Join us in a captivating conversation with Matt Kreutzer, one of our brilliant architects at CMBA. In this episode, we explore the inspirations that led Matt to become an architect and gain insights into the incredible work he contributes to our team. Discover the passion and creativity that drive Matt's architectural endeavors, shaping spaces with innovation and purpose. Tune in for a glimpse into the mind of an architect dedicated to making a meaningful impact.

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Episode Transcript


Skyler: Welcome to another episode of Laying the Foundation. Welcome back to another episode of Laying the Foundations. I'm

Skyler: and today with me we have Matt. Hello. I would say your last name, but I feel like I'm not 100% on pronouncing it.

Matt: It is a fun German name. It's Kreitzer.

Skyler: Kreitzer, okay.

Matt: Yes, most people would say Kreutzer. Exactly. Yes, it's a German coin in case you're interested in the history.

Skyler: Oh, okay. Kreutzer. All right. See, I would have been one of those people that said Kreutzer, so that's why I didn't. So that worked out. Awesome. Matt, you're one of our architects here at CMBA. Yep. And today we're just going to talk a little bit about you and what you do here and what being an architect is all about, at least as far as how we do it here at CMBA.

Skyler: Sounds good. Awesome. Perfect. Well, thanks for sitting down with me. And I guess the first question, it's the easiest question, is tell me a little bit about yourself. How'd you get here? How'd you get into architecture? I don't know. What hobbies you have or whatever.

Matt: Sure.

Skyler: How did you get to be where you are?

Matt: Yeah. So, grew up in a small town, rural Nebraska, Holdridge, in case anyone's interested. Kind of my interest in architecture grew from an old church up in West Point, Nebraska, where my mom is from. It's an old neo-Gothic church. I just spend the time during mass actually looking up at the ceiling, looking at all the flying buttresses and everything else up there. Not really paying attention to mass like I probably should have been. From there, you know, that kind of knew early on that, hey, this is really cool. More I found out about it, the more I was kind of interested in it. Went to school at Lincoln, got my architecture degree, met my future wife there, which is also great. Awesome. She now works with me, which is also super fun.

Skyler: I know, right?

Matt: How crazy is that? Oh, yep. Things worked out, and she actually graduated a year before I did, so CMBA was actually hiring for her job. They were hiring for an interior designer. They're like, hey, we want her. She's kind of a nice tag along, so I guess we'll take him, too. But it's worked out really well since then, I think, for both CMBA and us, and we really loved it. So it's been great. Well, yeah, I mean, it just doesn't make any sense to hire one when the other has related skills into the field that you as a company work at, I would think.

Skyler: Yep, exactly.

Matt: Unless they really didn't like you, which obviously they did. They tolerate me.

Skyler: OK, good.

Skyler: That's good.

Skyler: That's a step in the right direction.

Skyler: Good deal. Awesome.

Matt: And how long did you say you've been? So we've been with CMBA now for eight years.

Skyler: Eight years?

Matt: Yeah. Awesome.

Skyler: Very cool.

Skyler: Almost a decade now.

Matt: Yep.

Skyler: I'm not trying to say that to make anybody sound old.

Matt: It's all right.

Matt: I just turned 30 like a year ago, and it's hitting me now.

Skyler: OK, that's fair. It's the big 3-0.

Matt: Awesome. Very cool. Well, I would ask you what point in your life that you decided you wanted to get into architecture. You kind of mentioned that with the church. Yeah, I mean, early interest, when I was 12, 13, something like that, probably about 14. When I went into high school, I kind of already knew, basically.

Skyler: Right, right. And then going into high school and starting to take some of those classes and things along those lines, I mean, nothing deterred you from that or anything

Skyler: like that?

Matt: Not really.

