How long have you been working as an architect?
Approximately 30 years. I started my career in 1987 right out of NDSU. After working in Fargo for Bob Mutchler and obtaining registration, I entered graduate school in Minneapolis, finishing in 1991. I had a brief stint at Bruce Knutson Architects, then OSM (big E, small A), and for the past 21 years have considered BWBR my professional home. Paralleling all of this, I spent just over 23 years in the North Dakota National Guard – retiring as a Major in 2003.
What geographic regions do you work in?
Headquartered in Saint Paul, much of BWBR’s work is in the Upper Midwest generally spanning North Dakota to Nebraska and east to Wisconsin. The benefit of working in the Twin Cities is the abundant Fortune 500 and 1000 corporations based in the region. Our good relationships with these organizations have given us opportunities to work both nationally and internationally on select projects. It’s an honor to help them transform lives through their incredible innovations.
In one or two sentences, what is the focus of your practice?
BWBR is focused on client performance, leveraging design and research to transform organizations and lives through built environments serving complex programs in healthcare, education, government, science and technology, and corporate sectors. My area of expertise involves specialized research, development, and manufacturing – spaces with demanding requirements and restrictive tolerances (e.g., air quality, infrastructure, lighting, materials). Spaces where people conceive, develop, and build amazing (and, sometimes, amazingly tiny) devices that improve our technology, health, and world.
How did your education at NDSU prepare you to be an architect?
NDSU gave me the tools – and room – to explore the first question of my career: What value can this Valley City, ND, kid bring to this intimidating, honorable, and challenging profession? This exploration continued after my time at NDSU and as I’ve progressed, I’ve grown to recognize and appreciate the foundational knowledge, curiosity, critical thinking, and attention to detail that NDSU’s architectural program gave us.
What were some of the most valuable lessons you learned here?
Value your friends and mentors, keep your eyes and ears open, question everything, live in the future (always thinking about what COULD be), and work hard. My time at NDSU is never far from who I am.
What advice do you have for current architecture students?
An NDSU degree equips you to arrive at some great places – our amazing alumni prove it every day. Wherever you land – your unique background, experiences, nature, and perspectives form who you are as an architect – embrace them and be the professional only you can be. Also, know that there is always a solution – you just need to find it.