Meet the Team: Jared Robinson

July 25, 2017


Each week we’ll be introducing one of our new CDFL employees, or as we like to think of ourselves, the “us” in the Power of Plus. This week we are proud to introduce intern architect Jared Robinson.

What do you do at CDFL?
I am an intern architect with the goal of becoming a licensed architect within a few years.

What is the best thing about working at CDFL?
The best thing about working here is the people. The support and camaraderie among the staff is very nice. Everyone really makes you feel welcome from the first day!

What do you spend the most time doing outside of work?
I enjoy working with my hands. I learned woodworking techniques, like using the lathe to make bowls and pens, from my dad. It’s something I haven’t done in a while due to being in school, but now that I have recently graduated I would like to get back into it.

What’s the last movie you saw?
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

What is your favorite lunch spot in the neighborhood?
Sal and Mookie’s for now, but I’m still trying out all the different options Fondren has to offer.

What’s your favorite TV show?
Designated Survivor


Meet the Team: Ashton Polk

July 10, 2017


Each week we’ll be introducing one of our new CDFL employees, or as we like to think of ourselves, the “us” in the Power of Plus. This week we are proud to introduce Ashton Polk, a recent addition to our admin team.

What unique attributes do you bring to the CDFL team?
I feel the most unique attribute I bring to the CDFL team is a completely new perspective on things. My youthful approach blended with unbiased opinion could prove itself to come in handy from time to time!

What do you do at CDFL?
My position provides assistance and support where it is needed in the office. One major responsibility of mine is organization of the office, which is good because I am actually the most fervent organizer in the Jackson Metro area.

What is the best thing about working at CDFL?
Working here has two main perks. First and foremost, the culture of CDFL is creative and innovative. I mean, my co-workers create buildings! That’s really cool. Secondly, the location and offices are great. Fondren is a super cool neighborhood to work in and the open workplace design fosters a collaborative environment within the office.

What do you spend the most time doing outside of work?
My hobbies include going to concerts, reading, and watching YouTube. I also very much enjoy talking with people and discussing current events and new ideas.

What’s the last movie you saw?
The Circle. Emma Watson is just splendid, but the movie itself fell a bit flat. Also Tom Hanks is old all of the sudden.

How long have you worked for CDFL?
I am newly out of school and it’s an honor to have CDFL be my first post-graduation position.

What is your favorite lunch spot in the neighborhood?
I am still discovering all the lunch spots. However, a fun fact about me is that I can eat Asian cuisine everyday and never get tired of it. So, my favorite will probably be an Asian place nearby.

What’s your favorite TV show?
My top three are Chopped, The Office, and Law and Order: SVU. My guilty pleasure are Bravo shows like The Real Housewives of New York City, etc.


Project Updates: Around Town

June 29, 2017

Project Update

We recently took a spin around the metro area to take a look at some of our projects’ exterior progress. Here’s a glimpse into what we saw:

University of Mississippi Medical Center, School of Medicine | Jackson, Mississippi

New entrance to Buffalo Peak and surrounding businesses  | Jackson, Mississippi

Two Mississippi Museums: Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum | Jackson, Mississippi

saint andrewsSaint Andrew’s Episcopal School Athletic and Recreation Center, North Campus | Ridgeland, Mississippi


What We’re Reading on the Web

June 21, 2017

What We're Reading

As usual, we’ve read the Internet cover-to-cover and rounded up some of the most interesting reads out there for your perusal. Enjoy!

Do you ever find yourself hitting that mid-afternoon slump, hungry and tired and with a less than optimally functioning brain? Not to worry – MyDomaine has you covered with five foods guaranteed to get you back on track and humming with productivity! [via]

Brandan Siebrecht, a graduate architecture student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas recently took home top honors at the Radical Innovation Award, an annual competition for imaginative, futuristic hotel designs. His design? The “Hyperloop Hotel,” a $130 million project that would connect 13 hotels across the country by way of a high-speed transit system that would eliminate the need to buy additional tickets and hotel room between and in some of America’s largest cities. More from Architectural Digest here.

From Archinect, 17 US architecture schools are working with NCARB to fast track becoming a licensed architect. While students will still document the same number of hours of work experience, pass the same exams, and earn the same architecture degree as their non-accelerated counterparts – they’ll have the opportunity to do so prior to graduating from college.

Many American cities have made good use of the rivers running through their city and transformed those areas into a destination unto themselves. Recently, the mayor’s office and the Bureau of Engineering tasked 7 architecture firms with coming up with a plan to areas along the “barren canal-like waterway that weaves through the Californian city.” Dezeen has more.

Interior Design has a wrap-up of NeoCon 2017 and some favorite finds from a few of the top designers who attended. It’s a great recap and all, but this editor can’t believe they didn’t chronicle our very own Katie Jo Chane’s impressions of the event. She’s the top designer we know!