Matt: I was really smart about it, though, and didn't wait until junior to actually ask somebody, hey, what should I actually be taking if I'm interested in this? So you know, but it worked out. OK, good deal. And you know, the thing with architecture, too, is what you think it is from the outside and what it is on the inside are two completely different things realistically. But the more I've learned about architecture and what it actually is, the more I've actually loved it. It's been a good thing. Oh, good. Yeah. This has all been kind of a learning experience for me as somebody coming through marketing and knowing very little about architecture, obviously. So what most people have kind of been telling me is that from the outside, like you said, it definitely seems like a lot of like, oh, I draw buildings and then we make the buildings.

Skyler: It's definitely a lot more than that,

Matt: from what I've been told. I mean, I still remember, it's like, oh, like someone I mentioned, oh, you'd be great at architecture, because you're great at math. And it's like, math is like 2% of what I do now. Right, right. And that's another thing that's been really interesting to me, because you're not the first person that told me that math is like a pretty small amount. Like, it's pretty straightforward dimensions, and being able to calculate those. Which, that's interesting. That's so interesting. You do basic math, but nothing complicated. We leave that up to engineers who have way more fun than we do.

Skyler: Ah, see, there it is. OK, well, if you're out there, and you're listening, and you're thinking about getting into architecture, but you're worried about how much math might go into it.

Matt: You need to know to add and subtract, maybe a little bit of multiplication.

Skyler: OK, perfect.

Skyler: Awesome.

Skyler: Well, that's encouraging for them. Hey, if I was still in school and I was thinking about it, that would have been a big hold back for me. Knowing that it's not, awesome. Perfect. Within CMB Architect, our main areas are K-12, higher ed, and health care. Do you have any particular area? And maybe not even just one of those three categories, but something that you do as an architect that you really enjoy, or that's the peak of your day even, you know?

Matt: So I do a lot on our K-12 side more than anything else, which I really love. I mean, who we serve, especially in our Grand Island office is outstate Nebraska, so that's Lincoln, everything outside of Lincoln and Omaha. And we're even starting to do stuff in Lincoln and Omaha now too. And I think that just speaks to the high level of educational facilities that we're able to design. And I think it's great that we're able to serve so many of these rural communities where you don't think of outstanding educational facilities when you're thinking rural community. And we're able to provide that and I think that's really awesome. And that's where I'm really passionate about stuff. Yeah, yeah. Making those schools and putting something really special inside of those communities that really need it. Awesome. Very cool. So, I keep asking this question and I feel like I need to edit it or something. What does a typical day look like in an architect? Like, you know, whatever their day or and I know everybody keeps telling me they say there is no typical day Skylar. That was gonna be my response is there isn't a typical day. No typical day. So if anything, what are some of the things that as an architect you might be doing during a day? So to help you out, so in a typical week maybe, here are some of the things I might do.

Skyler: Maybe I'll do that.

Matt: I'll do that. Typical week. So typical week, I might have a client meeting, so where we're going through presenting, where we're currently at with documents or design or whatever it happens to be to a client, going through that with them. Then I might have a design team meeting where I'm working with all of our consultants, so engineering, mechanical, electrical, structural, civil, working with them, working through design issues on a project and everything else. Another day I might be going out onto a site and doing a site visit for, during construction administration. So going through, making sure, hey, things are looking right, contractor's doing what they're supposed to be doing, answering any questions on site or whatever else, that hey, you know, you had this detail here, but we were thinking maybe of doing it this way, or this is a little bit confusing, could you explain what you were thinking here, that sort of thing. And then the rest of my time, I'm, you know, in meetings or doing emails or meetings and things like that. And then a little bit of time I have left, I'm actually drawing something on the computer and doing the fun stuff, you know, of actual architectures. Okay. All right. All right. Now, the second thing that you had mentioned which was meeting with the, what was the term that you use? Engineers? Yeah, the engineers, the consultants. What does that all entail? What are the consultants? I mean clients is a pretty straightforward concept and we all know what happens in construction. So architecture is never just a building. We can't do it all on our own, one way or the other. There's a whole team of people involved and so that's us meeting with, really the job of an architect is the coordinating professional. That is the term used by the industry. And so we are working with the mechanical engineer and the electrical engineer, structure engineer, making sure all their stuff fits and works within the building. And also working out conflicts between their stuff. In particular, most often the times that's mechanical has a duct running right through structural's beam. And we have to work out, hey can we do this or can you route it this way? Or do we need lower ceilings or a bulkhead or figure out some solution there basically. Very cool, alright. So basically rather than having like each different apartment because there's a million different things that go into a building, rather than having each of them trying to like communicate with each other and try to figure everything out between each other which would be a mess, that's like 16 people trying to talk to 16 other people, they come to you and they say hey this is the situation that we're dealing with and then you say well let me go talk to the people. Everything flows through me and I flow back out. So yes.

