Team Member Highlight: Meet APPRO Development’s Architecture and Design Team!

While you might know APPRO Development for our building capabilities, what you may not realize is that we also have a full-fledged Architecture and Design Team in house. 

Not only can we build your project — we can also design it! In addition, we’ve recently grown our design team so we are now able to take on design-only projects in addition to full builds.

In this blog, we’re highlighting our Architecture and Design Team: who they are, what they do, and how they can help you bring your ideas to life for your next building construction project. Read on to get to know the members of APPRO Development’s Architecture and Design Team! 

Architecture and Design: A Part of APPRO Development From the Beginning

APPRO Development has been a design and build company right from the beginning: building design has always been a part of our firm. The design team, and APPRO itself, started out with a team consisting of Jack Matasosky, founder of APPRO Development, and Jim Connelly, Owner and President.

Today, the team consists of Jim Connelly, Robert Ready (Director of Architectural Design), Myka Chang (Senior Designer), and Jon Osborne (Architectural Designer). 

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The team works under the oversight of Jim and is led by Robert, a veteran of 47 years of practice as a Registered Architect. The balance of the team consists of two Architectural Designers who both have advanced architectural degrees from nationally accredited universities. As a team, they bring to the table a wealth of experience and knowledge, as well as an openness to new ideas we can draw upon to serve our clients. 

The team’s primary responsibilities include:

  • Preparing site sketches and conceptual building plans to help our clients envision the possibilities for expansion of existing buildings and construction of new buildings
  • Supporting the APPRO Construction Division by preparing construction documents, including project drawings and specifications for use in preparing final project bids and submitting building permit applications
  • Selecting interior and exterior building finishes
  • Coordinating the work of associated consultants

Our designers are experienced in the use of Revit-based design software to prepare promotional drawings and final construction documents, and they utilize 3D modeling to enable the client to see the spaces before they are built.

APPRO Development’s Architecture and Design Team’s services vary from design-only to full architectural services, based on what the client needs. The team’s work starts early in the process, gathering the client’s programming information, listening to their needs, understanding the types of features and spaces they would like to have in their building, and working to turn those ideas into a design that accomplishes the client’s goals. 

Get To Know the Architecture and Design Team Members!

Meet Jim Connelly, Owner and President of APPRO Development

Jim Connelly (1)

Jim, how long have you been with the company, and what does your job entail? 

I was here in the beginning, left for a period of time, and came back. All together, I’ve been here for more than 30 years. My job involves a wide variety of tasks, including schematic design, energy compliance, code compliance, and construction details.

Who or what inspired you to pursue the career you have today?

A strong interest in building and creating the drawings from which to build. I was lucky — I realized that I really liked drawing plans early on, when I was in high school. I took a mechanical drafting class as I was trying out various fields, and this led to a class on drawing buildings which I liked much more than drawing gears or parts. 

I am not an artist like many in the design field, but I really enjoy creating spaces for people to work or live in.

In terms of successes, which accomplishments are you most proud of? 

I’m most proud of our work any time we come up with an inventive solution to solve a client’s space needs that is aesthetically appealing and meets the budget.

Who are some of your biggest inspirations within the company? 

I’m always inspired by our clients who are entrepreneurs, starting something from scratch and turning it into a career.

How have you grown professionally while on our team?

I’ve grown professionally in working on presentations of work to groups and city leaders. This was something I hadn’t done before taking on more responsibility here. I also learned to take responsibility on a project or task and see it through to the end.

Tell us something about you that most people don’t know.

My first design project when I came back to APPRO was completing the drawings for Woodstock’s treehouse at the Mall of America within Camp Snoopy (which is now gone).

Meet Robert Ready, Director of Architectural Design

Robert Ready (1)

Robert, how long have you been with the company, and what does your job entail? 

I’ve been with APPRO Development for two years. As Director of Architectural Design, my job includes:

  • Participating in all aspects of client development, schematic design, design development, and preparation of construction documents
  • Establishing project work priorities and defining the nature of project services to be delivered
  • Overseeing the work of the architectural designers in the preparation of comprehensive project-related graphics, including sketches, bid documents, and construction drawings and specifications
  • Preparing building code reviews for project permit applications
  • Serving as the “Architect of Record” for all projects permitted for construction

Who or what inspired you to pursue the career you have today? 

I’ve always enjoyed constructing buildings. I grew up on a farm and helped my father construct several large farm buildings. During my freshman year of college, I was inspired to pursue architecture as a career by several architectural students I became acquainted with.

In terms of successes, which accomplishments are you most proud of? 