Meet the Team: Joshua Johnson

June 7, 2017


Each week we’ll be introducing one of our new CDFL employees, or as we like to think of ourselves, the “us” in the Power of Plus. This week we are proud to introduce intern architect Joshua Johnson.

What unique attributes do you bring to the CDFL team?
I bring a thorough knowledge of Revit, a three-dimensional building information modeling software program. Its use is growing within our industry in big ways.

What do you do at CDFL?
I am an intern architect. I assist our team’s other architects with construction drawings of pre-fabricated structure projects and other modular construction projects. From education to correctional facilities to healthcare, I’ve worked on them all.

What exciting thing are you working on right now?
I am currently working on a new addition to Children’s of Mississippi. I am very excited to be part of this project team and look forward to learning a lot from this great opportunity.

What is the best thing about working at CDFL?
The best thing about working at CDFL is the people. They are family-oriented and care about you as a person, not just as someone completing a project. That’s very important in my book.

What do you spend the most time doing outside of work?
I enjoy spending time with my lovely wife, Joanna. We both are very busy, and when we have an opportunity to spend time with each other we like watching movies.

What’s the last movie you saw?
The Equalizer

How long have you worked for CDFL?
Before I joined CDFL as a full-time member of the team, I was hired as a 2016 summer intern and have come back to work over the course of any breaks I had while in school.

What is your favorite lunch spot in the neighborhood?

What’s your favorite TV show?


Meet the Team: Samantha King


Each week we’ll be introducing one of our new CDFL employees, or as we like to think of ourselves, the “us” in the Power of Plus. This week we are proud to introduce intern architect Samantha King.

What do you do at CDFL?
I am an intern architect who is trying to absorb as much information as possible!

What exciting thing are you working on right now?
Right now, I’m working on the new addition to Children’s of Mississippi. I have found this project to be extremely informative and exciting as it is my first commercial project.

What is the best thing about working at CDFL?
The best thing about working at CDFL is definitely the atmosphere. I’m pretty new here, but I already feel like I’m part of the family! Another great component to being a CDFL team member is all the opportunity to grow within the profession and expand my knowledge of many building types.

What do you spend the most time doing outside of work?
My free time in the past has been rather sparse, but recently I’ve been able to pick up a lot of my old hobbies of crocheting, knitting, and playing the guitar. I’m also an avid lizard enthusiast!

How long have you worked for CDFL?
I actually just began my career here at CDFL this month, though I have been in the profession for two years.

What’s your favorite TV show?
I have always enjoyed watching comedies and science fiction and am eagerly awaiting season two of Stranger Things.


Meet the Team: Trey Vann

May 31, 2017


Each week we’ll be introducing one of our CDFL employees, or as we like to think of ourselves, the “us” in the Power of Plus. This week we are proud to introduce graphic designer Trey Vann.

What is your favorite TV Show?
I don’t watch much programmed TV anymore but I love watching YouTube.

Where is your favorite lunch spot in the neighborhood?
This is a difficult question to answer because there are a ton of great places to eat around Fondren, but the place I find myself eating the most is Surin of Thailand.

What’s the last movie you saw?
War Dogs

What do you spend the most time doing outside of work?
I spend most of my time outside of work attending my son and daughter’s tee ball, soccer, swimming, and karate practices. I also enjoy spending time with my family outside working in my yard and gardening.

What do you do at CDFL?
I am CDFL’s graphic designer. I work with our marketing team and provide print, video, and digital media support. I also work with our design team and provide them with concept renderings, architectural graphics, and drawing support.


Project Update: Oxford-University Stadium

May 30, 2017

We’re thrilled to continue our work at Oxford-University Stadium and share some exciting news about additions and renovations taking place at the home of the Rebels! These updates place an emphasis on new team spaces for players and coaches as well as new premium club spaces for fans.

The fan experience spaces will include a new Dugout Club located beneath the existing stands, with a tunnel entrance to the expanded chair back seating located behind home plate. Additionally, Rebel baseball fans will enjoy a new Roof Terrace club that overlooks the first base line.

The team spaces will double the size of the current locker rooms, training rooms, and equipment room. Improvements to the team space will combine the indoor batting cages with the indoor pitching tunnel, creating a large, flexible, multipurpose space. Also included in the stadium’s improvements are a new state-of-the-art, 60-person capacity meeting room; separate player lounge with nutrition center amenities; and a 8,400 square foot weight room overlooking Bailey’s Woods and Swayze Field. The weight room provides ten weight stations, three 35-yard sprint lanes, various cardio machines and plenty of space for functional training and multi-player exercises.

oxford university stadium renderings


Meet the Team: Keith Bradshaw

April 5, 2017


Each week we’ll be introducing one of our new CDFL employees, or as we like to think of ourselves, the “us” in the Power of Plus. This week we are proud to introduce mechanical designer Keith Bradshaw.

