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Derek Degroot

Director of Design and Integrated Services (Chicago)

After graduating from University of Illinois-Chicago’s architecture program, Derek began his career in residential design. At the same time, his church was embarking on a building project. Derek quickly realized that churches needed to find a better way to build. Soon after, he discovered Aspen Group. Intrigued to find an integrated design firm that focused on building for ministry, Derek joined Aspen in 2007.

Because no two churches are the same, Derek enjoys the challenge of creating fresh design concepts for each church—but only after a careful listening process with the client.

Henry Ford once famously said, “If I had asked them what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.” Of course, Ford introduced people to the automobile, and the rest is history. Derek lives by Ford’s quote. As an architect, he loves to help churches discover what they didn’t know to ask for. Derek helps churches move beyond simply building a “faster horse” to creating something unique and new.

As a deacon in his own church, Derek understands the operational pressures and budget constraints church leaders must operate within. Derek brings a real-world sensibility to the creative process, which engenders trust among the church leadership teams he’s worked with as part of Aspen Group.

The Most Rewarding Part of Work 

Going from designing concepts to seeing projects being built, and the ability to create like our Creator. But, more than that, building deep relationships with those you’re working with on a project over the span of (sometimes) two to three years.

 

Outside of Work 

Slugging softballs, cooking chili, watching weather, reading non-fiction, escaping in movies, roughhousing with the kid, leading in church, sitting by a quiet fire, enjoying fall colors, Jay Cutler’s arm strength, and the daily fabric of Chicago Cubs baseball in the summer.

Favorite Family Tradition

Vacations! Both sides of my family enjoy our annual summer and fall trips together. It’s a welcome break from a busy world with those you love. We don’t often travel to sightsee, but rather use the time to catch up with one another.

Derek DeGroot

Director of Design and Integrated Services (chicago)

Top 5 Strengths

(Strengths Finder 2.0)

1. Futuristic

2. Activator

3. Input

4. Deliberative

5. Relator