Work force: HKS
The foundation is education
It's actually in the company values at HKS, Inc., that you should remember the place that gave you your start.
Ralph Hawkins is a believer. He and UTA have been inseparable since he earned a bachelor of science degree in architecture here in 1973. He's a Distinguished Alumnus.
He's also president and CEO of the 580-person Dallas-based architecture firm where one in 10 employees is a UTA graduate, including several with multiple degrees.
The company, founded in 1939, has offices in six states and three countries, and its portfolio is as diverse as those locales. HKS designs large projects in many market sectors, including local healthcare facilities like Children's Medical Center, Parkland Memorial Hospital, Harris Methodist Hospital and Arlington Memorial Hospital. Its commercial and corporate work includes developments for RadioShack, Dr Pepper, Verizon and EDS.
The firm is responsible for several hospitality projects, including a nearly $1 billion add-on at the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and the expansion of Robert Redford's Sundance development in Park City, Utah.
HKS is the architect of record for several sports venues, including American Airlines Center in Dallas and The Ballpark in Arlington. The company is working on the new U.S. Census Bureau building in suburban Washington, D.C., on D/FW Airport and airports in Phoenix and Orlando, and on education plans from elementary schools to college campuses.
Former UTA students have had their hands in all of these projects. "UTA is local, and we can participate with the faculty and students," said Hawkins, whose firm actively recruits at the University.
Perhaps no one at the company participates more than he does.
Hawkins has served on several UTA boards, including the School of Architecture's accreditation committee. He has taught a health-care design course as an adjunct professor and is the former president of the Alumni Association's architecture chapter.
As familiar as he is with the University, it's often the first place he looks when he needs a new employee.
"I find them very well-prepared," he said of UTA graduates. "They come out with very realistic expectations. They work though school, they know how to spend their time, and they're focused."
They just have to remember to focus on the right thing. After all, it's right there in the company manual.