Meet the People: Terry Wagner

How old are you?
Where were you born?
Cedar Falls, Iowa
What is your role at Design Collaborative?
I am a partner who focuses on mechanical projects, training and mentoring young mechanical engineers, marketing with many new clients, and mechanical troubleshooting for current clients.
How many years of experience do you have in the industry?
38 years
What registrations and certifications do you hold?
Registered Professional Engineer (1984), IN, OH, MI, LEED AP
Where did you obtain your degree?
Iowa State University, 1979 BSME
Do you focus on any specific market?
Mainly Higher Education and Corporate.
Describe a project that you’re currently working on.
Quincy Broadcasting Studios wrapped up recently. The project was dual media studios on a tight budget, looking for spectacular space that everyone who follows the news will see, and mechanical systems that those same viewers do not want to hear.
What is one of your favorite projects that you have worked on?
Without question, Indiana Wesleyan University’s (IWU) Student Center and its four phases of construction over six years. The project was a fantastic challenge for me as an engineer as we had to plan all our utilities and future expansions into the original system. Many times this becomes a glorified “engineering guess” and the final phase of the project is the proof that you have done a good job when all heating/cooling and restrooms work well and above what the client expected. IWU was a fantastic partner and, at the end, threw us a party with a commemorative IWU jacket and made it all worthwhile, as the project is a showpiece.
What is your favorite thing about working at Design Collaborative?
I love the people, I love the caring environment of young people that are committed to the client and each other. I love the feeling “clients trump” when it comes to work ethic. We joke, do many outside activities together, and chip in when one of us has a problem.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I’m an avid fisherman, I pheasant hunt with my brothers and their sons, and I love to ski with my family.
Why do you think people choose Design Collaborative?
Employees that are currently here know full well that the sky is the limit. We, as owners, have rarely turned down a request when an employee wants to do something outside the norm, whether it is project- or personal-related. Current clients know if they need to get ahold of anyone here, they can contact us any time; most have our personal cell numbers. For me personally, I know if I get an after-hours call from a client, I know it is important. I realize they are respectful of my time, but I also know they feel comfortable enough with me to make the call and I will always answer it. Clients trump!
What is something people don't know about you?
When I was nine years old, I lost my younger brother to a drowning accident. At that time, it altered my family course in astonishing ways so that even today my entire family is incredibly close. My sisters and brothers all discovered early in our lives that calamities can pluck loved ones from you quickly.
My second brother, Tim, passed away from cancer in August 2016. My incredibly strong family will get us through the pain of his loss. Yes, it happens quickly and strong family ties are critical.
What is your advice for current and future clients?
Future clients have access to so much more information today than ever when looking to hire an architect firm. It just really doesn’t take as much effort to discover what our current clients feel about our firm. It can be from simply discovering what our firm delivers from a building form. Did our mechanical and electrical systems work the first time? Did we deliver what the client wanted and appreciated? How little change orders were on our clients projects? Did the project change the client’s world for the better? If the answers are resounding yes, then we might be a great fit and worth discovering. Take the time to dig a bit.