Time flies! Reminiscing 20 years with Linda Mark

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Oct 30, 2023 JJCA Fostering Creative Minds

In the enchanting year of 2003, amidst camera phones, Xbox Live, and the whimsical dawn of iTunes, a fresh graduate from UT Knoxville, Linda Mark, embarked on her quest for the perfect career opportunity. Hailing from the quaint town of East Berlin, Pennsylvania, Linda was an avid member of the UT marching band, even witnessing her team's thrilling victory at the Fiesta Bowl.

Yet, Linda's heart was set on becoming an architect, yearning for a place where every day brought new adventures and creativity knew no bounds. Her serendipitous encounter with JJCA felt like stepping into a fairy tale. In interviews with Michael Speck and Tim Morgan, Linda felt an inexplicable connection as she toured the office. She instantly knew this was where she was meant to be, declaring, "This is where I belong."

But rewind a bit, and you'll discover Linda's architectural dreams were nurtured from an early age. Her parents built their home when she was just a toddler, and she'd wander amidst the construction, captivated by her father's engineering drawings. In high school, she truly embraced the idea of becoming an architect.

These early impressions lingered, and Linda's architectural journey is not just about designing spaces; it's about crafting environments where people feel safe, inspired, and eager to learn. This is especially true in her role as the Education Practice Leader at JJCA, a role close to her heart as a parent with children in school. She understands that the school environment is pivotal to a student's success.

Linda's first day at JJCA was a symphony of train sounds, a quirky quirk of the office location. It took her six weeks to tune out the train's rhythm. She's navigated two major office renovations and relocated six times, a testament to the ever-evolving needs of creative minds.

And what about her favorite project, you ask? While architects don't typically play favorites, Linda cherishes her first project—the North Valley Hospital in Whitefish, Montana (now Logan Health). Fresh out of college, she was immersed in every aspect of the design and construction process. The historical charm of Whitefish left an indelible mark on her heart.

Beyond her architectural endeavors, Linda is a devoted "boy mom" to three energetic sons, ages 13, 9, and 7. Her days are a whirlwind of tennis, flag football, and baseball, each day a unique adventure.

Her favorite hobby is a delightful one—quilting modern quilts with vibrant colors and captivating patterns. Her sewing room, a sanctuary of creativity, complements her architectural passion, allowing her to blend colors, textures, and designs masterfully.

As for her wishes, travel sits at the top of Linda's list. She dreams of taking her sons to Whitefish, exploring the Philippines, and traversing Europe. With her whimsical spirit and boundless creativity, there's no doubt she'll turn these dreams into enchanting realities.

We’re a close team at JJCA, and celebrating 20 years is a good time for colleagues to chime in about working with Linda:

David Johnson: “One of the great joys as a founding principal of our firm is to watch people join us and grow. Since our founding principles were to hire people from school, invest in them, and mentor them to be great architects, it has been fun to watch Linda show why that principle is so important to us.  As a senior associate, Linda has shown what a team player she is, not just in getting the work done but also in growing our team and supporting the growth of the next generation of our team. In a world where everyone is so busy, she is always quick to recognize the contributions of others and bring them to our attention. Founding Principles are important, and Linda is a perfect example of why!”

David Brown: “For two decades, Linda and I have worked together almost non-stop on various projects, from schools to community centers to recruiting and conducting staff reviews, and most of all, a steady stream of projects from Logan Health - Whitefish. That day-to-day camaraderie and joint effort formed a deep friendship, admiration, and respect over that period. Linda’s impact on JJCA can be seen everywhere- from her thoughtful design and leadership approach on the Ensworth School Campuses to her passion for consistent process and delivery.”

Michael Speck: “While it sure doesn’t seem like 20 years since I first met Linda at a UT job fair, she’s spent those years making great spaces for our clients and making JJCA a better workplace. I look forward to the coming years of working together and creating great buildings together.”

Jason Putnal: “Linda is an important part of our firm and has been for many years. She has a positive attitude toward work and projects is always encouraging, but one of the things I appreciate most is her ability to read people. She picks up on cues we don’t usually see, whether it’s coworkers, a recruit, or a client. It’s amazing how often those intuitions are right on target.”

Tim Morgan: “Linda’s a great example for all of us on doggedness, making sure that the owner’s vision, her thoughtful design, and the contractor’s execution are carried out to excellence.”


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