A second helping of gratitude

As 2020 comes to a close, we recognize that this year has brought its share of challenges. But at the same time, the past several months have reminded us of just how much we have to be grateful for.

At CORE Planning Strategies, we’re thankful to have enjoyed another year of helping our clients increase efficiencies, realize their ideal capital improvements, and transform their communities. And it’s with that spirit of gratitude and transformation that—on behalf of our clients—we’re making a donation to Second Helpings, an organization that focuses on transforming lives through the power of food. According to Second Helpings, one in every seven Hoosiers is food insecure. Second Helpings’ approach to addressing hunger and poverty in Central Indiana involves rescuing food from wholesalers, retailers and restaurants to provide culinary training and hunger relief.

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, our team took the time to share just some of what we’re grateful for—and that includes our relationship with you! We appreciate our clients and partners and how they allow us to support the great organizations in our community.

“There are many reasons why my gratitude is so full for our CORE Planning Strategies team. The greatest appreciation is the sincere and deep respect our team members demonstrate for others and the ability to bring out the natural talents in our customers. Our internal team grows emotionally and professionally from real-life lessons learned, which are shared with our customers to solve tough project challenges and mitigate customer risks. This, in my observation, stems from the strong family foundations that we all share, which permeate through our customers’ initiatives. Thank’full’ for our great work!”
- Annette Basham , Project Manager

“As I reflect on the beginning of 2020, I think about how excited I was for a new year and new possibilities. While many would think 2020 was a disappointment and needs to go away, that wasn’t really the case for me—I’m thankful for all I learned this year.
I am thankful I joined the CORE team. The team is truly amazing. We not only help our clients, we help and support each other, and we’re able to improve the communities we live in and care about. I had the opportunity to attend a Topping Out celebration in October at the new Criminal Justice Center, and I learned how thankful I am to help our clients celebrate and stay strong—something I’ve also learned to do in my personal life. As 2020 has shown us, it is not easy to do!
Being Irish, my family has a cheer we use to celebrate and stay strong before enjoying a small glass of Paddy’s Irish Whiskey! It means ‘to good health,’ and in 2020, it truly reflects what we have learned to be thankful for. Join me in wishing to all: SLA’INTE.”
- Phil Strack, Construction Coordinator
Phil was able to attend a Topping Out celebration in October.
“I’m grateful this year for patience.
Patience from our clients as we adapt to working from home (sometimes while our kids and spouses are all working from home, too!).
Patience from our construction teams while we make time for all of our extra Zoom calls, maintain social distancing on job sites, and try to find the mask we lost in our car.
Patience from our coworkers whom we cannot see in person often enough, and who always end up having to be the ones whose meetings get bumped for our extra Zoom calls.
Patience from our family members as we keep odd hours to juggle all of these new challenges.”
- Michael Bennett, Project Manager

“I am grateful for being able to continue to work through the current pandemic, whether at home or in the office, which has a COVID safety plan in place. Even when we’re uncertain about the present and future, I am thankful CORE’s clients have believed in and trusted us with their projects, therefore, our workload has stayed strong.”
- Susan Drattlo, Executive Assistant

“I am grateful to be part of team that considers people first. I am grateful for the Reddick Shelter at Fort Harrison State Park—and its large fireplace—for the opportunities to socially gather responsibly. I am grateful for technology that allows us to keep doing the good work that we do. I am grateful for our clients who understand the distractions caused by kids and pets and other work-from-home interruptions. I am grateful for a good coffee grinder, a French press, and locally roasted coffee.”
- Jason Larrison, AIA, Senior Project Manager
Jason working with his fancy fuel.
“During times of great challenge and trial, such as adaptation to this year’s pandemic, gratitude can sometimes shine greatest. I am particularly grateful for the resiliency and momentum maintained through my work, reflected by my colleagues, and exhibited by my family. We have not cowered nor tossed in the towel figuring we have no role ‘in all this.’ We have persevered, putting both productivity and safety at the forefront of our actions, clearly displaying that we absolutely DO have a role in this. As a father, I have quoted to my son the valued wisdom of Sun Tzu, ‘In the midst of chaos lies opportunity.’ During times of challenge, we should seek opportunities to distinguish ourselves.
I am grateful for those opportunities to solve, lead, produce—and maybe most importantly, protect—in my role as a professional and a family man.
Citing yet another meaningful historic quote (this from the Persian Sufi Poets), we are reminded that ‘This, too, shall pass.’ And when it does, we will be better prepared for our future, which is the point of lessons.”
- Joshua Scism PMP, CLSSGB, Senior Project Manager

“I am thankful for the flexibility and understanding in our workplace culture. Between COVID and kids, having such an awesome boss and co-workers makes the job less demanding and stressful in a time when everything feels stressful. I’m thankful for how our company handled COVID and quarantine so I have my health intact while pregnant. There’s a quote I have hanging in my house that says, ‘Gratitude turns what we have into enough.’ It’s a saying I’m striving to live by, especially during these pressing times.”
- Lynne Usdowski, Assoc. AIA, Graduate Architect & Marketing Coordinator
Lynne's daughter, Gracie, helps hide her mouse during zoom meetings.
“In reflecting on my time with CORE, I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to continue my work with cities. From the clients to my co-workers, it has been an exciting six months!”
- Katie (Lineweaver) Robinson, Project Manager

“I'm grateful for the flexibility and perseverance of our team. COVID has brought many challenges in working remotely and changing the typical workflow, but everyone has been so great and accommodating to still get things done. I'm also grateful that our team is so tight knit and team-oriented so that everyone is able to work together.”
- Andrea Wesson, Project Coordinator
“I am grateful for family, friends, co-workers, and clients (and some of you fill all of those categories!). The year 2020 has highlighted our need for others. We can’t do our best without strong and active relationships, so it’s critical that we stay connected. It’s also been a year when patience and flexibility have been paramount. I’m grateful to our team for having plenty of that, even prior to the pandemic.”
- Debra Kunce, FAIA, LEED AP , Managing Principal
Deb on a call with part of the team in their home offices. We're a Phish and David Byrne kind of office.
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