Our staff highlight blog series focuses on our staff’s design abilities that extend past Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Engineering, and Planning. We are diving into their individual creative process and projects. This series will showcase “maker”-based crafts, classic medium (drawing, painting, photography, multimedia, etc), or digital design work. Stayed tuned to meet more of our staff, as for this week:
Meet Jessica Gerber!
She is not only one of our engineers, but is also a small business owner crushing mom life. Learn more about Jessica’s skills outside of our office.
What is your title and role in the firm?
Engineer In Training
Growing up, what was your dream job?
Ironically, it was my dream to be an architect. However, a shop class I took in high school changed that for me. For one project, we were required to reverse engineer any item of our choosing. I chose a VCR, and I’m proud to say that my project was displayed in the hallway long after I graduated. It was due to this class and my teacher, Mr. Belden, that I decided that engineering was the path for me. I will never forget the impact that he made on my schooling, career, and my life.
What are your favorite hobbies?
I own my own small business where I sell handmade, all-natural bath and beauty products. There is such a science behind this business, which is probably why my nerdy brain finds such comfort in it. Not only is my shop focused on plant-based, vegan ingredients, but I also strive for zero-waste products.
My newly found hobby is sewing. I make my sons and friend’s children clothing and I have recently started making reusable everyday household items (i.e. paper towels, baby wipes, etc). I can’t wait to test my skills with Halloween costumes this year!
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Passionate, creative, driven
Would you consider yourself more of an introvert or extrovert?
Definitely an extrovert
Where do you find inspiration?
My kids. They are my number one inspiration for everything I do. Oliver, my oldest, is a sensitive-skinned redhead. He has had the most eczema-prone skin since the day he was born. He is actually the reason I started my small business in the first place. Every single lotion or cream I tried to help his skin either did nothing, or made it worse. So, like the scientist I am, I began to research. I did trial and error for many months before finding a solution. After that, I couldn’t stop. I fell in love with the process. Since then, I have made natural diaper rash creams, stretch mark creams (for pregnant bellies), lotions, face washes, body wash, shampoo/conditioner bars, bubble bath, petroleum-free vapor rub… you name it – anything and everything that will help my family and I have a more natural skincare regimen.
Regarding my passion for sewing, my kids and sustainability are my inspiration. I like to find cotton fabrics which are good for their skin and turn them into beautiful outfits for a fraction of the price. I have also realized just how many paper products we, as a family, go through each week. So I decided to try my hand at making reusable products. I have cloth diapered both of my boys and now, with reusable wipes and paper towels, I’m proud that we are reducing our family’s carbon footprint.
Tell me about the projects you’re most proud of and why?
My shampoo and conditioner bars. It was so difficult to not only find the right ingredients for these, but also find the right way to make them (hot process or cold process). It took so much trial and error but I’m quite proud of the result.
What’s your creative process?
I’m generally pretty spur-of-the-moment when it comes to my creative process. I usually just make whatever I am currently thinking about. It’s mainly about my time to myself and allowing my brain to focus on something meticulous without any interruptions that is important to me (#momlife).
What software do you use?
So many. I use Shopify for my website, Canva and Lightroom for graphics and photo editing, GoDaddy for my domain, Square for in person sales, QuickBooks for inventory and expense tracking, Google Ads, and Microsoft Excel is where I write all of my formulas.
Is there any project type or medium that you would like to do more of or learn more about?
Not anything specific, just general growth. The more I make, the better I get. I love looking at things I have recently made and comparing them to some of the first products I’ve made. The difference is incredible and it drives me to keep working and allowing my creativity to flow through so that I will keep improving.