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Todd Rich on 16 years with DBIA

This past week, DBIA’s Web & Graphics Systems Manager, Todd Rich, celebrated her 16-year anniversary as a DBIA employee. Todd sat down with us to discuss the tremendous changes DBIA has gone through since she started in 1997.

Has your role changed much since you started working at DBIA?

Todd Rich: When I was first hired, my work involved much more graphic design – I did Design-Build Dateline (our newsletter at the time), course brochures and conference materials. As DBIA has grown and technology evolved, my work has become more and more focused on electronic communication, rather than print. In 1997, we didn't have an e-newsletter and most contact with members was done with printed materials. Now, the bulk of what we do is through email or on the internet, although we still have our magazine, which I began writing articles for in 2009, first as Design-Build Dateline and currently as Integration Quarterly.

What is the biggest difference between DBIA today and DBIA 16 years ago?

Todd Rich: DBIA itself, and its role, have changed significantly. In 1997, we were still struggling to get design-build accepted as a project delivery method. Today, with the increased acceptance of design-build, the emphasis is on "design-build done right.” The size of the staff has also increased. There were only eight people who worked here when I started 16 years ago and now there are more than 20 of us. More staff means people are able to be more focused on specific areas. This means we all have more in-depth knowledge and can dig deeper into subject areas, allowing us to master and share more detailed information.

Has DBIA always been located on Pennsylvania Ave.?

Todd Rich: This is the third location of the DBIA offices I've worked in. The first move – from 1010 Massachusetts Avenue – was because the building had been sold and was going to be torn down. Moving to 1100 H Street put us closer to a Metro stop and allowed us to have a better planned layout. We outgrew the H Street offices and moved to the current location (1331 Pennsylvania Ave.) about 18 months ago, which allowed us to start off with a planned layout with room for additional staff in the future. Our current office also has the advantage of being much more attractive and comfortable for both staff and visitors (so we can host some classes in the office). It's also much more sustainable – enough so that the space has earned LEED Silver certification.

What is the main difference between our website and online offerings when you started, and our web presence today?

Todd Rich: There's a world of difference. When I started, the website consisted of four pages and there was no way to interact, even by email, through the site. That wasn’t unusual at the time, though. Remember the White House had only launched a website a few years prior. Our website was redesigned and upgraded several times over the years. A major update took place in 1999, another in 2002 and again in 2007. The most recent update happened this year and was, by far, the most extensive update we’ve ever done. Our current website provides a wealth of information, online continuing education courses and the ability to register for courses and conferences. Members can even download the Manual of Practice, now an entirely electronic document.


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