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McGee returns home to family business

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY -- Although he graduated with an architecture degree from Southern Polytechnic State University in 2005, Brent McGee has more experience in construction.

That experience has helped him bring new ideas to the architecture firm in which he works and his father, Derrell, is a partner -- Yielding, Wakeford & McGee Architects.

"He brings several things," Mack Wakeford said of Brent McGee. "He's very bright and inquisitive. He's not afraid to question perceived norms and behaviors in the practice, which forces us to take a fresh look at all aspects of our practice. It's really been good. He also brings accomplished skills to the computer graphics that we use."

Before coming to Albany, McGee did construction management for four years in Atlanta for Hardin Construction. While in college, the 27-year-old worked one summer in the field with LRA Constructors in Albany and studied aboard in Germany. The varied experiences have helped him enjoy his work as an architect.

"The ability to be creative and go with your own ideas," McGee said. "Nothing we do is in a book. We have to create everything. (I like) working with clients and just helping them solve their problems and building a building that meets their needs and functions."

Working with his father is also something McGee said he likes about working at Yielding, Wakeford & McGee Architects, a place where he worked during high school. Since returning to the 34-year-old Albany firm full-time in July, McGee been a part of 10-12 projects.

"We actually don't work together at a lot of projects," said McGee, an intern architect and project manager. "We try to keep things separate, so I usually work with other architects. There's really not a lot of day-to-day (interaction), but it's nice to go to him with questions and issues. It's nice to come back and know people that I knew in high school and people I worked with before."

Wakeford said McGee's intellect and laid-back personality have made him a valuable asset to the company, which has eight employees.

"He doesn't miss anything," Wakeford said. "We're very comfortable giving him more responsibility since he catches on so quickly. He brings different (ideas) with a background more in construction than architecture because he worked several years with a contractor in Atlanta before he came here and that has helped us with a lot of our construction details."

As far as recommendations for students who are interested in a career in architecture, McGee believes they should follow a path similar to his.

"Get real world experience," he said. "Do an internship with an architect and contractor to understand both sides of the field, so that you know what it takes to put a building together."

If you'd like to nominate a former top high school graduate from Southwest Georgia, send your nomination(s), information about them, along with contact information, a photo, to Ethan Fowler either by phone at (229) 888-9355 or via e-mail at ethan.fowler@albanyherald.com.