Dana Watts

AIA

Principal | Project Director

At SMMA

  • Dana is a nationally sought expert on planning and design for mission-critical and advanced technology facilities
  • Skilled in leading time-sensitive projects with fixed completion dates
  • Adept at integrating complex equipment and technology to achieve successful outcomes

Dana Watts

Flexibility Rules

With decades of experience designing technology, R&D, and clean manufacturing facilities, Dana understands the importance of designing for flexibility, to accommodate fast-changing uses and market shifts. “We designed a Bio-MEMS (MicroElectricalMechanical systems) incubator facility at The Ohio State University that was planned for a very specific R&D testing and packaging process,” he says.

“Shortly after the facility was completed, the research mission changed. The client decided to shift from a solely MEMS-based focus to become a broader nanotechnology research facility. This was possible—without additional major renovation—because of the flexibility provided in the design of the mechanical and electrical systems, site utilities, and room configurations.”

 

The lesson, according to Dana, is to establish the framework for flexibility and adaptability during early-stage planning and programming. He enjoys the anticipatory nature of applying this thinking, and is persuasive in the role of teaching clients about the value they derive when readiness for change is part of the plan. “Clients are relieved to hear that creating a flexible design during the early phases of the project doesn’t have to cost a lot,” Dana explains.

An Engineer's Architect

Clients who work with Dana marvel at how much an architect knows about engineering. The secret: At Northeastern University, while engaging in his co-op work experience with architecture firms, Dana studied engineering. He learned he was more cut out for architecture’s technical side, where he could capitalize on his engineering studies, and later carried his curiosity for engineering solutions to his work at SMMA.

This dual interest has paid off on engineering-intensive projects for clients like IBM, Analog Devices, and EMC Corporation.