The Edward St. John Student Center is a 75,000 square foot building at McDonogh School in Owings Mills. The four-story structure accommodates the school’s infirmary, fine arts, dance requirements, as well as housing a dining hall seating 500 students.
Architect Spotlight: Bill Gaudreau CEO and President, Gaudreau, Inc.
Bill Gaudreau was destined to become an architect.
Together with his brother Dave and three other principals, they preside over day-to-day operations of Gaudreau, Inc., a third-generation architectural firm headquartered in downtown Baltimore that was originally founded in 1927, and is comprised of nearly 40 employees, 75% of which work as architectural and design professionals. The company also maintains an office in the Gaithersburg section of suburban Maryland.
“I started observing my father in his work environment during my high school years and discovered that I enjoyed everything about the profession,” Gaudreau explained from his office on Light Street. “Soon thereafter, I learned the basics of drawing and felt passionate about this new skill. I was instructed how to solve problems and work with clients to solve specific design challenges. Everything clicked with me. Throughout all these years, I still don’t feel that I am going to work. The entire process is just an enjoyable and rewarding experience,” he explained.
Upon graduating from the University of Notre Dame, Gaudreau worked with two architectural firms in Philadelphia before returning to the family business in 1981. When his father relinquished day- to-day oversight of the organization approximately five years ago, Dave and his brother increased their collective roles in managing the firm.
Gaudreau, Inc. specializes in general corporate, educational and institutional projects and maintains many clients in the science and high technology sectors. The firm consistently handles projects in four or five different states at a time, as required by its clients who, according to Gaudreau “take us on the road.”
The company is working on a number of high-profile projects in St. Louis and Florida, as well as the revitalization of old historic buildings in the urban areas of Winston-Salem and Durham, North Carolina, a number of which are former tobacco company factories.
Approximately 80% of the company’s work is the result of repeat customers. “We treasure these relationships. We are so focused on service and understanding everything our clients need to be successful. That is our mission,” he added.
He also recognizes the importance to continuously adapt to change in order to remain relevant with trends and new design and construction applications in the marketplace, and constantly evolving and improving. “The real estate and architectural industries have always been very dynamic,” Gaudreau said.
“Corporate work places are changing at a very fast pace, and now evolve around new attitudes toward technology and different strategies for collaboration and space efficiency. The office environment is much different than it was 10 years ago. Academic environments are different as well, as students learn using new technology that were unknown to our generation So, schools are being challenged to re-evaluate the classroom and larger learning settings. We see no slowdown in the rate of change as our knowledge-center practices fuel new ideas for improving these environments,” he added.
What also isn’t slowing down is Bill and Gaudreau, Inc. His average day begins with a 5:30 am workout in Annapolis, which provides him the opportunity to think about the tasks before him and to think with a clear mind. “We are extremely optimistic about the pace of new assignments in the short and long- term. Much of this activity will center on the renovation and new construction of schools, and we anticipate increased assignments from our private sector opportunities, based on pent-up demand,” he concluded.