"Together we worked through the most minute details and finished a stellar project... which sets a new high bar for excellence in terms of design, technical expertise, value, sustainability, and functionality."
As the firm's fiercest competitor and founder, Paul claims it was his high school girlfriend's affection for an architectural student in college that inspired him to consider the profession. In a classic battle for the girl, he pursued an architectural degree, and wound up finding that it was indeed his true passion after all. And the girl, as they say, was history.
A challenge is all it takes for the gloves to come off, the sleeves to roll up and for his creative mind to get to work. For 30 years such unrelenting tenacity is how he has grown the firm into the thriving design practice that it is today. He continues to mentor the firm’s designers and entrusts his experiences to the younger partners.
He has a real soft spot for social issues and how the built environment affects people in so many ways - this truly resonates with him as an architect and makes his work that much more rewarding. His inspiration comes from his conversations with clients and properly translating their thoughts into solutions that make sense for them. He is an architect without an “architectural alter ego,” driven by the work, not the awards.
Using his rule of "there are 24-hours in a day," he does find time to recharge by hitting the links, fly fishing, kayaking, bicycling, skiing..... and zzzzz.
If he wasn't an architect, he might have tried advertising, like the Don Draper-type in “Mad Men,” but without all the bad habits.
Having come on board in 1989, almost since the firm's inception, seems to entitle his co-workers to kid him about his age. He doesn't seem to mind, and instead embraces it as a badge of experience and honor, relishing in the very role his father had before him.
Growing up in a construction family, Armand worked alongside his father who was a Builder, and later a Construction Manager, which strongly influenced his gravitation toward Architecture. Today he serves as the firm's Director of Technical Services, which has nothing to do with IT, but rather everything to do with materials and proper methods of construction. In this capacity, he is as an advisor and mentor to all in the firm. Working from the "general to the specific," Armand has a systematic approach to his work that has contributed to the firm's reputation for excellence in design, as well as for technical soundness. Most notably, in the area of building envelope science.
One of Armand's finest qualities is his patience and willingness to share skills, knowledge, and expertise, not just with architects and designers, but with all personnel. He can turn assigning a task into a learning experience.
Most assume by Armand's buttoned-down appearance and professional manner, he’s all corporate, all the time. Ironically he lives a simple, country life on his farm, riding horses, quads, tractors, motorcycles or skis. It's what makes him "right" again, in order to come back to the office with purpose.
Inspired by colossal structures formed from Lincoln Logs and Legos, Mark knew early on he was to become an architect. It was 1985, he was fresh out of college, and just hired by a newly formed architectural firm as their first employee and designer. Never did he imagine it would be his only employer (architecture is one of those few professions that constantly changes, after all). However, being forever the Rebel, Mark remained with a firm that allowed him the artistic freedom to impart his own personality and style on projects and eventually evolved into the bespectacled principal of the firm that he is today.
His design sense is refreshing and he is sought out for his insightful discussions, strong left + right brain critical thinking, broad experience, patience and desire to help. His exceptional project leadership and deeply held commitment to team work, means there's always opportunities for personal growth and mentorship.
His work-life approach has been formed from years as a lacrosse coach and player. He knows that setting the bar high is the only way to achieve real results, and that good teammates make the teammates around them better. Mix in a mash-up of Jimmy Buffet, Metallica, Black Sabath and Gwen Stefani, a cold draught beer and family time - and that could possibly be the perfect balance in life.
From the moment Pete joined the firm in 1999, he made his guiding principles known with a sign above his doorway that reads, "failure is not an option." Right off the bat you know what he stands for, what is expected and how it's going to be delivered.
Never one for superficiality, Pete is most intrigued by the "stuff behind the curtain", how it all works; the guts and gory details are what fascinates him as an architect. A decent architect can draw a cool picture, but Pete takes the concept and aptly applies practicality so that it is a viable design in real life.
Always one for sports references, he understands the minute you get away from the fundamental mechanics, the bottom can fall out of your game. In architecture, the bottom falling out of anything, isn't a good thing. His approach is welcomed for a well-balanced and well-designed project.
He's a loyal fan of his professional relationships, as well as his personal ones. Just ask his best friend from the 7th grade - his wife, Joanne.
If he was at any other firm, this youngest of the principals may not have as strong a voice, but Andrew has always been one to speak his mind, especially when advocating for his clients. Perhaps his strong voice comes from a WHOLE LIFE spent in the Catholic School System where he was often detained in prayerful submission. The good news is, when you're dealing with someone who is unfazed when threatened with eternal damnation, you're in good hands.
