Have you ever had a pivotal “aha moment” in life? That moment where something just… clicks! Whatever profession or industry you are currently in, you probably had one of those moments where you realized “this is truly what I want to do.”

We are starting a series called “when did you know?” that will reveal when our talented team first realized when they wanted to be an architect, engineer, interior designer, or construction administrator somewhere along their paths. We will start this series with stories from five of our architects:

Wayne Schmidt

“1956 at 3:47PM.

When I was in the 6th grade, I wanted a bookshelf for my room. My mother told me I would have to build it and that I should do a drawing of it first. So I did. We then set off for the lumber yard to get the materials. I showed the guy behind the counter the sizes of plywood that I needed (lumber yards would cut lumber back then) and then mentioned I would also need 16 nails. He peered down at me and said “let’s just make it a half a pound and you should consider becoming an architect.” I didn’t know what an architect did, but I really liked the name: “architect, architect!” Now I am one!”

Anna Marie Burrell

“When my parents wouldn’t let me be a ballerina is probably not the answer you want…

It was when an architect (who I call my first real mentor who shaped my life), Craig Mullins, designed and built his house behind ours in the woods. I would sit in our backyard and watch the builders build. I would sneak on the job site when they were gone and walk around imagining what it was going to be. Years later I babysat his children and I would sit and notice all the details that made it amazing… like sitting on the couch in the family room and seeing the trees out the perfectly placed windows. Or watching how the exterior wood changed in the weather. It was an amazing place to escape into thought. I wanted to create places like that and Craig noticed. He gave me a job at his office, and my life was changed forever.”

Ryan Benson

“When, instead of watching cartoons on Saturday morning as a kid, I was watching “This Old House”. While watching TV with my family, I spent hours with grid paper designing houses.”

Steve Alspaugh

“I first knew in about the 6th Grade. A new family relocated to my hometown about that time, and the father was an architectural designer — mostly doing residential and some commercial work. The family became members of our church, and we became friends. Ron, the designer, became a bit of a mentor to me and it took off from there. With a couple of other guys in my class, we made drawings of houses, some real (think the Brady Bunch house) and some imagined (think of a house shaped like a giant letter T). You get the picture… I’m still dreaming of new things on a daily basis and getting paid to do so. Even better, some days I even get to color.”