Position: Architectural Designer
Years of Service: Almost 8
Resides: Westhampton Beach, NY
Yumi Yoshino-Hempel is all about the design in Campus Planning, Design and Construction. Yumi is a Registered Architect in New York State and a LEED AP (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional, from the Green Building Certification Institute.) She came to Stony Brook University almost 8 years ago from an adjunct faculty position at the New York Institute of Technology where she had been teaching first year architectural design studio for 5 years. With Stony Brook University, her focus is on teamwork and finding the best solution. One way she works on that is to think of the campus groups she works with as her clients. Not just serving her clients, however, but also educating them about design and construction practices that they may not know about, helping them envision a better facility, one that is built a better way.
According to Yumi, balancing quality design with the restraint of working within the State system is a definite challenge, considering the budget environment, but from the challenge comes satisfaction. "Even while having budgetary issues and demanding clients, I can usually manage to find mutual solutions and results that work." The end result? "If the clients are happy, then so am I." And it is all about the process, one that delivers to Yumi a lot of on-the-job rewards. "I really enjoy taking the image that I see in my head, putting it down in two dimensional drawings, and then having a hand in the final constructed rendering in three dimensions."
If Yumi sounds energetic in her approach to work, her list of favorite places highlights the same enthusiasm. Asked to name her favorite spots in the world, Yumi lists Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, attractions that "make everyone who visits equally happy." She adds Manhattan to that list, because it is full of an energy and excitement that she can feel.
As Stony Brook has increased its emphasis on sustainability in all facets of its operation, Yumi, as a LEED AP and Registered Architect, has been part of the team pushing sustainability on the design and construction fronts. Since there is no end to learning about new materials, technology, and construction methods that can advance sustainable practices, Yumi has the thrill of being in a constantly evolving work environment. But for Yumi, it isn't just learning about new practices, it's also about changing the way people think. "The initial cost to adopt newer sustainable methods and materials might be higher, but over the long term, we will save more," she advises. For individuals wanting to make good sustainable choices, Yumi is an advocate of following the plastic bag policy of Japan, where customers have to pay for plastic bags. This encourages the use of reusable products, something we can all do more often.
With all her focus on design, materials, and process at work, it is probably no surprise to learn that at home, Yumi greatly enjoys cooking with and for her husband Matthew and their two sons Andrew and Cole. And some of her best advice comes from the kitchen, or more accurately from a fortune cookie: "Oops... Wrong one!" That humorous bit of advice aside, her real words of wisdom to share are "Don't worry, everything falls into place," a saying equally applicable to architectural design and the culinary arts. And for advice to other architectural designers out there, she enthusiastically provides: "Be ambitious, be motivated, and smile."