Skyler: Got it.

Skyler: Well, I'm glad that after a couple of these episodes, somebody finally explained to me what that means.

Skyler: Yes. OK. Perfect.

Skyler: Awesome. So I guess going into that, and I mean, you've had a lot of time to work on projects and be involved in a lot of different ones. Would you say there were any projects in particular that really stood out to you as something that you really enjoyed? I mean I know you mentioned that you really love K-12 and that kind of stuff, so is there anything that you said, wow this was a really awesome fun project? So I've had a few unique projects I would say one way or the other.

Matt: So one of the first projects that I actually worked on as I was coming in becoming a project manager, project architect, was the Grand Island Memorial Stadium here in town. So it was a brand new football stadium facility. There's an existing structure on the east side that was historic. The original Memorial Stadium in Grand Island built after World War II. A lot of history there. They've got names of battles and they've got the different seals for the different Army and Navy and Air Force on there as well. So really cool history and everything on that side. Very much so. But aging on that side, the other side was a structure built in 1960s. We ended up tearing that one down because it was undersized. Private donor had come in, given the school $11 million to do this, which is really cool, really interesting. So we had to build this brand new facility and stadiums are, they're a different wheelhouse. There's a lot of stuff we don't normally deal with on a normal day. We also had structure, or we had program underneath the building, which was also fun to make sure that, hey, we've got these things underneath a concrete structure, how do we make sure water doesn't leak through? It's still an ongoing issue, so unfortunately. But even with our best efforts and everything else, water still finds a way, but yes, so that was a very unique project, one way or the other. The other really unique one, again, ended up being an athletic facility, was the Central City FEMA Dome. And that was a basketball facility for them, with locker rooms, basketball and volleyball, I should say. So it's a new high school, main gymnasium, basically. But it's also a community shelter for in the event of a tornado. Central City has a very high water table, so a lot of houses don't have basements. So there's not a, a lot of people don't have a place to shelter in an event of a tornado, and they are in Tornado Alley. So yeah, that's a pretty big deal. That's a pretty big deal. So the dome itself came through the suggestion of a school board member. That was a wholly unique structure. It is the first monolithic dome in the state of Nebraska. So again, just very unique, really interesting construction, seeing not only the walls go up but also inflating the dome, shock-creating it, putting in the insulation, everything else on the inside, and just seeing that all put together was a very unique thing. I'm hoping, and I have talked to Troy about it as well, one of our other architects over at the Grand Island location, about having the administrator that I was there when he talked about it, gave a presentation about it, and having him sit down with us and talk to us about that project as an episode in and of itself. So something to look forward to if you're sitting at home listening and you're like, whoa, that's interesting. It's a dome with like a dual purpose.

Skyler: That's kind of cool. Hopefully we'll be able to get that one put together in the near future. But it is really cool to know that like, I mean, you go to a school and you're like, okay, obviously somebody had to think through building this facility. But you don't even think about sometimes some of the other facilities that are part of the campus that somebody had to design that. Nobody showed up and just put a stadium together one day. There's so much more to it than that. Very cool, very cool.

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Matt: our internship program, visit the careers page at and spend your summer with CMBA. Another kind of broad question I guess you could say, but when it comes down to making great designs and making great architecture, what do you think are some of those really

Skyler: key elements that are necessary to make it great?

