SKILL SETS 2020-08-10T19:24:20+00:00



  • Most people understand the leadership skills that military service offers. From day one in boot camp Michael was in a leadership position and gained rank exceptionally fast during his time in the Marine Corps.
  • He was fortunate to attend Special Forces training and graduated with a Letter of Commendation for his leadership from the Commanding General of all Special Forces.
  • He also attended Army Ranger School and graduated with honors as the First Sergeant of the training company – the top leadership position.
  • Since his military days his leadership has afforded him positions of responsibility over others who had better qualifications than himself.
  • That he had the respect and loyalty of his subordinates was well understood by the principals in his firms.
  • There were a handful of people he worked with at LPA who followed him to NTD and also to SKW.
  • There was no question his people knew he had their best interests at heart.
  • His weekly project meetings (see below) kept the lines of communication open and the setting of standards and all the training he conducted kept their motivation high.
  • He has been responsible for bi-annual employee reviews and pay increases since his time at NTD.


  • Michael has very cordial working relations with the folks at the Division of the State Architect as he does with many other city, county and state agencies.
  • Note from his resume that he worked for Plumas Bank for 16 years, at three different firms.
  • The manager of the first new bank he did for Plumas Bank became one of his best friends and they have enjoyed many backpacking adventures over the years.
  • Note that he worked for the Auburn Union School District for the entire decade of the 90’s until he moved to LPA. It is very unusual to work for a district that long.
  • After the Design/Build project he did with McCarthy Construction (the Woodland Police Facility) their project manager came to work for his studio at NTD and two of the other McCarthy guys became good fishing buddies.
  • The Facilities Director he worked with at Sierra College became a good friend and they have had many fishing and hunting trips together.

Sales and Marketing:

  • Honor graduate of the Marine Corps Recruiter School.
  • A two month long course using the Xerox Professional Selling Skills syllabus.
  • From selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door while in high school to his most recent experience as the Sales and Distribution Manager of a wholesale business, Michael has had a great deal of successful sales experience.

Public Presentations:

  • Public speaking training during Recruiter School (see resume).
  • SKW sent all their senior managers to a Dale Carnegie course. One of his speeches was used as an example for future classes.
  • See the attached Projects List. The variety of these projects shows he has made presentations to school boards, planning commissions, public agencies and a host of other groups.
  • Michael is both comfortable and persuasive in such situations.

Industry Knowledge:

  • Michael has been diligent to keep up with his markets and the breaking trends in architecture.
  • He has attended many CASH (Coalition for Adequate School Housing) conferences since the early 90’s and CEFPI conferences while at NTD.
  • There are many publications circulating through an architectural firm. From general architectural subjects to journals from organizations such as CASH and CEFPI, he has made these required reading in his studios.


  • No surprise with his military background that he has been the driving force behind the training at his firms.
  • See the Training Schedule in the Skill Sets.
  • He developed and conducted this training for the entire NTD office in Auburn, CA.
  • This training had tangible results in the quality of our construction documents.
  • The staff were very appreciative of the opportunity to further their professional knowledge.
  • Similar training took place at SKW also.

Sustainable Design:

  • While doing civic work for LPA Michael was the Project Manager for the first two LEEDS certified police facilities in the country. Although they hired a LEEDS consultant, Michael monitored this process and is familiar with it.
  • He certainly supports the goals of sustainable design but disagrees with the implication that architects have historically ignored efficient building systems.



  • See the Agreement System – Diagram.
  • Michael championed revisions as to how this firm organized their client contracts so they would have better control of changes to the Scope of Work.
  • Also related to the client, see the Agenda – Design Process Meeting.
  • Even these few pages demonstrate the dynamic way that Michael reviews both the contract and the architectural process with the owner to ensure they fully understand the agreement and their responsibilities in the process. Better to avoid problems than to solve them.
  • Related to consultants, see the Consultant Request for Proposal and Exhibit B; Consultant Scope of Services.
  • Again, he championed these documents so the consultants would have a very clear understanding of their work so they could be comfortable giving as low a fee as possible.
  • He reviewed all contracts for his projects since 1990 (including many at MVM and SEG), he is very familiar with the AIA document series and has had a good deal of “in-house” training on contracts, as well as the course he received a certificate for, noted in his resume.


