Olsavsky Jaminet Architects Adjusts to Founder’s Death

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – While Olsavsky Jaminet Architects Inc. was deeply affected by the death of founder Raymond J. Jaminet, pieces were in place for the transition.

Jaminet still served as CEO and remained a presence at the firm in downtown Youngstown before his death March 30, says Tracie Kaglic, who took over as president in 2016. And the firm had established a board of directors.

“He was thinking possibly of retirement or semiretirement, Kaglic says, “so he wanted to bring someone else in to assist with the decision-making process.”

Kaglic has been with the firm 19 years.

“Mr. Jaminet wanted to make it a transition so he could mentor us into taking over the responsibilities and the management of the firm,” affirms office manager Angela Crofford.

“Ray treated all of us like family,” she adds. Many of the eight employees have been with the firm 14 or more years. Summer interns are typically welcomed back during breaks, she says.

Jaminet didn’t just hire people and release them project by project, Kaglic says. “He would make sure that that person would continue to have a role, even after the intended project was complete,” she says.

That approach helped the firm cope with the transition following Jaminet’s death, Crofford says.

“Everybody was involved with projects. He made sure you understood what needed to be done but you also understood what other people were doing,” she says.

“All of our projects were a collaboration. Everyone had input. Their opinion meant something. That’s why I think it’s so easy to work Tracie. We don’t have the turnover of the other firms.”

Projects in the final stages of completion when Jaminet died included the new Youngstown Municipal Court in the City Hall Annex and the Ohio Utilities Protection Service building in North Jackson.

The firm also is the architect for the new Campbell City Schools Community Literacy Workforce & Cultural Center and is working to complete improvements to St. Columba Cathedral.

“We were hoping to have it completed by the anniversary of St. Columba,” on May 20, Kaglic says. “I would hope by July 1 we could have everything done.”

Jaminet was proud to be involved with all of the projects he worked on for the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, says Ray Jaminet Jr., one of Jaminet’s sons and vice president/project manager with the firm.

Another son, Phil, who owns an engineering firm, is also an officer.

Among the many projects Jaminet worked on, he also was particularly proud of the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry & Labor, “because he got to work on that with noted architect Michael Graves,” Ray Jr. says.

His father also enjoyed working on projects associated with Youngstown State University, including the Beeghly College of Education.

Jaminet was happy to work on any school project “because he was bettering the educational process for the kids,” Kaglic adds.

When working on existing buildings, Jaminet consciously tried to “stay true to the era” that they were built, Crofford continues.

“When he did the Youngstown courts, he was meticulous in making sure that they salvaged light fixtures, the woodwork and the marble,” she says.

In addition to working on several projects in the downtown Youngstown area, the late CEO of the firm was proud of the property he owned in the downtown, including the building across from the Covelli Center, his son says.

“He believed in downtown and city development. That’s why he chose to keep his business here,” Kaglic affirms.

The firm has “a lot of repeat clientele,” she notes.

“We have a unique design philosophy,” Crofford says. Jaminet instilled the importance of keeping things personal with clients, “not only to get a better understanding to help with the design process” but also to help the client understand that process, she says.

“We’re very family-oriented with ourselves here as a team but also our clients,” she says.

“Something that Ray always instilled in us is to treat people fairly and we take a lot of pride in that. It helps us enjoy what we do, too.”

Kaglic’s gender puts her in the minority of her profession. Women represent fewer than a quarter – nearly 22% – of registered architects, according to industry statistics.

“I was one of those odd kids in fifth-grade that knew that I wanted to do architecture from my special art class, my parents designing their own home,” she says.

She attributes the low representation of women in the field to them not being exposed to it at a younger age.

“I was exposed to construction and design early on, so that’s what got my interest piqued,” she says.

One way Kaglic attempts to address that issue is by participating every year in “The Road Not Taken.” The program brings high-achieving sophomore girls to the Kent State University at Trumbull campus to participate in classes in fields where women typically are in the minority.

“I offer job shadowing for them,” Kaglic continues.

“Typically, over the summer months, we’ll get at least two, maybe three, girls that I’ll ask to spend the day with me. I’ll take them to job sites and bring them here to the office so they can see exactly what an architect does.”

Pictured: Tracie Kaglic became president of Olsavsky Jaminet in 2016. Ray Jaminet Jr. is the vice president and project manager.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.