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Profile: Tracey Powell Assoc. AIA

Name: Tracey Powell Assoc. AIA
Job title and company: Architectural consultant, ASSA ABLOY
Degree(s): BS in Architectural Building and Engineering from New England Institute of Technology (and pursuing a MArch from Boston Architectural College)
Professional interests: Volunteering, leadership, sustainability

What are you working on now?

Promoting ASSA ABLOY’s Decorative Openings Mobile Showroom at ABX 2012 to everyone I know! I’ve attended the expo since college and am thrilled to host this year’s largest booth.

How do you explain to your mom what you do for a living?

My mom passed away two months before I found a job that I really love. I owe my passion for the world of architecture to her and would have told her that now I’m focused on the world of security and life safety: keeping the bad guys out and getting the good guys out!

What inspired you today?

When I drive up I-95 from Providence to Boston and see two buildings I helped create, I don’t think of the floor plans or materials or whether it was built on time and under budget. I think of the people I worked with and the relationships I built—that’s what inspires me every day!

What architectural buzzword would you kill?

VIF (verify in field). In a world of BIM [building information modeling] and IDP [integrated design process], we are closer than ever to real-time collaboration and living documentation. I look forward to the day when the virtual world aligns with reality and such words become obsolete (e.g., TBD, SIM, match existing, etc.)

When you’re working, do you discuss or exchange ideas with your colleagues?

Daily! Without my colleagues (and mentors), I wouldn’t be where I am today.

What are you reading?

ArchitectureBoston magazine and Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill (for the eighth time).

Do you sketch by hand or digitally?

Freehand with a Pilot Precise Rolling Ball pen in my Moleskine journal. I refuse to believe in the “death of drawing.”

Where is the field of architecture headed?

My hope is to see humanity brought back into the world of architecture. Many of us who create environments for people to interact [in] are deprived of human interaction ourselves—stationary at computer workstations for hours on end and communicating through email, texting and social media. Communities [such as] the BSA will continue to play a pivotal role in providing places for people to connect.

What do you hope to contribute from your work?

The most important things we build are relationships with each other. I hope to bring my friendships with me throughout the rest of my career, no matter what line of work I’m in.

Who or what deserves credit for your success?

When my brother and I were kids, we helped our parents build three homes that my mom designed herself (in their spare time!), and both pursued careers in the construction industry. As Confucius says, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

If you could give the you-of-10-years-ago advice, what would it be?

Pleasure is more important than productivity. Work hard, but play harder!

Your favorite Boston-area structure?

Boston Convention & Exhibition Center

Who would you like the BSA to interview next?

Cliff Stockman at TRO Jung|Brannen

If you could sum up your outlook on life in a bumper sticker, what would it say?

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.”

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