Class Acts: Former student news

The College of Architecture encourages former students to submit news items for the Class Acts section of the arch|one e-newsletter. This section highlights professional achievements, as well as news briefs about marriages, births, retirements, bucket list accomplishments or whatever else former students care to share with the college community and their former classmates. News and photos may be e-mailed directly to the editor.



Patrick Doty ’12 MUP will receive coastal resource management and policy education and training as a coastal management fellow in a program sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coastal Services Center.

Doty will be providing project assistance to state coastal zone management programs during the two-year fellowship.



Daniel Trafford ’08 BED is the HKS Inc. building information modeling manager at the site of the future Minnesota Vikings’ stadium in Minneapolis. “I’m working on design, modeling, production, and documentation of all plans and interior spaces, as well as coordinating efforts with consultants and contractors,” he said.

Trafford has also contributed to renovations at Amon G. Carter Stadium at Texas Christian University and Tiger Stadium at Lousiana State University.



d e sellers ’02 BED is the Nature Conservancy’s new operations manager at Palmyra Atoll, a group of small islands 1,000 miles south of Hawaii surrounded by more than 16,000 acres of coral reefs. The conservancy is helping develop the atoll as a center for marine study.



After graduated from Texas A&M, Courtney Brinegar ’07 BED went straight into graduate school at the University of Michigan. Three years later, and after two years working for Gensler in Houston, she passed all seven architectural licensing exams -- first time around and all seven in three months!  She contributes her success to a week-long prep class and guidance specific to the Architect Registration Examinations. “This goes to prove,” she said, “that becoming a licensed architect doesn’t have to be a prolonged strenuous task but is an achievable milestone with dedication, focus, and confidence.”



Dan Provost ’07 BED and Thomas Gerhardt ’07 BED were credited by Yancey Strickler, cofounder of the popular crowdsourcing site Kickstarter, with “changing the game” for product designers on the site.

glif class act brief1.jpg Provost and Gerhardt, founders of Studio Neat, were looking for funds to manufacture the Glif, a tripod mount for the iPhone 4 in September 2010. “It raised $130,000 out of nowhere,” Strickler said at the Engaget Expand Conference in San Francisco in 2013. “It was a really big story … it introduced Kickstarter to the world of product design.”

Provost and Gerhardt have since created a Glif for the iPhone 5 and an adjustable version to fit virtually any smartphone.



Upali Nanda ’05 Ph.D ARCH  and director of research at HKS Inc. co-wrote an article that appeared in DesignIntelligence magazine detailing how her firm’s research units and initiatives influence its design practice. “(Research) is an essential ingredient for excellence in design and it aids architects in creating unique environments based on the best possible information and insight,” states the article.



Eric Vechan ’05 BS-COSC  of Glendale, Arizona was recently elected to serve on the Board of Governors for the Constructor Certification Commission of the American Institute of Constructors.

“During my senior year,” he said, “my graduating class was required to take and pass the Associate Constructor exam. I became an AC upon graduating and became a Certified Professional Constructor in 2010.”

Since becoming a CPC, Eric has volunteered with the AIC, getting elected to the Board of Governors earlier this year.

“I feel that my Texas A&M education played an important role in setting me on the path to getting elected to this position,” he said. :It introduced me to the AIC and prepared me for overall industry success.”



Jake Donaldson.jpg Jake Donaldson ’03 BED, founding principal of Three Square Design Group, saw the firm’s revenue break the $2 million mark in 2013, reflecting more than 1.25 million square feet of projects; the firm’s staff has grown to 15 last year from 1 in 2008.
The firm ranked 33rd in the Houston Business Journal’s 2013 Fast 100, awarded to privately owned area businesses based on growth, and 24th in the 2013 Aggie 100, a ranking of fastest-growing Aggie-owned or operated businesses.



matthew faulkner Matthew Faulkner ’02 BED and ’06 MARCH, founder of PACT Design Studio, was featured in a Texas Society of Architects blog. His studio includes a shop to work with a variety of materials. “If I were not an architect, I would be designing and building furniture full-time,” he said.

Whether working with weathered cedar fence boards salvaged from a curbside garbage pile, reclaimed 100-plus-year-old pine boards, or manufactured, off-the-shelf materials, his goal is to learn how to manipulate these materials in specific ways, a process that often results in an architectural element such as a small sculpture or wall panel, he said. 



Rich DeVaul Rich DeVaul ’99 BED heads Google’s Rapid Evaulation Team, which developed Google Glass, a wearable computer that’s in the testing phase, and Project Loon, a proposed network of balloons that will provide Internet access to the two-thirds of the world’s population that has get to get online.

The team’s efforts were detailed in the May 2004 issue of Fast Company magazine.



editer.jpg Darren Crisp ’92 BED builds custom bicycle frames by hand in his shop, Crisp Titanium, in Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy, that customers are raving about.

"The longer I ride it, the more it reveals—and the more I want to ride it,” wrote Bill Strickland in the December 2012 issue of Bicycling magazine. This is not a bike you will know everything about in a few weeks or, I anticipate, a few seasons or, perhaps, even a lifetime. It is a bike that with revelations of its capabilities keeps delighting its rider—the quintessence, maybe, of what cycling is.”

Crisp detailed his journey from studying abroad in Italy, to overseeing construction sites, to his current occupation in an online discussion board.


posted August 31, 2014