Donor Spotlight – Karen Loftus of Loftus Engineering
Karen Loftus (far left) and her Loftus Engineering Team.
Now that we’ve secured the initial funding for Kurt’s “Forever Home,” we’re moving closer to a potential building purchase and are thinking about the future build out. We are so thankful for our friend Karen Loftus and her team at Loftus Engineering, who are donating time and services to prepare the building for a fall grand opening. Karen recently took a break from construction plans to visit with us about her company, her interest in Kurt Vonnegut, and why Loftus Engineering has stepped up to help.
Tell us a little about you and your company.
Loftus Engineering is a mechanical and electrical engineering firm, serving a broad range of clients, mainly in the higher education and healthcare markets, which encompasses libraries, meeting spaces, food service venues and offices; all of the spaces that will be housed in the soon-to-be renovated Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library. We are a collaborative bunch, who like to work on meaningful projects with interesting and diverse people. We celebrate our 15th year in business in July. I am so proud of our staff of 16 designers, engineers, and support staff who are passionate about the work that they do.
Why and how did you get involved with the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library?
My friend, Mary Lee is a supporter of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library. She told me the organization was in the process of purchasing a new home and asked me if Loftus Engineering might be interested in donating engineering services to transform the former restaurant at 543 Indiana Avenue into a museum and library. As a firm, we enjoy tackling complex and unique projects, so this opportunity was something that we couldn’t pass up. The designers and engineers working on the project are pleased to be a part of it.
Thanks to our wonderful donors, we’ve secured the initial funding for the purchase and build out of the new building. So now we move forward. Could you share a few of your architectural plans? What do you have in mind to make this building a forever home for Kurt Vonnegut?
Our focus is on the infrastructure of the building: the heating/cooling, plumbing, power, and lighting. Our work, mostly concealed and unseen, supports the organization’s mission by effectively and efficiently meeting the environmental needs of the museum and library so that its artifacts are preserved and available for many years to come. We are incorporating as much of the existing mechanical and electrical systems as practical to save financial resources for work that will enhance the visitor’s experience, such as temperature control and lighting.
Why did you think it’s important to support the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library?
I think that, as we move further away in time from important lessons in history, it is important to preserve the memories of those who lived through those times and to listen to how their lives were affected. These lessons are timeless. Since Indianapolis was Kurt Vonnegut’s childhood home, it is fitting that the city establish a place where both locals and visitors can learn about the man and his writing, art, and life.
Have you read any Vonnegut books? If so, what are your favorites and why?
I had not read a Kurt Vonnegut book in a long while, so I picked up a copy of Slaughterhouse-Five a couple of months ago. I read it right before attending the Night of Vonnegut event this year with Salmon Rushdie as the keynote speaker. Mr. Rushdie’s fantastic presentation on Slaughterhouse-Five helped me understand the deep messages in the book. It was such a sincere tribute to Kurt Vonnegut and in hearing the speech in the company of so many fans and supporters of the museum and library, I was inspired.
Is there anything else you’d like to add about our partnership with your company?
One of the great things about being consulting engineers is that we work with so many great clients on a variety of projects. To be able to serve them best, we learn the mission of the organization and the goals of the project. Meeting the dedicated members of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, as well as the other professionals helping with the building project, is a wonderful experience. We are all contributing to establishing a permanent world-class home for Kurt Vonnegut’s artifacts, writing, and art for people to share their admiration and respect for the author. I cannot wait to bring friends and family to the museum and library. I know that it will be something that we can all be proud of.