I Am AIA:
A Seattle native, I was born at Cabrini Hospital (no longer in existence), grew up on Beacon Hill, attended O’Dea High School, and obtained a BS in Civil Engineering in 1981 from Seattle University. In 1995, Gary Swenson, Paul Faget and I started Swenson Say Fagét. For the past 20 years, I have provided structural engineering solutions as well as led the firm’s business development efforts for a wide variety of clients and projects.
Why did you join AIA Seattle?
I love architecture and the built environment. I love the collaboration with architects that I achieve through my involvement with AIA Seattle.
Building relationships is key to the success of a sub-consultant engineering firm. What better way to meet and get to know my architectural clients than to work side-by-side with them on the board. I obtained an even broader respect for what architects do and how they impact day-to-day life through their design and conviction.
What is the value of AIA to you?
It allows me to see and understand, first hand, key issues in our community through a different lens. Architects are leaders in our community. Working alongside them in this organization has opened my eyes about the true value of design.
What relationships have you created?
I have developed lifelong relationships with some of the most inspirational architects in our community. They are in big firms, smaller firms, or sole practitioners. I have also had the opportunity to connect with our elected officials. Priceless!
What project are you working on now?
Swenson Say Fagét’s success has stemmed from providing unique structural engineering solutions for a very wide variety of project types, from commercial, public, educational, and historic to multi-family to single-family residential. Current educational projects include the Perkins School Expansion, the new Bellevue Christian campus, the new Washington Preparatory School in Bothell, University Prep Master Planning and U-Lab building, and St. John’s School and St. Benedict’s School Seismic Retrofits. Other current projects include 419 Occidental (FX McRory’s) Historic Renovation, the new Tukwila Fire Station 51, Bellevue South Mixed-use project, new YWCA Affordable housing and Elan Apartments in Tacoma, multiple projects for Nelson Treehouse & Supply, and the Penrose Hotel Historic Renovation and Addition in Walla Walla.
How do you explain what you do for a living?
Simply stated, I make sure buildings don’t fall down. However I think we are more than that. We are an essential component to a team of professionals that ensures that buildings are safe for the public. We have to look at “What happens if…”. When it comes to renovating old buildings I like to think that when the job is done nobody knows we were there…our “Leave No Trace” philosophy.
What inspired you today?
Our clients and our team. We work with some of the most talented architects, contractors and developers in the Northwest. We work hard to build and maintain those relationships. In conjunction with that, we have an amazing and unique group of engineers that are responsive and creative. I am inspired every morning when I come into work.