Working as a designer/architect for B&E Contractors offers hands-on learning.
Jeff Brady is a student at the University of Milwaukee’s Architectural School working toward a master's degree in architecture. He’s helping to pay his way through school by working for B&E General Contractors three days a week as a designer-architect, selling and designing projects.
"This is a great job because I learn many aspects that I don’t get from school courses," he says. "Most of the courses are design-based, and here we’re very construction-based. This offers more hands-on learning and seeing the designs come to fruition."
Brady, whose main interest lies in commercial design, sees the job as a steppingstone to an architect’s license. "I enjoy designing for a variety of functions instead of just residential," he says. But he doesn’t rule it out altogether. "I could definitely see doing this as a full-time career if I wanted to stick with residential [like some of the company’s designers]," he says. "They see remodeling as where it’s really happening in residential design today, and they enjoy the field."
Although planning to become a licensed architect, he enjoys the sales aspects of the combined job, too."I think you’ve really got to be able to talk with the client directly to understand what they want in the project and [to] meet their needs," he says. "Those skills are good to have in any type of architecture because you’re always focused on learning what the customers want and providing that in the design."
If nothing else, he has learned that remodeling is not like new building, he says. "Remodeling takes a totally different mind-set from new building. You have to work with a lot of existing parts and fit in with them, and that takes a different thinking process."
B&E General Contractors Inc.
Profit From Design