Main Entrance Lobby | Paradise Valley Hospital | Phoenix | Arizona | 3,500SF

Tom Zandler, Project Director | DAVIS Design Solutions

To whom it may concern:

I am writing this letter of recommendation on behalf of Karen Shakman, AIA, LEED AP, EDAC. She was part of my team at DAVIS Design Solutions, LLC, where she worked as a Project Architect from May 22, 2019 until Sep 3, 2020. The separation was a direct consequence of decreased economic activity generated by the COVD-19 crisis.

Karen’s skills include multi-tasking, quick problem-solving and critical-thinking. Her propositions showed an evident understanding of the project as an integrative process among the branding, interior design and architecture. She communicated with the team efficiently, using a wide range of graphic tools from hand sketches to sophisticated software to convey and document information. This translated into an impressive fast-track process.

One of the projects we worked together was a 12 story, 180 room Marriott flagship luxury hotel. Karen was a dedicated and skilled architect not only on the technical but also on the design side. The project was a tight urban corner site, with may difficult issues, including a parking garage with stacked car stalls and utility equipment that had to be managed and blended into the exterior design, which required review and approval by the city. Karen worked diligently to study all the issues involved, understand them and ultimately solve them to the owner’s, designers’ and city’s approval. She coordinated these issues among all the consultants proficiently with the use of hand sketches, SketchUp models, CAD/REVIT sketches and Bluebeam exhibits and sessions. The project was terminated by Marriott as a direct consequence of the economic slowdown secondary to COVID-19.

I feel Karen was an extremely valuable member of my team, committed to the success of the project. I fully recommend her for employment in any position as an architect. I would not hesitate to re-incorporate her in my team and work with her again.


Tom Zandler

Project Director

DAVIS Design Solutions, LLC

Ernesto Encinasr, Project Manager | DAVIS Design Solutions

To whom it may concern:

It is with pleasure I write this letter of recommendation to endorse the work of Karen Shakman.

We have mostly collaborated in two projects during her tenure at DAVIS Design Solutions. On both instances, Karen showed a remarkable understanding of all phases of the projects, becoming a “catalyzer” among all the team members by coordinating all the necessary items in an efficient and assertive way. She used a logical, systematic and digital way of documenting information and items to be addressed, ensuring these were properly processed avoiding negligence or redundancy.

On the 6th n College Hotel

Karen worked diligently in this one-of-a kind project, located in a reduced size lot that required off street parking on the second floor served by car elevators and lifts. The entitlement package approved by the City of Tempe did not account for larger size utility equipment that had to be accommodated later on in the process, right in front of the building for direct access. Karen was quick and skillful, bringing to fruition very creative design solutions, which were “packaged” in a presentation deck that was really appreciated by the Clients and the City of Tempe reviewers. Her concern in keeping the design integrity of the project was evident and appreciated by the DAVIS design team.

Eastline Village

This multi-family project, the first car-free neighborhood built from scratch in the USA, was the product of a joint venture among several companies. They were brought to DAVIS to be “assembled” and approved for construction. Karen worked on two buildings. Based on schematic design level CAD floor plans, she completely redesigned the floor plans which were highly praised by the clients and acknowledged in an email that made its way to the president of the company.

I highly recommend Karen Shakman and consider her an asset to any architectural organization. I attest her awesome team attitude, design skills and professionalism.

Ernesto Encinas

Project Manager

DAVIS Design Solutions, LLC

Bill Jeorling | Archicon Architecture and Interiors, L.C.

To whom it may concern:
I am an Architect of 30 years of experience working as director of staff in various offices creating Hospitality work and Commercial Design. I worked with Karen Shakman at Archicon Architecture and Interiors. During our times together, I appreciated her strong commitment to better design solutions and very thoughtful and through completion of documents. Most of her work was approved to move forward with the city during first round of review. I was also impressed by her willingness and to the point communications with clients and consultants. She has the ability to quickly mock up a design solution in photoshop or sketchup to help review ideas in motion.

