What is something you are grateful you learned about yourself this past year?
Patrick Ahearn: This year, I turned 70 in the midst of a global pandemic, and I was grateful to learn that even at my age, I can hone new skills. On my team, we have architects that do technical work and CAD design, but I’m known for drawing with a Pilot pen and paper. This year, I’ve become much more adept with technology, and I’m using resources that I never thought I’d be interested in. While I would much prefer to meet with clients in person, I’ve learned to enjoy a virtual meeting where I can sketch over a photo on an iPad instead. It’s as though I’ve had a personal growth spurt into the digital age, and I’m grateful to have experienced that after 47 years in practice.
What’s one thing you’ve enjoyed about doing your job recently?
Patrick Ahearn: One of the things that’s changed significantly since Covid-19 is that I’m now able to schedule uninterrupted meetings with individuals in my office. Prior to the coronavirus, I would walk into work and everyone would have 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there, and we all popped in and out to collaborate during the day. Now, I have these solid blocks of undisturbed time with individual team members, and it’s allowed for much deeper mentoring. I get a lot more satisfaction out of these interactions, and the level of our work has elevated as a result of more frequent and focused critiquing. You could say that I’ve enjoyed not being in the office because it’s allowed me to spend more quality time with my team. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s actually the case.
Have you experienced any blessings in disguise lately—things that didn’t turn out as you’d expected and yet turned out for the best?
Patrick Ahearn: There is certainly one thing that didn’t turn out as I had expected and I’m so grateful for that – it’s the amount of calls for new projects that we received in the midst of the pandemic. When the virus hit in March, I thought our work was going to come to a complete halt for the long term.
What transpired, however, was the exact opposite of what I had anticipated. Thanks to our active presence on social media, our continued public awareness, and the fact that everyone was suddenly forced into their homes for extended periods of time, we were inundated with inquiries. Architecture is at the epicenter of a newfound focus on hearth and home, and I’m proud we get to play a role in that meaningful work.
Is there anyone you would like to acknowledge in your work-life or home-life whom you are grateful for/to?
Patrick Ahearn: Within my work-life, I’m incredibly grateful for our Managing Principal Mike Tartamella. As an architect, he sees with my eyes – I’m so fortunate to have a person with that skill and talent on my team. Prior to Covid-19, Mike stepped up significantly in terms of both the management of the firm and his own project work and since coronavirus Mike has done a tremendous job interacting with both clients and staff in a virtual setting. Having him as a leader of our team is something I’m very grateful for.
What’s something that reminds you life is good?
Patrick Ahearn: Spending time with my kids, even if that’s on a virtual basis, always reminds me that life is good. The need and desire to communicate with loved ones becomes so much more paramount in these isolating times, and I think people are realizing that we need each other more. I’m connecting with my kids much more regularly now even if it’s not in person, and I’m glad for it.
Thanks, Patrick, for finding the bright side of things! Be sure to check out Patrick’s free lecture series Patrick Ahearn’s Studio and think about the history of the buildings the next time you’re walking around Edgartown!