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Gratitude- A Part of Business and Life! 

On, Sunday July 30th, 2017, Barb and I worshiped at Mercy Vineyard Church in Northeast Minneapolis. Mercy is a “church in a warehouse” project that we completed this spring with John Ryan at Anderson Builders.
Jeff and LeQue Heidkamp are the pastors and our clients for the project. They were typical clients in that they were sometimes overwhelmed by the construction process and the cost of everything. They had a vision and made compromises along the way but still kept their eyes on the goal!
As we sat, stood, sang, swayed, and glorified our relationship with God I was overcome with a strong sense of gratitude- thankful for clients with vision, thankful for great contractors like Anderson and thankful for the folks in the pews that surrounded us on Sunday! Mercy lives and grows because of the amazing people drawn to this church community!
Firm Ground depends on clients with vision and we are grateful every day for all the folks that place their trust in us to help them realize their dreams! May we always be good stewards.


Firm Ground in The News! 

We are grateful for the recognition in two articles published this summer, highlighting our past work at Betty Danger’s Country Club and our hopes for a future project with Theta Tau Professional Engineering Fraternity on the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus.

Hat's Off to Quirky Betty Danger's Country Club


We were given the opportunity to reflect upon our work for Betty Danger’s Country Club as they celebrated their second birthday this year with a Kentucky Derby watch party. This quirky atmosphere built “for the other 99%” was fueled by creative chaos and interesting back-stories by owner Leslie Bock. Revisiting the project reminded us of the ever-evolving vision for the well-known Mexampton eatery in Minneapolis that, even when bursting with inspiration, hit a few roadblocks like any good project does. The process worked through re-purposing architectural elements and incorporating Leslie’s eclectic style to its full extent. Check out Tom’s reflections on this unique project in the recent Foodservice News article!


Returning to his Alma Mater, Tom revisits the University of Minnesota chapter of Theta Tau, an engineering fraternity. Since his days of active membership, the mid-century modern house built in 1950 not only shows it age but also its unsuitability for an ever-growing, ever-evolving group of students. What began as a small, male-dominated organization has become a populous co-ed fraternity, making the current amenities undersized and unsuitable for their current lifestyle. Tom’s preliminary concept design is to create an updated space that provides an open atmosphere along with a greater number of private bedrooms and bathrooms available to students. He hopes to create a space for students seeking inclusion, friendship, and a smaller community within a large campus much like he experienced years ago.

Employee Highlights

Ryne Nichols, Master of Architecture


This past May, Ryne completed his Master’s of Architecture degree from the University of Minnesota.  The final semester of his graduate school experience was spent on an intensive research based design project of his choice.  Throughout his two years in graduate school, Ryne’s primary design explorations centered around flexible space that is defined by the user.  He always sought to embody the Whole Earth Catalog’s ideals of community/self empowerment and DIY in his designs.  These passions of his design work manifested themselves in his Master’s Final Project: a community film-making workshop in Los Angeles.  His final project description as printed in the University literature is found below:
“Historically, film making has not been a widely accessible craft due to the cost and resources it requires. However, this notion is disappearing with the emergence of mobile and accessible recording technology in the form of smartphones and tablets. This project proposes a community film workshop located in the Watts neighborhood of South Central Los Angeles. It provides access to resources and education so that anyone can learn the craft of storytelling through digital media and film making. With FilmLA as a community space and base of operation, amateur film makers can film at the studio as well as disperse out into the city to capture their story. Rather than prescribing a narrative, this project is a space that encourages the story to be written by its community users. At FilmLA, everybody’s a filmmaker.”

New Employees 

Welcome to two of our recent additions at Firm Ground, Sophia and Jacob! Both graduates from Minneapolis Community and Technical College, they have quickly become valuable members of the team.

Sophia Jungbauer 


After graduating from Luther College in 2015 with degrees in Anthropology and Environmental Studies, Sophia spent a month in China, researching the effects of urbanization. Inspired by her research, she decided to continue her education through Minneapolis Community and Technical College’s Architectural Technology Program. Her background gives her an unusual perspective; she sees architecture as a tool for creating more sustainable and vibrant communities. Sophia joined Firm Ground’s team in December after interning with the City of Saint Paul’s Design Group and is excited to be working with clients while gaining a better understanding of how culture influences people’s needs. 

Jacob Perez 


Jacob is a recent graduate of Minneapolis Community and Technical College’s Architectural Technology program. His pursuit of architectural design and technical drafting stems from a rich lineage of residential contractors which, at an early age, exposed him to demolition projects, remodels, and new home construction.  He sees architectural design as a potential catalyst for enhancing the well-being of end-users.  Jacob has been a Firm Ground team member since February of this year and looks forward to utilizing his education and diverse experience in a collaborative work environment to realize the vision our clients.

People Incorporated 



Once again, Firm Ground is supporting our client, People Incorporated, by participating as a sponsor to their annual Artability Show. The Artability program is a celebration of the creativity and contributions of people with mental illnesses to our community. A series of art and writing workshops lead up to the multi-day Artability Show & Sale held each fall. Artists may sell their work at the show and receive 80% of the profits, with the remaining 20% going back to support the Artability program. Writers also contribute their creative work to an anthology available for sale at the show. We hope you will all attend this year to see why it is and event very important to us and to our client.

Artability Show & Sale: October 26-28 at the Great Hall in St. Paul,
180 E 5th Street St. Paul, MN 55101