Rushing has promoted eight staff members to leadership roles: Todd Thayer has been promoted to principal; Emily Carrasco, Amanda Harris, Chris Little, Ben Omura and Reed Rushing have been promoted to associate principals; Andi Burnham has been promoted to manager of energy services; and Jeremy Roberts has been promoted to manager of project services. Learn more about these team members below.

Todd Thayer

Principal and electrical engineer

Q. What do you hope to contribute through your work? 
A. I want to provide the community with lasting landmarks and design projects our clients will be proud of.

Q. How did you become interested in electrical engineering (i.e. this field)?
A. I picked it from a book for a career essay in 8th grade

Q. What do you like about working at Rushing?
A. It is the people that make the place.

Q. What’s your favorite way to spend a weekend?
A. Reading a book.

Q. What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?
A. I don’t keep score.

Q. What project are you excited about right now?
A. Lynnwood Link Extension

Emily Carrasco

Associate principal and manager of lighting

Q. How did you become interested in lighting design?
A. While my degree is in interior design, I was working as an intern at an engineering firm during my senior year of college. I was drawn to a modern retail lighting showroom the company formed for their lighting studio that was open to the public. It immediately hooked me in discovering the perfect blend of both technical and creative design.

Q. How have you grown since joining Rushing?
A. Growth has certainly been continual for me over the last 10 years.  I remember when I first joined Rushing there were approximately 22 people in the entire company and there was (and still is) opportunity to wear several hats.  I have to say that learning through extending efforts past my comfort zone and making mistakes has shaped me into who I am today.  I’m grateful to work for a company that has given me limitless opportunities in which I will always be growing and honing my craft.

Q. What do you hope to contribute through your work?
A. Inspiration. A sense of place. Impactful, sustainable solutions.

Q. What’s your favorite way to spend a weekend?
A. My favorite way to spend a weekend is with my family: my husband and 1.5-year-old son.  We typically plan a fun outing on Saturdays such as a hike, brunch with friends, a trip to the zoo, etc. In this season of my life, time with them is so precious and I love soaking in “all the little things.”

Q. What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?
A. I quit my comfortable job in Spokane during the middle of the 2009 recession and moved to Seattle (jobless) to pursue more impactful design work.  It took a while to get on my feet, but I was passionate and determined to become a part of Seattle’s influential design community.

Q. What project are you excited about right now?
A. I’m looking forward to a new project we were just awarded in San Diego, California.  It’s an opportunity expand our team’s knowledge of newer out-of-state codes as well as be a part of an interesting historically-influenced design.

Amanda Harris

Amanda Harris

Associate principal and manager of business services

Q. What do you like about working at Rushing?
A. I love the fast pace of work at Rushing and being part of a hard-working team. Individuals’ strengths are supported here, and people have the freedom, autonomy and flexibility to really grow. I also love the mentorship that happens between groups.

Amanda has a long history at Rushing, starting in 2006, soon after the company was founded. After spending a few years at other companies where she advanced her accounting and management experience, and earned a bachelor’s in business administration, Amanda returned to Rushing to lead the Business Services team.

Amanda is solution-oriented. With a passion for solid customer service, she views everyone has her client, both internally and externally. Amanda served as project manager for Rushing’s comprehensive office tenant improvement, completed in 2020 and is excited to help support Rushing’s growth in the future, now as an associate principal.

When she’s not tackling new challenges at work, Amanda likes being outside at the beach with her kids.

Chris Little

Chris Little

Associate principal and manager of plumbing

Q. How have you grown since joining Rushing?
A. With most of my career being in the southeastern part of the country, no one particularly cared how you generated hot water. For central systems, we pretty exclusively designed gas fired boilers with external storage tanks, or self-contained condensing tank heaters. When I joined Rushing, I quickly came to realize I had no choice but to climb out of that groove. Energy codes in Washington State and Seattle don’t really allow for that sort of complacency. If I wanted to be a part of the Rushing team, I needed to get more comfortable thinking bigger picture about where that heat comes from and how to grab it from a more sustainable energy source. It can get pretty complicated. What’s great is Rushing’s got a band of smart folks all trying to figure it out and push deeper as the code cycles change, and I enjoy being a part of it all.

Q. How did you become interested in plumbing?
A. To be truly honest, right out of college I was just chasing a dollar. It wasn’t until about six months in that I realized I enjoyed doing this. I think I have to attribute that to my first manager, who pretty quickly took a hands-off approach and let me start running and managing my aspects of projects. It was the no-leash sort of freedom to run around and get things wrong, make them right and stuff the lesson in my bag for the next show that really got me building a head of steam in my career. It just so happens that plumbing is what caught fire and I feel like I’ve gotten pretty good at it. Thankful that it’s what caught on, because bathing, drinking good water and tending to folks’ bodily functions will always have a solid market presence.

