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Jun 14, 2024 JJCA Fostering Creative Minds

Relationships are extremely valuable in the design and construction industry. Our JJCA professionals work closely with our consultants to deliver our best to clients. Two industry friends have recently retired, and we’re here to wish them happiness and joy in retirement.

Dan Borsos, EMC Structural Engineers

Stephanie Pielich remembers: Dan is one of the most creative and reasonable structural engineers I have worked with.  There was always a solution to make it happen. He could identify basic constructs we could use as rules of thumb, which helped immensely during early design. This helped us reap great rewards as it made things go smoother with construction documents and during construction. He is always kind and works easily with the entire design team and contractors. I have fond memories of designing wall sections on the whiteboard together.

Jason Putnal reminisces: Many structural engineers overdesign a building’s system, making it more expensive and taking up valuable real estate. Dan is a master at designing a building’s structural system to be lean – you won’t have to worry about it holding the building up and supporting future expansion, but it won’t be overkill. More importantly, he knows how to think outside the box to create creative structural solutions when we architects come up with our outlandish ideas 😊.

And while these things are certainly true (and important), there’s a lot more to Dan Borsos than being a good, really creative structural engineer. Early in my career, Dan was like a legend in our office. He was our “favorite consultant,” and I quickly learned why. He didn’t mind taking a little extra time to get to know me, educate me, and help make me a better architect.

He never said, “No, that can’t be done.” The answer was always, “Oh, sure, we can figure something out.” I’ll always appreciate our personal relationship– talking about family and its importance, keeping up with each other’s kids, projects at home, hobbies, exercise regiments, etc. I even had the pleasure of building some cabinets for Dan and his wife’s home and meeting his wife, Drew Ann.

 And, when I had my own little structural issue in my home in Murfreesboro, Dan quickly dropped everything to come to the ‘boro and offer some sound advice. Dan’s retirement is undoubtedly well deserved, and I look forward to keeping up with him on Facebook, but I’ll miss the synergy of having him in meetings and solving the world’s problems together.

Linda Mark remembers: Dan always had a creative approach to designing buildings with us, providing our clients with a delicate balance of excellent engineering and cost-effectiveness.  He never said it couldn’t be done when posed with a design question. He thoughtfully proposed options that would meet all the needs.  While I don’t have a specific project example, this was who he was project after project.

Michael Speck shares:  In my 27 years of work at JJCA, Dan has been the structural engineer that I’ve done the most work with – I’ve appreciated his creative, problem-solving approach to engineering – but even more, I’ve appreciated his friendship through those projects. Whether it’s conversations about architecture in the south of France,  or our shared role as musicians in our respective churches, or hearing about him exploring his Ukrainian heritage, I’ve loved the camaraderie of working alongside him. I look forward to hearing about his further adventures after retiring from our EMC partners.

Tim Morgan says: I’ve always admired Dan’s professional knowledge, but what sets Dan Borsos apart is his verve and proficiency in living a great life. I look forward to watching his retirement: the great work he’ll do with his additional time to contribute to his causes and live vicariously through his future travels.

Bill Steffenhagen, Fire Protection Associates

Stephanie recalls: Bill is always willing to help me research unusual questions when I hear from facility maintenance folks. We often try to figure out what they are trying to enforce. Bill is extremely knowledgeable about the intent of the code, which proves extremely helpful as we try to defend alternative ways to meet the code's intent. His retirement party was attended by the Who’s Who of the architecture field in Nashville. Seeing how he helped so many people with his knowledge was inspiring!

Jason says: We would all agree that Bill Steffenhagen has been an invaluable and integral part of the JJCA team. As a young green architect, I learned much from Bill about integrating life safety and code compliance into the earliest concept plans. I’ve always enjoyed sitting down with Bill during early design phases, getting out all the different color highlighters, and figuring out the life safety strategy for a building.

But over the years, Bill has been more than just a consultant. We’ve come to know each other well, keeping up with each other’s families, travels, and life experiences. I remember fondly when Bill’s daughter and my oldest daughter were both going on college visits and then going off to college at about the same time. Bill and I talked through the excitement of that season of life.

I’ll always cherish the time of working with Bill. While I’m excited for him to be able to slow down a bit, I’ll miss his calm, collected thoughts and perspective he brings to the world of code compliance.

Linda chimes in: Bill loves fire codes more than anyone I have ever met! His wealth of knowledge is extensive and impressive. Occasionally, when I called him with a question, he responded, “I don’t think I have ever been asked that.” Then, he came back with the answer we needed. Always calm and willing to teach, I appreciated knowing and learning from him over my 21 years working with him.

Michael's thoughts: Bill has looked over every project I’ve done since starting at JJCA in ’97, helping to make sure that we help improve Life Safety in the public built environment. While the job entails technical precision and attention to detail, Bill’s approach is about constantly learning together – much of what I have the opportunity to pass along to other professionals was first learned from Bill. I’ve learned much from him of codes, but even more about being generous with knowledge and with time.     

Tim adds: Bill’s extensive knowledge will be missed as a resource, but his legacy of teaching architects about the intricacies of code and process will be demonstrated through Nashville’s architectural community for years to come.

Final words from David:

While Bill may be “officially retiring” from his role at Fire Protection Associates, we are very excited that he will be joining JJCA as a part-time member of our team to help us continue to get the code issues resolved correctly and give him something to do in all this free time. 

Dan had better watch out; we might be scheming on how to continue to rope him in for those things he is best at. As Bruce Crabtree always said, architects and engineers can’t quit. It is not a job; it is a profession and a passion. Dan and Bill are two folks who certainly fit that bill.

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