Since his arrival at Gresham Smith’s Dallas office in 2021, Jose Tavarez, an architect in the firm’s Aviation market, has swiftly made his mark. In just a few years, Jose has actively contributed his talents to a diverse range of aviation projects for prominent clients such as Norfolk Airport Authority and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. He also serves as a recruitment ambassador for Gresham Smith’s “Way to Recruit” program and takes the lead in fostering community engagement initiatives for the firm’s Dallas office.

Born and raised in Miami to Latin American parents, Jose’s early passion for drawing and building things laid the foundation for his future career in architecture. His trajectory became clear at the age of five when his mother declared, “You’re going to be an architect.” Little did he know that her insightful words would play a significant role in shaping his destiny.

Embarking on his professional journey at the age of 16, Jose gained his initial experience with a general contractor, followed by an internship with a Miami-based architecture firm. He continued to pursue internships throughout college, ultimately securing a full-time position with an architecture firm specializing in aviation. His association with Gresham Smith began during his involvement in the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Terminal 1 modernization and Concourse A expansion.

Reflecting on the experience, Jose recalls, “While my current firm was handling the Concourse A segment of the project as part of a joint venture with Gresham Smith, my responsibilities involved overseeing submittals and RFIs for the entire project. Working with the Gresham Smith team left a lasting impression on me. I remember thinking: ‘Wow, these guys really have their act together!’ Witnessing their well-defined processes and commitment to quality from an outsider’s perspective made me admire the firm long before I officially came on board. When the opportunity arose to advance in my career, transitioning to Gresham Smith felt like a natural and seamless step forward, given the strong connections I’d already established. It felt like coming home.”

Upon joining Gresham Smith, Jose quickly demonstrated his proficiency in delivering thoughtful design solutions. His involvement in notable projects at Norfolk International Airport, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport not only highlighted his capabilities as a project architect and project manager but also underscored his leadership skills.

Working with the Gresham Smith team left a lasting impression on me. I remember thinking: ‘Wow, these guys really have their act together! Jose Tavarez Architect, Gresham Smith

As an ambassador for Gresham Smith’s Way to Recruit program, Jose’s influence extends beyond the scope of his project work. Centered around his close collaboration with the firm’s university recruitment team, his recruiting approach places a strong emphasis on building meaningful connections, sharing personal experiences, and highlighting Gresham Smith’s positive culture during recruitment events. His inspiration for this approach stems from four words that initially captured his attention and sparked his imagination when he first joined the Dallas office.

“One of the first things that caught my eye was the display of our Core Values—’Commitment, Integrity, Respect, Teamwork’—on the wall across from my desk,” says Jose. “I quickly gained a deeper appreciation for their significance, seeing our team’s dedication and the cohesive way they worked together. Observing the Employee Resource Networks in action and the firm’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging really won me over. This firsthand experience fueled my determination to introduce more individuals to a culture and enterprise that I wholeheartedly believed in.”

Jose pictured with members of the Dallas Aviation team. L to R: Alejandra Espino-Trillo, Kent McGilberry, Rob Fuller, Brad Thaw, Jose Tavarez, Amy Trojacek and Sean Bogart.

Outside of his project-related work, Jose serves as community engagement leader for the Dallas office. He spearheads various initiatives, collaborating with a diverse range of community organizations. These initiatives include participation in events such as the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, CANstruction Dallas and AIA Dallas/TEXO Association’s Bark + Build. Additionally, he’s led the charge for the Dallas office’s involvement in programs established by the Architecture and Design Exchange, including the Form Follows Fitness 5K, as well as spring and summer camps dedicated to supporting education and STEM initiatives for students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Jose’s commitment to community advocacy has also led to his appointment as the Aviation market’s representative for the Dallas client service team. In this capacity, he plays an integral role on the community engagement subcommittee, working toward the development of projects that will mutually benefit both the community and the City of Dallas.

“Jose represents the best qualities of what a Gresham Smith employee should strive to be,” says Kent McGilberry, Aviation studio leader for Gresham Smith’s Dallas office. “His unwavering dedication to seamlessly integrating his project responsibilities, his proactive leadership in organizing community engagement events for the Dallas office, and his active participation in both market and firmwide initiatives are impressive and valued throughout the office, the market and the firm.”

Looking ahead, Jose emphasizes that his commitment to giving back reflects a fundamental principle instilled by his mother throughout his upbringing.

“My mother always used to say: ‘If we don’t live to serve, then we serve no purpose living.’ This philosophy has not only been a driving force throughout my life but also guides me at Gresham Smith,” says Jose. “I’m so excited to see what the future brings and how our growth will unfold. With every year that passes, and with every stride the firm takes to foster a positive culture and create thriving, equitable communities, it creates a ripple effect that piques the interest of others. A good example of this is when individuals approach me, inquiring, ‘Hey; are you guys hiring? It looks like a great place to work!’ To date, I have successfully recruited nine people to the firm—and that’s just the beginning!”

My mother always used to say: ‘If we don’t live to serve, then we serve no purpose living. Jose Tavarez Architect, Gresham Smith

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