If the silver linings playbook were real, you’d likely find a section in it about our new architectural designer Casey Harris. Although she’s been with REspace only since January 2023, she has been building community spirit—and, more recently, her own growing family, with husband, Josh, and two little girls—for a lifetime.
Family is a never-ending well of inspiration in Casey’s life. She also brings that positive, caring outlook to her work in the allied fields of architecture, design, engineering, and construction.

“Casey started working for us as an Independent contractor. We quickly realized her excellent skill set was a great fit for the vision we have for our team. As architects we are always reliant upon our staff to develop and produce the many projects we work on. The importance of building a high-quality, diverse team of people who are skilled architecturally with strong work ethic is what makes a great architectural firm. We feel confident we are on the right track growing our young firm and happy to have Casey as our newest team member.”

A Bright Start in Architectural Design

You could say that architecture is in Casey Harris’ blood. As far back as she can remember in her childhood, her dad, Leo, “was always building things and doing projects . . . he was very handy.” So, despite loving working with numbers and having a big sister in accountancy, and her Dad in law enforcement, Casey began to gravitate toward building things.

“Taking my first drafting class in high school sparked my interest in architecture. I took that class because my dad thought I would enjoy it. . . .” Lucky for us, Casey discovered she enjoyed architecture thanks to that first high-school drafting class.

From high school, Casey set her sights even higher: to the Architectural Engineering Technology program at Murray State University (MSU) in Murray, Kentucky.

Murray State University

Fortunately, Casey didn’t stop her adventures in architecture in high school. Oh, no—she took her knack with numbers, drafting, and building first to MSU in western Kentucky, within easy reach of REspace’s home region of southern Illinois.

By 2016, two very important events had happened in Casey’s life. First, she had met future husband, Josh, at Murray State. Second, she received her B.S. in Architectural Engineering Technology.

At Murray State, Casey cultivated her already strong sense of community and helping others. There, she became involved with organizations such as Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, whose motto—“Loving. Leading. Lasting”—Casey exemplifies today, as you’ll see. She also served as Lady’s Sodality vice president; the student ambassador for the Institute of Engineering; and as a member of the Associated General Contractors of MSU Student Chapter. All this while being named to the Dean’s List 6 out of 7 semesters, receiving a University Scholarship, and obtaining her 10- and 30-hour OSHA cards.

This robust involvement with her community also constitutes Casey’s advice to young people.

“I recommend getting involved in as much as you can when it is offered. . . . Those networks and connections could lead you to something you never would have known otherwise. Plus, being involved is a great way to have community. . . .”

Internship at Poettker Construction

During her four years at MSU, she completed a summer internship at Poettker Construction in Breese, Illinois. Thanks to the stewardship of VP of Preconstruction Keith Poettker and others at the company, she performed tasks such as quantity take-off and database management, perfecting her skills in communications and software such as Revit, AutoCAD, Adobe Suite, and others.

She recently talked to us about that internship experience. “I was in the estimating department . . . So we were given the plans from other architects and were in charge of doing quantity take-off to figure out the quantity of materials needed for a job.” She worked mostly with specialty equipment; quantity take-off is critical to the financial and overall success of construction projects.

The internship at Poettker, she said, was very helpful. “I learned quite a bit about reading construction documents. And calling other contractors [for bidding information] was helpful because it made me more comfortable with talking to others.”


To be sure, these are skills Casey carries with her into her daily work for REspace.

“Casey demonstrated her technical skills from the first time we interviewed her. And we have only been more impressed as we have continued to work with her. We have a variety of challenges to overcome as we work on many different project types. Casey’s ability to communicate, adapt, and create as we come up with unique solutions is invaluable for a small, young staff. Her future is as bright as she wants it to be.”

From MSU, Casey pivoted to SIU-Carbondale, where she obtained her Master’s in Architecture in 2017. Her thesis project circled back to her sorority experience. In it, she designed a Greek Row to unite MSU’s fraternities and sororities. Her hope with the thesis was to “positively impact Greek life at Murray State by creating an even stronger community feeling within the organizations.”

Community carries over into Casey’s work and life even today. Her work as an independent contractor, plus her overall team ethos, elevated her further.

From construction, Casey made her foray into design and architecture.

Another New Architectural Designer at REspace

Flash-forward six years from her Master’s and you see a portrait of an employee with next-level time-management and communication skills honed from both her educational and personal background. In addition to parenting a toddler, Casey and Josh welcomed little Lainey into the ever-widening REspace family in July 2023.

Likely in-between trying to get some rest, working, and parenting, Casey graciously spent time with us talking about her life as a new architectural designer at REspace. She noted that “managing time, structure, and routine has become even more important” with the new family addition.

In addition to the new baby and renovating the family’s fixer-upper 1940s home, toddler Rylee keeps Casey busy. The curious 3-year-old eagerly watches Casey doing her work on the computer. “She likes to mimic what I am doing,” Casey said.

Could an architecture career be in the cards for Casey and Josh’s children? When we asked her to speculate on whether either child might someday be a pioneering woman in architecture, design, or engineering/construction like Mommy, she said simply that she prays that each finds “something that allows them to express their creativity and passions, all while helping people and making a difference.”

A Passion for Residential Design

In addition to being our new architectural designer, Casey also nurtures a passion for residential design. She discovered the thrill of design while renovating her and Josh’s home in her childhood hometown. Now she helps friends and clients alike discover how to build their very own dreamed-about home. “We gutted our home and made it our own and then recently added on a small addition. . . . we have become so proud of the space we have created.”

It is because of her spirit of “bringing people together and making everyone feel welcome . . . by helping them create spaces where the design also is functional, practical, and welcoming” that makes Casey such a great fit for our company culture at REspace. We’re so happy to formally share Casey with the wider REspace community, as we did in August, with our other full-time staff member, Joud Bsata.

Won’t you please welcome our other new architectural designer, Casey Harris—and her own little trio—to the wider REspace fam? We’re so happy to have her working on projects with us!