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Summer Travel Inspiration

As designers it is hard not to find inspiration everywhere we go and this summer was no exception. We took a lot of trips, some far and some close but no matter the destination we found something that caught our eye. As summer comes to an end, we thought we’d share where we went and what we found along the way.

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Engineering and Animals

When I was young I always wanted to be a marine biologist. I loved animals, our family dog and the outdoors and wanted to merge that with a career. As you probably guessed, my career didn’t end up going that way or I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this article. But animals are still very much a part of my life and my wife’s (she’s a veterinary technician). I have the best of both worlds with a job I love in engineering that also allows me the flexibility to own and foster animals.

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Learning a Different Language

When I paused to take inventory of professional goals, designing my own home was not high on that list. As a long-time commercial architect, I last designed a house as an assignment in college, but through various twists and turns I’ve found myself doing it again – this time for myself. It has been an unpredictable process that brought this about and through it I’ve learned many things and ended up with even more stories.

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All Things Interiors

We have interiors on the brain and so we thought it was only fitting to sit down with our newest interior designer, Leanne Tanguay, and get her thoughts on design inspiration, trends and why she loves interior design.

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Becoming an Architect

July 2016 – School is out for the summer and with the longer days and warmer weather comes the memories of those good old days when class was no longer in session and time was spent soaking in the short-lived Minnesota season with late nights, bonfires, cabins, and bare feet. Of course we all miss those carefree days every once in a while but I am fortunate to have found a profession that makes work enjoyable (in every season) and makes education something to be desired rather than dreaded.

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NeoCon 2016

A few weeks ago, two of our interior designers Cindy Nagel and Leanne Tanguay headed to the Windy City to take in new interior products and trends at NeoCon 2016. They sat down to tell us the best of the best, what to expect in design and the best places to visit the next time you’re in Chicago.


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A Look Back…

We said a big congratulations to Alisha this past month when she passed her architectural registration exams and it got us thinking – what was the first project I ever signed…

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Maintaining Balance at Work, in Life, and on a Bicycle

If you asked anyone at Krech, O’Brien, Mueller & Associates to tell you something about me it’s that I like bicycles.  In the last (almost) 2 years I’ve only driven to work a handful of times, choosing to either walk or ride a bike most days.   It’s true that I spend a lot of time with bikes: commuting, exploring, racing, road, mountain, fat or otherwise.  What doesn’t always come through is my love for the outdoors in general, and my employment at KOMA has allowed me to maintain a healthy work/life balance in the time that I’ve been here that I’ve come to appreciate even more as time passes.  

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United Arab Emirates Architecture

My wife and I had the fortunate opportunity this January to spend a week in the United Arab Emirates so I thought I’d put together a list of my favorite buildings.  Not an easy task since Abu Dhabi and Dubai provided quite the sensory overload for an architect; therefore picking only six was quite the challenge!  Here goes…

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2016 Business of the Year

We are very honored to be the recipient of the 2016 River Heights Chamber Business of the Year Award. We have enjoyed being a part of the local chamber for the last 30 years and value what it has brought not only to our company but to the whole community. Check out our award video below!

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Our Team on 30 Years

In honor of our 30 years we decided to spotlight our entire team on the InterKOM – after all we couldn’t have made it this many years without them. We sat down to talk about how many years each one of our employees has been here, our favorite memories, favorite projects, and what we couldn’t have made it 30 years without.

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A Balancing Act

June 2015, Inver Grove Heights, MN. – Most days it feels like I’m standing on one foot with an armful of balls, trying to keep my balance and not drop any; and as the years pass there are more balls added and that balancing act gets a little trickier. It seems like only yesterday, when I was newly married and had just joined Krech, O’Brien, Mueller & Associates (KOMA), life was a little simpler. Yet here I am fourteen years later celebrating the company’s 30 years, working as a managing partner, a husband with an awesome wife, and a father with four great kids.  Some days I wonder how it all gets done but a healthy balance between our work lives and personal lives is an extremely important value to me and I am fortunate to be a part of a company who believes in a healthy balance just as much.

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KOMA Food Drive

In honor of Krech, O’Brien, Mueller & Associates’ (KOMA) 30 year anniversary we asked each of our employees to bring in 30 items for Neighbors Inc. Neighbors Inc. is a non-profit organization located in South St. Paul that assists low-income community members in the surrounding cities of Inver Grove Heights, South St. Paul, West St. Paul, Mendota Heights, Sunfish Lake and Lilydale. Founded by local churches in 1972, the organization relies on 1,500 volunteers to provide services such as a clothes closet, food shelf, holiday services and more. We were pleased to donate 412 pounds to such a wonderful organization that supports our community. More »

A Commitment to KOMA

March 2015 – Inver Grove Heights, Minn.  –  Commitment. It’s a word our company uses a lot – we use it to define our relationship with our clients, our relationship with our projects, and our relationship with one another. For 30 years it has shaped the character of this company and in looking back over our history I couldn’t help but think about my own journey to KOMA 15 years ago and what that word has meant for me.

