I was told recently that I am a true visionary. I am working on a proposal for an urban planning project involving MTA and Caltrans and the Caltrans director said it was the best idea they have heard in 20 years. Their words were “You are thinking way out of the box.” Their comments helped motivate me to submit an un-solicited bid to get a grant from MTA to help pay for the creation of some presentation fly through imaging of the design and concepts I have developed. The idea was too vast and not just tied to the specifics of the grant to be approved. Therefore, I am still studying how to move a huge, $75B project forward. City planning can be fun. The politics behind it can be very complicated and time consuming.

I’ve always looked at what was going on around me and how to possibly improve it. While working for other companies I would think of ways to streamline procedures. I have used “Peer Review” to have my own office audited for efficiency and procedures. The idea of peer review was to have other businesses and architectural firms look at my company and see if there were ways we could modernize the business management, staff procedures, and design capabilities. Each “Peer Review” company I hired responses were great praise for our business model. Responses such as ““I wish my own company could be set up and functioning like JHAI”’. It’s nice to hear that other companies wish they could run the JHAI way. To think out of the box you must be flexible! Having the administrative back up to track and take on these adventurous projects is key.

I was once on a job site envisioning what could be built, where and how all in front of a new potential client and his team. As the meeting was finishing the Owners’ team mentioned that I must love what I do. They all said the same thing. “Your eyes are always scanning the site. You are drooling with excitement. Your energy is contagious” As we discussed the site development issues they said that No one else reviewing the site options came up with 1/10th of the options I did.

While on another project in Malibu, my clients walked me through their three story home full of art that they had collected from all over the world. Their architect was on vacation at the time and they wanted a second opinion on the work they wanted done. As I walked around the property, I threw out many ideas on how to modernize and remodel the home. While walking a site for the first time I usually throw out many ideas. I was in my zone walking the site with this client even knowing that they had worked with many famous architects all over the world. In the end, I got the custom project and many others after with this client. I asked why they were hiring me, seeing as they had worked with so many famous architects. They said it was because those architects needed a month or so to come up with one idea for each scoping issue. I, on the other hand, came up with 10-20 options while walking the site for the first time. Who’s got the vision?

I will end with this one. I had been working with a Producer for many years. We met one day and discussed the many glazed lobbies on the site. They were very large open spaces with glass walls and open stairs leading to the second floor. These spaces were like 50 ft by 80 ft. I asked why he did not just turn parts of the space into glazed conference rooms to lease on an as needed bases. The building itself was a pre/post production facility with 700,000 sf of space. My client asked why in all the years he owned the facility no one had mentioned this easy option. I could not answer that. I just said it would add a lot of income for him. Three identical lobbies could be used and would have been very inexpensive to do. Permitting would be very easy. There was no reason not to do it.

If that makes me a Visionary then that is whom I am! I see options fast. I am not shy about sharing those Visions.