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Meet Heather, Our New Autocad Technician!

Meet Heather Derstine the newest addition to Rich & Associates!

Heather is a 5th-year student at Lawrence Tech University, and graduating in December with a degree in interior architecture. She is working at Rich & Associates as an Autocad Technician. I sat down with Heather to learn a little more about her.

Originally from Midland MI, Heather chose Lawrence Tech because they had an interior architecture program and because it gave her the opportunity to continue her soccer career in college. She said her favorite part of playing soccer at Lawrence Tech was finally making the conference tournament in her senior year. Heather has two siblings, a brother that studies bio-chem at Hope College in Holland, MI and a sister that is a physicians assistant outside of D.C.

Heather said she really enjoyed going to Lawrence Tech because of the hands-on approach in their architecture program. The projects give students the opportunity to build a personal portfolio before they even start in the workforce.

Fun Facts about Heather…

She is totally into Sci-Fi! She loves Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars. She said she likes Star Trek, but definitely, doesn’t consider herself a Trekkie. Heather said she had a really great summer and was able to go to the beach frequently. She also took a trip to Florida, for a leadership conference with her sorority.
Like most people… Heather wasn’t sure what to expect when she found out that Rich & Associates designed parking structures. But after working here for a couple weeks, she said. She has found that there is much more to the design and the overall planning and implementation of parking. She admitted, “Now I find myself evaluating parking structures wherever I go; before I don’t think I noticed them at all.”

Heather is definitely a bright young and talented architect and we are excited to see what she is capable of at Rich & Associates!


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Park(ing) Day


park(ing) dayEveryone at Rich & Associates knows parking is about more than just two yellow lines. It’s about mobility, people, and community. And that is what Park(ing) day is about! The annual worldwide event transforms parking spaces into pop-up parks for one. Dreamed up by San Francisco art group Rebar, the event challenges people to reimagine parking spots as mini-parks. It is celebrated the 3rd Friday in September.

Park(ing) Day is a great way for people in parking to take a minute to reflect on the reason we have parking at all. It is for people, and Park(ing) Day gives us a reason to talk about the necessity of public planning officials to work towards making urban environments more pedestrian friendly, rather than just for vehicle parking. Annaka Norris, a 12-year parking planning veteran at Rich & Associates is a mobility expert… She had this is to say about the importance of planning for people, not vehicles. “When planning for parking, we plan for people and alternative means of transportation. From lighting to green space we should work towards urban areas that are more pedestrian friendly, and Park(ing) Day starts that conversation.”

Rich & Associates participated in the worldwide event by transforming 3 parking spaces into a “Cookout BBQ Lunch Space! It was a beautiful day and we had a lot of fun; even playing some cornhole!

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Content Marketing

Is content marketing part of your marketing strategy? The answer should be yes!

No matter what industry you’re in, even in the parking industry, content marketing should be a part of your marketing plan. “Content Marketing is a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.” -Google Dictionary

Whether your firm is B2B or B2C (business to business or business to consumer), content marketing is a great way to create a relationship with your client base. Don’t believe us? Check out the info in the infographic! “B2B companies that blogged 11+ times per month had almost 3X more website traffic than those blogging 0-1 times.” Having a blog is a great way to get traffic to your website and interaction with your brand. From social media to blog posts, content marketing has a less invasive approach compared to traditional marketing. It creates the interest for the consumer, which is the first step in creating a positive relationship with your customer/client/consumer (whoever they might be).

While Facebook marketing is not always the answer to B2B marketing, it is important to have an updated page showing clients you are invested in your marketing and keeping up to date with your marketing strategies. Your Facebook Page should be an extension of your brand, including fonts, corporate colors, and overall tone. It may be a good idea to have more of personal tone on social media, so people can relate to your brand on a personal level.

If you want to mix content marketing into your marketing strategy we recommend starting with a blog and publishing 1-2 posts a month, and keeping an updated Facebook Page. The blog will not only help your SEO (or search engine optimization) on your company’s website, it will give you great content to post on social media sites as well!

Check out the infographic for more on content marketing!

content marketing


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1 Comment

The Beauty of Mixed-Use

While mixed-use parking structures started sometime in the 1950s… It has been a major trend in parking structure design over the past 20 years. The mixed-use garage is a great design for many reasons. In particular, it allows the pedestrians of a city to have a street view of the shops, retail, or even gym within the ground level of the garage. The Z-Deck in Detroit Michigan even created a whole walkway for entertainment, art display, and pure genius.


