July 24, 2014

South Florida Extra - Pacesetter

Designing The Future

Martha Brannigan | 7/1/2006
Ask architect Jorge H. Garcia to define his firm and he says, "We're all about the future."

Jorge H. Garcia, 52

Chairman/CEO: Garcia Stromberg Architecture, Boca Raton and Stuart.

Business: International architecture firm he founded in 1987.

Goals: "We don't know exactly where we're going, and I don't want to know. I'm not interested in arriving. I'm interested in the journey."

Revenue: More than doubled in two years to about $12 million.

Some projects: Rancho Santana resort, Nicaragua; El San Juan Hotel, Puerto Rico; City Furniture stores, Florida.

Growing up: "One time, my wife said, 'You're so immature.' I said, 'That's the best thing you could say to me. Please, if you see me maturing, stop me.'"

Garcia, chairman and CEO of Garcia Stromberg Architecture in Boca Raton, says that's why four years ago the firm created a scholarship program at Florida Atlantic University for future architects. He also established an internal mentoring program at the 70-employee firm, pairing young architects with senior folks.

The firm, whose projects have included large resorts, medical facilities and commercial parks, is structured in teams -- an approach, he says, that gives beginners a chance to be part of the action. "Instead of a vertical organization -- where they're way down the totem pole and it's a long time before they do design work -- young people get to work with senior people," he says.

Garcia says he remembers feeling motivated to study hard at the University of Miami after receiving a scholarship, and he enjoys giving back. "You get to like doing this sort of stuff."
But he adds that the scholarship and mentoring efforts reflect an enlightened self-interest in getting and keeping good young talent. Scholarship recipients, he says, have "the opportunity but not the obligation to come work for us.

"We're chumming the waters to make sure we get the best. We're recruiting all the time."

Tags: Southeast, Housing/Construction

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