Tori Gillespie, Director of Operations – Healthcare, Featured in Thrive Global

Tori Gillespie, Director of Operations – Healthcare, was recently featured in a Thrive Global community article on reaching career goals and finding a role that brings long-term satisfaction:

By staying open-minded, you set yourself up for success when nontraditional or surprising opportunities come your way. For instance, let’s say a recruiter or old coworker reaches out to you on LinkedIn for a role you’ve never considered. If there’s a chance it could help you reach your overarching life and career goals, you should explore it!

Tori Gillespie, healthcare market director of operations at Ross & Baruzzini, recommends engaging in any conversations regarding the new opportunity.

“Refrain from saying ‘no’ until you really have evaluated the opportunity,” she says. “You should not be afraid if something takes you outside of your comfort zone. With every challenge, there is an opportunity for growth. If there is something you are not sure about, ask questions. There’s nothing wrong with weighing the pros and cons. Anytime I am unsure of an opportunity, I discuss it with my advocate and personal board of directors. I like to get feedback from others to see things from a different perspective and view.”

As a Director of Operations, she leads multi-discipline teams, managing scope, schedule, and budget to deliver high-performing building infrastructure systems that meet her healthcare client’s goals. Some of her notable project clients include Siteman Cancer Center, BJC HealthCare, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

To learn more about opportunities at Ross & Baruzzini, visit our Careers page.

Ross & Baruzzini Engineering Wins Commercial Real Estate Awards 2022 for Saint Louis Zoo Project

Last month, our work for The Michael and Quirsis Riney Primate Canopy Trails project at the Saint Louis Zoo was featured in the St. Louis Business Journal’s Commercial Real Estate Awards 2022 for Community Impact.


Design for the $13 million project began in 2017 with the chief intent to add state-of-the-art, innovative outdoor habitats for Old World monkeys, New World monkeys, and lemurs. The size and scope of the project evolved over time before construction began in late 2019, and the project opened to the public in July 2021.

The new 35,000 SF facility allows all of the primates living at the primate house to access the outdoors, many for the first time, and is helping the zoo improve animal care and well-being of the primates with enriching outdoor habitats, sunlight, and fresh air.

Zoo visitors can now experience the primates from unique vantage points, including a 200-foot-long canopy-level boardwalk. The Saint Louis Zoo attracts approximately 3 million visitors annually and is the most-visited attraction in the region. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Saint Louis Zoo is part of an elite group of institutions that meet the highest standards in animal care.

Read the full news story from St. Louis Business Journal here.

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Ross & Baruzzini Government and Healthcare Experts Featured in MedCity News

“No one said it’s easy to do construction renovation in healthcare facilities, but it is vitally important to ensure that medical facilities can deliver the best care possible.”

Senior Vice President – Managing Principal Mike Shea and Vice President – Managing Principal Mike Swanson spoke with MedCity News on construction best practices in healthcare facilities:

There’s no doubt that stakes are high during construction renovations in healthcare facilities that demand 24/7 operation. After all, downtime isn’t an option during medical facility renovations when critical building infrastructure is keeping people alive. In the digital era where medical records are electronic and major medical procedures are performed using sophisticated robotics, electrical power and telecommunication services are vital for patient care operations during healthcare construction.

Adverse outcomes associated with the loss of building infrastructure could reduce staff and patient safety and increase the risk of litigation. For instance, active construction can stir up dust and debris, compromising building sanitation and putting patients at risk. With this in mind, construction teams must be hyperaware of infection control during construction in healthcare facilities.

Regardless, medical facilities still require routine maintenance and repairs — just like any other building. The stakes are simply too high in healthcare environments to execute the associated engineering work in a traditional way. Not all firms have the specialized skill sets and foresight to anticipate needs, investigate the facilities and infrastructure, and phase work appropriately. However, experienced specialty design and engineering firms can ensure the best possible care through advanced preparation and proactive, diligent processes.

Construction best practices in healthcare facilities

Here’s what successful engineering firms must do before starting medical facility renovations to be successful in maintaining seamless operations and patient care during construction:

  1. Conduct an on-site investigation.

Don’t rely on the building’s existing drawings and “as-built” documentation. Although this seems obvious, it’s too often bypassed for expediency to the detriment of the construction timeline and budget. To understand the scope of a healthcare renovation project, firms must do their own fieldwork and conduct interviews with facility management teams to ensure they have comprehensive, up-to-date knowledge of the building’s physical condition and its supporting utility infrastructure, equipment, and systems.

  1. Understand the environment.

Next, firms need to examine specifically where construction will take place. For instance, let’s say a firm is replacing electrical gear in a hospital. The firm’s team will want to thoroughly analyze the project location and adjacent areas, noting any limitations in equipment’s physical size, room dimensions, and system capacity. If any areas or operations would be adversely affected if power was lost during construction, teams should develop contingency plans.

Then, they’ll verify the safe transfer of power sources from normal power to emergency generators and back to normal power — all without disrupting sensitive equipment, automation and control systems, and operations. Firms need to consider what the true impact of an outage might be. Can users go without a system for a certain amount of time? If so, how long? This step requires a lot of team collaboration between contractors, owners, and staff members.

Firms can employ software like Autodesk Revit to create 3D models and lidar technology to map out spaces such as mechanical and electrical rooms. Armed with these resources, teams can better understand the limitations within the space and identify opportunities where infrastructure can be installed and routed to minimize disruption to other services.

  1. Develop phasing schemes.

Facilities don’t usually have adequate “swing space” available to maintain clinical operations during healthcare renovations. Instead, they must create the swing space through the use of temporary modular facilities or phased renovations.

Some projects can come with challenges such as floor space not being readily available to install new equipment, or the facility is not able to tolerate a power outage during construction. To solve the first challenge, an exterior area well can be creatively enclosed and repurposed to house a portion of the new electrical equipment, providing an opportunity for phased feeder cutovers and creating available space within a basement region. Then, a robust temporary generator arrangement can be provided in conjunction with separate distinct construction sequences to phase the work in a manner that can minimize downtime and construction costs and maximize the existing floor space.

Experienced healthcare designers must lead stakeholders through the process of developing phasing plans for the duration of the project. The phasing documents will evolve and become more complete as the project design develops and more information is obtained relative to the operation and critical utilities infrastructure throughout the site. The design team should solicit input from maintenance and operations staff at each milestone design phase so that the ramifications of construction and stakeholder obligations are fully understood and advance planning can be coordinated.

Firms must develop initial phasing concepts during the concept stage and refine them during the final design to account for the zoning of existing infrastructure; the impact on clinical operations, including infection control during construction; and the desired end state. Ideally, firms should complete the project in as few phases as possible while minimizing disruptions to operations and keeping overall project costs down.

No one said it’s easy to do construction renovation in healthcare facilities, but it is vitally important to ensure that medical facilities can deliver the best care possible. Design and engineering firms can follow these steps to ensure that repairs, maintenance, and renovations are completed on time, with safety in mind, and with as little disruption to operations as possible. The result will be a game plan that minimizes services disruptions and maintains operations throughout construction, reducing risks to the healthcare organization.

We can help guide your team during your next Healthcare MEP projectContact us to discuss how our solutions can help keep operations running smoothly during a renovation.