Rich & Associates acted as a consultant to the lead architect Neumann Smith on the Z-Deck. The parking structure is unlike any other in the world. Every level has wall length art murals painted by artists from all over the world. The colorful playfulness of the inside of the garage creates a modern interior facade that makes you forget that you are actually in a parking structure. The odd Z shape creates an alley in the middle of the structure that is filled with life. From bars and restaurants to public displays of art, the alley, known as “The Beltway” serves as a destination for locals and tourists alike.

On the lower level of the Z-Deck, lies within it an amazing restaurant and bar called Punch Bowl Social. A hip and modern eatery and bar equipped with a bowling alley, arcade games, ping pong and food that will keep you coming back. The rest of the Z-Deck ground level is filled even more shops and restaurants.

It’s very interesting to ponder what the block on Broadway and Grand River would look like if this structure was not mixed-use. The parking structure does more than just influence the block, it makes it. This block would not be thriving were it not for the mixed-use structure making it. We were thankful to be apart of such an amazing development in the heart of Detroit with Bedrock Real Estate and Neumann Smith Architecture.

When designing parking it is always important we remember that we design them for people, not just cars.


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Rich & Associates Volunteer at Life Remodeled Detroit

I think I would be hard pressed to find someone at my firm who said they have lots of time on their hands… or find someone that would say work just wasn’t that challenging right now. The truth is, we’re busy. And it’s easy to get swept up into the hustle of everyday work life and forget there are bigger things than your work and ultimately yourself. I was reminded of this last week when I volunteered with AIA-Detroit during the Life Remodeled 6-Day Project in Detroit.

Every year AIA-Detroit promotes the 6-Day Project event to their AIA members and architecture firms around Detroit to get volunteers to roll up their sleeves and give back. Life Remodeled is a Detroit-based nonprofit that continuously works on bettering Detroit neighborhoods. Every year Life Remodeled invests approximately 5 million in cash, labor, and materials into a Detroit neighborhood. This was the biggest 6-Day Project to date.

How We Helped

The AIA-Detroit group was bused to a block in Detroit near the old Central High School (the first high school ever built in Detroit and opened in 1863). Our job was to clear the over grown brush and tree branches that covered the sidewalks and abandoned houses so members of the community would feel safe to walk the streets to get to school, or perhaps to go to the new community innovation center that is currently being created from the old elementary school a few blocks away. (click here to donate for their renovation efforts. Just $10 gets your name on the gym floor which I thought was a pretty cool idea.)

I cannot say I am a fan of yard work or noisy landscaping tools… But you would’ve thought our group of architects, engineers (and marketing professionals like yours truly) were professional landscapers. We all jumped for weed-whippers, lawnmowers, and hedge trimmers. It wasn’t exactly fun work but at the same time, I was having fun. Everyone at the event was truly working their butts off to give this block the face-lift it needed to be safe for the community. It was especially rewarding when a car stopped by and invited everyone to a block party later to thank us for our work (true story).


My Takeaways from the Event

Driving around the surrounding neighborhoods was a true eye-opener that the everyday annoyances I encounter from people not returning my emails, or missed deadlines are a very small speckle compared to the problems that communities like this face every day. While many of us consider ourselves to be “busy” we need to make sure we fit in community-enriching things too. Life is much bigger than bottom-lines and deadlines. Giving back when we can really needs to be more of a priority for us all.

If you’d like to learn more about Life Remodeled or donate to their amazing efforts – Click here!

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Rich & Associates’ New Architectural Technician — Luke Pesci

Spring is in full bloom so bring out the shorts, sandals and for some of you… the antihistamines. Spring tends to bring us a fresh outlook and it’s a great time for new beginnings! One exciting new beginning at R&A is the fresh face that is now a part of our architecture department — Luke Pesci.

I met with Luke to get a little insight into his personality and to see what it’s like to be a 21-year-old Lawrence Tech student working at Rich & Associates.

I met with Luke to get a little insight into his personality and to see what it’s like to be a 21-year-old Lawrence Tech student working at Rich & Associates. Luke started with R&A in January and serves as an architectural technician. He will graduate from Lawrence tech with a BS in Architecture in about 1-2 years. His least favorite thing about college is the time commitment it takes. He told me that his design classes are the most time-consuming. Instead, he’d much rather be outside playing pick-up soccer with some of his friends or dabbling in photography.

Growing up having been home schooled, his favorite thing about college is the social aspect of it. Although Luke had always been interested in design, it was when he turned 15 that he decided he wanted to be an architect. He even took architecture classes at Oakland Community College to be sure that architecture was the right fit for him. His favorite architect is Renzo Piano because of his ability blend architecture and engineering with interesting patterns. Not surprisingly, after being hired at Rich & Associates Luke was shocked to find out just how big of an impact that parking has on our society and even in architecture. He said he always found urban planning interesting, but never considered the effect that parking has on it. Right now Luke mostly works on production drawings at Rich & Associates but has also worked on 3-D models for R&A. Excited to see what Luke can bring Rich & Associates now and into the future!

