Job shadowing at Johnston Design Group

By Eve Holbrooks — Clemson University, Class of 2025

Photo by Zach Si.

As a rising junior studying architecture at Clemson, I want to meet architects and designers, and see their work process for myself. I felt the best way to do this would be with job shadowing. That way, I could see how a firm operates and learn more about the type of design I want to do. I talked with Byron Jefferies, who teaches Sophomore Architecture Studio at Clemson, and he invited me to spend a day at Johnston Design Group.

Byron is an Associate at JDG, working in both architectural design and business development. He introduced me to Zach Si, an architectural designer, and Vienna Defalco, an interior designer. And it was great to see Lauren Kolb, who was a year ahead of me in high school. She recently joined the firm as an interior designer. I had a chance to talk with all of them, to better understand their work and how it fits into the firm’s projects.

Byron gave me a tour of the firm’s offices and the NEXT building. He also walked me through the firm’s website, showing me the range of projects they work on and explaining the firm’s commitment to restorative design. It was interesting to see how this design philosophy shapes the built environment and how it sits on the land. Zach shared some of the projects he’s working on and I had a chance to practice working on the designs.

We also had time for a site visit, to see the firm’s Broadview condo project ( Zach took the picture of Byron, Vienna and me (above) and you can see Byron explaining the building construction. The Broadview design uses a post tension concrete pedestal system on the bottom two floors, transitioning to a steel frame structure for the remaining floors. Zach noted that the condo units are all custom. He’s working on the floor plans for these projects and communicating the implementations to the general contractor onsite, to finish out the units for the tenants.

It was a great day. I enjoyed meeting everyone at JDG and love the work they’re doing. Job shadowing also showed me the importance of a company’s values. I respected the way the people at JDG share so many values — and the depth of their commitment to their clients and community.

By Eve Holbrooks — Clemson University, Class of 2025

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