At a very young age I found myself fascinated with my built surroundings. Even by the age of four, I remember looking up at the ceiling of a gymnasium thinking, “Wow, those [beams] are big. This place is big!” Every new structure that I experienced impacted my perception of the built environment.
At the time, I thought I wanted to be a construction worker since my uncles were, and they were the only people I knew who built buildings. It wasn’t until I was in junior high that I found architecture as a profession, and from that time on, I made it my goal to enter into that profession.
Growing up in a small midwestern town provided me with a sense of the intimate, small communities and neighborhoods they foster. The everyday lives of its people and the way they engage in its society have long been an interest of mine. On another level, a couple of times a year, my family would travel to Chicago to see relatives. This is where I discovered buildings and neighborhoods of a whole new magnitude. Understanding the juxtaposition of these two levels of the built environment provided me with a balance that strongly developed my intuition and increased my perception of architecture and its environments and the consequential impact on its inhabitants as well as the environment.
I went on to study architecture at Andrews University in southwest Michigan and received a BArch in 2001 and an MArch in 2003. After my studies, I came to Chicago with the expectations of entering one of the world’s greatest cities of architecture. I have never really sought a job in the large “factory” firms as I was more interested in getting down to the everyday lives of people and their local, built environments. I believe there is a large responsibility for the architect to design for the betterment of communities, people as individuals and as a whole, and how all this plays out on the global scene of ecology and the environment we all share. Whether it is the small addition to a house or a civic building for the neighborhood and city, designing and defining a more pleasing built environment for the social lives of the client, and the public at large, without taking a negative toll on the environment is a personal goal of mine in each project.
Practicing architecture as a partner at Marts & Valentin Architects, LLC continues to allow me to express my goals as a steward of the built environment and the part the architects play in the greater environment. In addition to the practice of the profession, I have also enjoyed the activities of mentoring students of architecture and interns through my participation in NCARB in their preparation for professional licensure, and sitting on critique juries of architecture students at the university level.
Architect/Partner at MARTS & VALENTIN ARCHITECTS , LLC. June 2022 – Present
Architect at SAM MARTS ARCHITECTS & PLANNERS, LTD. July 2001 – June 2022
- Meet with clients to review their program.
- Work with clients from design conception through construction.
- Permit procurement.
- Presentation drawings.
- Urban planning.
- Drafting services.
- Installation and management of computer software and systems.
- Tailor software to meet the needs our office and customized around the way we work.
Urban Planner at Thursday Architects. June 2001 – February 2003
Consultant on Urban Planning projects in various cities around the United States including Greensboro, NC and Wasilla, AK.
- Project Architect
- Code/Permit compliance
- Urban planning
- CAD/database management and layout
- Publishing of compiled work into presentation & marketing books
Andrews University: MArch, Architecture & Urban Planning, 1996 – 2001
Activities and Societies:
- American Institute of Architectural Students (AIAS)
- Tau Sigma Delta (Honor Society in Architecture and the Allied Arts)
- NCARB Certified
Honors and Awards:
- The AIA School Medal & Certificate of Merit for Excellence in the Study of Architecture
- The AIA & AAF Scholastic Award for Scholarly Pursuit in the Field of Architecture
- Excellence in Design Studio. 1998 – 2001.