5 Questions with Cecil Ricks, of MATRIX Architects Engineers Planners Inc.
BY JOHN STANCAVAGE World Business Editor
Friday, January 18, 2013
1/18/13 at 4:58 AM
Cecil Ricks is president and director of Architecture and Design at MATRIX Architects Engineers Planners Inc., which is entering its 29th year as a design firm. He has specialized in commercial and industrial facilities, with a focus on renovation of buildings. Ricks holds a bachelor's degree in architecture from Kansas State University and is a member of the American Institute of Architects, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards and Tulsa Zoo Friends.
1: The recession was difficult for many architectural and engineering firms. How did MATRIX make it through?
One of the keys to MATRIX's success over the years is the long-term relationship with our clients. We've worked with many remarkable clients who have helped us earn the reputation of being a great design firm that hires creative people and lets them be creative. The extended relationship between our staff and our clients is helping us make it through.
2: Is the demand for your firm's services rising significantly now?
We've seen a slow but steady increase in our workload. We've seen more requests for proposals from our clients over the last six months than we saw in the previous couple of years.
Architecture in this area has always been up and down. I recall a major downturn in the mid-'80s, another in the early '90s, a couple of bumps at the turn of the century and, of course, what's been happening lately.
3: What is your firm doing to make projects "greener?"
MATRIX always tried to work with more energy-efficient systems and more sustainable materials even before the "green" trend that we're seeing now. Whenever our clients wish to achieve LEED-certified projects, we have staff and consultants who can design to meet those requirements.
4: As president, what are your goals for MATRIX?
If you look up MATRIX in the dictionary, one of the definitions is "something within or from which something else originates, develops, or takes form."
Our primary goal within our firm has always been to provide innovative and creative solutions that are unique to each client, no matter the size or scope. We learn how our clients do business. This understanding allows our designs to develop and take form around their spatial needs, and hopefully help them do business better.
Our goal is to continue to do create great designs unique to our clients, have a lot of fun doing it and maybe make a little money while we do it!
5: What advice would you give a student who is considering a career in architecture and engineering?
First, develop your math skills. An understanding of the basic principles of math, algebra and geometry will make college statistics, strength-of-material and structural-systems courses easier to understand.
Second, learn about as much art as you can. Understanding design starts with understanding how art is designed. Architecture is a functional art.
I would also advise them to develop excellent communications skills. Enroll in speech classes, creative writing classes, composition classes and English classes. Learn how to become an effective writer. Whether it's writing proposals, specifications, surveys, meeting notes or marketing materials, being able to explain your design work is an important part of selling your abilities and those of your company.
MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World