Behind every great structure, there is an architect. For millennia, men and women have practiced architecture, an art form that continues to be one of the most important reflections of culture. Today, the structures created by great architects are more than buildings of functionality. Often, they are seen as an expression of the commonality of man. And the individuals listed in this section have mastered this art form to the betterment of our state. Just like George Costanza once said, “Nothing is higher than an architect.”
As the leader of the largest A/E firm in Arkansas, Charley Penix is surrounded by a creative and talented staff that is adept at learning the needs of their clients and incorporating those needs into designs that are not only functional, but distinctive and beautiful. Cromwell’s unique leadership structure mandates retirement from leadership roles at the age of 66. This provides constantly evolving opportunities for younger designers, while encouraging mentoring roles for outgoing officers.
Matt Crafton is the president & CEO of Crafton Tull, a 210-person architecture, engineering and surveying firm. He is licensed as a professional engineer in seven states and holds a bachelor of science in civil engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a master of science in engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. His professional experience with Crafton Tull includes highway design, land development design and quality control of many of the firm’s projects.
Richard Alderman is the president of WD&D Architects and the managing principal for WD&D’s Northwest Arkansas office. He joined the firm as an intern architect and became director of design in 1986. In 1992, he moved to Fayetteville to establish operations for a Northwest Arkansas office. In his early years in the Little Rock office, he designed the Doyle Rogers Building (now Stephens, Inc.) many of the Metropolitan Bank (now Simmons First) branches, the Hot Springs Convention Center and more.
Doug Hurley is a licensed architect in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Alberta, Canada. Over his 30-year career, he has been involved with thousands of retail projects nationwide. Currently responsible for the strategic direction of the firm, Hurley provides solid leadership for the company’s ideology, consistent and strategic growth and financial strength.
Envisioning the design potential of a project is an area where David Sargent, principal and CEO of WER Architects/Planners, excels. Over his 30 years of experience, many of his projects have been recognized for design excellence. He loves everything about his job, from the clients he works with to the places he works. He advises young architects to focus on the client and their needs and aspirations. How can you elevate both through your work?
John Corley, principal of BCO+H Architects, has been in the industry for 39 years. A graduate of Texas Tech University, Corley is responsible for project planning at the firm, as well as scheduling, client relations, document production and construction observation. His projects vary from 331,000-square-foot Turnersville Auto Mall in New Jersey to the Benton High School Auditorium.
As president of Hight Jackson Associates, Brian Jackson has been blessed to see the company continue to grow its portfolio of high profile projects. From new high school facilities to game-changing civic projects, the firm’s work continues to shape the physical landscape of Northwest Arkasnas. As a leader, creating a team from a group of diverse individuals is paramount to successfully accomplishing goals.
In a 30-year career, David Porter has worked with many great clients, most recently in the role of principal in charge for significant projects such as the renovations to Robinson Auditorium, Bank of the Ozarks headquarters,and the new Little Rock Southwest High School. He also has a particular interest and passion for senior care. Potter’s insight for young practitioners is to be good stewards of small opportunities, embracing them passionately, creatively and urgently.
One of the best things about the architectural profession for Bill Gray is that every time he designs a building, he learns something new about another professional field. For example, when he designs hospitals, he learns about cutting edge medical technology and procedures he would not have otherwise known about. His advice for young professionals: intellect and qualifications will only get you so far. The most important asset is the ability to successfully engage with co-workers and clients.
Kyle Cook graduated magna cum laude from the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture in 2003. After working for nine years in Fayetteville, he returned to his home town of Jonesboro to practice at Brackett-Krennerich and Associates. Now serving as president, Cook enjoys working through the design process with his clients and being involved in the community. His advice to future company leaders is to always be willing to listen to those around you and be humble and collaborative in your approach to dealing with challenges.