Employee Spotlight: Monika Hemm, AIA LEED AP
Monika Hemm, ALA, AIA, LEED AP on November 28, 2018

Employee Spotlight: Monika Hemm, AIA LEED AP

You probably thought we’d start out by trumpeting what a great architect Monika is.  We’ll get to that.
  But we also thought you’d like to know what a great person she is. 

In addition to her role at BBA as a senior architect,  she and her husband Mark are proud parents of two gifted daughters.  She also is a volunteer extraordinaire, and a passionate advocate for others.

“Sorry if this sounds overly heady and serious, but I believe that everyone should give freely of their time and talents,” says Monika.  “It’s on us all to help benefit the larger community, and that should stem from gratitude at one’s good fortune.”

Monika didn’t learn that in architectural classes.  But possessing a giving heart for others is part of her persona.  And to the rest of us at BBA Architects, it’s as much a reason to embrace her as part of our team.

Born in Evanston, IL., Monika’s parents emigrated here from Germany, and still live in the home where she was raised alongside an older sister and younger brother. Her mother was a nurse and homemaker.  Dad repaired boilers for the Campbell Soup Co. for nearly 40 years.

She earned her first dollar as a pre-teen alongside her sister, delivering a weekly newspaper to some 200 porches, pushing a shopping cart as they zig-zagged the neighborhood.

Monika knew from an early age that she’d be an architect.  A really early age.  Like 3. “I always loved drawing, and I loved that mom got me into jigsaw puzzles way back. My all-time favorite toys were building blocks. Later on, I was fascinated by tools and construction, and would follow my dad around, who was handy that way.  It just got into my blood.”

Monika earned her architectural degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago, which included a year-long study abroad in France, inside studios rendered from stables across from the Palace of Versailles itself, an architectural wonder sporting more than 700 rooms and 1,200-plus fireplaces.

It’s difficult to pinpoint what she likes about architecture, because she enjoys the entire process.  It’s easier for her to express her preference working for BBA Architects, where she’s been employed nearly 7 years: “I’m very passionate about what I do, and I hope that comes through.  I love creating environments for people to enjoy, and to fulfill the lifestyles they wish to have.  Working at BBA allows me the opportunity to make those dreams come true for so many.


“As a senior architect, I perform all aspects of a project, and that includes renovation, zoning and building code analysis, design development, permit drawings, construction drawings and much more, including site visits to view progress, advising on bidding, researching products and client correspondence.

“At BBA, we work hard to meet every need, no matter how complex, and it’s so fulfilling to be able to work at a firm which respects those concerns.”

When Monika isn’t benefitting clients, you might find her reading or using her creative skills in the kitchen, where she specializes in cookies, especially at the holidays, when she’ll bring in more than a few batches to share with grateful BBA co-workers.

She also delights in cross-stitch, belongs to a fantasy football league, counts her favorite sport as soccer (though loves collegiate basketball’s “March Madness”), thrills to swing dancing (“I love Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly!”) and musical groups like (wait for it…): Green Day.

She also hefts a mean bowling ball; with an average these days of a healthy 150.  At her zenith, it was closer to 170.

As for her penchant for volunteering, that takes many forms, focusing on teaching, fundraising and crafts – everything from play set builds to costumes to uniform alterations.  Most recently, she rolled up her sleeves to serve as chairperson for a Yankee Candle fundraiser.  She also serves as secretary for her church’s foundation.

Monika’s career has spanned 35 years, and she has no intentions of slowing down. She immerses herself in every aspect of the architectural process, enjoying the challenges of “a constantly evolving project.”  She’s also proud of her standing and accomplishments in a profession long dominated by males. 

 “I hope that what I’ve done might inspire other young women to realize that they, too, can follow their dreams if they work hard and persevere – no matter what field they choose to excel in.”