In anticipation of tonight’s #ArchitectUp mentoring session on architecture and business, we asked Usman Tariq, associate managing pricinipal at HDR, a few questions to gain some insight into his experience.
- Usman, you are Associate Managing Principal at HDR. Describe what this title involves, in fifty words or less.
It is an office leadership role where I oversee the operations management of the DC practice working alongside with our Managing Principal. My role is focused on project delivery, project performance, and resource management.
- How did you become involved in the business side of architecture?
From a very early onset of my design career, I was curious how the sum of parts on projects result in the overall performance for the projects and practice. I volunteered for various process improvement initiatives that provided more interaction with the senior leaders in the office to gain insight. I also undertook multiple graduate level courses with focus on project management, accounting and finance to put that learning into context. My involvement in those activities in addition to my design and project management roles helped me transition to the business management aspect of our practice.
- This mentoring workshop will explore business strategies in architecture. What advice do you have for emerging architects who would like more exposure to this critical aspect of the profession?
Explore learning opportunities and be curious. Ask a lot of questions. Use every project as a learning experience to know a little bit more about the complete lifecycle of the project from initiation to closeout.
- What do you feel are the three biggest financial challenges facing the profession?
- Competitive markets and shrinking design fees
- Commoditization of services
- Risk management in alternative project delivery methods (design build etc.)
- Final question: what is the one thing you wish emerging architects knew about the business side of architecture?
Value of their time. That is the fundamental unit of our practice and if managed well can allow us to continue to push the boundaries of creative problem solving and be business savvy at the same time.
There’s still time to register for tonight’s event! Come with more questions!