After signing up for an intercorporate training program in 1988 at Arlington High School, Charlie Wilson–Plumbing Designer and one of our newest Associates—spent a half day in the classroom and the other half day in an architecture and engineering office training to be an architect and draftsman. Not long after he began that job working half days, at the age of 19 and no plumbing designers to speak of in the firm, he was thrown into the plumbing role and the rest is history. Fast forward 26 years, and we sit down with Charlie to learn a little bit about him.
If you were to describe plumbing design to someone, how would you do it?
Plumbing has more to do with life safety than most people would think. Sure, I design restrooms to keep them sanitary. But I also protect people and property with fire suppression. In my past, I have literally saved lives by designing medical gas administration in operating rooms. Plumbing is pretty important. It just gets a bad reputation.
What do you do in your free time?
My cousin, Paul, and I restore and repair vintage motorcycles. I have always ridden motorcycles and when they broke down, I just repaired them. Somehow I just started doing it for friends and then it snowballed. We now own a shop called Chemical Room Cycles. We don’t really have a storefront, it is all word of mouth and our Facebook page. After I retire from Schmidt Associates, I hope to be able to spend even more time doing it.
Where did the name Chemical Room Cycles come from?
Our shop is in an old warehouse that used to run a printing press. The room we are in used to store chemicals and had a sign in there stating such. We decided to just keep the name since there was already a sign.
Have you had any other interesting jobs in your past?
In my youth, I was an amateur musician, playing the drums for several years. Later, I played the guitar and sang in bands. I kind of played on my own, a one man acoustical show. My music of choice was 70s and 80s rock and roll. I was also a karaoke dj.
Where is your favorite place to vacation?
I have traveled to Cartagena, Columbia, South America several times through the years. I love going to the beach, hanging out at the pool, and going to the discos at night. On one trip, I saw Mick Jagger and on another Bill Gates. Apparently celebrities like the place as much as I do.
In his free time, Charlie has two daughters—Elaine, 18, and Charlotte, 21. He and his girlfriend Cheri live downtown and love to eat dinner at Ralph’s Great Divide, listen to music at the Chatterbox, and munch on bacon cheeseburgers at the Mass Ave Pub. To learn more about Charlie, visit his profile.