Join us for a riveting conversation with Carlos Perez-Madrid, our talented 2023 Architectural Intern at CMBA Architects. In this episode, Carlos shares his journey into the realm of architecture, unraveling the motivations that led him to pursue a career in this dynamic field. Dive into the world of architectural design as Carlos discusses his experiences and the innovative projects he's been a part of during his internship at CMBA. Gain insights into the life of an architectural intern and discover the passion that fuels the creation of inspiring spaces.

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Episode Transcript


Skyler: Welcome to another episode of laying the foundation.

Skyler: Welcome everybody to another episode of the laying the foundation podcast. Uh, I'm your host Skylar here again with another one of our amazing summer interns for the 2023 year that we got the pleasure of having in the offices with us, uh, Carlos Perez, Madrid. I get all that, right? Awesome. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being on the show.

Skyler: Really appreciate it. Really glad that you're here. So Carlos, tell me a little bit about yourself. What, what kind of led you to this point? Uh, what got you into architecture? You know, any other interesting stuff about you, where you're from, whatever, whatever you want to talk about?

Carlos: Yeah. Um, well, I was born and raised Grand Island, Nebraska.

Carlos: I've pretty much have been here, uh, my entire life. My parents are both immigrants. Oh, okay. Um, so I'm a first generation student. So. Um, and yeah, I mean, I, I went into a technical school here in town, CPI, and I wanted to go along the path of construction. Oh, okay. But I didn't necessarily wanna do the physical aspect of that.

Carlos: Right. Sure. Um, and that's what kind of veered me into architecture. Um, for whatever reason, I didn't consider, uh, construction management, even though that kind of seems more. Right? Something along those lines. Uh, but no, I, I tried architecture, um, my first year at UNL, um, and it was really exciting. It was really fun.

Carlos: And I've kind of stuck with it ever since. Nice. Awesome.

Skyler: All right. Very cool. So kind of a, uh, direction that kind of stemmed off in a little bit of a different direction, but you know, still all related and that's kind of where things led you here. So yeah. Awesome. Yeah.

Carlos: I mean, every decision I've kind of made has just kind of been like, uh, Let's try it type thing.

Carlos: Sure. Hey, there's nothing wrong

Skyler: with that. You find yourself along the way. Absolutely. Very cool. Very cool So tell me a little bit about your experience here at CMBA as an intern What kind of uh stuff have you been a part of or who have you kind of worked with a lot or? Yeah, kind of experiences. Have you you've been able to get it so far?

Carlos: Um, yeah, I mean i've loved the office here This is uh, my second year back here. Oh, awesome. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So this is our second time Um, and I mean, I, I loved it enough to come back. Right. Um, I, uh, our first year, um, technically Matt Bennett was our, uh, was my mentor. So shout out to Matt. Yeah. Um, and he's the kind of the one that guided me my first year.

Carlos: And then this time, um, yeah, he's, he's kind of given me a work as well. And, um, obviously kind of work with others, but, um, so yeah, I mean, I've got to work on a multiple. Um, projects, uh, more so my first year than my second time around. Okay. Um, but, uh, I guess just to name a few, like, uh, the Brunner Frank, uh, facade redevelopment here in town.

Carlos: Okay. Um, that was really cool. That was actually really exciting because, um, it was like our first couple of weeks here and Zia and I, um, architectural intern. Um, we had to do like a little charrette for it. Oh, um, and, uh, we're, we're, you know, it's just a standard kind of design thing where we're thinking of designs.

Carlos: And then, uh, Shane had mentioned that, uh, we, we're going to bring the clients in and. Uh, kind of explain our designs to them and see what they think about it. Um, so like the first two years or the first two weeks, it was like, uh, it was like a really quick, like, Oh, we're here. We're designing, we're showing to clients.

