ribbon-cutting

Packard Children’s – My “Fight Song”

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Walt Vernon, PE, LEED® AP, EDAC

Principal, Chief Executive Officer
12/02/17

Thursday was the ribbon cutting for the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford.

The event was small, and our friends at HGA gave us one of their tickets, so I was able to attend. And, I’m so glad I did. Thank you HGA!

The event was mostly for the donors who had helped to create the funding for the project. Speakers included all manner of dignitaries, each talking about this hospital being the most technologically advanced, patient-centered, and environmentally sustainable children’s hospital in the world.

I can be pretty emotional, and I was really moved when I listened to a mom tell the story of her daughter, diagnosed at age two with leukemia, and their fight, with the people at Packard Children’s, to save her life. I confess I was one of those who wept, then, when another young woman took the stage to sing. This woman had been diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer, and had, during her therapy at Packard Children’s, entered America’s Got Talent. Apparently, her singing went viral, and she gave us her song, “This is my fight song”, and she brought up the little girl who had been saved from leukemia. It was a powerful moment (to say the least).

We (Mazzetti with several design partners) started working on this project more than a decade ago. I remember all of the people who have come and gone from the project. I celebrate, especially, the genius of my friend Robin Guenther, of Perkins + Will, who lead the team to create this masterpiece of healing. As we were working on the project, Robin and I also collaborated to win the Kaiser Small Hospital Big Idea competition, and, though Kaiser never built the building we envisioned, pieces of it made their way into this building. I feel so fortunate to have been able to work with Robin through these years and to do this project with her.

Shortly after the ceremony, back at our San Francisco office, I talked with my Mazzetti colleagues about the project. As I looked into their eyes, I saw so many people who did so much work on the project. I told them that truly, they were the ones who should have been there, for they were the ones who made this building happen. I told them about the two kids who had appeared, and how it reminded me that our work makes a difference.

A long time ago, I reconciled myself to the fact that my talents were not ones that would allow me to practice medicine. But, through the years, I have consoled myself that, at least, I can help to create the stage on which those with these talents can do the work of taking care of people who need help.

Doing what we can to create the most patient-centered, technologically advanced, environmentally sustainable medical centers in the world, so that medical professionals can treat, and so that people can heal—this is my fight song.


Arash Guity, PE, LEED® AP, CEM

Associate Principal, Sustainability & Mechanical Engineer

Arturo S Salud

Associate, Senior Electrical Designer

Bill Caron, PE

Associate Principal, Senior Mechanical Engineer

Bill Hinton, CNMT

Associate Principal, Technology Team Leader

Brennan Schumacher, LEED AP

Senior Associate, Senior Lighting Designer

Brian Hageman, LEED® AP

Associate Principal, Discipline Leader

Brian Hans, PE, LEED® AP

Senior Associate, Senior Mechanical Engineer

Brian J. Lottis, LEED AP BD+C

Associate, Senior Mechanical Designer

Brianne Copes, PE, LEED® AP

Associate, Mechanical Engineer

Chris Johnson, LEED AP BD+C

Associate, Project Manager

Christena Fournier, MSHCA

Technology Consultant

Courtney Richardson, PE

Associate, Mechanical Engineer

Cynthia Mercante

Associate Principal, Director of Software Development

Darryl Wandry

Principal, Chief Financial Officer

David Hicks, PE

Associate, Senior Electrical Engineer

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