  • See the Programming Templates;  Program Phase 1, Program Phase 2 Building, Program Phase 2 Site, Program Phase 3.
  • These templates were developed by Michael based upon much study and experience.
  • Note how the program progresses from Phase 1 broad goal statements to Phase 3 which details every aspect of the anticipated project.
  • There are many methodologies to programming not shown here that he has been using for many years.

Building Codes:

  • At NTD Michael was considered the “Code Guru”.
  • On the Schedule/Checklist you will note a checklist of what code issues need to be addressed during each phase.
  • See Drawing Sheet Standards, Sheets A0.3 and A0.4, which list what information has to be shown on the “Code Sheets” for the site and each floor plan. In fact, he developed “Code Sheets” as a way to expedite the agency plan check process years before he ever saw another architect use them.

Construction Documents:

  • See the Drawing Sheet Standards, sheet A8.1. Although completed by a committee at SKW, Michael championed the effort and provided the 90% documents that the committee worked from.
  • Again, see the Schedule/Checklist.  Note that he developed a checklist for the contents of the documents at each phase.
  • There a few people who could match his understanding of how to put together a set of documents.
  • An elementary school he did at Lardner Lardner Architects finished with only ¼ of 1% in change orders.
  • After the bid opening for a middle school modernization one of the general contractors (not the successful one!) came to their office to offer them work because he said their documents were, “the best he had ever seen in all his years as a contractor”.

Construction Administration:

  • Michael is fortunate to have been doing construction administration from his first job in architecture.
  • He eschews separate construction administration departments/personnel because it is an essential element of QC for the PM to learn from their mistakes.
  • See Agenda – Pre-Construction Conference.
  • Again, finished by committee, but 90% his work. It should be clear from this partial document that he has a full understanding of the CA process.  And his ability to partner with contractors has already been noted.

Quality Control:

  • Michael’s reputation in the Northern California market is defined by his passion for QC.
  • In the last three large firms he worked for he was the driving force for not only the QC tools shown here, but for training of the staff as well.
  • As an active member of the Technical Services Committee at NTD, he worked closely with the COO in the San Diego office to bring these tools to fruition.
  • His motto (developed from experience) is that for every hour it takes to avoid a problem, it takes 10 hours to solve a problem.
  • See the Lessons Learned Database. Michael wrote this database in the early 90’s when a Project Inspector told him about another school district and architect that built the same multi-purpose building three times and made the same mistakes each time!  He immediately thought of his military experience where they did After Action reports of each training exercise so there would be continual improvement.
  • See A2.4 – Roof Plan (star) to note how what was discovered in the field works it’s way back into the document standards – continual process improvement!
  • See the Composite Overlay Instructions.  Call this the old light table on steroids; with the participation of all consultants at the same time. You can see from the instructions how valuable a tool this is.
  • One of the seasoned architects on the Technical Services Committee at NTD came up from San Diego to witness this procedure and went back and reported that this was, “the single most dynamic quality control procedure he had ever seen”.
  • See his Resume where it is noted he led a team of consultants in the QC Review of the drawings for a new Student Center at American River College ($34m) and did the architectural review of the drawings by nbbj Seattle for the new Stanislaus County Courthouse ($265m).

Integrated Project Delivery:

  • Michael has been involved in many different project delivery methods.
  • With all the public school work, he has certainly done many Design/Bid/Build projects, but has also done Lease/Lease-Back with an elementary school.
  • The Design/Build he did with McCarthy Construction for the Woodland Police Facility was also a Fast-Track project. They did three sets of documents; site and foundation, building shell and tenant improvements.
  • He is well read on IDP and has attended many seminars about project delivery.