Carlos: I think, which is like, yeah, so like the, it was like, Oh my gosh, like, is this what it's always like? And then, I mean, obviously I asked Shane and he's like, it's not typically like this, but you know, kind of want to show you guys. Something fun to do, essentially. Yeah. Start off with really throw

Skyler: you into the pool, you know?

Skyler: Yeah. .

Carlos: Yeah. Yeah. Really. Uh, kind of, yeah. And it was really fun because it, it kind of reminisced a little bit of what we did in school. Sure. Uh, just the whole like getting up and presenting in front of others, but this time it's in front of actual clients. Right. Yeah. So it's like . Yeah. It's

Skyler: a whole, it's a different feel for sure.

Skyler: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Carlos: It was like a, it was like a different kind of nervous, like Sure. Yeah. And we, we present in front of students all the time, but this is like an actual client. Um, and then the terminology that we had to use was like slightly different than what we, um, typically use when we're using kind of design language for clients to kind of understand.

Carlos: Um, so yeah, off the bat, that was really cool. Um, they ended up going with an option of mine. So yeah, we've, they're, they're recently starting construction on that and they actually might. Start before I leave for you and L. Oh, okay. Yeah, so that that's really exciting. Yeah,

Skyler: they'll be at it while you're Finishing things up and yeah, we by the time that's done.

Skyler: Maybe you'll get to see it all complete Yeah, and that's that'd be really cool. That would be awesome. Yeah, absolutely

Carlos: Yeah, and it happened to be in my hometown and stuff like that So I'm super proud of that and I obviously I think Shane for the opportunity. That was a really cool Just way to kick off the summer and then after that we kind of You Did, I did some red lines for a couple of projects, like, uh, Curtis and Trenton and, uh, some Lockland.

Carlos: And then, uh, oh, I worked on a land smear retirement ridge. Oh, okay. Um, which is, which is a little unique in that, um, I, uh. I was initially working on some floor plans, adjusting some stuff for Matt, but then I had this really cool opportunity to work with Hillary, Hillary Hawkins, yeah, an interior designer.

Carlos: Yeah. Um, and she, she kind of just asked me like, hey, I need some help doing some like storefront stuff they had inside of the retirement home. Um, so. Just like a different like bistros like shop like a hair shop or whatever it is I'm not entirely sure what an entire program was but I got to work out with Hillary and she was really cool to work with So that was like an interesting experience in that.

Carlos: I wasn't only working with architects I was also working with like an interior designer my first year around so that was like I was really rewarding to kind of See how she thought about some stuff, um, different aspects. Yeah. Process. Very cool. Yeah. Yeah. Um, so then that was really cool. And then, uh, the last, um, I've worked on, um, Uh, Crete, it was, uh, an athletic complex.

Carlos: Oh, okay. Yeah. And I had to work on some floor plans for that. Um, and that was really cool too. Cause I went from the schematic phase of that to basically initial construction documents. So yeah, I mean, I've had like, uh, multiple, multiple experiences here with CMVA that are extremely fulfilling, very diverse, um, array of experiences and they've all been super rewarding and learning kind of different aspects from.

Carlos: Each project. So cool.

Skyler: Yeah. Awesome. Very cool. Do you have like a specific area that you feel like, you know, once you, once you finish school and everything that you want to kind of lean into, I know like with CMBA, we kind of focus on the K 12 healthcare, higher education areas, but is there an area that you feel like you kind of want to go into?

Carlos: Um, not specifically. Um, and I think this has kind of been with me kind of taking the whole like wandering approach to this kind of thing. Right. Um, it was really weird because I, I only really found out that CMBA is kind of specialized in these three things or emphasized on these kind of three things when I started doing more research about the firm.

Carlos: Um, but before that, I, I was just kind of like CMBA to me. It wasn't like a CMBA and we specialize in healthcare type things. Uh, healthcare education and higher ed. Um, but I mean, I, I've never had a specific kind of thing that I've wanted to design. Sure. And it just so happened that kind of CMBA does this stuff.