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Wagner Place Groundbreaking


Wagner Place Ground Breaking Rick Snyder

Michigan Governor Celebrates the Wagner Place Ground Breaking in Dearborn

Abuzz in Dearborn

Today, I attended the ceremonial groundbreaking for Wagner Place. Wagner Place is a new urban environment offering new retail and office space. Everyone in attendance was abuzz about the new project, especially special guest Michigan Governor, Rick Snyder who spoke about the project with genuine enthusiasm. The renderings for the project displayed a ultra-modern urban collection of office and retail space. Any millennial would love to work at a campus like Wagner Place.

Ford is investing over $60 million dollars into the 150,000-sqaure-foot development. The Wagner Place Project is a part of transforming Ford’s workspaces into a modern corporate campus that will in return attract young professional talent to their company. The first floor of the development will be retail and restaurants, and the second floor will be office space to house about 600 Ford employees.

The City of Dearborn received $3 million in support from the Michigan Strategic Fund to construct a 373 spot parking structure near the development. Rich & Associates is proud to be chosen as the designer, architect and structural engineer for the Wagner Place Garage.

Breathing New Life Into Dearborn

At the groundbreaking, you could feel the energy that this kind of development brings a city. The City of Dearborn and Ford are taking major leaps to be a catalyst to breathe new life into the City of Dearborn. And it couldn’t be a better time to do that. With all the revitalization that is happening in Detroit, it’s a great time for other Metro Detroit cities to follow suit. Today I saw people determined to bring the people of Dearborn a city they can be excited about.

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We’re Rebranding!!

In preparation for our 55th Anniversary next year, we are excited to announce Rich & Associates is getting a new look! Don’t worry, we’re still the company you know and trust we just look cooler now.

Our rebranding journey started with the hiring of our new Marketing Coordinator Kellsey Poston. We wanted a new fresh look to echo our updated website and new digital marketing strategy. Since 1963, Rich & Associates has been one of the nation’s leading parking consultants, providing expert parking planning and design services to government agencies, medical and educational institutions, developers, architects, and contractors… And while our business plan has continued to adapt, our look has not. But that’s changing now.

Our New Logo

A logo is the most important visual element of a brand identity. The inspiration for the logo came from one of our parking structures. The signature glass staircase in the photo is recreated in the logo design. Since Rich & Associates is partly an architecture firm, the logo has sort of a sketched look as if an architect was drawing it. The ends of the logo never end as if to extend into the abyss.


If you need a new version of our logo please contact marketing at 


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Precast Cement Field Trip

Have you ever been to a precast cement plant? Chances are you haven’t. Chances also are you wouldn’t believe me if I told you it was one of the more interesting places I have ever been. Precast cement is exactly what it sounds like… Cement that is poured into giant forms that then become pieces to a major puzzle like a parking structure. The pieces that hold a lot of weight are reinforced with steel than are erected to build the floors and walls of a cement structure.

Our friends at IPS were nice enough to give me a full tour of the impressive operation. During the tour I learned a lot about the way precast is formed and eventually made into structures that we drive on with full confidence. The end result of the concrete forms take a total team effort. There were many departments made up of workers with different specialty trades. One of the trades were the carpenters that build the forms. After the concrete is set, the giant forms get transported to the site via semi-truck. Seeing all the forms being made and prepared for shipping is nothing short of amazing.

Check out The Prestressed Group’s website for more info The Prestressed Group

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Wagner Place Parking Structure to Rise in Downtown West Dearborn

Detroit is named The Motor City for one reason.

It put the country on wheels. Today, Detroit still earns that name by having 4 major auto companies still call Michigan their home. Ford Motor Company (who’s corporate office is in Dearborn, Michigan) has decided to invest $60 million dollars in a mixed-use redevelopment of two blocks in Dearborn’s West Downtown.  In support of the major redevelopment, the City of Dearborn is building a 370 space multi-level parking structure. As design/build partners with Devon Industrial Group of Detroit, Rich & Associates is providing parking consulting, architecture and engineering design services for the project. We’re also working closely with Nuemann/Smith Architecture, the prime architects of the Ford Land’s Wagner Place redevelopment, and the creators of the original parking structure facade.

Check out this awesome video about the project:

Ford invests in downtown Dearborn

With support from the MEDC, Ford Motor Company plans to redevelop 12 parcels of property encompassing three city blocks in west downtown Dearborn. The mixed-use development could eventually provide workspace to up to 600 employees, and will help to attract top next-generation talent to Michigan.

Posted by Michigan Economic Development Corporation on Tuesday, December 20, 2016