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Kim Davis: Caribbean Explorer

This week, we are featuring one of our long-time and immensely hard-working employees, Kim Davis. She has been an integral part of the CMH family for 19 years! She is currently one of our executive administrative assistants and dabbles in CMH’s marketing efforts as well. Outside of the office, she is an avid traveler with an deep-seated love for the tropics. She took a minute out of her busy schedule to chat with us about one of her favorite topics: her adventures in the Caribbean.

What spawned your love for traveling to this region?
When my husband and I traveled to St. Thomas for our 10 year wedding anniversary we took a day trip to St. John (it is a 30-min. ferry ride St. Thomas) and fell in love with the island as well as the Caribbean.

What places have you visited in the Caribbean?
Nassau, Bahamas (Honeymoon – 1998)
St. Thomas, USVI (twice)
St. John, USVI (4 times)
George Town, Grand Cayman (swam with Sting Rays here)
Jost Van Dyke, BVI (Soggy Dollar Bar & Foxy’s are really fun places to visit here)
Virgin Gorda, BVI (visited the famous “Baths” here)
Whitehouse, Jamaica
Exuma, Bahamas
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
St. John’s, Antigua

What is your favorite place/city/country that you have visited in the Caribbean?
Our favorite island by far is the island of St. John, USVI. It is fairly easy to get to (via flight to St. Thomas and then a ferry ride to St. John), but more importantly it is absolutely beautiful and the reason I prefer it over all the islands we’ve been to is that the majority of the island is untouched – in that most of the island is 60% National Park so no commercial buildings and condos to “junk” it up… The island is very lush with beautiful flowers growing wild on the side of the road and trees so bright with color they look like they are on fire. There are TONS of beaches in St. John (52 to be exact) – all offering different things – some had sea turtles (my favorite!), some were more private than others, some were better for windsurfing, and all had great snorkeling. The island itself just felt like home. It was small enough where you didn’t get lost and I never felt threatened by crime…the people that live on the island are very nice and happy people, probably why its nickname is “The City of Love”. When we traveled there for a week with my family we rented a Jeep and put 200 miles on it the whole week we were there…the island is only 9 miles across, so every day we went to a different beach. My kids loved St. John. After taking them there they said they liked it better than Disney World and ask us all the time when we are going to go back!

We have stayed at the Westin in St. John as well as a beautiful private home (which was my favorite). When my husband and I travel with our friends (we always travel with the same 2 couples) we prefer the Sandals resorts since they are always nice and you don’t have to worry about extra expenses since they are all-inclusive. My favorite Sandals resort is Sandals Emerald Bay in Exuma, Bahamas.

What is the craziest activity that you did there?
The craziest activity I have done so far on my travels is definitely swimming with the pigs in Exuma. I know, it sounds crazy, but these pigs really do swim! The captain of our boat put the pigs there himself and every time he goes to the island he feeds them hotdogs (turkey dogs!) so when the pigs hear the engine of the boat they swim out to meet it. When we went, there was even a baby pig named Squealy that ran out to the tip of the island to greet us. That same excursion we saw an island inhabited mainly of marine iguanas that would actually do tricks for grapes. The water in Exuma is breathtakingly beautiful. Pictures do not do it justice, you have to see it to believe it.

Where do you plan to go next?
My next trip I have planned is a girls trip celebrating a good friend turning 40. We plan to go to Moon Palace in Ocho Rios, Jamaica in April this year. As far as our couples trip, we have discussed going to Aruba, St. Lucia or maybe back to Exuma since we liked it so much.

A big thanks to Kim! We can’t wait to hear about the next trip!

Meet our New Hire: Justin Burkholder

Birmingham, Ala. (Aug. 23, 2016) – Time for another introduction to one of our new hires!  This week, help us in welcoming, Justin Burkholder, our Intern Architect and IT director into the CMH family!  He works diligently and balances responsibilities in two different realms of the office, and we are immensely grateful for him.  He took a moment out of his busy schedule to answer some questions about himself below. Check it out!

How old are you? 26 years old, born in 1990.

Where are you originally from? Well, I was born in Germany when my parents were stationed there in the Army. But for most of my life I grew up in Warner Robins, GA, just south of Macon.

Are you from a big or small family? It started out small with just my sister and I, but when my parents got divorced in 2000 both of my parents remarried. Currently, I have two step brothers, two step sisters, and my real sister. Most of my extended family live elsewhere in the US, California and Colorado mostly.

Where did you study? Being from Georgia after graduating high school, I applied to University of Florida, Clemson University, and Auburn University. After I got the acceptance letter from Auburn, I knew there was nowhere else I would like to study, mainly because it is one of the only accredited architecture programs in the south east. After my freshman year, I took one look at the bill and decided I was not going to pay that much again. For the next year I paused my studies, got a job at Chick-fil-a in Auburn, and made sure I jumped through the hoops that got my residency in Alabama and eligibility for instate tuition. I graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor in Architecture and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design after 5 years (the program is 5 years).

