Architect and sole proprietor Karen Ramsey recently moved into the Bridgeworks Flex Office space. There, she’s found the ideal setting to apply her grandmother’s “old fashioned” but profound advice: “Put your head down and do your work.” 

KW Ramsey, Architect LLC is a sole-proprietor firm, owned by Karen Ramsey, who has been providing residential and commercial architectural services to clients in the Lehigh Valley, New Jersey, and suburban Philadelphia for over 30 years. The firm focuses on residential commissions (renovations, additions, and new homes) but has also included small commercial projects and adaptive re-use of historic buildings. Karen’s most recent project was designing the transformation of the Parkland Community Library building, which doubled the size of the facility and added new spaces for library staff, children’s activities and community programs.

Karen grew up in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Ohio State with a degree in Architecture. In 1986 she moved to the Historic District of Allentown and officially launched her architectural practice. For nearly the next two decades, Karen practiced in Allentown and Easton before moving to suburban Philadelphia in 2004. After settling down outside of Philadelphia, she found a shared office arrangement local to the Lehigh Valley and she continued meeting clients in the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton area a few days per week.

“My approach to the design process is rooted in my love of both problem-solving and the creation of timeless, modern-inspired, and contextual buildings and spaces,” says Ramsey. “I have, additionally, a deep commitment to collaboration with my clients, and believe that my willingness to explore design alternatives, combined with solid technical knowledge and a sensitivity to each client’s unique functional and aesthetic needs, is the fundamental basis for satisfying design solutions.”

Recently, unexpected changes occurred in her previous satellite office, and Karen was faced with finding another local space. She recalled the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, which had been close to her former residence in Old Allentown, and was happy to discover that they offered, and had available, small individual office spaces that were just what she needed.

“In addition to its easily accessible location, I particularly like that the building is architecturally interesting. It’s a great example of adaptive re-use of a wonderful old structure, which is a special interest of mine, and I love being able to support the concept by being a tenant there.”

Once a Mack Trucks assembly plant, the Bridgeworks building was acquired by AEDC and underwent a complete renovation in 1989 to support a manufacturing incubation program. The Coworking and Flex Office space underwent a more recent renovation in 2015. At the time, AEDC’s facility team purposely salvaged and incorporated various Mack Trucks paraphernalia to add character to the space and pay homage to the building’s long history.

Words of Advice for All

Today, Karen Ramsey is one of a dozen tenants, numerous coworkers, AEDC staff offices, and 11 manufacturing clients of the incubation program all set up inside the Bridgeworks building. With various types of businesses, workers inside the facility have valuable information to share with one another and learn from one another.

Regardless of company size, whether you are a startup or an established business targeting expansion and growth, Karen notes that it can often seem as if too many things are coming at you at once. She recalls the words of her paternal grandmother, “Put your head down and do your work,” which have helped her focus and she believes could be of use to other entrepreneurs or employees facing challenges at work.

Karen says, “Try as much as possible to tune out the distractions and the ‘noise’ of the sometimes-overwhelming world these days, and just focus on what you know how to do and do it the very best that you can. Old-fashioned advice, perhaps, but it’s always worked for me.”

Karen is one of three women who recently joined the group of tenants inside the Flex Office & Coworking space at Bridgeworks Enterprise Center in South Allentown. Professionals in all lines of work select the facility for its flexible workspace and industrial-designed offices. Adding to the variety of businesses operating inside the Center, the three newest tenants come from very different backgrounds, and all moved into the facility for unique reasons. Stay tuned to meet the other new tenants of the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center.

Karen’s contact information and portfolio can be found on her website.

Lauren Matthews

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