What is your background? Describe your journey from first deciding you wanted to be an architect to now?

michaelI decided architecture was the path I wanted to follow when I took architectural drawing classes at Englewood High School. The classes were offered through their “Shop Class” program which included automotive repair and wood working. I attended the CU Boulder School of Architecture and earned my tuition working in a woodshop, building models for architects and my last year at CU I worked full time for Urban Investment and Development Company, a real estate developer, as a space planner. My career as an architect included interior architecture (I had my own firm for several years which I sold), real estate development (in-house architect), construction (business development) and now architectural products sales with Powers Products Co.

What firm are you currently with and how long have you been there?

Powers Products Co., six years this June.

What have been some of your favorite/proudest projects to work on?

The Trinity Grill (downtown Denver), Western Region Mountain Headquarters interiors (part of the AT&T breakup) in Greenwood Village, the Novartis Campus expansion in New Jersey, the renovation of the Arco Plaza twin towers in downtown Los Angeles and the Shuwa Center (unbuilt) mixed use development which included a 90-story office tower & 450-room hotel also in DTLA.

What have been some of the biggest challenges in your career and how did you overcome them?

I have been laid off 3 times in my career and managed to land on my feet!

What advice do you have for an emerging professional?

Find your passion, be open to new possibilities and get your license to practice.

Why did you choose to get involved with AIA Colorado as a member, volunteer and now board member?

I have been a member of the AIA since I was an architecture student at CU. The organization has helped me in my professional development and opened numerous opportunities to become connected to architects all over the world. Joining the Board is a way to serve the AIA and “pay it forward”

What part of the 2019 workplan are you most excited about?

Advocacy – we need to continue to show the value of architecture to the public and our elected officials.

What do you think are the largest opportunities for architects in Colorado right now?

Managing the growth of their practices and building great places for all aspects of life in our towns, cities and campuses.

What are the largest challenges for architects in Colorado right now?

Planning for the next downturn in the economy, establishing a legacy plan to allow their practice to be sustainable, evolve and survive.

Where do you see the profession going in the future?

We will see the continuation of mergers and acquisitions to the point where there will be primarily smaller boutique firms or mega firms. Architects will be sought after to fill unique positions in construction, real estate development, owner representation and other “alternative” careers. The architect as developer will be a path to great design, although with considerable risk!

What do you like to do outside of work and service?

Tennis, skiing, travel and photographing architecture with my smart phone.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Architects need to participate in the conversation around development. We need more professional voices at planning and zoning hearings throughout the state to help people understand design and work to improve proposed projects, not stop them.