How did you become interested in architecture? A combination of growing up with boxes and boxes of Legos and my enjoying solving problems. That is also why I love IT, so being in a position where I get to do both is great. I still buy Lego sets every once in a while.

When were you hired at CMH? I was hired at the beginning of December in 2015, about 4-5 months after graduating. I interviewed with a few smaller firms than CMH during that summer before getting the job posting from my previous thesis professor. I was hired just before my 6 months grace period for my student loans, so I was pretty excited to start at CMH.

What do you like about CMH? The small atmosphere of the firm, but not so small as to be stretched thin between various tasks. I’m in a position at CMH where I get to do two things I love: architecture and IT.

Thanks, Justin, and welcome to CMH!

Junior League of Birmingham

Birmingham, Ala. (Aug. 16, 2016) – Time for a throwback project! Completed in ’88, the Junior League of Birmingham is a one-story office building incorporating a 500-seat auditorium, meeting and conference rooms, work areas, banquet kitchen, gift shop, and offices. The central focus of the building is a large axial lobby with a 20-foot high vaulted ceiling and clerestory windows.

Biltmore Baptist Church Renovation

Hendersonville, NC (June 28, 2016) – After completing a project on the Biltmore Baptist Church’s main campus in Asheville, NC a few years ago, CMH was asked to design its fourth satellite campus.  The project included 29,500 square feet of renovated space that was a retrofit of an original warehouse building formerly occupied by a NASCAR race team.  Thus, CMH had to take a creative approach to adapt and reuse the former building while working within a tight budget and a very tight construction timeline.  The new renovated space houses +/- 750 worship seats along with preschool, multi-use worship and children’s classroom spaces.

CMH Baron’s Night

Birmingham, Ala. (June 15, 2016) – Last week, the CMH team got together and attended a Birmingham Barons game at Region’s Field in downtown Birmingham.  While the Barons played against the Mobile Bay Bears, the CMH community enjoyed food, drink and baseball while mingling with each other and their families.  It was a blast.  Stay tuned for the next gathering!

Sneak Peek – University of Montevallo Project

Montevallo, Ala. (June 7, 2016) – A sneak peek of a new building at the University of Montevallo which will be a combination of a dorm and a hotel. It is a joint venture project with the University of Montevallo and Shelby County.

Roger Sparks, Artist and Architect

Birmingham, Ala. (May 19, 2016) – Roger Sparks, one of the CMH family, is both an artist and an architect.  He and his wife, Rosie, who is a full-time artist, have started a side family business, Sparks Design.  Through their work they try to share their delight in the natural & imagined elements of the visual world.  Rosie creates original mixed media jewelry from a variety of materials, including opaque and frosted shrink plastics, assorted beads and crystals, and silver-plated findings and chains.  Roger illustrates a vast array of scenes, creatures, and objects using tiny dots of various sizes and colors, a style of painting otherwise known as pointillism.  Rosie turns these images into night-lights, Christmas ornaments, prints, greeting cards and mobiles using shrink plastic & paper.  Roger has won several design competitions including an Architectural study grant that allowed him to travel in Europe, Asia & Africa. He has received purchase prizes for his art work, and also had it exhibited in several art museums.

Cross Church – Fayetteville

Birmingham, Ala. (May 9, 2016) – CMH has designed a 57,300 square foot new church facility that will include 900 seats in the sanctuary for Cross Church.  It will also contain 10 preschool rooms, children’s worship rooms, a student worship room, administration space, and a large lobby that will also serve as overflow seating when needed.

Construction is set to begin this summer with Milestone Construction Company out of Springdale, Arkansas serving as the contractor. Located in beautiful Fayetteville, Arkansas, the project is less than 3 miles from the University of Arkansas campus.

The Birmingham 205

Birmingham, Ala. (April 29, 2016) – BHM BIZ has named the Birmingham 205, a list of the Magic City’s most influential executives.  CMH’s President, Everett Hatcher, made the list!  Peruse the publication here and see if you can find him!

Athens-Limestone Public Library

Athens, Ala. (March 30, 2016) – The Athens-Limestone Public Library project is a holistic renovation of an abandoned and outdated grocery store building revitalized and repurposed as a new Public Library facility.  The design incorporates sustainable design principles through energy efficiency, clerestory daylighting, south and west façade shading trellises, and overall building reuse.  Outside the building, the parking lot was reworked to improve circulation and accessibility.

Inside its 37,900 square feet of building area, the facility contains almost 25,000 square feet of public spaces including dedicated children’s area, teen area, local history room, computer lab, used book store, and a snack/coffee area named the “Whimsy Tree Cafe”.  The open floor plan in the main library space has numerous seating areas and study carrels for individual or groups, including multiple private study rooms.  On the main axis of the library there is a large circulation desk and public computer area.

The library is wired with advanced fiber optic technology for super high speed internet and wireless networking.  The large and small meeting rooms provide a space for gatherings and events and revenue stream for the Library.  The Library staff was very pleased to have additional square footage for their back of house offices and storage in the new facility.  After extensive design, planning, fundraising, and two phases of construction, the Athens-Limestone Public Library had their formal grand opening on January 24th, 2015.