Name: Clint Harris, AIA
Current Title: Architect
Office Location: Nashville
Years at Gresham Smith: 8
In honor of ACE Mentor Program of America’s 25th Anniversary, we’re introducing you to Clint Harris, a product of the after-school program and advocate for exposing high school students to careers in architecture, construction and engineering. While he didn’t meet his 10-year-old self’s dream of digging up dinosaur bones Ross Geller style, we still think his healthcare designs are pretty dino-mite. Keep reading to learn how the firm has helped him grow, which projects he’s most enjoyed working on and why he has so many badminton trophies.
Where did you grow up?
Where did you go to college?
University of Tennessee – Knoxville (Go Vols!)
When you were 10 years old what did you want to be?
A paleontologist! I have loved dinosaurs as long as I can remember. Until I found my path in architecture, I was still considering paleontology as a potential career. My parents were probably overjoyed when I switched to design!
What drew you to Gresham Smith?
While I was in high school I did a one-month internship at Gresham Smith through the ACE (Architecture Construction Engineering) Mentor Program of America and really enjoyed it. Then, while I was a student at UT, I spent two summers interning at the firm. I always maintained contact with the people I now work directly with, and those friendships helped me know that Gresham Smith was a place that I wanted to work.
How did your involvement with ACE Mentorship benefit you?
ACE provided that kickstart to understanding what design and construction really was. The program gave me opportunities to work on projects and learn the ins-and-outs of the design process. I also learned valuable life skills like public speaking and how to share ideas with others. Unbeknownst to me at the time, but it was actually excellent preparation for college design classes and presentations.
How has Gresham Smith helped you in your career development?
Gresham Smith employees who served as ACE Mentors helped me begin to think about architecture as a career and develop my design mentality. Since joining the firm full-time I’ve been encouraged and supported in seeking my licensure, joining leadership groups both inside and outside the company and helping develop meaningful client relationships.
What’s one thing your coworkers might not know about you?
I have about six badminton trophies at my house right now. My family reunions always involved sports during the day, but the main event was a two-person team badminton tournament that night. There was a blind draw to determine your partner and my team was lucky enough to hold the trophy about six times. There was no mercy shown, even if it was your grandmother, because she definitely wasn’t showing any!
What is your favorite project you’ve worked on while at Gresham Smith and why?
I have two favorite projects. The first is the North Arundel Medical Center we designed for Kaiser Permanente, located near Baltimore, Maryland. Helping design a facility that provides much needed healthcare to a region was a success in itself, but the fact that it was the first new building that our client had built in over a decade in that area was a testament to their trust in us.
My second favorite project is CityPlace, a multi-use community center in LaGrange, Kentucky, that we designed for The Rawlings Foundation. It’s hard to beat a project that’s located in a beautiful, historic small town, especially when a full-size train runs straight down the middle every hour. We restored existing buildings into venue spaces and repurposed a parking lot into a park, ultimately creating a space that has fueled the city’s growth.
Why are you passionate about serving as an ACE Mentor?
ACE provided something to me that has truly changed my life. Not only did I find a career path, but I made friends and mentors through that program that I still have to this day.
What’s on your bucket list?
I’d like to swim with Great White Sharks, and when I say swimming, I mean inside a very strong cage. They are one of my greatest fears, yet I am absolutely fascinated by them!
What music is playing in your car right now?
Amos Lee, Otis Redding or James Taylor