Career Story: Architect And Owner Of An Architectural Services Company

Architect And Owner Of An Architectural Services Company

Job Title: Architect

Education: BA Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT •• MA Architecture, University of Minnesota

Previous Experience: I started working as a student intern at the arch. firm that I now own.

Job Tasks: Our company provides architectural services (design and construction administration) to all sorts of clients. We enjoy projects in our community where we can witness their impact.

We are currently helping families with home renovations, a townhouse addition to a squash club, a city recreation center, and a new organ loft for a church. We have just completed a co-op food store two blocks from our office. It is our third project for this client. The store has applied for Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

Much of my work is now done with e-mail. I also spend part of my day on the telephone. I have several client meetings in my office each week. While the co-op was being built, I was there almost every day, helping the contractor eliminate problems, approving their payment applications, and advising the co-op.

All of our clients are concerned about their budgets so we do a lot of "value engineering" where we look for ways to save money that do not destroy the essence of the project. We are paid either hourly or as a percentage of the construction cost.

I used to have an eight to twelve person office but about fifteen years ago, I started using a model that did not involve employees, only contract workers. This arrangement is very advantageous in poor economic times such as these.

The most satisfying part of my work is the friendships that come from working with clients. I still visit with clients whose projects I haven't worked on for years. A client whose house we designed over ten years ago called last month and now wants to add to the home. I am looking forward to working with him and his new wife.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part is when we have successfully completed a project with a very difficult budget. Our co-op project was like that. The house job from years ago was also. It creates a special bond with your clients when you are successful.

The worst part of my job is when I have to wrangle with clients about our fee. I am not a debater, and I know we usually can bring much greater value to a project than our fees.

Job Tips:
1. In my opinion, communicating with people, speaking and writing, are more important than learning specific math or science skills.

2. Working with your hands, building anything gives you a sense of the satisfaction and challenges of being an architect.

3. Computer skills are important, but you can always hire the latest technology or technician. A well-rounded education, starting with the liberal arts, is more useful.

Additional Thoughts: Offer to help in a firm at an entry level and no pay (tough, I know) just to get your foot in the door.

Popular Schools offering Architecture Programs

Results:  10
Matching School Ads

San Joaquin Valley College - A Private Junior College.

Selected Campus Locations:
  • Visalia

Purdue University offers a strong foundation of tradition and history, an environment of intellectual curiosity and discovery, and a supportive, student-centered approach to learning.

Selected Campus Locations:
  • Online

At Brightwood College, we offer accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience focused on helping you gain skills for your chosen career.

Selected Campus Locations:
  • Riverside
Selected Programs:
  • Electrical Technician

You can get started on a new career with Institute of Technology.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.iot.edu/disclosure

Selected Campus Locations:
  • Clovis

Earn your Master's degree online from Norwich University.

Selected Campus Locations:
  • Online

100% Online & No Standardized Testing

Selected Campus Locations:
  • Online
Selected Programs:
  • BS in Aeronautics

Prepare for an exciting new career at the Milan Institute.

Selected Campus Locations:
  • Bakersfield

Which career path will you take – Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology? Something else? GCU offers more than 100 majors to get you started!

Selected Campus Locations:
  • Online

Colorado State University-Global Campus

Colorado State University-Global Campus (CSU-Global) offers career relevant bachelor’s and master’s degree programs for working adults and nontraditional learners.

Selected Campus Locations:
  • Online

Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.

Selected Campus Locations:
  • Online
You are visiting:

What are Career Stories?

Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.

Most stories include:

  • a typical day or project
  • tips and advice
  • best and worst parts
  • educational background
  • previous experience

Browse hundreds of Career Stories

More Details On This Career

Please also see our detailed information about Architects, including:

Back to Top