SGA’s Virginia Hart and the Importance of Service and Technology in Retail Architecture

Virginia Hart

Whether it’s traversing mountaintops, camping or hiking, architect Virginia Hart loves adventure. She also loves the thrill of leveraging new technologies for SGA. This month we sat down with Virginia and discussed the meaning of service and new technology in retail architecture.


Describe your approach to service within SGA and for our clients.
Service is one of our core values. We are in a service-oriented business, and our clients expect world-class service. To me, world-class service means being responsive; it means being proactive in addressing issues; it means listening to and acting as an extension of our clients. We have a word at SGA that we use frequently: “Lagniappe.” Lagniappe is a Cajun French word that means a little something extra. We strive to give that little something extra that makes a difference to our clients.

SGA puts a lot of focus on serving our clients well. What is one way technology has helped us better serve our clients?
We use technology as a strategic advantage, to help our clients achieve their goals. I think that the data management and cross-platform systems integration are the two most interesting ways we’ve served our clients with technological advances.

Working with new technology is inspiring. Can you speak to this?
The changes that are developing are amazing. Within our profession and for our clients, these changes include the software (AutoCAD to Revit) used to develop construction documents, how projects are coordinated among disciplines, and how clients get the product to their customers. Being part of the effort to develop and implement processes that help move our clients forward and help in their efficiencies is very satisfying.

Can you tell us about a recent adventure you’ve enjoyed?
Our family and friends love adventure; our most recent outing was as a family. My husband, daughter and I went to Buena Vista, Colorado for a week. This was our first real backpacking experience. We’ve all gone camping before, but not backpacking and hiking. We spent three days traversing the Collegiate Peaks. Our goal was to summit Mount Harvard, which is 14,423 feet in elevation. We left before daylight that morning because weather was expected to come in before noon and you don’t want to be caught above treeline in a storm on the mountain. With the summit in sight but clouds rolling in, we made the decision to turn back. We wanted to make sure that we had enough time to get to safety. Just as we returned to camp, the rain started. It was disappointing not to make that summit, but I will never forget the memories and experience.

We know you’re very active and like to spend time outdoors. What’s your favorite outdoor activity?
My mother was an elementary school teacher, and my father was a biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. We lived out in the country and I always had plenty of room to run and roam around. I spent a lot of time with my dad and learned why hunting and fishing are vital to our ecosystem. I enjoy fishing, but I really don’t have the patience for it. My favorite outdoor activity is to hunt deer and turkey with my family. I truly enjoy the mornings I spend sitting in a stand with my daughter.