Sunday, June 18, 2017
Change, Challenges, and Responsibilities
Jim Robertson, FAIA, FCSI, and Carl Sherwood, AIA announced my promotion this past week from Senior Associate to Principal at Robertson/Sherwood/Architects pc. I’m truly honored by the opportunity to work alongside Jim and Carl in this new capacity.
When I first embarked on a life in architecture, I thought I knew where it would take me or at least where I wanted it to. Since then, I’ve traveled a considerable distance down a steady professional track with few twists and turns along the way. Indeed, by several measures, I passed by the “mid-career” point a while ago without stopping to reflect upon how far I’d come or thinking much about my ultimate destination. I enjoyed the rhythm of my work, chugging away on project after project while doing what I could to keep each safely on the rails.
During the entire journey, I’ve been blessed to enjoy the company of outstanding associates and mentors. Jim and Carl have been tremendous in this regard, and I cannot thank them enough for this expression of confidence in me. I do hope I can reward them in turn by doing my part to ensure the continued success of the firm. Without a doubt, the future will be exciting. As I assume an increased leadership role, I look forward to helping Jim and Carl realize RSA’s full potential.
I was, and might still have been, very comfortable simply going along for the ride. Did I start out with ambitions of one day being in a position of firm leadership? Of course. Most who enter the profession do so with similar aspirations. I’ve also been paralyzingly risk-averse. I will need to do what I can to shed my risk aversion, a least a bit, if I am to become an effective principal.
I do anticipate new responsibilities, challenges, and raised expectations will accompany my changed role. I expect to remain who I am but also imagine stepping out of my skin a bit. For example, building the capabilities of our organization will become a focus of my work in the years ahead, as it is for most principals at architecture firms.
RSA’s hallmarks are attention to detail, focus on service, emphasis on the value of teamwork, and a supportive, family-friendly office culture. These form our core corporate ideology, and contribute significantly to the production of outstanding projects. Embracing change should likewise be part of our philosophy. As a new principal, I expect to work with Jim and Carl and the rest of our staff to visualize tomorrow’s version of our firm.
One thing our clients can count on is our continued commitment to provide them with the highest level of professional services. We regard every project as unique, taking pride in our ability to develop a clear and exceptional vision for each one. We constantly strive for creative solutions that exceed expectations. While always mindful of the intended use and budget constraints for the facilities we design, we also work toward the goal of creating buildings and spaces that will delight, inspire, and improve the lives of those that encounter them. We want our designs to express their function in meaningful and interesting ways. We want our projects to relate appropriately to their surroundings. We know who we are—our capabilities and why our clients come to us—and this will not change.
I arrived at this station of my life later than I originally expected to, if I expected to come to it at all following decades of secure contentment as an employee. Change always brings apprehension but it also signals opportunity and the potential for something new and wonderful over the horizon. As the train switches tracks and pulls away, I find myself on board looking forward to an incredibly fulfilling passage ahead.