An Interview With Gene Dane, AIA, Principal for EVstudio Texas

by evstudio on July 23, 2009

Gene, what position do you hold at EVstudio?

I am currently one of the three Principals of EVstudio.  I manage our Texas office, am responsible for business development in the Texas and Southwest markets, and am the bartender at our EVstudio Christmas party.

As an architect, I am tasked with all the responsibilities that go along with that title the same as would be expected in most any other office.  As a business owner, I am tasked with everything the architect doesn’t do!  I enjoy the demands and challenges that running a business offers and could not imagine operating in any other capacity.

I also consider myself a mentor, teacher, partner, leader, and friend.  Although those aren’t official titles, I place a great deal of emphasis on their importance in the growth and health of our business.

How did you end up in Texas?

I didn’t really end up in Texas.  I grew up in Texas.  I met my wife in Texas.  Most of our immediate family is in Texas.  I like to think of it as getting back to Texas.  After spending over 10 years in Colorado, there is no way I would be in Texas right now if I did not have such strong roots here to begin with.  Except for the 7 months of mind melting heat, it really isn’t that bad here.

How did you become an architect?

The hard way!  I’m serious.  When you hear someone refer to the path least traveled they are actually referring to my journey towards becoming an architect.

I started out by earning an Associates Degree in Drafting and Design from Central Texas College.  I worked as a draftsman in an architect’s office in Houston and soon fell in love with architecture.  I quickly worked my way up to CAD Manager and shortly thereafter I became a Project Manager.  By then I accepted the fact that I had missed my opportunity to attend a university that offered an architectural program and pursue becoming an architect.

After becoming less and less enchanted with Houston, my wife and I were ready for a change of scenery.  Where is there better scenery than in Colorado?  I accepted a position as Project Manager for a small architectural firm in Ft. Collins, Colorado.  Because it was a small firm, I learned more than I ever imagined I could.  I spent a great deal of time in the field as well as in the office.  Most importantly, I learned what being an architect was really all about.

While working in this small office I discovered that Colorado was one of the last remaining states in the country that would recognize education other than a degree in architecture when applying for licensure through examination.  I enrolled in the Internship Development Program through the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards and started what turned out to be a 7 year internship.  I eventually qualified to take the 9 registration exams that all architects in the US and Canada must take to become licensed.  I passed all 9 exams and received my license to practice architecture in Colorado.  The Texas Board of Architectural Examiners was kind enough to recognize all my efforts and granted me a license to practice in Texas.

I would not recommend, no, I would highly discourage, this path towards becoming an architect to anyone that asks…but it worked for me.  I value the experience I gained along the way and believe that those experiences give me a different perspective towards architecture.

What do you enjoy most about being an architect?

The hours.  Architects typically only work a few hours a day.  It’s a great gig if you can get it. ;)

The right answer probably has something to do with creativity and the phenomena of watching one of your ideas become a reality.

My answer, though, is “EVERYTHING”.  I still smile sometimes when I realize I am one of the few people that are fortunate enough to be doing what they love to do.  I thrive on the long hours and the challenges.  I enjoy working with our clients and interacting with our staff.  I also appreciate the sense of accomplishment I get at the end of a project when I reflect on what it took to get there.  I can’t imagine doing anything else.  Actually, I don’t know how to do anything else.

Could you tell us about your family?

My wife, Kelley, and I have been married 18 years, or almost 19, as I often say.  Our daughter, Kelsey, is 10 and our son, Ryan, is 2 (and a half).  We just recently lost our Golden Retriever, Harley, after almost 14 years.

I have been blessed with a wife that understands me and supports me.  I wouldn’t be where I am today if I did not have her with me.  She wouldn’t be where she is today if she wasn’t with me…and she reminds me of that more often than I think is really necessary, but I like to think she means that in a good way.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Anyone that knows me already knows the answer to that question.  I am sure that most of us have seen the bumper sticker that says,” Don’t take yourself too seriously…no one else does”.  I believe in that as much as Luke believes in The Force.  I have learned the hard way (are you seeing a pattern here) that most of the stress that we have in our lives is self induced and unnecessary.  I believe that a person can be professional, successful, and a valued asset to their industry without being a “stuffed shirt”.  Work hard, stay true to your principles, trust in God and Family, and the rest tends to take care of itself.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

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