Karen has a very positive impact to the office and would thrive in any environment that focused on good design and a collaborative effort to complete successful projects. I would look forward to working with Karen again in the future and would recommend her to any office looking to increase their straff of reliable licensed (Arizona, California) architects.

You may contact me to continue this conversation as warranted.


William G Jeorling, Architect

Steven Langford | President | Steven Langford Architects, Inc.

Please accept this letter on behalf of Steven Langford Architects, Inc. We are an innovative solutions provider for architectural and interior design services, specialized in the design and engineering of restaurant, retail, and hospitality facilities.
Mrs. Shakman worked with us for 1½ years and she was a key asset for the company. She brought to fruition several design concepts that not only reflected our mission and design propositions, but also addressed the goals and branding positioning efforts of the clients, from hand sketches to 3D models. Karen is very talented in design and highly effective in expeditiously proposing innovative and bold designs, as well value-engineering alternatives when the clients’ budget constraints demand it.
I was particularly impressed with her work at the Great Maple Restaurant, at the Del Amo Mall in Torrance, California. When the client requested a “mid-century revival” exterior style with a “French look and feel,” she gracefully pulled out a building that met the client’s expectations. From conceptual design to CA phases, Karen showed knowledge of how to put a building together, and her input was fundamental in orchestrating the structural design and construction teams efforts.
The Mon Beau Bebe boutique tenant improvement was another instance where her talent and creativity impressed not only the client, but the landlord as well. The program called out for a French upscale baby store/boutique. Karen proposed to establish a nostalgic carousel as the branding ambassador for the store. The client not only approved the idea, but also commissioned us to design a second store in Beijing.
In conclusion, I truly consider Karen Shakman a talent asset to any architecture or design-driven company, because of her ethics and team attitude, her accountability, and her professionalism.
Steve Langford, Architect

Dave G. Manuchia | President | Restaurant Partners, Inc.

As a client of Steven Langford Architects, I am writing this letter to endorse the architectural work of Mr. Karen Shakman.

Karen worked with us on our 8,000 square foot, full service Grille 29 restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama. She was always responsive to our needs and very professional in her communication and problem solving abilities. She helped to transform a former chain restaurant into a unique and architecturally appealing building, and we enjoyed working with her and her team at SLA.

In particular, we were very impressed with the creativity that Karen showed in solving the inevitable problems of a remodeled building, and even more impressed with the quick turnaround in her responses and communication.

I would endorse Karen as a highty qualified and professional architect, and would use her again on a similar project if given the opportunity.

Kind regards,

David G. Manuchia, President

Stephan Schmidt | Legend Real Estate Management and Archway Group Development & Construction Director

This letter of recommendation is written to attest Mrs. Karen Shakman’s outstanding professionalism.
We, Legend Real Estate Management and Archway Group, often invest in healthcare-related real estate properties, particularly in the acquisition of existing medical business offices. Our mission is to bring distressed assets back to the market and by doing so, revitalizing neighborhoods, restoring businesses and leveraging opportunities.
About three years ago a well-known healthcare real estate broker in Phoenix referred us to Ms. Shakman’s company, Iconic Architecture and Design. Since then we have been extraordinarily pleased with her contributions and her services. Furthermore, Mrs. Shakman’s insights on different aspects of our business highlight the difference between an architect and an architect who sees the big picture and all nuances of a real estate’s investment, from acquisition to turn-key processes.
During the course of our professional relationship, Mrs. Shakman has ensured that all architectural-related needs are run and provided in a concise, clear and timely manner. From programming and quick test-fit plans for potential tenant improvements to feasibility analysis with phasing studies for larger and more complex projects, Mrs. Shakman has proven to be knowledgeable, energetic, insightful, creative and accommodating. Moreover, her credentials in Evidence-based Design and Sustainable Healthcare have been very valuable in building the business case for some of the critical decisions we have had to make.
We are delighted to recommend without hesitation Mrs. Karen Shakman’s architectural services. We are pleased to be in the Iconic Architectural Design’s list of clients.

