An April Fools’ Day to Remember

After a successful interview with the firm of Muhlenberg Greene Veres, I was hired, on a “temporary basis”, to work through the summer of 1970 with the intent of returning to my alma mater to pursue a teaching position in the fall.

Because most of the staff of MGV Architects were out of the area, visiting family and friends on an extended Easter holiday, I was asked to report for work on Tuesday March 31st. Wanting to make a good first impression, I arrived, bright and early, at the firm’s offices on the 4th floor of the Medical Arts building; and, much to my surprise, discovered that the entrance door was locked, the lights were off and no one was there. After waiting for what seemed, at the time, to be excessively long (this was before the advent of cell phones), I was greeted by the office secretary, Violet Sheidy, who, after receiving a phone call from one of the partners, informed me that the return of the rest of the office staff had been delayed due to weather conditions and that I was to go home and return the next day – April 1st. Thus began, my 45 year architectural adventure with what was to become Muhlenberg/Greene Architects, Ltd.

On that fateful April Fools’ Day, confident in my formal undergraduate architectural school and architectural engineering graduate school education, along with a significant architectural intern experience, I began my working relationship with the small, but dedicated, team that was MGV Architects. The firm, at that time, consisted of the partnership of Fredrick A. Muhlenberg, FAIA ; Lawrence A. Greene, AIA and Elmer Veres, AIA. The partners, who were somewhat diverse in their experience and expertise, shared a love for good design, a dedication to total client service, a commitment to community involvement and an enthusiastic support of the profession of Architecture. Fred, Larry and Elmer were assisted in their practice by William J. Coyle (an architect who was a unique “renaissance man” in the true sense of the term), James E. Dockey (a technical school graduate with an eye for detail and an intuitive sense of good design) and, of course, Violet Sheidy (the office manager who contributed common sense and sanity to the practice).

Within the multi-generational mentoring environment that existed, along with the opportunity to accept responsibilities beyond my comfort level, I was able to grow into and appreciate Architecture as a vocation. The total immersion into the practice of architecture – from client contact through design and construction was unlike any previous experience; and it convinced me that I was in the right place for me.

Over the years the firm grew, Jim Dockey and I became Associates and eventually joined Larry Greene, with the later addition of Dennis Rex and John Hill, as the Principals of Muhlenberg/Greene Architects, Ltd. The culture of the firm continues, to this day, to stress the importance of good sustainable design, a commitment to community involvement and the mentoring of young interns – many of whom in the past have moved on to start their own practices.

As MGA Ltd. approaches its upcoming 100th year anniversary under the present leadership of Dennis and John, I look forward to my role as a mentor and to the opportunity to share my experiences, knowledge and love of Architecture with the future leaders of the profession.

Howard graduation Howard dogHoward College Graduation  Howard Alumni speech

We appreciate the contribution of Howard, a Principal at Muhlenberg Greene Architects, and wish to congratulate him on his 45th anniversary with the firm!

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