It’s not every day that we get to explore the human element of design and construction documentation. A quality guide specification tool is purposefully impersonal and developed without bias – something we take very seriously here at Deltek.
We often tout that MasterSpec® content is developed by design professionals for design professionals, but who are these experts behind the industry’s most-used and most-trusted specification resource?
Meet Melody Stinson, AIA, CSI, CCCA, CCS, LEED AP. Architect. Specifier. Explorer. Pacific Northwest transplant. And much more.
Melody joined Deltek in the summer of 2019 as an Architectural Specification Writer. In this role, she conducts product research, develops and edits content, and ensures quality within the MasterSpec architectural library. We recently caught up with her to learn more about her background, passions and what inspires her:
Q. What drew you to the design profession?
My father is an electrical engineer, so I grew up around the industry. My parents built the home I grew up in. It’s a dome built from a kit, and this unusual house was definitely an inspiration. I visited Washington, D.C. for a leadership conference in high school, and it was there that I decided to become an architect. I loved the idea of leaving a legacy behind and improving the built environment that humans experience and interact with.
The dome home was built in 1982 in Choctaw, Oklahoma. Melody lived their with her family until she was 13 years old.
Q. Where did you study?
I attended the University of Oklahoma, College of Architecture.
Q. Where did you practice before becoming a MasterSpec content writer?
I worked at some small and mid-sized firms in Oklahoma: Quinn & Associates, Miller Architects. Most recently I was at Rees Associates, Inc. for over 12 years.
Q. How did you first get introduced to specifications?
While working at Miller, I was handed a brochure for CSI's CDT certification and was told to take the exam and figure out how to do specifications – a trajectory that changed my career forever! I joined the CSI OKC chapter and quickly found myself in leadership roles there. The study sessions for the CDT were taught by an architect who became my mentor. That is where I started to really understand the construction process and the importance of specifications.
Melody and her fiancé, Brian, visited the filming site of Jurassic Park while vacationing in Hawaii in September 2019.
Q. What is your favorite thing about developing content for MasterSpec?
I love the combination of research and editing. I enjoy being able to spend time digging into all the details of the materials. I hope to contribute to improving the specs that architects put out into the world!
Q. What region are you based out of?
I moved to Portland, Oregon in 2019, so I am learning all about the Pacific Northwest!
Q. What industry affiliations do you have?
I’m a longtime member of AIA and CSI. This year I added memberships to SCIP (Specifications Consultants in Independent Practice) and ACI (American Concrete Institute)
Q. What’s a memorable building project you worked on in the past, and why?
I love working with non-profit clients. I was able to work on a project called Sunbeam Family Services in Oklahoma City. I worked with them from the first meeting to the ribbon cutting and beyond. The client was so appreciative, and the impact their organization has on others is truly inspiring. To know what a difference they are making within those walls and in the community makes me proud to have played a small part!
Q. What’s a piece advice you have for aspiring design professionals?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Find knowledgeable people and build a network of expertise. There is no teacher like experience!
Q. What is a building / design trend you’re keeping an eye on right now?
High performance concrete. New cladding technologies.
Ripley, a 12 year old lab-mix, is named after the protagonist character, Ellen Ripley, in the Alien movies.
Q. Do you have any pets?
I have one dog – a 12 year old small lab-mix named Ripley. She is named after a character from the Alien movies.
Q. Dream vacation destination?
EVERYWHERE! I love traveling and exploring. I'm not the type that just relaxes on the beach – there is too much to see and do. I would love to see the pyramids in Egypt, the Taj Mahal, Greece, Ireland, New Zealand and the list goes on.
Q. One book you will always keep on your shelf?
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. Right next to all my Harry Potter books!
Q. If you weren’t an Architect and Spec Writer, what do you think you’d be doing?
Art and photography! Or maybe a back-up singer…
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It comes as no surprise that Melody remains very engaged in the AEC industry. Later this year, she will be presenting a topic on specifications at the Young Architect Conference in July. The conference will be held in Portland, Maine and will attract hundreds of designers who are in the first ten years of their practice. In October, Melody will be part of a Young Professionals education track at CONSTRUCT in Dallas, Texas. She will be offering her insight on the topic of leadership within architecture.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Deltek Specification Solutions team and how we help firms with their spec practice, contact us at SpecificationSolutions@deltek.com
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