Carlos: So I'm like, you know, it's really fun to kind of do this stuff anyway. So yeah, absolutely.

Attention architecture students. Are you looking for a hands on internship opportunity that will provide you with real world experience and a competitive pay rate? Look no further than CMBA Architects. Our internship program offers flexible scheduling, a casual dress code, And team building exercises to help you build valuable skills and connections in the industry.

Plus, who doesn't love having Fridays off?

Skyler: To learn more about our internship program, visit the careers page at cmbaarchitects. com and spend your summer with CMBA. So going into all the stuff that you talked about that you've gotten to work on, all the projects you've been a part of, all of that stuff.

Skyler: Um, and since this is, you know, your second year doing it. What would you say is at least this time around maybe your biggest takeaway that you feel like you'll be able to to run with? post internship

Carlos: This is a little I kind of thought about this a little bit it's it's really weird because I thought about the work life balance that comes with something like this because It's not so much the internship itself because obviously like the internship you're learning about the professional life and stuff and How to work with clients and stuff like that and that's all super beneficial But I'm like a year away from graduating So like in interning in the summer kind of serves as an experience to see It's almost like an intro to like adult type thing.

Carlos: Cause right. Like, cause we're working, you know, your standard or your hours from whenever you come into wherever you leave. And then afterwards I'm like, okay, I have this, I don't have homework to do. Right. So then, um, so then it's like, what do I do with my time? And it's like, I think. I, I've found that I, I use my time for more beneficial things, like going to the gym, uh, so then I, you know, it's weird.

Carlos: I guess it's just more of like a personal thing, kind of seeing, using the internship. As like a guide to see what it would be like after I graduate. So I can kind of get used to what it's like not being in school. Right.

Skyler: Oh, I totally get that a hundred percent. Yeah, absolutely. Getting that feel for, for what it'll be like, especially cause like you said, you're like a year away.

Skyler: So it's coming up, you know, and it's exciting and that can be a little bit scary as well. But at the same time, it's nice to get that experience and get that feel for what it's going to be like once you're done. Yeah. Hopefully be reassured to some extent of like, it's not the big scary world that some people say it is.

Skyler: Yeah. Or maybe not as big and scary as some people say it is hopefully. So, um, which it's not, I promise coming, coming from a similar perspective, it's not. Okay. That's really good to hear. Yes, yes, absolutely. So, um, Kind of, kind of jumping backwards to when you first, uh, were going for the internship and let's kind of go off the first year that you did it.

Skyler: Um, did you have any like kind of fears or anxieties or, or even expectations on like what you might be getting into or worried that you might, you know, be getting into, I suppose.

Carlos: Just in general, I kind of had this whole like imposter syndrome type thing, um, where I was really nervous at the career fair for whatever reason.

Carlos: Um, And it's just, I didn't know how or why or whatever it is. I kind of, like an existential crisis. Um, like of how we would translate what we learned in school to like, how we could translate that to the workplace, right? Um, So that was like my biggest worry is like, what if I'm not cut out to, or like, what if I just like mess up or what, this and that, whatever it is.

Carlos: Right. And I've never had an internship. Um, so it's like the whole thing of like, uh, Okay. You finally in a position where this is going to be like a professional setting of a potential career. Like. Uh, I, I don't, I don't know what that looks like, and uh, as a first generation student, um, I also don't have really many people to kind of ask, um, So it's like, uh, it's, I don't know, the whole thing was just like, what am I going to do when I'm actually in the workplace setting?

Carlos: And then obviously all your nerves kind of go away because everyone here was really supportive when we came and everybody was like really helpful. All my questions were being answered and stuff like that. So that went away really fast. So it's, it's really nice to feel that, uh, we feel we're, we're really supported here.

Carlos: Awesome.

