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Huckabee Ranked in ENR Top 500

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This year, Huckabee again ranked amongst Engineering News Record’s Top 500 Design Firms, climbing 13 spots. The list ranks A/E firms across the nation based on revenue for design services performed in the past year. Huckabee continues to see growth throughout the company, and we have increased our staff, expanded our offerings and grown our regional office presence in recent years. Notably, in the past year, Huckabee relocated our Dallas office to Granite Park in Plano, a thriving live-work-play community that will allow for future growth and encompasses our culture of creative and engaging work environments. We also launched the second iteration of our educational research lab, LEx Labs.

In 2017, Huckabee celebrated 50 years of business. Starting off with only 10 employees in the company, Huckabee has grown to over 250 employees in 6 offices throughout Texas, completing over 3,500 projects. Our dedication to Texas education has led Huckabee to be a leader in learning environments and a trusted advisor to many. Huckabee’s growth is due to the trust our clients impart in us and our unwavering commitment to students, educators and communities. We love what we do and who we do it for!

Click here to view the full list of ENR’s Top 500 Design Firms.

Huckabee Opens New Office

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We’re excited to announce the re-opening of our Huckabee Dallas office, located in Granite Park in Plano, a vibrant live, work, play community. The location is near the epicenter of booming development in North Dallas and provides easy access to our clients across the region. It is the latest of our office spaces to be redesigned and relocated to meet the needs of our team and our partners. Our new base provides us with more space to grow, more space to collaborate, more space to engage with clients and more space to gather and enjoy a cup of coffee.

“The opportunity to grow in this way, to offer these environments to our team and our clients is a direct result of their shared work and commitment to Texas education,” said Josh Brown, Vice President and Director of Dallas. “We practice what we preach. Schools today are more collaborative and more personalized than ever. Our efforts to re-think our work environments embrace the same ideals we talk to our clients about—shared experiences, flexibility, opportunity and a holistic approach.”

In true Huckabee style, the design embraces our brand in form and function. From the signature neon “More Than Architects” sign and pops of red to an open work environment, sit-to-stand desks and a custom crit bar. A coffee bar sits up front, leading into a large workspace with floor to ceiling views. A premium is placed on shareable spaces that feature writable surfaces, technology and comfortable seating. Environmental graphics, signage and design touches elevate the space. Reflective film lines the glass of each conference room, creating a spectrum of colors that change as you move.

Above all, the space represents Huckabee’s commitment to creative and engaging work environments; places where Huckabee-ans and our partners can be inspired.

“Our workspaces are important to us,” said Josh. “They are places for our team and our clients to bring their ideas to life. We have a very connected and collaborative culture; it’s one of the first things you recognize when you walk into any one of our offices.”

Huckabee has offices in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Houston, in addition to an educational research facility at Baylor University. The Dallas office is located at Granite Park Building 5, 5830 Granite Parkway, Suite 750 in Plano, Texas.

Inaugural WHOA Award Presented

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At this year’s Christmas party, our leadership team presented the inaugural WHOA Award, a recognition created in memory of our friend and colleague, Jerry Hammerlun. Jerry joined Huckabee in 2001 and served our firm, our team and our clients with integrity, focus and enthusiasm. He was an incredible man whose legacy lives on in so many ways.

The WHOA Award is a special distinction that recognizes an individual who “took hold of the reins” and expertly guided the team with wisdom, integrity and spirit—in the same way that Jerry guided our team throughout his tenure at Huckabee. The honor was bestowed on Larry Cousin in our Fort Worth office. Larry was critical to our team this year, and we were pleased to recognize his contribution, commitment and wisdom.

The award was originally presented to Jerry many years ago by Chris Huckabee in the form of actual reins. Our founder, Tommie Huckabee, felt the reins needed a place to rest, aptly, a horse. Tommie, a skilled woodworker, sculpted the piece as a gift to Jerry. The reins were a perfect fit, and the award became a legacy, referred to as others at Huckabee exhibited similar fortitude and ingenuity. Its resurgence is one of the many ways that Jerry continues to touch our lives.

Huckabee Achievement Awards

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As our 50th year came to a close, we took one more opportunity to celebrate as a family at our annual Christmas party. More than 350 people gathered for the celebration, which brought together employees and their loved ones from each of our five offices. It’s one of our favorite events of the year, a time when we reflect on the incredible people we’ve met, projects we’ve embarked on and experiences we’ve shared. 

