Challenge Seekers: Ballinger on Boards

  • 05.06.24|2 min. read

The day-to-day tasks of architects, engineers, and interior designers require diligent focus and intense time commitments. At Ballinger, we respect and celebrate the efforts of our employees that push themselves to make space in their busy lives to use their skills as designers, leaders, and challenge-seekers to serve their community and their craft.

Senior Principal Eric Swanson, AIA and Senior Associate Emily Perrotta, IIDA, LEED AP are among our firm leaders currently serving on nonprofit boards of directors. Nonprofit boards are excellent workshops for building individual leadership skills that can be translated back into the workplace. Board service can also strengthen the ties between businesses and communities and board members can play an important role in shaping the direction of the nonprofit organization, using their specialized skillsets to expand the organization’s capacity to innovate.

Eric Swanson has served on the board of Bartram’s Garden nearly a decade. After learning about the organization from a neighbor and motivated by a lifelong passion for gardening and conservation, he joined the board at a turning point for the organization. A new executive director brought fresh energy, securing a grant for infrastructure improvements and renovations to the 18th-Century John Bartram House museum and a restoration of a historical garden. Bartram’s Garden was seeking board members with experience in architecture and infrastructure design and Eric was happy to donate his talents to this cause.

A passionate designer and Philadelphian, Emily has long admired Collab and its role within the local design community. “I just always wanted to be a part of it. They were putting on some of the best displays and events in the museum and I wanted the opportunity to tap into that creative, designed-focused environment,” she said. Her current role on the board involves cultivating awareness in the industry about Collab and championing the specialized skills of design professionals to provide curatorial support. “Beyond our direct work with the museum, we work with Design Philadelphia, which is pretty exciting,” said Emily, “We do a lot of events with them and support their work in the community.”

Through their board service, Emily and Eric enhance two significant Philadelphia destinations, but they’re quick to expound on the benefits they reap from this type of community service. “Seeing the dedication of the nonprofit’s staff to what they do and to the mission of the place is very rewarding,” said Eric, “It can seem idealistic, but I think, in general, people have strong values that motivate them to do this kind of work. It’s great to experience.” For Emily, it’s about connection, “Board service has provided me with fantastic exposure to an array of designers and how they’re thinking. Being a part of bringing these perspectives to other Philadelphia area-designers and back to my work at Ballinger has been huge,” she said.