Associate Ryan Shank continues to grow as an architect, adding value to the firm, clients and community.
Ryan Shank’s joy in creating conceptualized as a young boy.
The York native’s father worked as a builder; his mother was an artist. He spent his childhood drawing buildings and sitting in front of the drill press in his grandfather’s woodshop. In his teenage years, he helped his father construct houses.
“I was one of those kids who always knew he wanted to be an architect growing up,” Shank said.
He went on to study Architecture at Drexel University and graduated in 2008. He worked at a firm outside Philadelphia for several years before Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects hired him in 2014.
Like he planned, Shank became an architect when he grew up. And he continues to grow as one, too.
Helping young professionals grow
Murphy & Dittenhafer has made a point to nurture the careers of young architects like Shank, from helping them pursue professional certification by deferring exam costs and making sure they receive a more holistic overview of the profession by exposing them to a wide range of situations.
Even the layout of M&D’s office – an open studio – encourages exchanges between seasoned architects and their younger colleagues.
“We see emerging professionals as the future of the industry,” Shank said. “The firm feel it’s our jobs to pass along what we know and encourage emerging professionals to succeed and learn as much as they can.”
M&D Principal Frank Dittenhafer II FAIA, LEED AP, said he doesn’t view the younger professionals as just fitting into a limited role.
“The broader the experience that group can get, the more diverse and wider it can be,” Dittenhafer said. “It really increases their knowledge, perspective, confidence and their sense of value not just for our firm but for the clients and community at large.”
This experience can include anything from attending design meetings with clients or meetings on building codes/regulatory requirements, participating in the early conceptual planning phases of a project or visiting project construction sites.
Fostering emerging leaders
Murphy & Dittenhafer was recently named one of the 24 PA Firms Fostering Emerging Leaders recognized by the American Institute of Architects Pennsylvania.
Shank, who flagged Dittenhafer about the award and urged the firm to submit an entry form, says Murphy & Dittenhafer has continued to help grow his career, including offsetting the cost of an AIA membership, sending him to this year’s AIA national convention in Philadelphia and providing the study materials for him to take the LEED exam.
Dittenhafer said Shank, who’s now an Associate at the firm, is a perfect example of someone who’s taken advantage of these learning opportunities to further his career.
“He’s been fearless, works hard and has represented the firm very well,” Dittenhafer said. “Ryan doesn’t have as much experience as someone with 25 years, but he knows where to find the answers, and he knows how to communicate well.”
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Joy in creating
And he’s already contributed to several notable projects in the region – including the ongoing renovations at the former Lafayette Club on East Market Street in York and the new Student Commons at HACC’s York campus.
At each of these projects, Shank carries that childhood joy he’s found in creating.
Dittenhafer said Shank is normally a calm, even-keel person, but even he can’t help being giddy as he observes the unique elements of a particular project being translated from design to reality.
When the Student Center at HACC-York began transforming from an empty 3,000-square-foot space to a unique, modern gathering space, Shank could hardly contain his excitement, Dittenhafer said.
“It was like a kid unwrapping presents under the tree on Christmas morning.”