Emily Freed has grit and a heart of gold. She manages projects with an eagle eye and commitment to excellence commended by clients she’s had for over a decade. Read on to learn how Emily started in design and her history of community service from an early age. Plus, some fun college stories!

You received a degree in Interior Architecture from the Portland Art Institute. Why did you decide to pursue a career in design?

I’ve always been a creative individual. The entire design process brings me a lot of joy, from developing a vision to executing it. When researching various careers, I could not think of a more rewarding career than utilizing design to create spaces others would enjoy.

You trained in interior design; how did you become a project manager?

I absolutely loved my former role as an interior designer. However, after a decade of working as an interior designer, it was time to utilize my experience to lead projects and continue pushing myself to grow in areas that do not come as naturally. As a Project Manager, I have enjoyed learning new leadership skills, building relationships with my clients, and supporting the design team to create successful projects.

Emily at the 2023 Pinnacle People Awards, accepting her award for Overall Contribution

Over the years, you’ve worked on many projects. What project stands out to you?

The Madras City Hall and Police Station is my favorite project because of the pride it brought to my hometown community. The design team focused on creating a timeless facility that paid tribute to the history of the community and unique geographical features in Central Oregon. It was rewarding to work on a project that enhanced my hometown community and will serve them for years to come.

You came to Pinnacle not only to work with a past schoolmate (Emily graduated from Portland Art Institute with Pinnacle owner Briana Manfrass) but also due to our mission of enhancing lives and communities. How do you live this mission?

My parents set a wonderful example early on of what it looks like to serve others in our community. For as long as I can remember, they have never hesitated to offer a ride, shelter, or food to a stranger or community member in need. For years, I enjoyed riding with my dad around Jefferson County to pick up the homeless and bring them to our home church in Metolius, where we would prepare a home-cooked meal and dine together. As a result, I developed a desire at an early age to help others less fortunate. I’ve had the privilege of partnering with Bethlehem Inn and Shepherds House on several projects in our community and recently branched out into the affordable housing market sector. I’m so thankful to have landed at Pinnacle Architecture, where the firm’s mission aligns with my desire to enhance the lives of others in our community.

Emily volunteered with fellow Pinnacle Staff at the Humane Society of the Ochocos.

Pinnacle values its company culture. Any addition to our team must be the right fit – dedicated, creative, and collaborative. We asked Emily a few fun questions to get to know her a little bit more:

What is your family vacation, and why?

Before the pandemic, we took a three-day family vacation to Disney World and then departed on a Disney cruise for a week. We floated through a lagoon, visited the Mayan ruins, and spent the day at Disney’s private island.

We experienced everything from thrills to touring incredible sites. There was great food and shows, and we had opportunities to relax.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

My kids are my proudest accomplishment. They reflect what I’ve done well and need to work on and constantly force me to focus on what is important.

What is your favorite game or sport to watch and play?

Tennis! I started playing tennis as a freshman in high school, but I wish I would have started playing at a younger age. However, I still really enjoy playing with friends and family.

What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?

I’m not sure if I’m daring or just naïve! The moments that make me scratch my head and wonder what I was thinking include the following:

  • Walking home alone in Portland in the middle of the night while in college
  • Attempting to climb Mt. Hood in a snowstorm with no training
  • Watching horror movies with my roommates until 1 AM before going through the lava caves

Emily and her husband enjoying the photo booth at the 2022 Pinnacle People Awards

These darling adventures sound like college shenanigans. What’s the most daring thing you’ve done lately?

Yes, I haven’t added too many since having kids! Although I think having both my kids in recreational sports at the same time is pretty daring (or crazy!). Trying to manage our home calendar is like climbing Mt. Hood in a snowstorm all over again.

Emily is a wonderful addition to the Pinnacle team. She is genuinely committed to our work and an amazing team player. Plus, she’s quite the “motivator”! Currently in first place in our Spring 2023 Steps Challenge and isn’t afraid to let us know 😉

Have a question of your own for Emily? Send her an email at emily@parch.biz.