dms approach

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"I am extremely passionate about sustainability coupled with a responsible approach to design, construction, and the operations of facilities. I have wanted to be in the industry since I was 9 years old and started working in architectural offices at 16. After graduating from the University of Florida's College of Architecture, officially released into the wild world of design and construction, I quickly learned the importance of the integrative design process. I strongly believe in a close collaboration between not only the architect and engineer, but with the owner and contractor from the onset of a project. I believe this approach is the only way to achieve each of the defined goals of a project (environmental or not).


When LEED was created and released in 2000, I jumped on the opportunity to learn as much about it as possible about it, as it made so much sense to me. After earning my LEED AP credential, I was quite eager to work on my first project pursuing LEED certification. Although I was exposed to many of the strategies of LEED, it was not until I started DMS in 2005, that I was able to witness the process in action. Since then, I have worked on 25+ sustainable projects using the LEED rating systems as a means to structure environmental goals. With this experience, approach, and exposure, John Wiley & Sons contracted with me to author a guide book to help others navigate the LEED certification process. The book was released last year and I have since authored 5 other books about LEED. Each of my books focus on educating others, as I believe the only way to transform the market place is to educate others on the benefits and means to overcome the hurdles. This belief also encouraged me to run for a board position with the USGBC New Jersey chapter and was even nominated to run for board member role with USGBC national.


When I started DMS, I relied on my experience as a licensed interior designer, owners rep, and a LEED AP credential to flourish in "the land of LEED". Using my experience as an owner's rep, I have approached each project with a very hands on manner, guiding each team personally through the certification process, mindful of the budget and schedule where these efforts resulted to earning LEED certification for a variety of project types using the different LEED rating systems. Approaching a project in this manner is intended to relieve the developer/owner of managing and coordinating each of the different consultants to ensure the design meets the intentions and goals of the project. During construction, we also manage the contractor, reviewing monthly reports to ensure the goals defined during design are not compromised and are implemented as intended. DMS strives to encourage a team-oriented collaborative approach with each of the team members, but most importantly, allowing them to focus on their responsibilities as the architect, MEP engineer, civil engineer, lighting designer, contractor, etc. DMS is here to streamline efficiencies and efforts avoiding overlapping responsibilities and inefficiencies.


This approach has solidified DMS' reputation in the industry, where I do not advertise our services, but instead rely on word-of-mouth references and repeat clients. Should you wish to contact any of my clients, you will learn DMS operates in a boutique manner, no matter the size/scope of the project at hand. I spearhead each project, I am always the point of contact. I do rely on professional support as needed. With this approach, I am mindful about the amount of projects DMS takes on simultaneously, as I would not want to compromise the success of any project."  - Michelle Cottrell, President of DMS

Design Management Services, Inc. takes pride in approaching each client as a unique opportunity to create good design while implementing high performance strategies. Our design approach fosters an open dialog with each client that, at the outset of a project, helps define client objectives for the environment and reveal the design challenge. Our knowledge of the marketplace and current design trends allows us to create spaces that allow our clients to achieve their triple bottom line goals more effectively.