Matt: Make it great. I mean, at the end of the day, it's about the user experience to me. I mean, it's who uses that. In the education setting, it's about the kids. If the space functions great for the kids and they can learn from the environment, that's amazing. We want a space that kids thrive in. And so that's, to me, that's the number one goal one way or the other.

Matt: Awesome.

Matt: So, yeah.

Skyler: I mean, sorry if that's...

Matt: No, I mean, if it's a straightforward answer, it's a straightforward answer. It's built for the clients, the people that are going to be using it. And we need to make sure that it is what they need it to be. It's a pretty straightforward concept. And I think just about everybody has given me that. Although somebody did mention that if the space keeps water out,

Skyler: then it's being done right.

Matt: That is true too, yes.

Matt: Oh, that harkens back a little bit. That's kind of a key feature, so awesome. Out of curiosity, for anyone out there that might be listening that's either studying architecture or maybe they're working within, you know, maybe thinking about architecture as a possible future career or something that they might want to study more into, do you have any advice that you might give them as new budding or potentially budding architects or designers? It's a tough one for me right now. It's like a whole world out there. I guess for anyone developing or looking into architecture, I guess, work on those soft skills. It's not just about design. It's not just about being good at Revit or the computer or whatever else. It's also about being able to engage clients and engage people. And if you can work on those soft skills as much as possible now, the more success you'll have in the future.

Skyler: Yeah, yeah.

Matt: There's definitely some social leadership, team working, all those kind of pieces all fit in there. Not as much math as we thought. Not as much math, no. Still a little bit. Creativity, absolutely. Fantastic, fantastic, awesome. Well, perfect. Last question I've got for you, and it's a little bit of a plug for CMBA, I say that every time, and that is what do you really enjoy about CMBA as an architecture firm and as a place to work as somebody within your your field. Yeah in general I mean it's the people that we get to work with not only on a day-to-day basis But our clients as well the people we work with are great. I love our office. I love our atmosphere here Our culture is awesome, too But the clients that we get to work with as well are are super awesome I I really enjoyed that aspect of what we get to do and forming those relationships. Absolutely, absolutely. And I feel like with the communities and the area that we live in,

Skyler: there's definitely a much more tight knit kind of thing. But I know at least three or four people that I've had on one of these episodes so far, they've actually worked on spaces, either in the town that they grew up in or where they're currently living.

Matt: I'm sure you guys do a bunch of stuff for Grand Island. Yeah, we do stuff for Grand Island. I just finished a project. I designed my new school, hopefully my daughter gets to go to here in a couple years. So that's really exciting and really awesome. So yeah, I love that.

Skyler: Being able to have such a direct connection to your community and what's being done within your community is really exciting.

Matt: It is, for sure.

Skyler: Awesome, awesome.

Skyler: Well, Matt, thank you so much for being on the episode today. Really appreciate you coming here, talking to us about what it is that you do, what you're all about, what architecture is all about, and kind of a breakdown with everything within there. Perfect.

Matt: Thank you very much.

Skyler: Appreciate it.

Skyler: Absolutely.

Skyler: Yeah. Glad you could be here. If you enjoyed today's episode, be sure to check out and follow CMBA Architects, the Laying the Foundation podcast that we do. You can find it anywhere that you can pretty much find podcasts, Spotify, iTunes, Google Podcasts, and just about everywhere else that you can find streaming podcasts. Of course, check us out on social media. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. And head on over to our website at You can see all sorts of projects that we've worked on, projects that Matt has probably worked on. As well as if you're somebody that's interested in architecture, maybe an architecture student looking for an internship, or an architecture professional that might be looking for new opportunities, be sure to check out our website and head over to the careers tab and shoot us a message and fill out the form or send us an application, whatever the case, so we can, you know, talk to you about what it is that we do and who we are and hopefully get to work

Skyler: with you. So once again, thank you Matt for being on the show. This has been with you. So once again, thank you Matt for being on the show. This has been another episode of Laying the Foundation.


Post by CMBA
November 30, 2023