The Year was 1980-Something

There are few moments in your life where the time span between the current and younger versions of yourself collide. I had such a moment yesterday and despite my aversion to “celebrity sightings”, this is basically what happened.

I am currently in the Orlando airport with 2 hours to kill before I head back to Dallas and then on to the office. For the last 4 days, I have been in Orlando attending the NKBA Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) as well as the NAHB International Builders Show (IBS) and other than having sore feet and a head full of emerging technologies and trends, this has been a productive use of my time as I was here to work, network, and participate in panel discussions during my trip.

This Old House Norm Abrams Tim Silva with Bob Borson and Nick Rennard
[L to R] Bob Borson, Nicholas Rennard, and Tom Silva [Second Image] Norm Abrams and Bob Borson

In 1980, I was 12 years old, seven years mentally into my career as an architect … whatever that meant. If you can imagine, there were only about 6 or 7 TV stations available back then, one of which was channel 13, our local PBS (Public Broadcasting Station). As a 12-year-old, PBS didn’t offer me much of what I wanted to watch, with one notable exception – This Old House – which to my knowledge was the first home improvement show. Since I planned on being an architect, it seemed like my responsibility to watch this show. It was my look into the world of construction and it was the first time I could see how the building process worked.

It was magical and it was must-see TV for me (along with the A-Team and Knight Rider1 … don’t judge me, as a 12-year-old boy I was the perfect demographic). Every week I would turn in to see the latest developments and issues the guys had to tackle … and as I recall, “wood rot” was a frequent topic.

Fast forward 37 years and here I was meeting the closest things I had to heroes from my childhood.

This Old House Generation Next with Bob Borson
This Old House and Bob Borson Panel Discussion [L to R] Norm Abrams, Richard Trethewey, Bob Borson and Kevin O’Connor – photo graciously provided by Susie Feia

You can’t imagine what it meant to me to be sitting on a panel with these guys (and don’t I look uncomfortable sitting there?!?). I won’t say I was starstruck, but I was a bit caught up in the moment as I thought about how many times I watched these guys on TV as a child only to find myself at the Design Milk x Modenus Lounge at KBIS participating in a panel discussion about the future of the construction industry. The NKBA through its TradeUp initiative is partnering with This Old House for year two of the Generation Next campaign to raise dollars and create awareness of the skilled trades as viable and lucrative career paths, and the “This Old House” crew and I were there to talk about the importance of filling the skilled labor gap. So why did they ask me to participate in such a panel? Other than the fact that I have an opinion on the gap in the skilled labor gap and what that means to me as an architect, I was there on behalf of the NKBA as I have been asked to be one of the NKBA Insiders for 2018 along with 6 other individuals.

2018 NKBA Insiders Announcement Postcard

It is this role and responsibility that will have me doing a fair amount of globetrotting this year. NKBA is a huge organization and as the only architect in this group, I am honored to have been identified as a person of interest for this role. What this means to everybody else is that I should hopefully have some interesting information and adventures to share – and we all need interesting adventures.

Meanwhile, I will continue to bask in the moment I had yesterday as I was able to meet the gentlemen who help forge my interest in the construction industry. I am hoping that I can track down a photo2 where I don’t look quite so uncomfortable so I can frame it and put it on my glory wall.


Bob signature FAIA

1 I strongly considered writing into NBC to get a signed photo of Kitt and David Hasselhoff
2 If you were there and have a photo you would be willing to send me, I would greatly appreciate it

Source: Life of an Architect