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November 2014 – Minneapolis, Minn. – I can thankfully say there are a lot of rewarding aspects to my profession, but one of the most fulfilling for me is the relationships that have formed with colleagues and clients over the past 41 years.  Many of these individuals have not only become lasting clients or business partners but also friends. Rosemary McMonigal of McMonigal Architects is one of these individuals with whom I’ve had the pleasure of sharing the majority of my career with. She is a talented and hardworking entrepreneur who was kind enough to sit down over breakfast at one of our usual spots and take a look back on it all.

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It’s the Small Things…

Late this summer I finally pulled the plug and began a re-design in my home kitchen. My youngest son is graduating high school this coming June and we all know that means hosting a party, so what better excuse! I couldn’t wait to bring the design process I use every day at the office into my own home and get to be the client as well as the designer. Projects as you know are never as simple as they seem at first glance and this one was no exception. But I’m a firm believer that with a little space planning and a creative approach, a space can be completely transformed into something new without a large amount of time, labor, or cost.  More »

When I Grow Up…

Remember those days of career fairs, college applications, and so many big decisions? We do! At Krech, O’Brien, Mueller and Associates (KOMA), we understand what a huge decision it is to choose a college, a major, a career, and the impact one day of being immersed in a real life scenario can have.

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About Don

Let me tell you about my friend, Don.

I’ve known Don for more than 20 years. He has three sons and has been married to his wife Colleen for 39 years. They live just outside Cannon Falls, Minnesota, on a beautiful patch of land where, today, they breed English Goldendoodles and board horses. More »

Ownership Transition Nearly Complete at KOMA

May 2014 – Inver Grove Heights, Minn. – A strategic, carefully executed 10-year ownership transition is nearly complete at Krech, O’Brien, Mueller & Associates. Longtime KOMA employees and owners Marc DuBois, Steve Iaria, Mike Lisowski, Cindy Nagel, Brian Riley and Matt Van Hoof have played a central role in the company’s leadership and management for much of the past decade, and will continue to spearhead the strategic direction of the company.

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A Whirlwind of a Year

To say this past year has been a whirlwind would be an understatement! It has been a time of transition in almost every area of my life. I joined the team at KOMA in December of 2012. Since then I got married, sold my house in Eagan, moved with my husband and son to Mankato, and began working four days a week from my new home office.

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The Secret Ingredient

You like secrets?  Today, I’m going to pull back the KOMA curtain and give you a glimpse behind the scenes. I’m going to share with you one of the most important elements of our success as a company. Ready? Here it is: As a company, we appreciate and embrace… tension. More »

Short, Slow and Sweet

Every year we talk about what our InterKOM message should be during the holiday season. There’s so much we could cover: we could detail our current projects, hint at the exciting work on the schedule for 2014, retell old stories about the early days of the company, reminisce about the time Brady and I got run-for-the-woods sick after laughingly agreeing to try some Cuban cigars, and on and on. More »

Two Worlds

One of the things that makes KOMA unique is that we bring together the best of two worlds. On the one hand, we’re an all-under-one-roof complete design solution, with architectural, engineering and interior design services available in one firm. And that’s a great thing for our clients: having these services side-by-side with one another creates efficiencies and synergies, and allows us to bring a more holistic approach to our work. More »

A More Balanced Look at Retail Design

Renowned architect Richard Rogers, known for his modernist and functionalist designs, has cynically said that the primary aesthetic principle of our times is “form follows profit.” And, sadly, in many cases this is true. Designing spaces for commercial and retail clients has too often become only about boosting sales and moving product. More »

Road Trip!