Skyler: Good, good. So for those of the, the students that are out there that are maybe looking at that. soon coming experience of getting into an internship, um, whether that be with CMBA or not at CMBA, just, you know, in general, um, do you have any advice that you'd give them as they're kind of like searching and, you know, maybe they're getting kind of nervous or they're getting those same, um, kind of emotions that you were, you were just talking about.

Carlos: For the interns that are coming in, I came in with this thing. Of like, we learn a certain tools when we're in the school. Yeah. We're really comfortable with like our Adobe stuff. And, uh, we use Rhino at UNL and I don't know what other kind of schools use, but, um, I feel like when I came in, I really wanted to stick to those tools.

Carlos: And I really wanted to use those and try and apply, uh, fit those tools for what we do here, but I realized that that's pretty difficult to do. Um, And instead I kind of went the other way and learned the tools that we use here, right? So instead of using Rhino, I, I, I forced myself to essentially learn and really like SketchUp.

Carlos: Uh, which is what we do for like kind of schematic things, which is really quick iterations for our design stuff. Um, so that was like really rewarding in that. Uh, I don't, I think it's important that you don't silo yourself into using tools that you're familiar with. You should be able, you, you want to And, like, master different tools at your disposal so that when the time comes and you do have to do something forcefully, you're not kind of scared and kind of doing that kind of stuff.

Carlos: Um, and obviously Revit, uh, we didn't really learn much of Revit in, um, in our collegiate career. Uh, so then, obviously, just kind of learning those kind of stuff when we came in here. So, I just tell incoming, uh, guys, Incoming kind of people who are looking for an internship. Don't be afraid to Uh, learn the tools and like take the extra step in like becoming proficient and using those tools.

Carlos: Yeah um so that you're not essentially just In your comfort zone all the time because obviously it's important to like, you know Get out of your comfort zone. Yeah.

Skyler: Be malleable to whatever it is you're about to go into. Be able to, yeah, learn what they need from you. But also, I mean, I'm sure there was a lot of like transferable stuff from the stuff that you did know into some of these that you didn't necessarily know as well.

Skyler: So yeah. Awesome.

Carlos: Yeah. And I mean, yeah, everything that we learned and, uh, we were able, I was able to translate a lot of that. They really are very similar tools. It's just for whatever reason, you kind of get scared and you're like, I already know how to do things in this program, so I don't want to learn a new program type thing.

Carlos: So it's like, yeah, it's the, the whole like be coachable type thing, right? Yeah. Like, yeah. Kind of applying what,

Skyler: yeah, just learning the new stuff. Sure. Yeah, no, that totally makes sense. Um, is there anything that I missed that you wanted to mention that I haven't like touched on at all?

Carlos: The CMBA has been really fun to work with in general.

Carlos: Um, We went from three interns last summer to now five of us in here. Yeah, you

Skyler: guys have like pretty much the majority out of every office I thought Sioux city office was big and that we had a lot going on and then I came over here and I was like Man, they got like everybody

Carlos: And I mean you can see everybody like walking around and just being really goofy.

Carlos: Um as we're doing things so that that was really fun like um kind of Uh, well the first year was fun. And then obviously this year, um, it's even more hectic with the other interns in here You So it's been really fun, just kind of working with everybody kind of, uh, almost mentoring the, the new interns a little bit.

Carlos: At least they're comfortable and asking us for questions since we've kind of been here for a year. Um, so it's been really nice. And we've gotten really close. Uh, I was, I'm sure you've heard, we had like game nights here or, um, we just kind of hang out after hours too. So we're really comfortable with each other.

Carlos: And I think CMBA really helped kind of foster that a little bit. That's awesome. Awesome.

Skyler: So I guess last question, how did you, um, Um, kind of along the way, or maybe, um, during like a career fair or something like that. How did you find out about CMVA?

Carlos: Um, so yeah, oh man, that's really crazy. I went to a technical school here, like I mentioned before.