I spent six years as Executive Director of the Minneapolis Riverfront Development Coordination Board with the responsibility of coordinating the development of the Central Minneapolis Downtown Riverfront Area. 

In addition, I’m proud of numerous projects I successfully accomplished while owning and managing my own architectural firm for 30 years prior to joining APPRO.

Who are some of your biggest inspirations within the company? 

I’m inspired by the work ethic of all the employees of our company.

How have you grown professionally while on our team? 

I’ve had the opportunity to become more familiar with the land development process and to work with some new building materials.

Tell us something about you that most people don’t know.  

I’ve sung in my church choir for over 40 years and I competitively raced single-masted sailboats on Lake Superior in the 1980s and ‘90s.

Meet Myka Chang, Senior Architectural Designer

Myka Chang

Myka, how long have you been with the company, and what does your job entail?

I’m going into my third month here at APPRO. I do a variety of things such as drawing initial design ideas for the client, code review, and refining drawings for permitting and bid, as well as reviewing bids, submitting applications, and writing proposals.

Who or what inspired you to pursue the career you have today?

My mom and dad, as well as my love for hands-on learning and design, which I am able to get through building and renovation. My dad was a property manager for years and I would go with him to rip up carpets or paint walls when I was growing up. We love to look at unique real estate as a family.

In terms of successes, which accomplishments are you most proud of?

I am most proud of graduating with my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 5 years and all the knowledge I’ve gained throughout all my internships and past jobs.

Who are some of your biggest inspirations within the company?

I think that Jim and Jack are amazing individuals who have shown what it looks like to build and run a successful company with such a small, tight-knit team. Having the privilege of hearing stories from Jim about how Jack started this company has taught me the benefits of Jack’s ability to connect with those around him. APPRO has been able to maintain great relationships throughout the years — that speaks to the hard work and kindness these two leaders possess.

Working directly with Jim, I can say I’ve seen him do any part necessary to make sure each client’s project is being taken care of — whether that is drawing, speaking with clients, office operations, or managing projects. He seems to do it all.

How have you grown professionally while on our team?

I have learned so much about the industrial commercial construction industry. Jim and Robert have taught me about code and ordinances, as well as city and construction processes that projects go through to be successfully built. I’ve learned about the benefits of maintaining long-running relationships with clients and subcontractors. I have also had the ability to push myself to take on more responsibilities as a designer looking to grow my project management skills through Jim’s mentorship. 

Tell us something about you that most people don’t know.

My love for creation comes in many forms — art, music, building, carpentry, etc. I make furniture, renovate spaces, and perform in a family band with my siblings and our significant others in my free time.

Meet Jon Osborne, Architectural Designer

Jon Osborne (1)

Jon, how long have you been with the company, and what does your job entail? 

I have been with the company a little over one and a half years. In my job, I often meet with clients in conjunction with my supervisors to help assess their needs. I help with zoning code assessments and establish a baseline of drawings of the project sites, as well as illustrating the boundaries and buildable areas.

From there, in cooperation with the architect, I help develop drawings of a viable concept for the client to review. After the client has given their approval or requested changes, I put together drawings for permit and construction. As a project progresses I document any changes in construction methods, building design, or materials.

Who or what inspired you to pursue the career you have today? 

I have been interested in architecture for a long time. Mostly, my grandfather piqued my interest in architecture. He often took me with him on road trips around Connecticut, where I grew up, pointing out interesting or historic buildings as we drove (I think he was a frustrated architect). I also took an Architectural History class in college that really interested me and gave me the push I needed to get into the field.

In terms of successes, which accomplishments are you most proud of? 

I am proud that I went back to school as an older person and completed my undergraduate and Master’s degrees in architecture after a fairly long career in the military. I also consider it a success to have been able to see my first professional projects being built. It’s hugely satisfying to see something I designed being built.

Who are some of your biggest inspirations within the company? 

I am inspired in some way by everyone at the company. I enjoy hearing their stories about their travels or other life events. I also have a great deal of respect for the knowledge and experience that each person has available to pass on to me.  

How have you grown professionally while on our team? 

I have learned a great deal over the past year and a half. I have taken a very basic academic knowledge of architecture and the many new things I have learned while working at APPRO and I’m able to apply them successfully to real world projects.

Tell us something about you that most people don’t know.

I enjoy science fiction and fantasy novels, and I like to tinker with things and build small things around the house. I also enjoy playing video games with my surly teen son, who always wins.

If you’re looking to build or renovate a commercial or industrial facility, the APPRO Development team is ready to help you. From design to construction, we have the skills and experience needed to bring your ideas to life. Contact us today to get started.

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