Capturing the Spirit of Heery - Lao Buddhist Temple
Samantha Susock

Earlier this year, we held a photo contest where employees from all our regional offices where asked to capture the spirit of Heery in a single snapshot. In simple terms, this photo would express what we do and how we do it.”

Photos came piling in that showed projects, culture, workspaces and facilities through the eyes of our people. As one of the judges of the contest, it was a treat to see the snapshots that captured various perspectives of what defines Heery and the people that work here. It was also wonderful to see smiling faces, client interactions, field visits and outside of the office camaraderie. Client meetings, judicial buildings, community service efforts and project sketches, are just a few of the photos submitted. And, not only did these photos carry out the contest’s theme, the creativity of our contestants also shined through.

One photo did strike a chord with a beautiful depiction of a pro bono effort by our Denver office for the restoration of the Lao Buddhist Temple in Colorado. This photo is a representation of Heery’s commitment to the community in which we work, especially after learning more about the project from the winning photographer, Architectural Designer Yandy Cheng.

The Lao Buddhist Cultural Center is a new temple for the Laotian and local community of Westminster, Colorado. The previous temple was destroyed by fire five years ago, and since then, the community has come together with compassion, devotion, and commitment from volunteers to rebuild. This rebuild effort was brought into Heery’s Denver office by Heery Architect Thinh Nguyen, who Yandy also names as her mentor.

The Denver team joined the community effort by volunteering their time in the evenings and weekends to design the new temple. From the beginning phases of drawing plans, pouring of the foundation, to putting up the steel, and now the finishing of the structural roof panels, Yandy and the Denver team worked closely with the community at all stages of this project.

Yandy explained that the winning photo was taken as the high spirited and brave volunteers were putting up the Structural Insulated Panels on the temple’s roof. A pristine Rocky Mountain Range fades into the background as the Temple’s flags wave at the forefront, a representation of the cultural impact this temple has on the community. Although much was destroyed in the fire, including century-old Buddha statues and teaching books, the people of the community looked at it not as a tragedy, but a reminder of starting over – a reincarnation.

The trust the members of the Lao Buddhist Cultural Center have put into our Denver team to restore their beloved facility resonated throughout the company - an act of service work that is a true embodiment of our company’s spirit.


Architectural Designer and Photo Contest winner Yandy Cheng stands at the project site of the new Lao Buddhist Cultural Center.