Stephan Schmidt
Development & Construction Director
1525 S. Broadway Street
Los Angeles, Ca 90015
T: 213.516.3222 x 207 F: 213.746.7026 C: 323.509.7411

Jim Kelli | C3 Construction

To whom it may concern,
I had the opportunity to work with Karen Shakman at the Express Urgent Care Tenant Improvement’s project. During this time, I could attest her level of professionalism and problem-solving skills, both so important in the construction administration phase of a project. Always promptly responsive and present whenever needed, thank to her the construction process ran smoothly and efficiently. Of worth is to note that Karen documents all the steps of the construction administration, avoiding conflicts, misunderstandings and keeping the whole team on the loop. Additionally, when given cost-efficient options in lieu of the other alternatives, she was broad minded and agreed to work in tandem with our team to lower costs or manpower resources.
The very low number of RFI’s attests that Mrs. Shakman’s construction document drawings were complete and very detailed. Her shop drawing reviews showed the level of attention she pays to the execution phase of a project.
For all these reasons I am glad to recommend Mrs. Shakman for future projects.
Thank you
Jim Kelly
Project Superintendent, C3 Construction.
3335 E. Indian School Road, Suite 100, Phoenix, AZ 85018
Phone (602) 222-8866 Fax (602) 553-8866 ROC AZ102488 B1 CA 744933

John Williams, MD | Plastic Surgery | Scottsdale | Arizona | 2,500SF

To Whom It May Concern,
My name is Dr. John Williams and I am a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon in North Scottsdale. I recently moved from my original office of 12 years and relocated to a new office a few miles away. The office is located in a new building that was largely vacant at the time. I knew how I wanted the new suite to look and function but I was concerned that the architects would not share my vision. Fortunately, the architectural firm that I was referred to introduced me to Karen Shakman.
From the very beginning of our working relationship, she was fantastic. She listened very carefully to what I wanted and created a design that fit my every need and desire. Because of her extensive experience in medical office design, she understood the need for efficient space planning as well as the importance of aesthetics in the competitive market of plastic surgery (all while keeping a close eye on the allotted budget). The final result was incredible and I get compliments on my office daily from patients and colleagues alike. I would highly recommend Karen to anyone who needs architectural services from a true visionary.
Thank you Karen for sharing your amazing talent with me.
John Williams, MD

Brittnay Carpenter | Arizona State University Architectural Intern | Phoenix | Arizona | 2010-2011

As an intern for Iconic Architecture and Design, I worked closely with Karen Shakman, which, in my experience, can be unusual for a student intern experience. Karen Shakman was the Principal Architect in the firm. She took time to teach the many things I had not learned from my education about the profession. Karen knows the importance of teaching those who work with her and the patience that goes along with it. While some professionals would get frustrated or simply not hire someone with little experience, Karen’s sense of leadership, and result oriented drive created a profitable dynamic between an intern and a growing company. By taking time to mentor, and lead by example, she created a knowledgeable professional and a dedicated individual who desired the best for the company. During my tenure at Iconic Architecture and Design, Karen taught me everything I know about the profession. Her leadership supported my professional growth, starting with learning project standards, to drafting construction documents in a few short weeks.
Karen took the time to take me to construction sites and see the creation of the hard work. This instilled a sense of accomplishment and validation of the effort we were putting into the projects. During a design-build project, the built product in a certain location was not as it was designed. We took images as well as measurements, and went back to the office to incorporate this change into the final set of drawings. As we continued working, I gained the experience needed to redline the construction documents and find errors on my own, giving time for the principal to take on other tasks. Instilling communication, trust and validation between mentor and intern dramatically increased the value of the intern’s work for the company as well as for intern’s education.

