Who is Your Architect?

diary Everyone has a story. Whether you’re two or ninety-two, we all have history and experience that makes us who we are and why we are. If you’ve ever spent time waiting in line at a Wal-Mart register you’ve probably heard a few enlightening stories via the talkative extrovert recounting life and family events that shape the person’s unique character and define who they are and how they got here. I have a story too. It might lack the drama of the Wal-Mart extrovert’s experience, but this is who I am and how I got here.

I was born to a military family and raised in humble homes across small town America with small town family values. I grew up in the burbs  — mostly in the Southern US — Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Florida, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. Our perpetual geographic movement helped me appreciate diverse people and culture, embrace positive change and remain close to family — values I cherish today.

I was an average student, indifferent to class subjects or academic activities, but passionate about unorganized sports. Despite my scholastic indifference and amateur athletic prowess, a drafting course inspired me to enroll in architecture school where I ultimately realized “Architecture is not something I do…It’s something I am!”

I graduated from Oklahoma State University (Bachelor of Architectural Engineering) with a 30-year plan. I dedicated the first 10 years to building technical skills, the next 10 to honing business acumen and the last 10 to bringing them together.

The first 10-years I practiced architecture design, project/program management and construction administration in commercial, multi-family, government, historical rehab, finish-out, hospitality and industrial projects including a position in Tokyo, Japan leading a team of 11 design professionals before earning my Texas architecture license. This era enhanced my problem solving, estimating and project management skills.

The next 8 years, I chose positions to enhance my education, learn big business and small business strategy and understand the broader real estate industry. Thus began my consulting era beginning with the director of continuing education position for an AIA Cornerstone Partner where I wrote courses and taught design professionals about green building strategies and products. Then I graduated from small business to mega-business working for two fortune 500 consulting companies. Booz Allen Hamilton is a prominent international management consulting firm and Jones Lang LaSalle is the world’s leading real estate investment and management firm. In between the small and big business experience, I acquired my Masters of Business (Colorado State University) and my Oklahoma architecture license. This era enhanced my knowledge of business, finance, industry and economy.

I’m in the last phase now. I own a residential design (new and remodel) business called WishingRock Homes where I  blend the big business vision with small business service and flexibility. I offer my clients creative living solutions, a memorable customer experience and flexible business service from idea to move-in. I also write green building articles for a local real estate magazine, maintain a blog and stumble through an occassional home improvement project.

Now you know the architect as professional, but what about the architect as person?

  • I like red wine, red meat and green living.
  • I rise early and go to bed late. I’m naturally caffeinated!
  • I climbed Mt. Fuji in Tokyo, Japan and declare it my most physically challenging and spiritual experience.
  • I listen to classical music everyday because I like melodies and chords.
  • I like watching old Seinfeld reruns, HGTV and Dallas Cowboy football.
  • I love milk chocolate and pilfer my favorites from the Halloween bounty.
  • I’m physically active and have either bicycled, exercised, jogged, hiked, paced or walked most of my life. I like to drive fast too.
  • I love being outside; especially during my favorite time of the year, Autumn. I like the color, the weather, the clothes, the holidays and the football.
  • My family is the most important aspect and inspiration in my life.
  • I like poetry, long walks on the beach and to poke dead things with a stick.
  • My favorite holiday is Easter, but Thanksgiving is a close second.
  • I tap my foot when I’m thinking and I think a lot.
  • In no particular order, my favorite movies are: Dead Poet’s Society, The Game, The Last Supper, Pulp Fiction, The Princess Bride and A Christmas Story.
  • I’m a visionary. I have expansive ideas about your home, supermarket efficiency, family travel, refuse advertising and theories about zero-sum computers and exercise. Ask me sometime.
  • I’m honest — maybe too honest. I will tell you if you look fat in that dress.
  • I like dogs, but don’t understand the one we have now.

So, I’m an architect, family man, business owner, chocolate-lover and author. That’s my who and why story, or at least the Cliff Notes version. But don’t take my word for it, try the WishingRock Homes experience for yourself…either by sharing a project or chatting in line at Wal-Mart.