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Meet the Team: Newell Watkins

June 17, 2014


Each week we’ll introduce a member of the CDFL team, or as we like to think of ourselves, the “us” in the Power of Plus. This week we are proud to introduce architect Newell Watkins.

What unique attributes do you bring to the CDFL team?
Although I’ve worked on a number of building types the bulk of my experience has been in the Science and Technology sector of design. I’ve had experience working on projects for the NIH Campus in Bethesda, Maryland, I’ve worked on University Teaching Labs, Drug Production Facilities and have also been a staff Architect for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia.

What would surprise us most about your job?
The amount of research that goes into every project – each project has a myriad of regulations, guidelines, constraints, legal issues, performance criteria, specifications, and more. Researching is a very large portion of what I do. It’s not until all of this information has been compiled and synthesized into a usable program that we can really sharpen the pencils and start sketching; but that phase is so important to delivering a successful project.

What do you do at CDFL?
I manage projects and produce construction documents – typical architect stuff. I also like to share my knowledge of BIM software with others that are now learning how to use those programs and implement that into the design and productions process. I’m a little bit obsessive about coordination so I’m working to align our BIM notations with our standard specification numbering. I know that last part sounds really exciting.

What exciting thing are you working on right now?
One of the downsides of exciting projects is that they are sometimes confidential, as is the case with one that I would love to talk about! Luckily, I’m also working on a renovation for the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State and that’s a fun and interesting project with great clients.

What is the best thing about working at CDFL?
I enjoy being able to collaborate with the entire project team, particularly on more technical projects, and having an integrated practice really makes that easy. Additionally, being back in Mississippi after 12+ years out of state, it’s really nice to work on projects in cities and towns that I’ve been familiar with all my life.

What do you spend the most time doing outside of work?
Unfortunately it seems like most of my time lately has been spent behind the lawnmower! However, when I do manage to get some free time I enjoy playing golf and smoking barbeque. And occasionally dressing up like Elvis (well, just once but it was fun).

What’s the last movie you saw?
‘Planes,’ we took our three year old son Kent to see his first movie in the theater. He’s hooked.

How long have you worked for CDFL?
I’m coming up on my one year Anniversary at CDFL but I’ve been working in architecture for about fourteen years.

What is your favorite lunch spot in the neighborhood?
Lately, I would have to say that Pig and Pint is my favorite. I love BBQ and it’s dangerously close to the office.

What new thing is happening in your field?
I’d say the biggest thing happening right now is the next wave of Building Information Modeling and Graphic Information System integration. Throw in a little 3D building fabrication with that, and it’s pretty exciting!

What’s your favorite TV show?
Ocotonauts has to be my favorite because it is always on the television. Although I think our 3 year old son has something to do with that.