Meet Lauren Wiatrek, Associate, who is currently preparing drawings for permit and collaborating with the team on design of Western Plains Camp, our project with The Salvation Army. Lauren’s friends describe her as driven, kind, reliable, and meticulous (bonus word from her mother). She could eat tacos for every meal and is not sure why breakfast tacos aren’t more popular outside of Texas. Her first architecture internship was working on municipal projects next to the Alamo under San Antonio architect Debra J. Dockery, so it was a special moment for Lauren to recently see her former boss’s signature on her Texas architecture license, since Debra also serves as Chair of the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners
Without knowing anyone, Lauren made an adventurous move from small town Texas to the big city of Chicago for her Master’s Degree at University of Illinois Chicago. After five and half years with our firm, she feels like FitzGerald is part of her extended family. She said, “During the recent Texas weather disaster, everyone was incredibly thoughtful and generous. FitzCares is not just the name of our service committee, it embodies the mentality of everyone on our team. We care about each other, the communities we work in, and the projects we work on.” Fun Fact, one of her closest work friends introduced her to her fiancé, a former Fitz employee. See them in the photos! What hilarious childhood memory brought an old saying to reality for her and a friend? What are her pet peeves? Find out the answers to these and more in the questions we asked her below. We also invite you to get to know her further through her staff bio.
We took some time to get to know Lauren, and here’s what we learned:
What is something that surprised you most about working at FitzGerald?
“One thing that surprised me about working at FitzGerald is how many great people I’ve worked with over the past five and a half years. It’s probably pretty cliché to say, but it does feel like an extended family. One of my closest work friends introduced me to my fiancé, a former Fitz employee.
During the recent Texas weather disaster, everyone was incredibly thoughtful and generous. Several people reached out to check on me and my family and donated money to aid in recovery efforts. FitzCares is not just the name of our service committee, it embodies the mentality of everyone on our team. We care about each other, the communities we work in, and the projects we work on.”
What’s one food you could eat for every meal?
“Tacos! I’m not sure why breakfast tacos aren’t more popular outside of Texas.”
What was your first job?
“I worked a couple of summers during high school at my grandpa’s law office answering phones, filing, and typing.
My first architecture internship was for Debra J. Dockery, Architect in San Antonio, right next to the Alamo, working on schools and other municipal projects. I thought it was cool to see Debra’s signature again recently on my Texas license, as she also serves as Chair of the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners.”
List two pet peeves.
“The sound of Styrofoam rubbing together (I have goosebumps just thinking about it) and excessive complaining.”
What are three words your friends would use to describe you?
“driven, kind, reliable, meticulous (bonus word from my mom)”
What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?
“One of the most daring things I’ve done was moving from small town Texas to Chicago by myself, knowing absolutely no one. One of my architecture professors at Texas A&M suggested I apply to grad school at UIC. I visited for the first time after getting accepted. I was sold on the city, the architecture, and all the experiences I knew I’d have by getting outside my comfort zone.
Also, agreeing to go snowboarding with co-worker friends was daring. I knew I was bad at skiing because I basically walked down the mountain when I went with my family several years prior. It’s impossible to walk down the mountain with both feet strapped to a single board so there was quite a bit more falling. It was a little embarrassing, but fun.”
What is your favorite childhood memory?
“My most memorable childhood memory is from first grade when my friend Jodi and I accidentally sat in fire ants while collecting stuff outside for a craft project. We literally had to go to the nurse because we had ants in our pants.”
What’s your go-to productivity trick?
How do you prefer to start and/or end your day?
“I was never much a breakfast eater growing up. But, once I started working professionally, my morning routine included breakfast and WGN morning news. Most mornings, I’ll make a fried egg and toast to go with a banana and coffee.”
What book are you currently reading?
“I recently finished reading The Couple Next Door. I have a hard time putting down a good suspenseful novel.”
BONUS: Have you ever had a nickname? What is it?
“No, not really. My sisters will sometimes shorten it to Laur.”