if you aren’t passionate about it, you will find it very difficult.”  

She also notes that having a fine arts background and good problem-solving skills are important. And we couldn’t agree more. Jessica Klocek’s career absolutely demonstrates STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) in Action!