During the event, our team honored employees for years of service and achievement. Notably, Huckabee recognized Daren Kirbo for 20 years of service. Daren joined the firm in the summer of 1997, working first in Stephenville and later in Fort Worth before opening our Austin office in 2011. He is beloved by our team and clients, and he is known for his spirit and deep care for each of the communities he serves.

Congratulations to Daren and all of our colleagues who were recognized for their years of service!

  • Erin Evans, five years of service
  • Courtney Foster, five years of service
  • Brian Green, five years of service
  • Lauren Hoyle, five years of service
  • Laura McCollum, five years of service
  • Megan Smith, five years of service
  • Levi Swinney, five years of service
  • Roberto Zuniga, five years of service
  • Jay Graham, 10 years of service
  • Pam Riley, 10 years of service
  • Daren Kirbo, 20 years of service

During the event, our team had the privilege of recognizing a dear colleague and friend who left us too early in 2017. In memory of Jerry Hammerlun, we established the WHOA Award, a special distinction that recognizes an individual who “took hold of the reins” and expertly guided the team with wisdom, integrity and spirit—in the same way that Jerry guided our team throughout his tenure at Huckabee. The honor was bestowed on Larry Cousin in our Fort Worth office. Larry was critical to our team this year, and we were pleased to recognize his commitment and wisdom.

Other employees were honored with the Huckabee Achievement Award and the Best Practices Award. The prestigious Achievement Award recognizes an individual who is characterized by their commitment to excellence and dedication to our clients and to our team. It was presented to Les Reddin from our Austin office, an individual who represents all of these attributes and more. The Best Practices Award was given to Javier Rosero in Houston for taking an innovative approach to establishing new ideas and processes.

Huckabee Wins Trifecta Award

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Huckabee was one of only nine firms to accept Zweig Group’s esteemed Trifecta Award at the 2017 Hot Firm Conference. This distinction recognizes companies that have received Best Firms to Work For, Hot Firms and Marketing Excellence awards within the same year. We are happy to share this special honor with every member of our team.

Notably, Huckabee was proud to rank as the #1 Best Firm to Work For in the architecture category. A combination of employee surveys and corporate evaluations were conducted to determine rankings for the award. Huckabee is continuously dedicated to being more than a workplace, and you can learn more about what this award means to us here.

Zweig’s Hot Firm Award recognizes the fastest growing companies in the architecture, engineering and planning industry. This year, Huckabee was ranked #8 out of 100. 

Huckabee also entered into the Special Event Category for the Marketing Excellence Award, submitting our campaign for the internal launch of our 50th anniversary celebration. The event was recognized for its “outstanding and effective” marketing effort. It featured spontaneous launch parties at each office with a “swag grab” and branding campaign focused on the meaning of 50 years. The campaign continued throughout the year, culminating in a 50th anniversary celebration, Huckapalooza, for our employees and their families.

Chris Huckabee, Chief Executive Officer; Kim Hopper, Chief Human Resources Officer; and Kenny Martin, Director of Project Practice, travelled to Seattle to accept the awards on behalf of the team.

“Receiving the Trifecta Award in our 50th year is the icing on the cake. This kind of recognition is the perfect way to kick off the next 50 years,” said Kim.

Huckabee at TASA/TASB

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Team Huckabee is at TASA / TASB this weekend, sharing insights with our partners at three break-out sessions. Here’s when and where to find us:

Process not Product: Promoting authentic learning in elementary education
Kerri Ranney is joined by Dr. Benny Soileau and Dr. Joel Nolte of Huffman ISD and Tona Blizzard of Grapevine-Colleyville ISD at the TASA/TASB convention in Dallas for this session that focuses on how to leverage design, instruction and community to create a supportive and explorative learning environment. The team looks at Huffman ISD’s new elementary school and Grapevine-Colleyville ISD’s new STEM education campus.  The conversation explores the steps that were taken to fully adopt a culture shift at a campus and district level that promotes skills-based education and a love of life-long learning. A VR component and “Experience More” goggles are included.

The session takes place at 7:30 AM on Friday, October 6 in Room D172.

