Intern Interview: Ray Khalaf

Intern Interview: Ray Khalaf


August 12, 2019

Ray Khalaf

What is the best advice you received?

TRIA is a fast-paced environment where the work demands can change quite drastically from day to day, especially as an intern. I was told not to be afraid to ask others at TRIA for help, as it’s best to confirm when you are in doubt. Everyone always made sure to take a moment to answer my questions, and it was important to them that I not only understood the how, but also the why.

What is your favorite part of the job?

The flexibility that comes along with it. For example, you could change locations to sit on the 7th floor, an open office setting with music, or you could stay downstairs in a normal office setting. You have the freedom to move around instead of sitting all day, which helps break up routine. It also helps encourage work across teams and disciplines and fosters conversations that I might not have otherwise had.

Another favorite aspect of my work here is the variation I experienced depending on my role on the team. I got the chance to be part of lab design, interior finishes selection, equipment selection, and I even assisted in drafting contracts. As a result, I am more aware of the responsibilities of an architecture firm, and how different skills are applied.

What is a notable challenge you faced, and how did you overcome it?

Jumping from project to project was difficult at first, as I wasn’t certain how to prioritize the work I was given. However, developing better communication skills with teams and continuously filling my team in about where I stood allowed me to overcome that. It certainly became a team effort to be more organized and cohesive as well, which helped develop my own management skills in turn.

Has working at TRIA changed your opinion of your field of study? How?

I’ve seen how the TRIA team constantly accommodates the clients’ needs, especially the interiors’ team. It puts things in perspective, the difference between a final product and the continuous iterations that still look professional and end-game. Working with and seeing how our Senior Interior Designers handle presentations and their mind process regarding it really sets an example on how you’re expected to deliver in the real world. You need to put your personal bias and preferences about a space to the side, and really try to see the space as the client does. It opens up a whole new perspective, and often leads to fascinating results.

What do you wish you had more exposure to during your time here?

To see the end results of the projects I’ve worked on would have been nice. Due to the time limitations of my internship, however, none of the projects I worked on are completed yet. I would have liked to see how everything came together and how my work contributed to the space as a whole.

What is your fondest TRIA-related memory?

Coming to work to see Betty the dog.

What is a skill you learned or honed while working at TRIA?

I can now develop my own Revit families. I also have a better understanding of lab planning and lab equipment and the emergency standards required for them. I am more familiar with room types such as freezer farms and cold rooms. During my time here, I’ve been exposed to so many new projects and ways of thinking that I am now coming away with bits and pieces of new information across the board.