The News & Observer named architect Steve Schuster “Tar Heel of the Year for 2014” for his work throughout the City of Raleigh, Wake County and the state. What a huge honor and one that I believe is well deserved!
I first met Steve Schuster when I worked with him on the Raleigh Convention Center. His firm, Clearscapes, was one of the architects on the design team and I was working as the principal in charge of the Construction Team. Steve was responsible the construction administration of the exterior skin of the building, ensuring the construction conforms to construction drawings and specifications. I had heard lots of stories about Steve and how tough he was on contractors. Those stories were all true. He is hard on contractors. He demands quality and expects results.
Steve and I worked closely on that project and I learned a lot about him and his expectations. He is tough but fair. He just wants a great job. We and I developed a mutual respect for one another on the Raleigh Convention Center job. He liked the way I worked with people and we made a good team. He would tell me what he wanted and I would communicate those expectations in a way that was different than how he would – it was successful way to manage such a large project with so many moving parts.
After finishing the Convention Center, which was honored with a Pinnacle Award for Best Building by the Carolinas AGC, Steve and I teamed up on the Marbles Children’s Museum in downtown Raleigh. That project was a lot of fun and both our teams enjoyed donating our talents to the Raleigh and Wake County communities.
After completing the Raleigh Convention Center, I continued to stay in touch with Steve. He called me in 2011 to discuss the Cary Arts Center project he was working on. The project was scheduled for completion within 90 days and things were going from bad to worse. It did not look like the project would finish on time. The working atmosphere had deteriorated. None of the team members were talking to each other and each one was squared off in their respective corner. The job was in jeopardy of not finishing and the quality was terrible. Steve and I worked together and got the Cary Arts Center back on track and the project turned out to be a great building. I think we are both very proud of that job.
Once I started Muter Construction in 2012, Steve and I collaborated on the Carolina Mudcats Five County Stadium canopy addition. What looked like an easy project was actually pretty complicated, but we worked together to deliver a great project for the owner. The quality is exceptional and we finished two months ahead of schedule.
Like the N&O article says, it really is Steve’s ability to listen and collaborate with everyone –fellow designers, engineers, the public, end user, and contractors – that has made him so successful. He is able to navigate those public projects that can turn into a nightmare so easily. That personality, the contagious passion, to deliver such landmark projects isn’t found often.
Check out the video here where Steve talks about his history, how he became an architect and his love of old buildings.
I am glad to have had the opportunity to work with Steve. I am a better contractor for it and a better person.