Man in Charge
When renowned architecture and design firm Jensen Fey was chosen to collaborate on Thompson’s newest venture in Seattle—a community-centric, one-of-a-kind boutique hotel moments from the waterfront—there was no one more fitting to run the operation than Project Manager Shawn Ronning.
Every day for two years, he was the man on-site ensuring the structural perfection of the construction of this new urban landmark. (He also spent time liaising with local business owners who guiding him to the best local coffee spots.)
Here, he shares two of his favorite restaurants in the city—with boat parking. (Seattle we love you!) And, what it’s like to see a whole lot of drawings turn into a beautiful building, and more.
What first drew you to the design, architecture and construction field?
I fell in love with building things very young, figuring out and understanding how materials come together to form spaces has always intrigued me. The fascination of manipulating built spaces is what inspired me to get into the design and architecture of buildings.
What do you love most about your job?
I love the aspect of my job that gives me the opportunity to put an idea on paper then watch it come to fruition, creating an experience for the consumer down to the smallest of detail to enhance the experience of the space.
As a Seattle local, how do you see Thompson Seattle enhancing Downtown Seattle for locals and visitors?
The Thompson is going to give visitors to Seattle the “complete Seattle experience” from the location adjacency to Pike Place Market, the amazing views of Puget Sound, and a convenient walk to the waterfront or the stadiums to watch the Seahawks, Mariners, and Sounders. Locals will enjoy a new vibrant community in place of what was a previously a neglected site. Not only will The Thompson create many new jobs, the hotel patrons will also increase revenue as they shop and dine in downtown businesses.
How did you engage with the local community during the construction process?
I have enjoyed the local coffee shops and restaurants during the two years on site for quick eats and good coffee, the businesses have enjoyed interacting with our team during the various phases of construction. Personally, I have shopped the convenience of Pikes Place on many occasions for dinners and unique local gifts.
Can you describe your typical day as the project manager at the Thompson Seattle site?
I have been working on-site for 2 years, I have managed and directed the GC answering construction questions while addressing constructability issues that came up frequently. The most challenging aspect of this project has been implementing the vision and design intent in an effective way to satisfy the ownership and operations teams.
What values are reflected in the design of the hotel?
Moving people efficiently on a tight urban site while recognizing the programmatic requirements for a four-star boutique hotel.
Where do you live in Seattle? Can you share three of your favorite local haunts?
When I am not working, I love to spend time on the water with my friends and family. My home is in Kirkland; though I am native to the eastside, I enjoy boating on South Lake Union. I can get superb seafood and drinks at The Westward and exquisite Mexican food at Aqua Verde. Both places have a laid-back atmosphere and great boat parking.
For you, what soundtrack conjures up the vibe at Thompson Seattle?
The We Are Your Friends has a really cool mix techno and dance/electronic songs.