Friday, January 19, 2018
Team Member Spotlight

Q+A with Ray Clark

Executive Vice President

We recently sat down with Ray Clark, Executive VP, to talk about Ghafari's future in the commercial sector.

Since joining the Ghafari team in early 2015, what has surprised you most about the firm?

Before joining the firm, my knowledge of Ghafari was limited to the industrial and aviation markets. In my previous life, I had a specific focus on high-rise buildings, corporate and residential towers, and mixed-use spaces. I didn’t necessarily see Ghafari as being a direct competitor for those types of projects. I quickly learned that my assumptions weren’t accurate.

Now having been here almost three years, I’ve discovered the depth of our talent and our portfolio of corporate projects. I would definitely consider us to be a strong competitor against the “big names” in the commercial space. We have a dedicated team that is working hard to push us to the next level in this market. We’re excited about the future.

You’ve worked at a number of high-profile A/E firms throughout your career – what is different about Ghafari?

From all my years in this industry, I know that clients want to work with someone who is honest, hardworking, and does their research. Our team doesn’t just provide a service to our clients – we provide an experience. We make the effort to really connect with them, putting ourselves in their shoes to understand their needs and goals. When the project is complete, we want our clients to walk away from the table knowing they truly have a great team backing and supporting them, and to trust us with future opportunities.

We also have a tremendous depth of knowledge, skill, and expertise in everything we’re doing technically – not just in architecture and engineering, but also in production technology like laser scanning, BIM, and virtual reality. Today, we’re leveraging those capabilities more than ever.

How does our team’s depth of industrial experience benefit our commercial clients?

With all of our experience in technically demanding sectors like manufacturing and aviation, we know how to work successfully with complex client teams that have a variety of stakeholders and diverse (sometimes competing) interests. We’ve really honed our ability to be nimble and adaptable, to recognize the needs of different user groups, and translate those needs into real-life solutions. Through our industrial experience, we’ve also mastered our operations-focused approach, designing each space around the functions it houses. These skills are absolutely beneficial to our commercial clients.

We also bring incredible expertise in design technologies and Lean-focused delivery methods that are integral to our process. We’ve successfully used these tools and approaches on our most challenging industrial projects and have the experience and confidence to directly apply them to other project types, including those in the commercial space. It’s as much about knowledge as it is about comfort and capability.

Where would you like to see the firm go in the next five years?

Within the next five years, I want Ghafari to be seen as a “go to” resource in the commercial sector and still be recognized as the firm that delivers the great quality and client focus we’re known for today. 

Our team has worked on millions of square feet in corporate space, and we’re ready to take our commercial service offerings to the next level. There are a lot of solid opportunities for high-rise, large mixed-use, retail, residential, and office projects. It’s an exciting time, and I’m confident in our ability to excel at these project types.

Give us some adjectives that describe Ghafari team members.

Creative, engaged, confident, expressive, enthusiastic, conscientious, truthful, and ethical.

What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?

I am a big advocate for simplicity in many things. I enjoy things like reading, going to the theater, and traveling. Some of my favorite places to travel have been anywhere in the Mediterranean, St. Petersburg, Russia, and London.