skip to navigation

Employee Spotlight: Jess Klocek

Jess has been a staple of the MKSD team for over 15 years and serves as our Director of Healthcare and Design.  But don’t let her title fool you – Jess is a “Jill” of all trades!  From baking homemade Rosemary Himalayan Sea Salt Focaccia (YUM!) to transplanting boxwoods, there is no task she cannot accomplish.  Jess’s sense of humor and outgoing spirit brings out the best in all of us. We are thankful to have her as part of the team, and hope you enjoy learning more about her fun spirit!

What is your experience in architecture?

I started working at MKSD while finishing up my B.A. in Architecture at Lehigh University.  My first job was to help Silvia select finishes at the CAI office building she was designing on Hausman Rd.  Ironically the building is just up the road from our office now and I am reminded every day of where I began.  My career started with K-12 school design and I was lucky enough to work on most of the large regional school projects MKSD designed “back in the day”.  This experience exposed me to the design & construction process from start to finish and I’m happy to say, also led me to meeting my husband who worked for us on the Northwestern Lehigh School District projects we completed.  In 2010 my career focus began shifting to healthcare.  In the 11 years since, I have been a part of hundreds of healthcare projects now in MKSD’s portfolio including dozens of brand-new multi-story medical office buildings and two ground up new hospitals.  As MKSD’s Director of Healthcare Design, I am proud to contribute to the region’s nationally recognized healthcare industry.

Where did you go to college and what was your favorite class?

I went to Lehigh University and received a B.Arts in Architecture & Urban Studies in 2004.  My favorite classes there were my Urban Studies classes, mostly taught by the late Professor Amidon.  He had a very unique teaching style and most students didn’t last a few weeks before dropping his classes, but those that stuck with him, learned so much about Urban Studies and the world around them.  I started working at MKSD and spent nights at Drexel University to complete a BArch degree in 2009.  Not the most traditional path to becoming a licensed architect, but I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything. 

Who is your favorite architect/designer and why?

Antonio Gaudí.  If you know my design style, you probably wonder how I would ever relate to Gaudi.  We couldn’t be more vastly opposite.  I guess its because you are often drawn toward that which challenges you.  Sagrada Família is so interesting to look at and I feel like I see something different in it every time.  His ability to create things so seemly crazy, look so beautiful is inspirational.  Someday I hope to make it to Spain to see some of his works in person.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?

I love hiking, biking, dancing with my daughters, crafting, reading, and gardening.  We are always working on a project at on our 1918 Craftsman Bungalow which my husband and I have been “restoring” for over 12 years.  During the pandemic, we installed a small bike trail in the woods along our property and did a little basement refinishing to give everyone in the family a small area to do whatever makes them happy…art, woodworking, crafts, watching TV.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Hard work is one of the most important things in life.  My parents always made us work for what we got in life.  I spent many summers weeding my parents’ yard, cleaning houses for my mom, grandmother, and neighbor and just helping out when asked.  I never received a weekly allowance. I just knew that if I worked hard and needed something my parents would always be willing to provide.  To this day, I’d rather work hard for something then be handed it. 

What was your first job and what did you learn from it that influences the way you work today?  When I was 16 I got a job working in a lamp shop.  I worked alongside a group of women who all treated me with so much respect and kindness.  We listened to country music (the first time I had ever been exposed to it) and it wasn’t always busy, but it was a fun place to earn a little spending money.  I learned to wire a light and how to make handmade lamp shades.  I can’t say that the latter is helpful in my daily life, but I do appreciate all the work that goes into it!

What is one unique thing that others may not know about you?

I have a secret love of weeding.  I get very excited when I have a few hours free on a nice day and can spend some time in the gardens around our house.

What are three things you can’t live without in your workspace?

  1. My multi-pack of colored Paper Mate Flair Pens…today I may be in a lime green mood, tomorrow a magenta!
  2. Coffee.
  3. My “area mate” Nick.  Most days he is annoyingly positive and peppy…but he has been balancing out my crankiness for 16 years! 

How are you involved in the community?

I am a member and Secretary for the Salisbury Township Planning Commission and have been part of the board for the last few years.  I like to know that my knowledge and service is helping shape our physical community.

Where is your favorite place to eat/visit/hang out in the Lehigh Valley?

I love going to the Hellertown rail trail for a family bike ride.  We don’t get out nearly as often as I’d like, but it’s always a great time.

And I always enjoy lunch or dinner at Grille 3501.  The Crab Mango Spring rolls are amazing, and they have the best martini menu in the Valley!

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The people I work with.  We are a family and I love that about our firm!  I also love being an architect.  My work is never the same.  Every project is different and has different challenges so I’m constantly learning and growing as a professional.

More News

More on MKSD