Brittnay Carpenter

Theresia Moloi | Neighborhood Pharmacy | Gilbert | Arizona | 1,200SF

Dear Karen,

I just wanted to write this short note to let you know how much I enjoyed working with you during the design and planning process of my independent pharmacy.
I am so glad you came into the picture after a long time of looking for an architect. It was a double benefit to me to find out I get an Architect and Interior designer for the price one. I was mostly impressed by your high level of professionalism, your caring and down to earth attitude you displayed while working with me. I truly appreciate and thank you from the bottom my heart.
I could not be more pleased with your company,Iconic Architecture and Design. I am going to tell everybody I know about it, you are great! Thanks a Zillion times.
Please feel free to use this short note as a letter of recommendation, I would be more than happy to discuss the wonderful job you did for me with anyone and I look forward to working with you in the future.

Best Regards

Theresia Moloi
Neighborhood Pharmacy, LLC
Gilbert, Arizona

Michael O’Connor | Camelback Village Pharmacy | Phoenix | AZ | 3,600SF

Karen is very thorough and detail oriented. Her approach begins with listening to the client’s needs, identifying potential requirements which will impact the outcome and then delivering the final work product in an efficient and timely manner. I intend to utilize Karen’s firm again in the future.

Ro Jackson | Surgeons Management, Inc., Brown Hand Center, and St. Michael’s Center for Special Surgery | Houston | Texas

Iconic Architecture and Design were originally referred to our companies (Surgeons Management, Inc., Brown Hand Center, and St. Michael’s Center for Special Surgery), by an international construction and development company. We have been extraordinarily pleased with their results, and the ease of working with Ms. Berry and her associated staff.

With twenty five years of experience dealing with various design firms, the working arrangements, and results, on occasion, have been somewhat less than stellar. This is not the case with Iconic Architecture and Design. We have been so pleased, that we, and our development partners, have selected Iconic Architecture and Design, as our “go to” designers for our national expansion program.

The professionalism, working arrangements, and delightful personalities make what could be a difficult process, into a smooth and pleasant experience.”

Ro Jackson

Vice President of Project Development

Surgeons Management, Inc.

Houston, Texas

North Valley Dermatology | 10,000 SF | Jill Fredenberg

Dear Kelli:

This letter is extremely overdue. I am writing to thank you for the superior service I received from your organization. From our initial meeting, throughout the build out and well after completion, you were there to assist me time and time again. Your level of interest and enthusiasm coupled with your business sense and sensitivity to real life expense was extraordinary. Your professionalism and courtesy were givens, but it was your sincere vested interest in realizing a life’s dream that impressed me the most.

I know you took charge of situations during the process to ease my load. These subtle initiatives are not your industry’s norm. It’s simply you going above and beyond again. Thank you for taking the measures to relieve your customers to focus on what they need to accomplish during the stressful time of a build out and remodel. As I’ve told countless colleagues, friends and family, I wish I did this more often – Kelli Berry was a delight to work with! Please ensure you get the recognition you so very much deserve.


Jill Fredenberg

Business Manager

cc: Mary Fredenberg M.D.

Theodore K. Hofstedt, M.D. | North Valley Orthopedics | Arizona |

“Kelli was fantastic with which to work. Our office is beautiful and my patients remind me of that all the time.”

David B. Mendelson, D.O. ENT | Specialists of Arizona | Arizona |

“Iconic made our floor choice very easy – she steered us away from the poor choices and we ended up with a beautiful floor that we never would have chosen otherwise. It was perfect. Kelli’s knowledge of color and design helped immensely.

Samuel Walker | We Care Urgent Care | 4,500SF | Glendale | AZ |

Kelli, Karen
You and the team at Iconic have proven to be energetic, insightful, creative and accommodating. We appreciate your professionalism and work ethic and would most definitely recommend you to any project that needs clear communication, great attitudes, a creative eye and is value driven.