Q. What do you hope to contribute through your work?
A. I think at the end of the day I want to help build a culture where people are comfortable trying to do or take on things they doubted they were capable of. We oftentimes inadvertently stunt ourselves by only sticking to the stuff we’re good at. Sometimes when you throw that caution to the wind you find you’re capable of being good at quite a lot. It just takes the willingness to get it wrong for a while and take the heat while you keep digging. I want folks to realize that and to not sell themselves short.

Q. What’s your favorite way to spend a weekend?
A. At the moment, I’m enjoying building this little farm thing me and the family have going down in Puyallup. We’ve got chickens, rabbits, dogs, cats, hamsters and a whole lot to do related to that. I really enjoy smoking meats on my charcoal smoker too. I get it wrong more than I get it right, but when I get it right it’s really something.

Q. What is the most useless talent you have?
A. I can lay flat on my stomach on the ground, hands underneath my legs and lift my chin way up off the ground—a whole lot higher than most of you, I’d bet. Been able to do that for as long as I can remember. I’m calling it useless at this point but I’m pretty sure I’ll find a great use for it one of these days. I’ll report back.

Q. What project are you excited about right now?
A. I’m excited about the two-tower residential and office mixed use project we’re working on down off Denny Avenue called Block V. We have larger projects, or more complex projects, or projects with more intricate head-scratchers, but I think this whole Block V team is clicking really well right now. I feel good about the dynamic, how we’re all talking and just pushing this thing forward. Excited to see it up in the air.

Ben Omura

Ben Omura

Associate principal and senior mechanical engineer

Q. How did you become interested in mechanical engineering?
A. Engineering always felt like a natural fit for me. I loved playing with Legos (still do), anything to do with cars and probably read The Way Things Work about 400 times when I was young. I always felt like I had to know what made something tick. Once I was in college and had selected mechanical engineering as my major I was looking for summer work and my dad got me turned on to construction labor work. (Thanks dad!) It was hard, sweaty work, but in retrospect it was also the job I enjoyed the most (besides working at Rushing of course!) and taught me how satisfying it can be to work on a building project. I eventually found my way into internships and part-time work with MEP consultants during college. These experiences opened my eyes to a career where I could not only design complex machines, but also be able to see them functioning out in the built environment every day.

Q. What do you like about working at Rushing?
A. For me it is a combination of the camaraderie that the culture at Rushing fosters, the ample opportunities for personal growth and the fast-paced work environment. All three of these go hand in hand. The growth in the region has presented us a tremendous challenge to efficiently provide highly-sustainable, integrated MEP system designs. To meet project goals everyone has to be engaged and operating at a high level. Knowing that your teammates are pushing themselves to meet these goals as hard as you are creates this positive feedback loop where everyone is working to support each other and provide the best product possible. I hate being bored at work and I never feel that way at Rushing.

Q. What do you hope to contribute through your work?
A. I don’t consider myself an environmental activist, but I do feel the most effective way I can help to reduce energy usage, fossil fuel consumption and embodied energy is to affect these goals through the HVAC designs that Rushing provides. Working here provides me with direct methods of making a positive impact through energy-efficient designs. It also gives me the opportunity to educate architects, developers and others on how energy-efficient systems work and what the intent truly is behind the extremely aggressive measures in the Washington State and Seattle Energy Codes.

Q. What’s your favorite way to spend a weekend?
A. Unplug and drive out to the family cabin in Mason County. From there all I have to worry about is when the tides are going to be low enough to grab some clams and oysters from the beach.

Q. What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?
A. I resigned from a highly compensated and promising position as a product manager to take an entry level mechanical design position with half the salary. I knew I wanted a more fulfilling career and I knew I could achieve that working in the building engineering industry, based on previous intern experiences. So I bet on myself and after a couple years was able to let building engineering take me back to Seattle where I was born and raised. I’m still trying to find a way to get the Sonics back too. Stay tuned.

Q. What project are you excited about right now?
A. I’m excited about 1400 Madison, which is a partnership between Plymouth Housing and Bellwether Housing, and is Seattle’s first affordable housing high-rise to be built in 50 years. The project itself represents a commitment to make good on the goals so many in the city have talked about to provide affordable and supportive housing within the urban core of Seattle. Not only is the project an exciting and fulfilling mission, but the in-house design team (MEP, lighting and energy services) at Rushing as well as the rest of the project team, is stacked with highly-talented people committed to the project goals. It’s a pleasure to work and learn with this project team.

