Architect Brad Erwin grew up in the Chicago area and began his career there, never thinking that he would end up in Springfield.
He hasn’t been shy, however, about leaving his mark on the Ozarks.
“Since I am not originally from this area, and I did not attend one of the local universities, I feel I have a unique perspective on events and issues,” says Erwin, who graduated from the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign.
In 2003, Erwin joined Creative Ink Architects, which has since merged to become Buxton Kubik Dodd Creative. With no formal computer science education, he managed all internal information technology and marketing functions as well as interactions with public entities, with his efforts generating nearly $1 million in architectural fees for the firm.
In March 2010, Erwin helped launch Paragon Architecture Inc.
“Our initial focus was simple, to provide salary and positions to staff members that were released during the disassembly of Creative Ink Architects,” Erwin says, noting that within three months, the firm had four employees.
“Our team has worked excruciatingly hard in the last 12 months to establish ourselves,” he says. “We have provided architectural services for Bass Pro Shops, the city of Springfield, Crowder College and several other municipalities and school districts across the state.”
Erwin recalls that his greatest professional challenge was when he was able to take a leadership role during the design and construction of the Missouri Crime Lab in Springfield. His strengths in pulling together a group of individuals, identifying the problem and working through the issues helped in resolution of the complex undertaking.
“The project was challenging from Day 1, involving the renovation of a 1920s poured-in-place concrete structure into a modern criminal forensic laboratory built for the 21st century. Several setbacks and delays occurred due to the weather and unknown site and building conditions,” Erwin says. “I know that the inception of the project began several years before our team was involved, but knowing that we contributed just an infinitesimal part in reducing the 10- to 12-month case backlog down to 30-60 days is one of the greatest feelings I have had in architecture.”
In addition to his work responsibilities, Erwin is active in community and volunteer projects. He is a board member for the Springfield chapter of the American Institute of Architects and a member of Leadership Springfield Class XXV. He also is vice chairman/chairman-elect of The Network, a group created in 2007 by the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce for professionals between the ages of 21 and 40.
“In both the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and AIA Springfield, I have served several positions that have focused on attracting, engaging and retaining the young professional demographic,” he says.Click here for full coverage of the 2011 40 Under 40.