5 Questions for Usman Tariq


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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. What do you feel are the three biggest financial challenges facing the profession?
    1. Competitive markets and shrinking design fees
    2. Commoditization of services
    3. Risk management in alternative project delivery methods (design build etc.)
  5. 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!


5 Favorites Friday

1. If that last peer review has you thinking about starting your own firm:


Our third mentoring session of the #ArchitectUp series will be kicking off Tuesday July 25th! This month we are featuring a panel of three architects that are heavily involved in the business side of things to help get you thinking about the business know-how the architecture world requires. Register today!

2. If you want to spend some time looking up this weekend.

3. If you’d like to stop hearing people remind you to network and finally DO SOMETHING about it:

Banner w location

We’re hosting the second annual Summer Networking Bash on the Dock 79 rooftop, just behind Nats stadium, on August 17th! Come chat with other young leaders from the real estate, development, and architecture industries. Plenty of food and beer to break the ice! Registration is now open!

4. You find large installation art intriguing, but BBQ even more intriguing.

5. If you’re looking for some professional advice:


Big take away from our monthly meeting: take the AREs as soon as possible!