Top 10 Conversations and Aspirations Influencing School Design
Kerri is joined by Konrad Judd, Huckabee’s Chief Design Officer, for a light-hearted 30-minute discussion on the top 10 things school districts are asking for now. Think David Letterman meets public education with a design twist. Kerri and Konrad count down the 10 most requested items, spaces and cultural influencers that are topping out wish lists across the state. From power outlets and parking spots to adaptability and autonomy, they’ll answer: why these items are being asked for, how they’re being used and how they are changing the learning experience for students and teachers.

The session begins at 9 AM on Friday, October 6 in the exhibit hall at TASA/TASB.

Furniture as a Learning Tool: Drawing inspiration beyond educational portfolios
Konrad, Tami O’Neal, Huckabee’s furniture coordinator, and Amy Wood, Granbury ISD’s Director of Technology, explore a case study on Granbury ISD’s high school reconstruction and the impact furniture had on curriculum and design. GISD looked beyond typical K-12 furniture options and designed a solution that maximized instructional and economic value for their $49 million modernization. They gained square footage, increased utilization and delivered a 21st century environment for less than they had estimated.

The session takes place at 1 PM on Friday, October 6 in room D172 during the TASA/TASB convention in Dallas. The session will be repeated at the EdSpaces conference in Kansas City at 3:30 PM on October 25.

Flag Flown in Honor of 50 Yrs

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Huckabee was recently honored with a special surprise—the flag of the United States of America was flown over the Capitol to honor our firm’s 50th anniversary. Coordinated by U.S. Congressman Michael Burgess, the honor was bestowed, “to celebrate Huckabee’s Golden Anniversary and to recognize their leadership in becoming the No. 1 education design firm in Texas.”

2017 marks the 50th anniversary of Huckabee. Our firm opened in 1967 in Andrews, Texas and has grown to become one of the leading educational design firm in the nation. To read more about the Huckabee story, click here.

VOTE UP Huckabee for SXSWedu

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“Vote Up” Huckabee for the 2018 SXSW EDU Panel Picker!

SXSW EDU empowers teaching and learning as part of an immersive four-day experience. Huckabee was thrilled to present at the event in 2017, where we explored the planning and design process and its value on the development of customized learning environments. We’re taking it a step further in 2018 to engage in conversation about the next generation of learning environments and the constantly evolving nature of education. Visit the SXSW EDU Panel Picker site, now through August 25, to cast your vote for “Relevancy of Classrooms to 21st Century Learning.”

Relevancy of Classrooms to 21st Century Learning
Presented by Kerri Ranney and Konrad Judd
Learning is constantly evolving. It has the power to change minds and lives. It has no restrictions except for those we assign it—time, expectation and space. As learning ingratiates into technology, becomes more accessible and takes on a kinetic persona, classrooms are dissolving. Session leaders facilitate a discussion about the viability of classrooms; the intersection of next-generation educational leaders and professional development; and the rise of non-restrictive learning environments.

We asked, #whatsyour50

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Huckabee is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and over the past five decades, our team has made our firm a family. We have many employees who have been with us for 10, 15, 20, 25 and even 35 years, and many more who joined us in the past decade as we experienced record growth. Our shared memories and personal experiences have shaped friendships and inspired career and life changing moments. We have become more than a workplace.

To recognize our golden anniversary and celebrate the personal milestones achieved by our team, we asked: “What does Huckabee’s 50th anniversary mean to you…what’s your 50?” From project stories to first day impressions to the development of friendships, our team had some great moments to share.

#whatsyour50

Remembering Jerry Hammerlun

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An accomplished business leader — A legacy of excellence
Jerry Hammerlun began his professional journey in 1978 after completing his education at the University of Nebraska. He received two degrees – his bachelor’s degree in architecture, followed by his law degree. After 20 years in the architectural and engineering industry, he joined Huckabee in 2001 and assumed the role of President less than a year later. Jerry served numerous roles in that capacity, from managing the business finances, acting as General Counsel and running the day-to-day operations of the firm, to personally managing projects and advocating for his clients.

True to form, in 2009, Jerry passed the torch to a young leader at Huckabee and focused on a new role as the firm’s Chief Financial Officer. An exceptional planner with a strategic mind and incredible foresight, he had seen challenges ahead of the 2008 recession and was instrumental in moving Huckabee into a strong financial position. As a result of his leadership, Huckabee flourished as most A/E firms struggled during the downturn. Instead of laying off staff, we grew and continued to grow, opening offices across the state, increasing our market share and increasing staff by over 85 percent. He led the firm through the most prosperous growth curve in our history.

