Welcome to the latest issue of Sweet Sparkman | In Detail, in which we share insights into the art of architecture, a look at some of our projects, and news about our staff and organization. We hope you enjoy this glimpse into our practice and the many directions our profession takes us. As always, if there’s a particular project or topic you’d like us to address, let us know. We want “In Detail” to be a forum for enthusiasts of all things architecture and interior design, as well as those merely curious about the process.

A Closer Look at Sarasota County Fire Station #8
Latest video highlights the public safety structure

Earlier this year, firefighters and emergency service personnel officially took up residence at Sarasota County Fire Station #8. The structure’s design, highlighted in previous newsletters, includes 7,200 square feet of air-conditioned operational spaces spanning the station itself and the adjacent Special Operations Center. Like all good design, it reflects the inspiration of the site around it, with cultured limestone accents and ample overhangs for shade.

Now, you can get an even closer look at this stunning facility and the thought process behind the design with a brand-new video created by Sweet Sparkman. The short video includes in-depth commentary from Todd Sweet, principal and founder of Sweet Sparkman, and Brett Raymaker, vice president of Willis Smith Construction. It also explores the subtle elements that inform the design, from history, materials, usage, and the timeless pursuit of marrying form and function.

Click here to watch this new video. To view additional project photos and read more about the structure, take a look at the project profile on our website.

AIA Florida Tour of the Bay
AIA Florida Gulf Coast special event

Good design should show in rain or shine. Sweet Sparkman’s recent tour of The Bay project in downtown Sarasota, in partnership with Agency Landscape + Planning, proved just that. Many thanks to AIA Florida Gulf Coast for their interest in this project and organizing the tour. Special thanks to Fab Bozzolo-Fabia, Associate AIA and Chapter Associate Director for his help coordinating the event.

Those brave enough to face the rolling showers were treated to a detailed and in-depth tour of The Bay Project’s progress and plans for the future. The Bay project is one of Sarasota’s most ambitious public park initiatives to date, and Sweet Sparkman was proud to highlight many of its upcoming, cutting-edge design elements to a crowd of design enthusiasts, professionals, and community residents.

Sweet Sparkman has lent its design expertise for many of The Bay project’s most important on-site structures, including the concession and restroom pavilion, shade structures throughout the park, and the reading room shade structure. The Bay will also include a sunset boardwalk, kayak launch, and a venue nestled among lush green spaces.

Strong Culture, Unprecedented Growth
Local media note 32 percent employee growth

Amid the unique and historically significant challenges of the last year and a half, Sweet Sparkman has accelerated its growth, hiring 10 new team members since March 2020. In total, the company grew by over 32 percent and expanded to 31 employees since the start of the pandemic.

Last month, Sarasota Magazine and SRQ Magazine recognized Sweet Sparkman’s unprecedented growth. Company leaders credit the firm’s fast-paced expansion to a combination of factors, including strong company culture, a surging housing market, and an expansion of the firm’s scope of services beyond architecture. Specifically, the addition of interior design in 2018 has allowed the firm to better offer turn-key design to clients.

Sweet Sparkman partner Michele Demperio stressed the importance of fostering a culture of collaboration, fun, and excellence in the firm’s ability to land new talent. “Ultimately, our goal is to hire the most experienced and talented people that are passionate about design and using it to make people’s lives easier and more beautiful.”

Sweet Sparkman Continues to Add Talent
An introduction to our six new team members

And with that culture of collaboration, fun and excellence, here’s a shortlist of the new talented professionals who recently joined the Sweet Sparkman team. Welcome, all!

Allison McClure

A native of Gallipolis, Ohio, Allison holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Architecture from Kent State University. Her education was augmented by a three-month internship at a residential architecture firm on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, as well as a summer internship and fall co-op primarily working on retail architecture in Cleveland. Upon graduation, she moved to Naples, Florida, lured by the Gulf and its beaches. Allison was happy to join the staff at Sweet Sparkman, initially tackling several large commercial projects.

Autum Hanson

The daughter of a commercial pilot and a flight attendant, Autum inherited her love of travel and new horizons naturally. With a degree in Interior Architecture from The Ohio State University, she loves the artistic challenge of working within structured environments to flex her creative and problem-solving skills. In her off-hours, she enjoys horseback riding and other outdoor activities and is an avid “thrifter,” buying and reselling goods.

Dina Berg

Working on the administrative side of the architectural field for the past six years, Dina enjoys the professional, creative atmosphere of the design world, and the fast-paced atmosphere of Sweet Sparkman. Dina graduated from St. Lawrence University and lived in the northeast until moving to Florida in 2000. Outside of work she enjoys playing tennis and spending time with her family.

Jerry Kozaka

In 2018, Jerry moved to Florida after living in Chicago for 20 years. Originally from Poland, Jerry studied civil engineering in his native country. However, his enjoyment of working with numbers eventually led him to accounting. As a result, he graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting.

As an Accounting Manager, Jerry likes working across a variety of tasks and collaborating with other team members within the bustling office setting. When he’s not pouring over mathematical formulas or diving into spreadsheets, Jerry can be found spending time with his family, going to the beach, or fishing with his son.

Lindsay Long

Growing up in a small town on the North Carolina/Virginia border, Lindsay initially envisioned a future as a dancer or fashion designer. A growing love of the structure and histories of the area’s historic homes and warehouses, however, caused her to consider other types of creativity. When her parents decided to build a home, she was introduced to interior design as a career choice, and she acquired a new passion.

Lindsay attended Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina. After her first interior design class, she knew where her future lay. Now at Sweet Sparkman in Sarasota, she is excited about pursuing her chosen path working on many high-profile public projects.

Owen McCormick

As an outdoorsman, Owen appreciates the biodiversity of Florida. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, he earned his bachelor’s degree at Auburn University. While a third year, he worked at the school’s acclaimed Rural Studio, an off-campus design-build program that gives architecture students a more hands-on educational experience within a small community in South Alabama.

Taking advantage of the Florida weather to hike and bicycle, he also enjoys his time on the job, using his knack for mathematics to execute project design across the range of Sweet Sparkman residential, commercial, and public architectural work.

Sweet Sparkman | In Detail allows us to share select updates and show you glimpses behind the scenes at Sweet Sparkman Architecture and Interiors. We hope you'll also connect with us via Instagram and LinkedIn.

Of course, our favorite way to connect is by talking. That's the best way to hear what's on your mind and share ideas about the projects that are important to you. One way or another, let's connect!

- The Sweet Sparkman Team

Oct. 14, 2021