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A+D Partner Spotlight: Hendy, an Interview with Susan Dwyer

Hendy Principal and 17-year vet, Susan Dwyer, sat down for an interview with us where she shares some memorable projects she worked on, how she ended up in the architecture field, and advice for aspiring young designers.

1. Tell me a little bit about your professional background,

I received my degree in Architecture from USC and have been in the industry for 22 years. I am NCARB certified and licensed in CA, TX, PA, CO, and AZ. I have been at Hendy for 17 years!

2. Where are you originally from?

I am Armenian but have spent my whole life in Southern California.

3. How did you decide on architecture?

I would say sometime in high school is when I decided I wanted to go into this field. I liked the balance between the creative and technical. I come from a background of engineers. My dad was a structural engineer and my brother is civil, and I was always more drawn to the more artistic and creative side of architecture.

4. What do you enjoy most about what you do, and what types of industries do you mainly support?

My specialty has been corporate for my entire career. I love learning about different businesses - what each company does and creates, and how we can partner with them to make not only their space, but their business be more productive, efficient, and inspiring. We tailor our designs specific to client culture. My favorite comment a client ever told me was during a punch walk; they said “This space really inspires me. and I can't wait to get to work every day.” It really warmed my heart.

5. Do you have a favorite or memorable project you did?

One of my recent favorite projects is Nogin. They are an e-commerce fashion company and the client was very inspiring and said there were no rules for creativity. He told us to think big and then go bigger. Each quadrant of the space was designed to reflect different fashion iconic cities. For example, there was a Paris quadrant that had a 15’ Poodle, London had the underground transportation system, Tokyo/Shibuya had Godzilla, and we also had Milan which reflected a specific palette that represented the city. Each city area had a unique façade entry into the rooms that reflected the style of that city.

6. Have you partnered with G|M on any projects?

Yes, I helped design G|M's new Irvine showroom!

7. Awesome! What advice would you give to a new designer?

Take your career very seriously. Push hard to grow as much as you can. Believe in yourself and take the plunge into challenging yourself to grow. Be hopeful! I saw a quote memory today from a year ago and it’s very relevant “Hope is desperately uncool – it has sweaty palms and an earnest smile on its face. What I know to be true is that a hopeful person will accomplish more than a hundred cynics. Why? Because the hopeful person will try.”

8. What a great quote! I love that. Let's get into some fun questions. Do you have a favorite travel destination?

Probably Maui. My husband and I got married there. Whenever we decide to go on vacations, we both realize how hard we work during the in-between time, that an island vacation full of relaxation, exploration, and beach time is our favorite go-to place.

9. Do you have a favorite old classic movie?

Breakfast Club and Dirty Dancing!

10. How about a favorite TV show?

I really got into the Walking Dead and other zombie-themed shows during the pandemic.

11. Coffee or tea?

Coffee all the way - I love Starbucks Nitro brew!

12. What’s the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery?

A luxury vacation to take with all my friends and family!

13. What is the most important key to a successful project?

Like many things in life…. communication.