Master Planning:

  • Completed Master Plans for Sierra Community College, Plumas Bank and Feather River College.
  • All these master plans began with an assessment of existing facilities, progressed to future needs assessments based upon demographics, educational specifications and other pertinent data and then cost estimates were applied to the needs.
  • Costs were escalated in accordance with the construction schedules to produce a Capital Outlay schedule.

Facility Assessments:

  • Completed comprehensive Facility Assessments for Sierra Community College, Plumas Bank, Feather River College and the Enterprise Unified School District.
  • These all had accessibility and financial components to them.

Management Tools:

  • See the Monthly Management Schedule.
  • This was a tool he developed at NTD. Every Monday his Project Managers presented their various projects to him according to the schedule.
  • The PM would also print any Agenda templates for meetings coming up that week and they would modify those as necessary to meet the circumstances so they could be published ahead of the meeting for all participants to review.
  • Note in the document that he required the PM’s to maintain a binder for each project, so the project information could be available to anyone at any time.
  • The tools noted in this document are explained below.

Labor Planning:

  • See the Labor Projections Report.
  • This tool was eventually replaced by Deltek software but still shows his understanding of the importance of ensuring there are sufficient man-hours available to meet the deadlines of all the projects.

Process Controls:

  • See the Project Essential Report.
  • This tool tracked all their projects, assigned the team, tracked all the contracts, made sure all the administrative and architectural tools were in place and tracked our profitability.
  • Michael developed this tool when he took over the Studio at NTD with over 40 projects and also at SKW when he inherited over 80 projects.

Financial Planning:

  • See the Fee Budget Template.
  • Michael championed revisions to this so that Project Managers could better manage their teams. Previously, the PM’s were not privy to this information.
  • Note that this creates a budget of man-hours available for each phase of work. By regular updates this showed the Project Managers the hours they had available to finish the documents for each phase.
  • See the Cost Loaded Schedule.
  • Michael found the Milestone scheduling software that allowed him to cost load each project per phase, per month and to total all projects. Our entire office at NTD used this tool for financial forecasting.


  • Again, see the Schedule/Checklist example.
  • This is a very unique use of MS Project. Using Project for scheduling is quite common.  But, making a template with linked documents covering the entire architectural process is indeed unique.
  • The example, which was used for marketing presentations, shows how clicking on the task, “Coordinate with enforcing agencies/utilities” gives the option of opening any number of linked documents.
  • See the agenda for Schematic Design Coordination – Local Fire Marshal example.
  • This agenda is just one example of the many hyperlinked documents that make this tool so unique and effective for QC.
  • These linked agendas are useful for many purposes. First, it saves the time of typing up a new agenda each time.  Second, it is a checklist to make sure you include everything you should in the meeting.  Third, it acts as a QC tool and a repository of knowledge that can always be updated.
  • These are the agenda he would review with his PM’s each Monday so they could be published ahead of the meeting.
  • While this template is for a K-12 project it can obviously be modified to suit any project type.
  • Note the color coding for the different team members and client.
  • Note also Michael’s philosophy for how each phase is organized. You first investigate and gather all the information; you then coordinate that information with the team; only then do you document that information and finally you do a QC review and get the client’s approval.


  • Choosing to be an architect in the 7th grade, Michael read everything in the county library about architecture and design before he graduated high school. He has long had a passion for the art of architecture and its influence upon the human condition.
  • While always sure to be involved in design in his junior years, it wasn’t until 1990 that he took the lead in the design of their schools and bank projects.
  • Michael is proud of these designs. A new bank he did was called the best looking building in town – of course, that was in Susanville, CA.  If you have ever been thru this small town you know it’s an off-handed compliment!
  • Moving to LPA as a Project Manager he expressed his desire to stay involved in the design of projects. The principal, who he worked with before, was very blunt in saying, “it’s easy to find designers, we will pay a lot more for someone who can run a project profitably”; as he knew Michael could.
  • Becoming a Studio Director, he participated in the design efforts of the principals and the talented designers under him but his greatest skill was keeping them within budget, on schedule and creating designs that were constructible.
  • In summary, Michael can give a valuable critique of your design as well as a “nuts and bolts” perspective in the early stages, which helps put the project on a successful path.