There are certain people in your life who help provide direction, education and passion. As I look back on my life it’s easy to recognize those people. There are some I didn’t recognize as a real mentor until years after my interactions with them. But there have been a few that I knew, in the moment, would have a lasting impact on my life.

One of these people was my first employer in the field of Architecture, Kevin C. Scholz. I felt like I had a very unique and special relationship with this great man. My guess is, like most great men, everyone who has come into his sphere feels the same way.

He gave me a job although I had little to no experience. He trusted me with integral parts of his livelihood at a time when his business was in it’s infancy. He gave me confidence to act and taught me the essence of design and architecture. But mostly, he taught me passion. Passion for space and art. A passion for the importance of architecture on the lives of our clients.

I can remember taking hours out of our ridiculously busy days to have philosophical conversations about our impact on the body of architecture, the role of popular architects of the day and the correlations of creation between architects, fathers, and deity. Heady conversations to be sure.

Those moments were a poignant reminder that, at least to my mentor, the theories and philosophies of his art are integral to the day to day business of providing a needed service in the marketplace. It is a recognition of a subtle duality of the role of architecture in a capitalist society. We are offering more than a service for sale. We have a unique responsibility not only to our clients but to the community and body of architecture. It’s also one of the primary differences between architects and designers. All architects are designers. Not all designers are architects.

My goal from those early days of my career to now is to live up to the ideals of my mentor. If I could have an impact on the lives of my clients and the built environment to a fraction of the degree of Kevin Scholz, then my career will have been worth it. In case he never heard me say it, thank you Kevin for your friendship, trust and example.