Yana Stannik was a Designer and Senior Designer at Fat Pencil Studio from 2017-2022.
Portland Streetcar Maintenance Facility Building, image: Stacy & Witbeck
Stacy & Witbeck was established in 1981 in the Bay Area where some of their initial projects included the rehabilitation of San Francisco’s historic cable car lines. In the four decades since, the company has built a transportation construction portfolio of hundreds of streetcar, commuter rail, light rail, and other infrastructure projects across the country.
How far in advance do you make a decision about bidding on an RFP?
PAT: Most of the larger projects are tracked by our business development years in advance, so by the time an agency/owner releases a Request for Proposal/Qualifications, the decision of whether Stacy and Witbeck would pursue has already been made. However, when smaller projects come out, which are not on our radar, because of timing, it would be a case-by-case basis whether we have the capacity to work on the proposal.
Who at Stacy & Witbeck is involved in the proposal process?
PAT: It starts with us, Pat, Sylvia, and Adrienne, the Proposals and Marketing team. We bring in construction team members to dig in and understand how the job is going to be built. It’s really important to have the project team's involvement from those people who are actually going to build the job… have them figure out how to build it.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
ADRIENNE: I really enjoy writing about the project approach and then getting to see how the project comes together. Like you said, it does seem like you’re reading into the future a little bit. I think it’s exciting when you get to see all the work and planning we do together move from the page to the real world.
PAT: Yes, going out to watch it being built, after trying to figure out how it’s going to get built. As often as we can, we’ll go out to different jobs and see them actually in progress, and that’s really interesting.
When did you first cross paths with Fat Pencil Studio?
SYLVIA: We had a colleague who worked in our Portland office who attended a WTS (Women’s Transportation Seminar) event. She met Joshua who explained what Fat Pencil's capabilities were. She then told us about meeting Joshua and that there could be a possibility of using Fat Pencil on future pursuits. As we worked on the proposal for a project in Phoenix, we started talking about the approach, and thought this might be a perfect opportunity to see what Fat Pencil could do with us. Your team built some really impressive 3D SketchUps of how we planned to build the project.
How do you decide when to call us for assistance with a project?
ADRIENNE: This often happens when the team has an idea of how we can confidently and efficiently do something that may be challenging for others. At that point, we’ve developed a deeper understanding of our approach and proposed solutions and want this to come through in the finished proposal.
PAT: We do like a lot of visuals. We love a map. We love staging. We can have a string of twelve little sketches that describes the sequence, but a 3D diagram can show so many things in one image that you can’t do on the 2D.
Since your team is based in the San Francisco area, we normally collaborate remotely, but for the TriMet Red Line project, you all came up to work out of the Portland office to finalize the proposal. How did this change things?
PAT: Well, we had already worked remotely with Fat Pencil, and we appreciate how your work product evolves after back-and-forth reviews with our team. And other members of our company have seen the final product in a proposal but had not had a chance to work directly with you. So, on the Red Line project, all of that came together, we were all able to work together from the beginning and see firsthand how this whole process evolved. Our team started talking about building something, you guys knew exactly what they were talking about. The in-person collaboration was really powerful, and we ended up with an outstanding result.