What do you do at CDFL?
I review specifications and other data to develop mechanical layouts using Revit MEP and AutoCAD software.

What do you spend the most time doing outside of work?
I’m a avid outdoorsman who enjoys fishing on the coast for redfish and speckled trout. I also enjoy alligator, deer, and dove hunting. A new hobby I’m getting into now is rebuilding carburetors and getting old small engines running again.

What is your favorite lunch spot in the neighborhood?
Pig & Pint as of now, but there are many more left to try out.

What’s your favorite TV show?
Shark Tank and Gold Rush

What’s the last movie you saw?
Seal Team Six


Exciting News from CDFL

March 28, 2017

CDFL is proud to share some exciting news about additions to our firm’s leadership team! Architects Chris Myers, AIA; Matthew Buchanan, AIA; and Newell Watkins, AIA, have recently been named Principals of the firm. Additionally, architect Katie Lightsey Browning, AIA, has been elevated to the position of firm Associate. 

“We are thrilled to add these incredibly talented architects to our leadership team,” said CDFL President Rob Farr. “As we look to the future of the firm, we know that Chris, Matthew, Newell, and Katie’s experience and fresh perspective will be invaluable tools for both our team and our clients.”

Upon graduating from Mississippi State University in 2001, Chris Myers joined the CDFL team where he has accrued a wide variety of experience in military, institutional, and corporate projects. His primary expertise is in project management, and his passion lies in community involvement. Chris served as an Associate of the firm for three years prior to being named Principal.

Matthew Buchanan, a member of the CDFL team since 2001, is experienced in civic, institutional, and educational project types. These days, however, Matthew’s primary focus is athletic facility design. Matthew is a graduate of Mississippi State University and served as an Associate of the firm for three years prior to being named Principal.

A graduate of Mississippi State University, Newell Watkins focuses on integrating BIM technologies with the firm’s design strategies. Newell has a broad range of experience, having worked with educational, institutional, and civic clients and is licensed in Mississippi and Georgia. Newell has been a part of the CDFL team for four years.

Katie Lightsey Browning has over 9 years of experience providing architectural and planning services for a wide range of project types. She has gained valuable experience providing design services for the University of Mississippi, the State of Mississippi, and private entities. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University.

Congratulations to this outstanding group! We are grateful for their continued commitment to CDFL and look forward to watching them grow in their respective new roles.


Office Update

March 21, 2017

CDFL is pleased to announce that we have been selected to provide engineering and architectural services to Mississippi State University as they upgrade the sound system at Davis Wade Stadium. Together with WJHW, a world-renowned audio/visual designer, we look forward to providing Mississippi State with the latest in sound system design. Our team will use state-of-the-art 3D visualization and testing software, ensuring optimal sound distribution and enhancing the overall fan experience. Hail State!

We are also excited to share that there are some fresh faces here at 3100 State Street! Architect Rob Ashley, AIA, and mechanical designer Keith Bradshaw have recently joined the CDFL team. We’re thrilled to have added their talents to our architectural and engineering practices.

And finally, congratulations to Affinity Health Group! Earlier this month, the Monroe, Louisiana-based healthcare provider celebrated the ribbon-cutting at their new medical office building.

, , , ,


Meet the Team: Rob Ashley

March 16, 2017


Each week we’ll be introducing one of our new CDFL employees, or as we like to think of ourselves, the “us” in the Power of Plus. This week we are proud to introduce architect Rob Ashley.

How long have you been in the profession?
It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been doing this for 29 years. I graduated from Mississippi State in 1988, and received my Mississippi license in 1996. Since graduation, I have worked on over 200 projects.

What do you do at CDFL?
I am a Project Architect. In that role, I take projects from concept all the way through construction.

What would surprise us most about your job?
I think most people would be surprised at how much fun our profession is. Every day brings a new challenge, and every day brings a new creative solution.

What do you spend the most time doing outside of work?
I am an avid reader, and usually spend a couple hours each evening winding down with a book (or two). I have also spent a great deal of time over the last few years reaching our family ancestry – it’s amazing what you can find on line. And as everyone knows, if it’s on the internet, it has to be true…

What is the last movie you saw?
We took the kids – and ourselves – to go see Rogue One. Great fun.

How long have you worked for CDFL?
I recently returned to the firm, but have been with CDFL a total of four years.

What new thing is happening in your field?
Computer modeling is not especially new, however the evolution and capabilities of the new software has changed our profession. Our challenge is to mold the computers to our needs, not the other way around.

What’s your favorite TV show?
Having read the entire series four times (so far), I think I am obligated to say Game of Thrones. I have also been enjoying the BBC series, The Vikings.


