At Larson Design Group, we believe that our employees are our greatest asset. The spotlight is on Paul Fatkins, Sr. Architectural Associate in our Columbus Retail Design department.
Where did your career take you before joining LDG? Before joining LDG I started my career in 2006 at Cedarwood Architectural in Akron, OH as an intern while I was still pursuing my undergrad degree at Kent State University. I then attended the University of Cincinnati for my graduate work, and thanks to the internship program I was able to work in New York City, at Acconci Studio, in Taos, New Mexico at Living Designs Group, and Finally in Canton, Ohio at Motter and Meadows Architects. Once my graduate work was completed I settled down in Chicago, IL working for Solomon Cordwell and Buenz – SCB Architects, I was there for a number of years until relocating back to Ohio with Larson Design Group – LDG in the Columbus office.
What was your first job? What did you learn from it that still influences the way you work today? I worked in the back of house at an Italian Restaurant in Akron, Ohio doing some initial steps for food prep, before they were needed, so the main chefs could cook as efficiently as possible when orders came in, things like making meatballs, cleaning shrimp… I learned the value of having systems in place that can ease production stresses in order to avoid being overwhelmed when the pressure of a fast turnaround is required. I also learned how to cook some good gnocchi from scratch.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? I spend my free time trying out gadgets and various new technologies and tools, tinkering some on cars, attempting photography and videography, playing racquetball, and of course my family keeps me pretty busy. My son is now 5 and at 2 I had to learn, then teach him to ski and ice skate for hockey. Though sometimes painful, it was worth the time investment, now I love to spend time doing those activities with my family, its also great that I no longer need to worry about him flying down the ski hill, he finally learned the value of turning to control his speed!
What has been your proudest moment in life so far? It’s difficult to pick only one. So my top two, graduating with my degree, and teaching my son to ski. Both were long, drawn out, and tedious, but persistence prevailed in both cases, its hard to forget my excitement, finally finishing my university work and starting on my career path, and I was comparably thrilled when my son finally obtained control zipping down the hills and he was able to turn with intention on his own.
What trait do you admire in people and why? Someone who can be “diplomatic”, I really believe in the value of having an open conversation, I don’t mean being brutally honest, but constructive criticism vs avoiding or concealing things. I have found a majority of the time honesty in some open dialogue can help improve situations, so I really can appreciate when others take steps to communicate things in a manner that can help you understand things in a new light from their point of view.
What advice would you give to people who hope to follow a career path similar to yours? Do things that work for you. There are so many possibilities for your role and responsibilities, nothing is perfect, so make adjustments as needed to be productive and happy with the career path you take, and find a positive space to live in.
What do you enjoy about working at Larson? Building new relationships while working on projects that present challenges and the amount of new learning opportunities and responsibilities, that allow me to continue my professional development, is wonderful here.