Member Highlight – Gary Congdon

gary-congdon-headshotName: Gary Congdon
Title: President
Company: Lee & Sakahara Architects
# of years in the industry: 43


1.    How has NAIOP helped you develop new business?
The business relationships forged as a participant in NAIOP events have introduced me to many potential clients.  My participation on various committees has allowed me to get to know some of the right people in development and enhance my knowledge of them as a person.  At one point in time, I could look at our project list and clearly see that every client was a NAIOP member.

2.    I am a member of NAIOP because …..
– I enjoy the networking opportunities
– I enjoy the educational opportunities
– Most of my clients are NAIOP members
– I have made some great friends in NAIOP.

3.    How did you first get into the industry?
In High School I fell in love with drafting and design. I attended Georgia Tech where the Architectural education was highly influenced by engineering.  Upon graduation with a Bachelor of Architecture Degree (5 year degree), I moved to Las Vegas and went to work for the Howard Hughes Corporation which owned an Architecture division doing work on their five Las Vegas properties. After 3 ½ years, I took a position as an estimator for Kristich Construction (drywall and small construction).  After 6 months, I went to work for Tiberti Construction as a Project Manager where I spent 3 ½ years building projects other Architects had designed and eventually constructing buildings I had designed. I refer to my years with Tiberti as my post graduate education as I learned so much about construction that is not taught in Architectural schools.  In 1979 I obtained my Architectural license and found myself in business. Sixteen years later I joined Lee & Sakahara Architects and opened our office in Las Vegas.  That was twenty years ago.  One of the first things I did after joining Leesak was to join NAIOP Southern Nevada.

4.    What person, living or dead, would you most like to meet?
I would like to meet my grandfather who passed away when I was 4.  I never really got to know him and he had a fascinating life.  He was a boilermaker in the Union Pacific yard in Las Vegas in 1913 and we have photos of him wearing a deputy sheriff’s badge and toting a pistol and shotgun in a corral in Las Vegas, New Mexico around the same time period.

5.    When you were a kid what did you want to be?
A football player.  But no matter how much I loved the game, I just couldn’t get my body to grow big enough.  I was 5’4 and 110 lbs in high school.  When I tackled a 195 lb fullback and tore up my knee, that option was over.