Jerry was recognized for his outstanding leadership in 2011 when he was named CFO of the Year by the Fort Worth Business Press. His leadership also led Huckabee to be nationally recognized for six consecutive years as a Hot Firm for consistent revenue growth and ranked as a top design firm by industry organizations year after year.

After nearly 40 years in the business, Jerry’s professional achievements are impressive, but for those who knew him or worked with him, he was so much more than a list of accomplishments.

A mentor, champion and friend – A legacy of love
Jerry greeted his colleagues every day with a resounding “good morning!” You could hear it bellow across the office, announcing his presence. He always said, “there’s no substitution for enthusiasm,” and he demonstrated this daily to each of us – even in a simple greeting.

He was a wise coach and mentor to many. He believed one of his key roles as a leader was to mentor future leaders, create opportunity for others and support them each step of the way. He guided our team with wisdom, strength and candor. Jerry coined “Collective Wisdom” at Huckabee, which today is a hallmark strength of our team. He believed we are stronger together than we are individually, and he established and engrained this way of thinking into the fabric and culture of our firm.

Jerry was a man of great discipline and focus. No matter your tenure at Huckabee, you knew the “10:30 rule.” Jerry began his day at 6:00 am and focused quietly in his office on daily tasks until 10:30, asking not to be interrupted during this time. He believed preparation was the key to success, and attention to detail was the path to excellence.

He was a man of passionate conviction. Jerry believed you should shine your shoes because they represented a person’s character. He believed eating alone was a missed opportunity to build relationships. He believed you should surround yourself with people who don’t always agree with you, but challenge you to be better. He believed in taking care of others’ checkbooks – whether it was Huckabee’s or our clients’ – like they were his own.

Jerry was a servant leader. He believed in giving back to his community and volunteered countless hours to organizations like the Boys & Girls Club, Junior Achievement and The Red Cross. An unwavering Husker fan, he served on an advisory board at his alma mater and was asked last year to give the commencement address. He was also elected to the Georgetown City Council, where he worked to make lasting improvements to the city he loved. He was a person of action and encouraged others to get involved. He didn’t talk about it, he did it. If he didn’t like it, he changed it. If he believed in it, he brought it to fruition. He made a difference.

Lastly and most importantly, Jerry was a family man. A husband to Vickie for 43 years and father to two amazing children, Greg and Lindsey and their spouses, Lacey and Aaron, Jerry’s eyes would light up whenever he talked about his family. He became a grandfather seven years ago and since that time, has welcomed five more grandchildren to “Papa J’s” house and heart. His office was proudly lined with pictures of his family and artwork from his grandkids. He loved to share the latest photos he had on his phone and loved to see family photos on ours. Just like his own, Jerry loved his Huckabee family the same. He showed this best by continually investing in others and growing them in areas needed to push the firm forward. He was very much a proud father in recent days as he watched a capable and talented team take flight.

An incredible man, an incredible life – A legacy that will live on
We got a call early Saturday morning, June 17, letting us know that Jerry was gone. I sat down to craft a statement to the Huckabee team and our business partners about the unspeakably difficult news of Jerry’s passing.

It is with great sadness we must share with you that Jerry Hammerlun passed away on Saturday morning

I stared at my computer screen, my finger hovering over the period. I couldn’t press it. I couldn’t hit the period. That made it real. This couldn’t possibly be real. I couldn’t end the sentence – end his story.

As I reflected on this moment and on his life, it became clear what he would want me to say to everyone reading this today. And so, I will pick up where I left off…

It is with great sadness we must share with you that Jerry Hammerlun passed away on Saturday morning; the Huckabee team is heartbroken but united in resolve to honor the legacy of this incredible man and to move forward, serving each other like he served us – with integrity, focus and enthusiasm.

There is no need for a period. Instead, I honor Jerry with a semicolon because this isn’t the end of his story. I will keep it going. Huckabee will keep it going. We are heartbroken by this irreplaceable loss but will continue to work hard, chase excellence, stay focused and disciplined, love what we do and who we get to do it with – enthusiastically, in his honor.

Remembering Jerry Hammerlun

Services to remember and celebrate the life of Jerry Hammerlun will be held on Friday, June 23 at 2:00 pm at the First Presbyterian Church at 703 South Church Street in Georgetown, Texas. A visitation will be held on Thursday, June 22 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Ramsey Funeral Home at 5600 Williams Drive in Georgetown, Texas.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Georgetown Education Foundation.

