When Kelli Warner first walked into Design Collaborative in August 2007, she didn’t realize she was walking into her career. She was starting a part-time internship, and going to school full-time at (then) IPFW, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Construction Engineering Technology. She was originally drawn to residential architecture because she found home plans interesting and she enjoyed laying them out. After her extended internship with DC, she chose to focus on commercial architecture. After interning with DC on and off for nearly three years, Kelli joined the staff full-time in May 2010.
Kelli is most passionate about people. It’s one of the main reasons she originally chose to work at DC; she enjoys the people she works with and the people we serve. She’s developed friendships in the office, and with clients. She’s equally passionate about the people who are the end-users for our projects because they’re the ultimate measure of a project’s success.
No two projects have been alike in her time with DC. For her, this is what keeps the job interesting. She likes the challenge that a new project presents. The biggest thing she’s working on now is the new headquarters for Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana. She wrote about the project in a recent blog, Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana Prepares to Move to New Building. As a former JA classroom volunteer, she recognizes the impact JA’s programs have on children in Northeast Indiana who dream of becoming business owners and leaders. JA will move into the building soon, as construction is rapidly approaching completion. Kelli’s excited to see how the project impacts how the employees work and how the students interact in the space, as well as how it impacts the community.
That’s something else Kelli is involved with – the community. Kelli volunteers with the Program Committee of the Building Contractors Association, serves on the board of directors for the Central Branch YMCA, and is co-chair of the Leadership Institute committee with Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana. When she’s not working or volunteering, she’s playing sports. She plays recreational indoor and outdoor volleyball, and recreational softball. She also organizes the DC team for YMCA’s Corporate Challenge.
On the weekends, Kelli is with her family. She’s one of 5 children. Her parents, a few siblings, and nieces and nephews all live in Fort Wayne. She’s a doting aunt, hosting slumber parties and cookie decorating events. She’s proud of her family, and loves that she sees them so often and can stay in close touch with her siblings.
She spends a lot of time outside, and her dog Lilo is often with her. The almost 7 year old black lab mix has been with Kelli since she was a puppy. She’ll be 7 on May 7. Kelli has big plans for Lilo’s “golden birthday!”
In her free time, Kelli loves to enjoy all that Fort Wayne has to offer – local dining, bars, concerts, and sports. She and her friends enjoy TinCaps games when they can. She’s been to a few concerts at The Clyde, with plans to attend more. When the weather is nice, you can find her at The Deck. And year round, you might see her at Don Chava’s, home of her favorite queso dip.
When she has even more free time – enough for a vacation – she loves to travel. Her favorite place to visit is Texas to spend time with her aunt and uncle. Within the last year, she’s toured several European countries, and visited family and friends in Boston, MA, and Charleston, SC. She’s going to Hawaii this summer, and is excited to check a destination off her bucket list! Others on the list are Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.
Kelli is always moving, whether it’s meeting with clients, volunteering in the community, playing sand volleyball, or walking her dog. She is a friend to all, so if you’re craving queso from Don Chava’s, email Kelli and set up a lunch date!