He is a pit bull when it comes to managing projects and preserving profitability; powered by an enterprising spirit to transform visions into reality and deliver as promised. These values are instilled and reinforced in all those that he mentors to make the firm better.
His values include making sure the fun never ends; from his playful, wisecracking sense of humor around the office and playing hide-n-seek on "Bring Your Child to Work Day," to coaching baseball for his local little league.
He keeps mentally sharp by reading ‘Architect’ through the AIA journal and maintaining his stellar golf game.
In a profession where principal owners are traditionally licensed architects, this is one Latina who broke the mold and commandeered the mother ship. Named the first female, non-architect owner, Denise is the firm's Director of Operations, overseeing day-to-day business matters, from accounting, human resources, and risk management, to IT and marketing. She navigates through all vital business functions to effectively streamline operations and maintain high quality uniform standards.
Her omniscient power and business acumen brings the perfect balance to her all male principal counterparts, who are bifurcated by conceptual, pragmatic and technical architects. As a natural nurturer, thanks in part to her culture and motherhood, she strongly advocates for staff always encouraging and empowering them to be their best self.
It's almost certain that her highly developed organization and time management skills come from two sources: the analytical nature of her job and regularly hosting get-togethers of 40+ family members (it's a cultural thing). Either way she is deserving of an occasional break, which ironically is spent as a "closet" designer; secretly drawing and painting, even though her 6th grade yearbook states she wanted to be an architect. Coincidence?
When Mitch designed his first house in the 6th grade, it's no surprise that architecture was his ultimate destiny. His passion only intensified when his mind was blown while studying art in high school. Four decades later, he has touched nearly every facet of design and construction, and now has honed his niche; specifying products and materials for the firm.
Much of his knowledge is derived from the educational benefits and connections formed within the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI). From his years of service in various leadership capacities, most recently as Vice President at the national level, he was elevated to the distinguished position of Fellowship - the highest honor given by CSI. As a devotee to the built environment, he continues to present at industry events and mentors on constructability, material, methods and their application.
Mitch is a patriot at heart, whose sons proudly serve in our military, and with a civic-minded mentality, he engages in many charitable events that often involve his passion for motorcycle riding. Mitch finds that the best path in life is the one of the open road that provides him a sense of freedom and solitude.
Susan brakes for two things: animals and architecture. Her love for all living creatures, notwithstanding humans, has transcended her career where she focuses almost exclusively on healthcare and higher educational design. Both fuel her fire to enhance wellness and the learning environment. She feels fortunate to have joined the USA family soon after graduating from Virginia Tech. Her ascension to an Associate of the Firm is indicative of her steadfast and true nature, the exhaustive effort she puts into every design project, the confidence in her decision making and the 'intensive care' she provides each and every client. For Sue, whether it's an animal or an old building, the best things in life are those that can be rescued, so she generously devotes her downtime to the Mylestone Equine Rescue.
In the apropos words of Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg, “Careers are a jungle gym. Not a ladder.” Somewhat subconsciously, this is the career path Beth Sherby has carved out for herself. Starting life after college in the performing arts, Beth migrated to the world of small business and found a very comfortable place among creative services and communications and can therefore further attest the truth to Ms. Sandberg’s fine words about career paths. Since her beginning in creative services, Beth has accrued over 25 years of experience accumulating a wealth of knowledge in creative services, marketing communication and sales. This diverse base of knowledge has empowered her tremendously in leadership, strategic thinking, and enabled a high level of engagement with colleagues and clients. In 2007, Beth discovered that her skills could become highly useful among the Architectural industry. She found that the inherent collaborative spirit, and need for clear, discriminating communication was a perfect fit for her. Thus, is 2007 she joined the talented team of USA Architects and has had the pleasure of working alongside passionate and creative team members that inspire her to continually evolve as a professional and individual; learning something new every day. Today, Beth is responsible for market strategy and development, marketing/communications, and business development for a 55 person firm based in Somerville, NJ.
"For me, it is all about using architecture as a tool to improve our human environment and life style, where the client's vision is the driving force of the design concept. Architecture must be current. The building and site designs should reflect a sense of pride to engage building users and the community in playing a crucial role in the protection of our environment. We live, work, study, play in buildings, therefore health and wellness are very important design requirements. In the workplace, what we are seeing in today's model are Collaboration and Flexibility as keys to adapt team members to work wherever".
Mr Tovar is an Architect with more than 15 years of domestic and international experience providing designs for private and public projects, focusing on federal, education, multi-family residential,mixed-use, and retail facilities. He takes pride in providing an exceptional level of service that creates the best projects and most value for clients.