A celebration of #50more

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Huckabee is midway through a yearlong commemoration of our 50th anniversary. Our team marked the occasion Saturday with an employee + family celebration, which brought together more than 300 people from across the state. The event, aptly named Huckapalooza, featured food trucks, lawn games, kids activities, dancing, a performance by Wade Bowen and Huckabee’s signature swag. It was an opportunity to celebrate together as a family and with family—something that has been important to us since day one.

For five decades, Huckabee has served Texas students, educators and communities with an exclusive focus on education. We started as a small architecture firm in West Texas and have grown into a multidiscipline A/E firm with offices in Fort Worth, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and Houston, as well as an educational research center in Waco at Baylor University. We’ve been around for 50 years, and we can’t help but look forward to 50 more!

#1 Best Firms to Work For

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Huckabee was named the #1 Best Firms to Work For by Zweig Group—a ranking that recognizes outstanding work environments and company culture. Huckabee is dedicated to workplace excellence and our firm is excited to share this honor with our entire team! 

“This recognition is about our people and our shared passion for design, engineering and education. We place great emphasis on excellence in everything we do, and this means investing in our team, our offices and our culture,” said Chris Huckabee, Chief Executive Officer. 

Chris often works in the coffee bar or common areas of each office, using the time as an opportunity to engage with employees and enjoy the vibrant work environment. Over the past few years, Huckabee opened offices in live-work-play communities and transitioned to a more open, collaborative and flexible work space that better reflects the culture. Sit-to-stand desks, soft seating, technology-friendly meeting spaces, informal lounges, focus rooms and coffee bars are a few of the features employees enjoy.

“We’ve put a lot of thought into what our team needs to succeed. Each of our offices reflect our corporate culture as well as local personality. When you walk in, you know you’re in a Huckabee office,” he said.

Kim Hopper, Huckabee’s Chief Human Resources Officer believes our firm is consistently recognized as a best place to work because of our ongoing commitment to opportunity and family. “I knew from day one this was a special place. Opportunity is everywhere, and we have so many inspirational people on our team that provide ongoing mentorship to their colleagues each and every day.”

Family is key to Huckabee’s culture of excellence—whether at work or home. Our employee engagement coordinator plans culture-focused activities that bring small and large groups together in meaningful ways. An emphasis on work-life balance is also prevalent. Other programs and perks include professional development; wellness initiatives; employee-driven committees focused on culture; and great coffee.

Notably, Huckabee is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and is commemorating the occasion with several employee-focused programs, including an employee scholarship program for personalized professional development; a limited-edition flair / swag program; and a firm-wide family day and anniversary party. 

“There is so much opportunity at Huckabee for any number of professionals in the architecture, engineering, design and support fields,” said Chris. “Huckabee’s culture is the result of 50 years of practice and focus in the educational market. We are life-long learners, and we hire people who bring passion, innovation and integrity to our team. We are proud of our firm and the reputation we’ve established as a great company to work for and with.”

For more information about Huckabee’s culture or career opportunities, visit www.morethanaworkplace.com.

We are Huckabee Texas
happy hour Huckabee Texas

Zweig Group’s Best Firms to Work For honors outstanding workspaces in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, geotechnical, environmental and civil, structural, and multi-discipline engineering firms. Firms are ranked based on ability to create amazing workspaces through design, teamwork, benefits, amenities and work culture. They are scored on employee surveys and corporate evaluations. To view the full list, click here.

Huckabee honored by Midway ISD

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Midway ISD named Huckabee a 2017 Friends of Midway recipient. We are honored by the designation and proud of our 15+ year partnership. Here’s an excerpt from Midway ISD’s announcement:

Suzi Pagel, Executive Director of the Midway Education Foundation, says, “Huckabee has donated to the Midway Education Foundation each year since the nonprofit organization held their first annual campaign in 2001. We appreciate the faithful support that Huckabee has provided us. To date, seven grants have been named in honor of Huckabee. These grants have provided district-wide programs such as Midway Reads as well as elementary and high school level grant.”

In addition, Huckabee Architects have been instrumental in the successful launch of multiple recent large-scale, creative projects at Midway ISD. The Studio, a renovation to the 30-year old Midway Middle School library, has tremendously impacted the life of the campus. The Studio has also served as a best practice example to multiple other school districts interested in makerspaces and flexible arrangement spaces. Huckabee experts have also been crucial to the partnership between Baylor University, Spring Valley Elementary, Education Service Center Region 12, and Huckabee to study how the learning environment affects student engagement.

