JLG Architects is Building Better Communities by Design

Written by: Fargo Inc

By Tracy Nicholson | Photos provided by JLG Architects

JLG Architects has come a long way since 1989, from a small start-up of two owners to a national pacesetter and woman-led ESOP with nine offices and over 200 employee-owners. Nearly a quarter of JLG’s elite team chose to plant their roots in Fargo, remaining downtown for nearly 20 years—at the heart of the community they love. While JLG has worked hard to build a better Fargo-Moorhead, they’ll quickly tell you that this community has built a better JLG.

Designed To Go The Distance

JLG believes the growth of the firm and the growth of Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo should be aligned in a way that’s designed to go the distance. “Supporting the community is just common sense,” said JLG’s Fargo-Moorhead Regional Manager, Rob Remark, AIA. “If business leaders are solely focused on internal growth and not the strength and vitality of their surrounding communities, they’re probably missing the more meaningful mission. Building a better business can only happen by building a better community; that means staying engaged and informed.”

“Suppor ting the community is just common sense.” Rob Remark, AIA, JLG’s Fargo-Moorhead Regional Manager

A Culture of Empowering Community

JLG drives a culture that empowers interaction and uplifts communities. Professionally, they deliver solutions that transcend tradition; multi-use arenas that entertain and educate, workplaces that feel like home, and schools and community centers that embrace our differences and diversity. Personally, JLG’s team is dedicated to transformation—making waves that spread opportunity across the community.

“We don’t just work in this community, we live here—it’s personal. We want to live in a great community, and that means a flourishing environment that feels like we’re all in it together,” said JLG’s Ty Pritchard. “I can’t think of a better way to do that than to take on projects that change the landscape of our community and improve the lives of my friends, family, and neighbors.”

“We don’t just work in this community, we live here—it ’s personal.” Ty Pritchard, AIA, JLG Project Designer

For years, the firm has dedicated 1% of its annual billings to pro bono design for local nonprofit organizations, including United Way, FMCT, Northern Lights Council of Boy Scouts, and F-M Science Museum, to name a few. Additionally, all JLGers are given time off to volunteer and support community causes, both professional and personal.

2023 Street Fair Booth Marking Team
Down Home Volunteer Team

Did You Know?
JLG Architects is working closely with the City of Moorhead to advise a new Downtown Moorhead Masterplan Vision, aimed at re-energizing community engagement with vibrant activities and gathering spaces.

“To take the time and initiative to find ways to meaningfully impact our communities is truly at the heart and soul of what being a JLGer means.” Tracy Jordre, AIA, JLG’s LEED AP, Principal Architect, and Workplace Design Expert

“Without building a better community, our work at JLG is limited.” Jennifer Burke Jackson, AIA, LEED AP, Principal Architect & JLG podcaster

“As designers, we want to better understand the needs of the unheard so that we can thoughtfully elevate issues impacting our communities.”

Matthew Dunham, AIA, JLG Brand Coordinator

“One of the things that I so deeply appreciate about JLG is our devotion to our communities,” said Tracy Jordre, AIA, LEED AP, principal architect, and workplace design expert. “To take the time and initiative to find ways to meaningfully impact our communities is truly at the heart and soul of what being a JLGer means. When I’m volunteering and engaging in community activities, I am continually developing beautiful friendships which have made my life so much more meaningful.”

Engaging All Voices

JLG’s employee-owners orchestrate outreach with avenues like the firm’s “Community Matters” podcast, which seeks out all voices within raw interviews and storytelling—using conversation as a catalyst to systematic change. “You can only truly elevate broadly, solve systemwide problems, and create a brighter future as a community,” added Principal Architect and podcaster, Jennifer Burke Jackson. “Without building a better community, our work at JLG is limited. We have to grow, learn, and collaborate beyond our areas of expertise to maximize impact.”

JLG believes the building must care about the community for the community to care about the building. The team doesn’t just focus on who will use the building, but also on who isn’t using the building and why. Their team steps out of traditional town halls to meet people where they are, across the neighborhood at local festivals, parks, and marketplaces, in addition to online surveys and personal phone calls.

“As designers, we want to better understand the needs of the unheard so that we can thoughtfully elevate issues impacting our communities,” said JLG’s Matthew Dunham. “Design and creative thinking are powerful tools which can lead to effective policy changes and interventions.”

JLG’s team focuses on people-first solutions that reflect, nurture, and respond to users in a way that builds better communities, one block or building at a time. They know community transformation happens from the inside out, starting at the core of their own company. By elevating the voices of this community, JLG keeps the conversation flowing, opening the door to volunteerism, activism, stewardship, and human compassion.

Learn more at jlgarchitects.com

Check out the Community Matters Podcast by visiting: jlgarchitects.com/community-matters-podcast

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Brady Drake is the editor of Fargo INC!