MCEF Skills Competition Q+A

March 9, 2017

The Power of Plus_new

Intern architect Kwayera Franklin recently participated in his third Mississippi Construction Education Foundation (MCEF) Skills Competition as an industry volunteer. Enjoy this look into Kwayera’s experience and this incredible annual event.

How did you get involved with MCEF and the Skills Competition?
In 2014, Jackie Smithers and I were asked to prepare drawings for the team build and carpentry competitions. We were also asked to help with the 2015 Competition. Since that first year, CDFL has been asked to participate whenever there is a need.

What kind of role do you play in the Skills Competition?
I haven’t worked with any of the participants. My role has been in the creation of the drawings they build from – I’m more of a behind-the-scenes support person.

What types of drawings have you provided?
For the 2014 competition, Jackie and I designed two small buildings: a doghouse for the carpentry competition, and a storage shed for the teamwork competition. In 2015, we designed an additional structure: a wildlife observation booth that used some of the same details from our previous designs. The observation booth was used in place of the storage shed for the 2015 competition.

In this year’s competition, the storage shed design will be reused and modified to become a ticket booth!

What is the process for providing drawings? Is it up to the designer or does MCEF provide strict parameters?
We met with the MCEF project managers and they gave us some basic parameters, which were based upon testing the students’ abilities to (1) read a set of construction drawings, (2) identify tools and process needed to produce the finished product, and (3) perform the tasks in a safe and timely manner. We produced a materials takeoff, along with construction drawings, that included floor plans, sections, elevations, details, plumbing and electrical drawings. The participants received the drawings prior to the competition, giving them ample opportunity to prepare.

Tell us more about the competition and how it all comes together.
It’s really interesting to see how this event comes together year after year. There are several hundred people in the Trade Mart during the competitions – students and instructors alike – all performing their individual tasks. It reminds me of a gigantic construction site. From welders to electricians, every basic trade you might find on a job site is represented. It’s a lot to take in.

What about the competition’s events? How are the students organized?
Some are individual competitions, others are team-based.

Do the students select the competition they wish to participate in or are they randomly placed into team/individual events?
High school students, community college students, and adult apprenticeship participants are placed into competitions based on what they are studying that semester. The students are enrolled in programs administered by MCEF and are from all over the state. Winners are chosen to go to the national skills competition held later in the year.

This sounds like such a great opportunity for the participants. What is your favorite part of all this?
One of the best parts, in my opinion, is the community aspect of it all. The items that are judged suitable for use are auctioned, sold, or donated so these students get a chance to have their creations become useful to someone else. MCEF also provides an opportunity for these students that many people will never get to realize, and it’s all for the advancement of the construction industry and workforce development.

Another piece of this that I really appreciate is the construction industry getting behind MCEF in their efforts; most, if not all, materials and equipment used in the competition are donated by builders and other industry-related companies. It’s pretty amazing to see people come together for the good of everyone. This is just another example of the excellence of the human spirit.

I love that the items created are distributed in some way! What kinds of goods are donated or sold?
All kinds of items are sold! Goods ranging from barbecue grills and metal sculptures produced during the welding competition to cabinets made during the carpentry competition. Big and small, they sell it all! Selling or donating the items is one way to clean up the Trade Mart after the competition. I can’t imagine one crew having to haul away and dispose of all those materials off by themselves!


Now Hiring: Intern Architect

January 19, 2017

CDFL is hiring, and we’re in search of an architectural intern to join our team!

The role of Intern Architect at CDFL provides an opportunity to establish a solid foundation for your architectural career. From day one, you will be paired with a Project Architect and have exposure to all aspects of the built environment.

An Intern Architect at CDFL will support the Project Architect in creation, development and implementation throughout all phases of a project.

0-5 years of architectural design experience, preferred experience working in an architectural office

Self-starter who is capable of working independently with strong time management and organization skills

Bachelor of Architecture from a NAAB accredited program required. Advanced degree in architecture considered

Proficiency in design software including Revit, Autocad, Sketch-Up and Adobe Suite

Proficiency in administrative software including Microsoft Office Suite

Desire to become professionally licensed

Experience in developing construction documents and design details for those with previous experience

Strong analytical and problem solving skills

Strong communication skills

Ability to ask questions and to seek answers independently

A team player who is willing to go above and beyond

If this opportunity interests you, please submit a resume and portfolio to [email protected]


CDFL Holiday Extravaganza 2016: Part III

December 15, 2016

The CDFL Christmas Wishlist Vol 2

Here’s Volume III of our 2016 team wish list and gift guide, and the final installment in the Annual CDFL Holiday Extravaganza. We hope you’ve enjoyed getting a glimpse into some of our team’s yuletide festivities and laughed along with us at the gift guide commentary. Thanks for reading. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, y’all!

In case you missed it check out Part I, our holiday trivia post, and Part II for even more gift giving ideas!