Pulse Design Group, a healthcare architecture firm located on the Country Club Plaza, restructures and prepares for the future. Recently celebrating 40 years in business, the firm has experienced substantial growth and has an aggressive strategy and vision to propel the firm for the next 40 years and beyond.
Managing Principal, Rick Embers, 63, was instrumental in building the company and officially retired on December 31, 2021. Rick stated, “I am excited to watch the firm continue to grow and am confident in the leadership, positive momentum, and vision of the firm.” Rick joined Wilson Johnson Associates in 1990 and the firm rebranded as Wilson Johnson Embers in 2000, when Embers became a principal. In 2009, firm leadership made a strategic business decision to solely focus on healthcare design and rebranded to Pulse Design Group in 2011.
During Rick’s tenure at Pulse Design Group, he led a variety of regional and national projects and worked with numerous leading healthcare organizations and hospital systems. Several of his notable projects include Olathe Health System Vertical Expansion, The University of Kansas Vertical Expansion and Central Utility Plant, The University of Kansas Health System Indian Creek Campus, Lawrence Memorial Hospital West Campus, AdventHealth Hybrid Operating Room, and Treasure Valley Ambulatory Surgery Center.
Rick’s dedication and passion for advancing the field of healthcare design were paramount to the firm’s growth, as he was constantly leveraging technology and conducting research to deliver innovative, flexible design solutions. In 2007, under Rick’s leadership, the firm established its own in-house Medical Equipment Planning department to provide comprehensive design services to clients. This service line allowed Pulse Design Group to develop new relationships and expand its national presence.
Rick was committed to utilizing emerging technology as a design tool and created an in-house virtual reality department that enhanced and transformed the design industry. This tool enabled clients and end-users to be immersed into virtual environments in real-time to fully understand the design intent and functionality of the proposed space. His passion for this virtual design tool led to the firm sponsoring the creation of the Pulse Design Group Simulation Lab and Health + Wellness Design Studio at the University of Kansas School of Architecture and Design. This space allows aspiring architects to experiment with the technology in the classroom before utilizing it in the real world.
Rick was dedicated to educating the industry on the need to invest in the technology as a critical design tool and presented lessons learned, best practices, and emerging technologies at various local and national conferences and universities around the country. This culminated in him presenting at the 2017 and 2018 AIA National Conferences.
Rick’s passion for continued education was focused on Pulse Design Group associates as well as advancing the design industry. He constantly encouraged employees to pursue licensure and gain credentials to help position associates for success, and to develop a diverse workforce of the best and the brightest. To this end, Rick led efforts to implement an internal mentorship program to shepherd junior staff members and help them navigate the industry with support and guidance provided by seasoned associates. Dennis Burns, President of Pulse Design Group, stated, “Rick was instrumental in creating a firm foundation rooted in strong employee culture, ethical business practices, and a true passion for healthcare architecture. His fingerprints are all over this firm and we are grateful for his perseverance, guidance, knowledge, passion, and humor. His strong leadership and innovative mindset built an incredible brand and a truly special firm where everyone is valued, supported, encouraged, and appreciated.”
Throughout his professional career, Rick was dedicated to advancing the field of healthcare design. He held licenses in 25 states, was a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the American College of Healthcare Architects (ACHA), the Kansas City Area Healthcare Engineers (KCAHE), and achieved EDAC certification (Evidence-Based Design Accreditation and Certification) in 2008. In 2018, Rick was named a University of Kansas Distinguished Alumni for his continued support and involvement. During his leadership, Pulse Design Group received a 2019 Best Companies to Work For designation from Ingrams Magazine, a testament to his servant leadership and dedication to his craft.
Michael Andracsek, Basil Sherman II, and Lindsay Hampton, Pulse Design Group Principals, shared that “Rick’s guidance, mentorship, partnership, and selfless leadership approach helped sculpt our careers and that of all Pulse Design Group associates. His legacy will live on through our employees and continue to be reflected in the firm’s future success.”
Mary Moore, Associate Principal, reflected on Rick’s impact on her career and stated, “Rick single-handedly had the biggest impact on my professional career. He gave me an incredible opportunity, supported me, believed in me, and was my biggest advocate. His unwavering encouragement, guidance, and friendship positively influenced countless employees, clients, and industry partners, not the mention his monumental impact on the industry. Rick is truly one of a kind, a great leader, and a life-long friend. I am grateful for the profound impact he had on my life both professionally and personally.”
While Rick’s jokes and smile will be missed in the office every day, he will remain active in special projects and will serve as Principal Emeritus, offering his wisdom and expertise to guide the firm well into the future. Rick shared the following inspirational words for staff to embody as they navigate through their career; “Be passionate about what you do because without passion, it’s just another job. Treat others with respect, continue to learn, challenge yourself, support your peers, and have fun. I am confident that the current structure will lead the firm to accomplish great things and am proud to have been a Pulse Design Group family member.”
In advance and preparation of Rick’s retirement, firm leadership recruited Dennis Burns, to bring his 20+ years of industry knowledge, strong network, and proven leadership to the firm. Dennis joined Pulse Design Group in 2020 as the firm’s first President, a deliberate and intentional move to ensure a seamless transition. Dennis’s strategy and vision complemented the firm’s leadership structure and aligned with its culture and strategic plan, which has been a critical component to the firm’s continued success.
Countless initiatives over the last decade have contributed to the firm’s growth, including the development and careful execution of a forward-thinking strategic plan. This plan was heavily influenced by firm fundamentals, ethical business practices, industry trends, and economic forecasting. The firm’s success was, and will continue to be, aided by a significant investment in technology and a commitment to staff education and professional development. Having a concentrated emphasis on marketing and business development; a dedication to industry research in healthcare architecture; and completing a tactical relocation to the Country Club Plaza, has bolstered recruitment, increased visibility and positioning within the industry, and captured the attention of current and prospective clients. Paramount in these efforts, is the continual focus to deliver innovative and flexible design solutions that concentrate on clients, their patients, and staffing needs.
Firm leadership consists of the three shareholders/Principals; Michael Andracsek, Basil Sherman II, and Lindsay Hampton, President; Dennis Burns, and Associate Principals; Kevin Purvis, Matt Meier, and Mary Moore.
We wish Rick the best in his retirement and look forward to continued growth and success!