Read the full story here.

#LoveMySchoolDay #TxEdTuesday

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At Huckabee, we are advocates for education and life-long learning. As part of #TxEdTuesday’s #LoveMySchoolDay, we asked our employees to share their school memories and the impact education has had on their career, life and family. From elementary school to college, our team recognizes the shared hard work educators, coaches, friends and community put into our students each and every day.

Kerri Ranney
My two kids love learning! That love of learning is fostered at Raye McCoy Elementary School in Georgetown ISD. Go Bobcats!

Roberto Zuniga
I have three Coppell ISD graduates and one 9th grader. My graduates have gone to prime east coast private universities with almost full scholarships. Among the many opportunities that Coppell has given them, two of my kids have taken me to be the father, four times, of state champions and one made a proclamation on the floor of the Texas Senate. You’ve got to love public education!

Jennifer Brown
I am a proud graduate of Sherman High School in Sherman, Texas! Some of my favorite memories include Friday Night Lights in Bearcat Stadium where generations of my family watched and continue to watch football games, great teachers like Verna Sharer who taught me and my two baby sisters how to sew (sorry, Ms. Sharer—this didn’t stick), one-act play competitions and being voted “Most Likely to be Famous” and lifelong friendships that so easily pick up where we left off. I am so grateful for the commitment and selflessness of so many people along my learning journey who helped shape me into the person I am today. I love that I am able to give back in such a profound way through our work at Huckabee. Go Bearcats!

Kevin Billings
I grew up and went to school in the great state of Kansas. I am proud to say that I went to Washburn Rural HS. We had ‘Rural’ in our name because we had wheat fields beside the school and cattle in the field across the road. I love what I do because of my drafting teacher named Harold Bryan. I had taken all of the drafting courses my school had to offer, but he knew I wanted more. He used his own money and purchased a simple CAD program for me. We acquired a computer from another teacher and started the CAD drafting program. We developed a class syllabus, and I was the first person in my high school to receive credits for a CAD class. He did not know the software, so part of my grade was to help teach him. This happened because a teacher could see my passion and love for drafting. Today there is an entire CAD lab with over 20 computers dedicated to CAD, 3D and design software in my alma mater. Thank you Mr. Bryan for teaching me that the ‘best’ way between two points is not always a straight line. Take the curves and enjoy life! Auburn-Washburn Unified School District #437, Topeka, Kansas

Emmie Bennett
Proud to be a product of the Texas Public Education system, specifically Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD. I was a Kent Cardinal, a Rainwater Hurricane, a Blalack Bear and finished as a Creekview Mustang. I associate each school with each mascot because athletics was my guiding light. However, I’ve always known my career was going to be in art. I had the same art teacher in elementary school and then again during high school. I owe everything to Mr. Bob Thomas, who sat at his desk with art books and artwork stacked so high he had to stand up to see us.

Bergen Hashemian
I attended public schools all throughout K-12, starting off in Grapevine-Colleyville ISD and finishing n Carroll ISD. What I loved most about my school district was not only did the teachers push students to achieve their full potential and provide us with the opportunities to do so, but as a community, we all came together to support our football team!

Katie Bevan
I am SO PROUD of my Texas education. I went to public schools in Richardson ISD from K-12, and I loved every minute of it. We had amazing teachers and great opportunities. In high school I was part of a magnet as well as an internship program—all preparing me for the real world! Go Eagles!

Josh Brown
I am a proud graduate of Pottsboro High School. Getting the privilege to attend a small-town public school made me who I am today. From the teachers and coaches who tirelessly invested in our success as young men and women, the victories and heartache experienced with my teammates in sports, the relationships developed with those in the community. . . I will forever be humbled by those who invested in a young kid and continued to motivate and challenge me to get better each day, to believe that I could accomplish absolutely anything with proper preparation, and to help me understand that failing forward was a good thing.

Markita Richardson
“Education is a passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” —Malcolm X. I am PROUD to be a product of the Texas Public Education System. I started off as a Lakeview Viking, then became a Sugarland Titan and to end it all, a Kempner Cougar! What I loved most about attending these schools was not only did I make lifelong friendships with great people, but I had passionate teachers who went above and beyond to push their students to achieve their full potential.