Carlos: Um, and then obviously I, I did construction at the technical school. Oh, okay. Yeah, which is really weird, right? And then I went into architecture. Hey, you

Skyler: got to see kind of like the other side of things. See like, you know, once you make the plan, what's going on with it? What happens? Who's putting it together?

Carlos: Yeah. And that was actually really useful that we learned that because, uh, that, that kind of question came up a lot through our career, obviously of like how things are built, right? It's not just kind of designing it. It's like making sure it's. It's able to be built type thing, but I mean, I live, I, I, I basically did my entire high school without even knowing that CMBA was here downtown.

Carlos: Sure. Um, and that was actually the case for my first three years in college as well. I literally didn't know I've lived here my entire life. I didn't know that they had the office here and it wasn't until, um, Z, my coworker here, she said that, um, CMBA, um, was an office here in town. I'm like, CMBA, like, what, what did they do or whatever?

Carlos: And it wasn't until then that, um, I found out that they did all the, all the elementary school here and all. Yeah, they, they worked a lot with like the GIPS stuff. So basically everything that we grew up in. Like CMBA had like a really big part in that. Um, and, uh, they actually played a big part in the CPI thing too, which I extremely love, and I just didn't know that they, they built essentially all of this, or they designed a lot of this stuff.

Carlos: Um, so when I found out about that, I was like, man, I have to go back just to see what it was like, you know, behind, behind the design, behind the design type thing, right? Yeah.

Skyler: Use that as like a future subtitle for something. That's pretty cool.

Carlos: Yeah. Um, so yeah, like I learned basically at the career fair that, you know, Hey, CMBA is coming.

Carlos: And she told me like CMBA is there. And then I looked into CMBA and I saw that they did everything here. And I was like, Oh my God, like that's so sick. And we come back and it comes and it turns out that they're just as cool on the inside as they are on the outside. So, um, yeah, I mean, it was, it was really cool to kind of find out and come back to my hometown, obviously.

Carlos: I mean, I've been here my entire life. Yeah.

Skyler: Yeah. It's always nicer when like the internship that you take is in a place that you're comfortable with. Yeah, exactly. Yeah,

Carlos: yeah, it was really nice. Yeah. It happened to be here, so it just kind of worked out. Awesome. Yeah.

Skyler: Well, right on. Thank you so much, Carlos, for being on the show.

Skyler: I really appreciate you sharing your experience with me about the internship and everything that you've gotten to work on. Um, it's always great to, to hear positive things for sure. So I'm always glad. I know that like, there's probably an aspect of it where. Um, given the context of sitting down in front of a microphone and knowing that this is going to go on the company podcast, it's like, well, I got to say good things, but I think so far everybody's been very sincere, little, little, uh, you know, self plug for the company and whatnot, but it's seriously, it's really great for you to take some time out of the day to, to chat with me and tell me about the stuff that you got to work

Carlos: on.

Carlos: Yeah. I mean, this is pretty unique. I don't think other, many other internships are kind of offering this kind of thing. So, I mean, yeah, it's,

Skyler: Yeah, absolutely. Awesome. Um, if you're out there and you're listening and you're interested in any kind of internship within the architecture field, uh, definitely make sure to check out our website at cmbaarchitects.

Skyler: com. Uh, we've got a section on our website for applications. If you'd like to apply for an internship or for a full time, uh, opportunity, if you're out there and you're already, you know, uh, graduated and, you know. You've got your degree within, within the architecture field. Um, additionally, if you want to find out a little bit more about us as a company, you can check out our social media.

Skyler: You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. And of course, make sure to subscribe or follow the laying the foundation podcast, which you can do so. Anywhere that podcasts can be found, whether that be Spotify, iTunes, Google podcasts, just anywhere podcasts are being streamed, you can find us there.

Skyler: Uh, again, thank you, Carlos. And thank you for listening. Uh, my name is Skylar. I'm the host, and this has been another episode of laying the foundation.


Post by CMBA
June 19, 2024