The Times They Are A Changin'

I turned 50 a few years ago. In spite of the fact that “50 is the new 40,” a couple of things happened recently to make me feel old. At dinner with a new employee and his wife, she asked me, “So how old are your children?” Lee replied before I had a chance, “They’re our age.” To keep the theme going, Lee later asked me at a lunch, “So when you started out you drew by hand?” As I answered affirmatively, I could only imagine him picturing me riding up to the office and tying my horse to the hitching post.

I’m happy to report Lee is a great employee and these two incidents have not been reflected in subsequent performance reviews.

It didn’t seem that long ago that we laughed at our parents because they couldn’t run the VCR. Now as my children set up our home computer network or Internet-connected TVs they ask, “What’s a VCR?”

“The Times They Are A-Changin” – Bob Dylan sang those lyrics almost 50 years ago. It’s a new millennium, an electronic age, and it’s hard to imagine a time when things in the architecture profession were changing so rapidly. Search engines and access to information, new materials, new techniques, sustainability, accessibility, handling electronic documents on “the cloud” and building information modeling, social networking, and alternative project delivery methods are a few of the issues affecting architects, architecture, and our built environment.

The line just before “The Times They Are A-Changin” in that Dylan song is “For You Better Start Swimmin’ Or You’ll Sink Like A Stone.” At the risk of being immodest, I’ve always been a good swimmer.

At CMBA we recognize there are some advantages to being 50; like the experiences gained over a long career. There are a number of long-term, experienced employees at CMBA, a few who are older and more experienced than me. To complement that experience, however, CMBA is also blessed with a lot of “Lee’s”, 20-somethings and 30-somethings that didn’t experience life before PCs, mobile apps and XBox.  We like to say the experience of age and the creativity of youth are both well represented at CMBA. We believe these to be critical ingredients in the recipe for great buildings.

We’re not the firm of old guys that stamp out buildings like Christmas cookies; the same building, different city, different decade. We’re also not the firm of young kids making a social statement with your building, your money, and untested materials. We are on the leading edge – not the bleeding edge.

We think these approaches align with our clients and help them achieve long-term value. “The Times They Are A-Changin,” and CMBA is leading and adapting to change with them.