Huckabee presenting at SXSWedu

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Kerri Ranney, Huckabee’s Director of Learning & Strategic Development, and Konrad Judd, our Director of Design, are slated to present at SXSWedu 2017. Their topic, “Planning and Designing Learning Experiences” explores the planning and design process and its value on the development of learning environments that meet the needs of students and educators. It will cover important topics about the future of education and the roles of both students and educators in that shift. In addition, it will include the many layers of student choice and its impact on the overall learning experience.

The presentation will take place at 5 PM on Wednesday, March 8 at the JW Marriott in Austin in Salon C.

Kerri and Konrad are working with school districts to design some of the most progressive learning environments in Texas. They are helping clients meet the needs of 21st century learners and educators, as well as contributing to research at the classroom level that explores agility in education.

Huckabee presenting at TASBO

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Huckabee joins Granbury ISD to present “Furniture as a Learning Tool: Drawing Inspiration Beyond Education” at this year’s TASBO conference. The presentation will take place at 10:15 AM on March 2 at the Austin Convention Center. Our speakers include Amy Wood, Director of Technology Granbury ISD; Konrad Judd, our Director of Design; and Tami O’Neal, our Furniture Coordinator and Interior Designer.

Furniture as a Learning Tool: Drawing Inspiration Beyond Education

Furniture can make or break a learning environment. Its selection and use is key to creating an environment that engages learners, supports the profession of teaching and informs the use of the space. Looking beyond a traditional K-12 catalog, and seeking inspiration outside of education, increases value for students and teachers.

In Granbury ISD, the district used this approach to create huge impact for a major reconstruction of their high school—utilizing furniture and design to increase capacity, inspire collaboration, improve the professional environment for teachers and maximize the experience for students.

The district and design team discuss their approach and how they leveraged furniture and design choices as part of the renovation to deliver a 21st century educational environment for under $50 million.

A Golden Anniversary

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In 2017, Huckabee commemorates our 50th anniversary. We have proudly served Texas students, educators and communities for five decades. Our legacy is one we are honored to uphold.

We have a year of celebrations planned, and we look forward to the opportunity to reflect on the people, projects and moments that shaped our firm. Follow along at www.Huckabee50.com or #50more on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

From our roots as a small architecture firm in West Texas, to being named the #1 educational design firm in the state, it’s been an incredible journey. Here’s to 50 more years … we’re just getting started!

A FOUNDATION OF INTEGRITY

Fifty years ago, Tommie Huckabee saw an opportunity to bridge the gap in the architect and contractor relationship. He grew up working with his father, a general contractor, and knew the importance of a solid set of construction documents. As a result, he believed he owed it to his clients to do detailed drawings that bid more accurately and delivered more value. In 1967, Tommie and his colleague, Herman Riherd, opened Riherd & Huckabee in Andrews and Lubbock, Texas. The philosophy that inspired their vision is the foundation for what we still believe today—above all else: quality, integrity and service.

From the beginning, our work focused on education. We primarily served West Texas school districts, earning a reputation for excellence in the region. One of our first projects was a new gymnasium for Denver City ISD. More work followed, with Huckabee schools popping up across the plains. At the time, Riherd & Huckabee was designing some of the most innovative facilities in the region, including a new middle school for Andrews ISD that had a planetarium, three gymnasiums and an open concept learning environment. Another project, in Monahans-Wickett-Pyote ISD, was one of Tommie’s favorites; it was selected in 1976 to exhibit at an International Design Competition in Basel, Switzerland.

In the mid-70s, Riherd retired, and a new partner, Larry Donham, joined Tommie. Huckabee & Donham had 10 employees. For the next 15 years, they continued to build the firm’s legacy. During this time, Tommie opened an office in Stephenville, where the firm relocated after Donham’s retirement.

In 1989, Huckabee was short-listed in Mansfield ISD. The district was small, and they were looking for a partner to grow with. Huckabee fit the bill, and we kicked off a 28-year relationship that has resulted in more than $1.75 billion in school projects. It was one of the most significant moments for our firm. Today, Mansfield ISD serves more than 33,000 students. Their legacy is one we are proud to share.

In 1990, we became Huckabee & Associates. Tommie’s son, Chris Huckabee, graduated from Texas Tech University and joined the firm.

