In July, CannonDesign collaborated with Construction Management Partners (CMP), diversity consultant for the BJC HealthCare Diversity & Inclusion Program, to host a Shadow Day for several local high school students from various districts in St. Louis, including the Hazelwood and Fort Zumwalt School Districts. The objective was to provide students who had interest in studying architecture and engineering, and offer an upfront glance inside a professional AEC office environment. CannonDesign is a BJC HealthCare Toolbox Architect.


This was the first Shadow Day of its kind under a collaboration between Cannon and CMP as part of the BJC program; CannonDesign is a BJC HealthCare Toolbox Architect. In 2013, BJC HealthCare adopted a new Diversity & Inclusion Policy.

The objective of BJC’s program, with respect to building and professional level talent, is to engage the healthcare planning and design community through ongoing processes, policy, and practices that will:

  1. Develop a more diverse pool of design firms doing business with BJC
  2. Develop a more diverse employee base among design firms doing business with BJC
  3. Increase the capacity of qualified and certified local MBE/WBE design firms to do business in the healthcare industry
  4. Increase the recruitment and employment of minorities and females in internship programs to promote a more diverse workforce in the professional community

There are many exciting aspects of the design profession: solving complex challenges; creating buildings, systems, and solutions that look beautiful and work efficiently; and mentoring students who might someday be the future leaders of our industry.


CannonDesign set up the event as a mentoring opportunity for the interested students to expose them to the many facets of the AEC industry. The students shadowed several engineers and architects throughout the day who described his or her role on a typical design project and their connection to other members of the project team. The team also talked extensively about the design industry, professional development, and education requirements.

After the shadowing experience, the students took part in a roundtable discussion with our engineers, architects, interns and recent graduates. The discussion focused on the admissions and the college financial aid process so the students could be fully aware of the overall journey of preparing themselves for a career in the AEC industry. Multiple people in the roundtable expressed the importance of early planning, establishing early life goals and maintaining discipline, integrity, and hard work as part of the development process.

Thank you to the CannonDesign team members who took part – Brad Eisenbarth, Colin Hale, Alyssa Packard, Matthew Jeans, Dan Brown, Julie Shaw, Juan Garcia, Bonike Akinsanya, Victor Iwunwa, and Sydney Matson-Grimm (a student-intern from the University of Kansas Architecture Health + Wellness program) and the CMP team – Marvin L. Johnson and Chanel Tillman.

These membership events assist with building a strong internal office commitment to educating local students and future industry leaders. CannonDesign’s St. Louis office currently has seven architects and engineers working with ACE Mentor St. Louis at three different high schools every other week throughout the school year. The CannonDesign team hosted a similar shadowing event earlier in the year for Cardinal Ritter Prep students.

Mentoring doesn’t stop with high school students! CannonDesign recently hosted elementary school classes from New City School and Rockwood School District to answer their questions about design and construction and to explore projects.

Both CannonDesign and CMP agree to work together in the future to encourage our mentor students to take charge of their futures, and to continue to give back to our industry for years to come.