Reed Rushing

Associate principal and senior mechanical engineer

Q. What do you like about working at Rushing?
A. Continuously learning and solving new problems on a daily basis is the most rewarding part of working here at Rushing. Being in a market that’s required to be on the on the cutting edge of sustainable building design forces us to think outside the box and challenge our processes constantly. No single person or individual discipline within the company or the industry as a whole can rise to the challenge in isolation. Being able to leverage all seven disciplines at Rushing in conjunction with architects to arrive at solutions to complex problems inspires a sense of team accomplishment that no one person alone could achieve. We’re re-inventing the wheel with every new project and it’s an exciting machine to be a part of.

Q. How did you become interested in mechanical engineering?
A. I grew up in an engineering family, but I wouldn’t say I was groomed for it. I think my interest in building/designing began with toys like Legos and model trains when I was a kid. As I grew older I gained an affinity for problem solving in math and sciences. I think it was a slow build. I started out as a physics major in college but really got into my groove when I realized I enjoyed the application of physics more than the deep theoretical side, so I transferred into the mechanical engineering program and the rest was history.

Q. What’s your favorite way to spend a weekend?
A. Spending time with my wife going on hikes, camping or short weekend trips to new places. I also try to hang with my niece and nephew as much as I can. They’re four and two years old and I’m on a mission to be the cool uncle they brag to their friends about.

Q. What is the most useless talent you have?
A. I’ve got a pretty decent library of useless stand up comedy quotes in my head.

Q. What project are you excited about right now?
A. There are so many projects to be excited about right now, but I’m probably most excited by our Living Building Pilot Program projects, most notably Magnolia Safeway. It’s been an awesome challenge to the whole project team, driving us to think differently about everything we do. Our sustainability and energy teams have done an amazing job of leading everyone through the experience.

Andi BurnhamAndi Burnham

Manager of energy services

Q. What do you hope to contribute through your work?
A. I hope be part of the knowledge base and experience developing Seattle’s cutting edge code and policy development. It’s exciting to be at the very forefront of testing what can work at a policy level and seeing how industry “catches up.”

Q. How did you become interested in energy analysis?
A. I knew I wanted to be an engineer, but I fell into energy modeling via an internship that turned into a full time job after graduation. I had the opportunity to work on the energy modeling and verification for a major sustainability retrofit at the Empire State Building. It was so awesome to get to calibrate the model every year to trended data from the site, and see the explicit impact of energy measures show up in reality. I’ve always been passionate about the environment and began to realize just how big of an impact the built environment could have. 

Q. What do you like about working at Rushing?
A. I love that Rushing contains seven different service groups in house, and that so many of our projects have scopes for multiple disciplines. I can walk across the floor to ask a team member in electrical a question about PV panel mounting for a project and go back my seat having picked up a nugget about metering best practices. Everyone at Rushing is constantly sharing knowledge. There is so much collected experience on the floor, you’d have to try pretty hard to not learn something new every day.

Q. What’s your favorite way to spend a weekend?
A. Nothing beats a weekend sailing on the Puget Sound with fair winds. I also love to cook and enjoy making things from scratch. I’ve perfected a flour tortilla recipe and have developed a custom chili powder blend that makes refried beans a 10/10.

Q. What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?
A. I left a partnership track position and took a substantial pay cut to work as a mechanical design engineer. It was the best decision I’ve made for my career so far. Having experience on the design side allows me to better understand project constraints and issues, which in turn provides greater support to clients and our internal teams.

Q. What project are you excited about right now?
A. I’m super excited about a Living Building Pilot project we’re working on that combines a grocery store and multifamily condos. There’s a natural synergy to recovering the waste heat from the grocery refrigeration systems to use for dwelling unit space and water heating.

Jeremy Roberts

Manager of project services

Q. How did you become interested in project management?
A. I became interested in project management through my database classes and while learning about quality control.

Q. What do you like about working at Rushing? 
A. I enjoy the flexibility as well as the awareness and intent that Scott and Rae Anne have as owners. 

Q. What do you hope to contribute through your work?
A. I hope to contribute to the culture of success.

Q. What’s your favorite way to spend a weekend?
A. Watching Hockey, flying kites, playing table-top games and generally hanging out with friends.

Q. What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?
A. Going back to therapy to figure out who I am and how to maintain a more authentic version of myself.

Q. What project are you excited about right now?
A. I’m really excited about re-kicking off a project that I started working on in my first year here which was to evaluate and bring in a file/email management software to assist with construction administration, email and design version control.

We’re proud of our people. Meet the whole team.