Chris had learned from the best. In second grade he attended his first board meeting with his father. Soon after, he started riding along to visit construction sites and meet with clients whenever the opportunity arose. He was entrenched in Huckabee, and when graduation came, eager to make his mark and work alongside Tommie.

A VISIONARY FUTURE

In 1995, Chris opened an office in Fort Worth, another significant move for Huckabee. It provided more opportunities for the firm to compete in a larger market. In 2000, Tommie passed the torch to Chris, leaving behind a legacy of excellence and a foundation that continues to sustain us.

Over the next nine years, Huckabee focused on the work, establishing a presence in new markets to the east, north and south. We developed new relationships and started working with school districts that remain our partners today.

When the recession hit in 2009, we doubled down on our commitment to Texas education. Huckabee invested in hiring talented leaders in the educational design field. We diversified our offerings and focused on being a trusted advisor for our clients. We took the time to reflect on our role in education and work with school districts to develop comprehensive plans for the future. We embodied the concept of being “More than Architects,” a vision that allowed us to do more, be more and give more to our clients. It was a defining moment for Huckabee, and it led to an incredible period of growth.

We are Huckabee Texas
happy hour Huckabee Texas

By 2011, Huckabee started expanding. We opened offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Notably, we also opened the Learning Experience Laboratories (LEx Labs) in partnership with ESC Region 12 at Baylor University. LEx Labs is an educational research center and test lab used by Huckabee, our clients and the university to explore 21st century classrooms and learning spaces. As education moves toward project-based learning and creating authenticity in the learning experience, we are standing beside Texas schools and helping lead the way for incredible facilities. LEx Labs represents this commitment, and it’s our way of investing in research and training that supports long-term student engagement and performance.

In 2016, on the eve of our 50th anniversary, Huckabee was named the #1 educational design firm in Texas by Engineering News Record. The recognition was a testament to our employees, clients and our commitment to education. Today, we have over 200 employees across the state, with more than 3,500 educational projects under our cap. We have worked with more than 150 school districts in the last few decades alone, and impacted thousands of students and educators throughout our shared journey.

Now in our 50th year, Huckabee still stands for the values that Tommie instilled: quality, integrity and service. We still stand for education and the success of all students. And we still strive to be more every single day, because education is worth it and our kids deserve it. As we celebrate our golden anniversary, we can’t help but look forward to 50 more years.

It’s been an incredible journey, and we’re just getting started.

Investing in a Better Texas

By | News

The realities of school funding, needs and debt are complex. To shed light on the necessity of debt in the financial management of our schools, Huckabee researched and developed a report entitled, “Investing in a Better Texas.”

The report light-heartedly explains the multi-layered topic of public school finance. It demonstrates that the revenue generated by the federal government, state government and local communities is not enough to meet the needs of the more than 5 million students in the Texas public school system. The report also touches on how Texas’ funding structure makes it difficult for our fastest growing school districts to utilize debt effectively, further compounding their challenges to providing a quality education to every student.

Click here to download, “Investing in a Better Texas,” and its companion report, “Texas Schools Aren’t Average,” also published by Huckabee.

Best Companies to Work For

By | News

Huckabee is more than a workplace. Our work community means many things to many people—from opportunity, integrity and growth to friendship, family and fun. It’s why we’re excited to be named to FWinc’s 2016 Best Companies to Work For! Of the many things Huckabee employees noted about why it’s an excellent place to work: our barista, our coffee, our employee events coordinator, our focus on professional development and growth, our culture of excellence, our wellness program, our team building activities and our mission. Click here to read to the story. And visit our careers page to learn more about opportunities at Huckabee.

Child-Centered Learning

By | News

Kerri Ranney, Huckabee’s Director of Learning & Strategic Development, talks about child centered learning and empowering educators in a recent guest column in School Planning and Management magazine.

“In architectural design, we follow the foundational concept that form follows function, believing that instructional environments are most successful when approached methodically, as opposed to delivering a one-size-fits-all learning space. As customizable learning experiences come to prominence, more focus than ever is being put on child-centered learning philosophies, in which multiple pedagogies and diverse learning needs are used to inspire educational design.

However, focusing solely on the child-learner often misses a key opportunity: the professional development of educators. As educational facilities continue to evolve, expanding the planning and design conversation to include educator development and space needs will impart far greater success in the classroom, for educators and students alike.”

Click here to read the full article.