Growing up in the foothills of the Green Mountains in Hinesburg, VT, Cameron Trefry had an early introduction to the construction industry. During the summers, he worked for a friend’s father, laying concrete flatwork for bridges.
“During high school I transitioned into high-end residential construction, framing houses and doing finish carpentry,” Trefry said. “I’ve always had a creative, artistic side, so architecture was the perfect way to blend those two things together.”
While a student at the University of Colorado Boulder, Trefry landed an internship in the Denver office of Ware Malcomb, an international design firm founded in 1972. Another internship in the Chicago office left its mark on him. “I sort of fell in love with the city,” he said.
After graduating, he started full time as a production coordinator. “It was a great opportunity,” said Trefry. “It was a smaller office at the time and there was a lot of runway.” Over the years, Trefry rose in rank, to project manager and then regional manager. Today he is a principal, working out of the firm’s Chicago Oak Brook office.
Among the marquee projects that Trefry has worked on while at Ware Malcomb is the Midwest headquarters of Golden State Foods in McCook, IL. The 156,691 square foot, LEED Gold office and distribution center features multi-temperature warehouse space, a two-story lobby, Class A office space, separate truck maintenance facility and a test/demonstration kitchen. “Some of my favorite projects are ones that I personally managed and had a deep connection with the clients and the contractors,” he said.
Trefry also helped design the corporate office of Wirtz Beverage Illinois (now Breakthru Beverage Group). The 605,000 square foot facility in Cicero, IL has 100,000 square feet of Class A office, notable for the digital signage embedded in hallway floors. The warehouse was designed around a state of the art robotic retrieval technology.
The Wirtz facility played a big role in Trefry’s office winning the Design Firm of the Year from the NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association’s Chicago Chapter back in 2012. Recent projects for NAI Hiffman, Morgan / Harbour Construction, Atlantic Aviation and others led to the office again being named Design Firm of the Year for 2017.
Ware Malcomb recently developed a prototype design for a multistory warehouse in response to the explosion in e-commerce logistics. Designed for highly urbanized population centers, this warehouse concept takes a vertical approach, maximizing the usable space for a sector that has long eschewed such efficiencies.
None have yet been built in the Chicago market, something Trefry hopes changes soon. “We haven’t had the opportunity to work on one of those yet in Chicago and I would welcome that certainly. It’s going on all around the country in numerous markets with our company,” he said. “Hopefully, one day some developer has the vision and we are able to work on one of those here.”