It’s barely past the middle of winter, and my thoughts can’t help turning to warmer weather and to plans I’m making to take a summer road trip with friends. I haven’t gone on a classic road trip before, and I can’t wait. And where would a young engineer and his buddies head on such a trip? Kings Island! More »

An Old-Timer in Fall

It’s autumn – some might say it’s closer to winter – and we’ve just put the finishing touches on our latest KOMAink newsletter. It’s our annual Halloween-themed issue, and this year we focus on “dressing up” some of the spaces we’ve been hired to design. (Get it? Dressing up? Like you’d dress up for Halloween? Clever, huh?) More »

An Architect’s Tools

Remember playing the telephone game where several people sit in a circle and one person whispers a message to the person at his or her right, who whispers it to the next person, and so on, until the message has made it around the entire circle? Of course, the message is completely different by the time it gets back to its origin. There’s been a breakdown of communication, and we often see something similar in our roles as architects. More »

Headlines or Not …

Have you seen the news lately? Our projects are everywhere! OK, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration … they’re not everywhere. But they certainly seem to keep popping up. From “Best of” lists to “Must See!” articles, projects that bear our fingerprints have certainly seen their share of ink recently. More »

My Next (Exciting) Chapter

It’s springtime! A time of renewal, rebirth and fresh starts. A time to take a deep breath, stretch out our legs and get back outside. It’s in this springtime spirit that I share some exciting news with you. More »

Not Your Average Engineers

On behalf of engineers everywhere, I’d like to set the record straight. We are not all dull, pocket-protector, tape on your glasses, introverted geeks. Oh, no. Many of us are, in fact, quite pleasant. More »


As I look at the calendar and see that autumn and Halloween have arrived, and that the holiday season is right around the corner, I am amazed how quickly the past months have gone. More »

The Only Constant is Change

Nearly 40 years ago I took a course from architecture professor Jerry Allan at the University of Minnesota simply called, “Creativity.” The course was a wide study of what it means to be creative and how to maintain a creative mind and spirit even during times of challenge. More »

This is Twins Territory

Ah, spring. Finally. Sunny skies. Green grass. Gentle breezes. And perhaps my favorite indication of spring… hearing the crack of the bat at Twins games. Even though the start of the 2011 season has not been what most Twins fans were hoping for, there is still something special about the new stadium, Target Field. More »

Every Kid’s Dream

My name is Matt. I’m 36 years old. I’ve got a wonderful wife, three amazing kids, a career I enjoy, and – as a Packers fan – some serious bragging rights.

And, I admit, I like to play with LEGOs. More »

A Simple Thank You.

As we wrap up a year’s worth of celebrating our 25th anniversary in business, I’m uncertain whether I should be tired or energized. On the one hand, that’s one long party! On the other, it’s heart-warming to consider all the wonderful clients and friends we’ve connected with throughout the years. More »

Going Fast

As many of you know, 2010 marks the 25th anniversary of Krech, O’Brien, Mueller & Associates. Coincidentally, it also marks my 10-year anniversary of working with KOMA. Beyond just being kind of a cool overlap, the intersection of these two milestones has me thinking about both moving forward and looking back. More »

InterKOM: On Being 25

Stop for a moment and take a breath … can you believe it’s already June? For that matter, can you believe we’re actually midway through 2010? More »

A Farm Kid in Spring

Spring is in the air, and – like any farm kid – my thoughts turn to fertile soil, rolling hills and planting crops.

I grew up right here in Inver Grove Heights … right in this neighborhood. More »

Building Code: A Love Affair

Consider the following scenario: All the woman could see in the hallway of her apartment building was smoke. The stairwell she normally used was full of black, billowing clouds – and the emergency exit was, too. More »

The Winter Blah’s

It’s cold. And gloomy. And there’s the snow. And the sleet. And the freezing and the ice and the wind and… sigh. It’s winter in Minnesota. More »

Season’s Greetings!

One would think this issue of InterKOM would be filled with insightful musings about the holiday season, or perhaps some snow-filled recollections of Christmases gone by, or at least a good recipe for some sugar cookies. More »

That Time of Year

First, find a map of Minnesota.

Then put your finger on Duluth. From there, follow highway 53 north through Hermantown and toward Eveleth. Continue past Eveleth More »

Sculpting Space

Hi All!

It’s my turn to contribute to our website’s InterKOM feature. While I am excited to be challenged to come up with something interesting, I am honestly not exactly sure where to take this… More »

Still Stretching

In the fall of 2003, I packed my bags and traveled 711 miles from Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota – my hometown – to Lakewood, Colorado, just outside of Denver. More »


What happens when you take an architect seeking some solitude, ask him to create a fairy tale, and then turn him loose in the quiet of the north woods? More »

There is Beauty in Making Things Work

“Do you like math?”

This was the question that led to my first job as a structural engineer. I was fresh out of college with a civil engineering degree, applying for a job as a structural engineer. More »

Three, Two, One, Launch!

Welcome to the inaugural post to InterKOM!

I’m Brady Mueller, and it’s my distinct pleasure to introduce you to InterKOM, and also to our new website as a whole. More »