Anthony Damon, Assoc. AIA, has passed four of his Architecture Registration Examinations (ARE), which means he has three more to go.
Damon, one of the four recipients of the Paul W. Welch, Jr. ARE Scholarships, was excited when he heard the news of winning it. “It put a fire under me to finish,” he said. But it’s not the only thing that motivates this up and coming architect. (An architect who, by the way, was one of (ENR’s 2014 Top 20 Under 40.) Damon also garners a lot of energy from his volunteer job as a mentor to high school students in the San Diego area.
Damon recognizes the delicate connection that occurs between mentor and mentee. “Both the mentee and the mentor are not wrong to be selective of one another,” he said as they become more than a teacher, they often become part of one another’s inner circle. This mentorship phenomenon is perhaps best demonstrated with his own experience as a mentee, and credits a lot of what he has learned and who he has become as an architect to Jeff Katz, Principal of Jeff Katz Architecture. “To this day Jeff Katz continues to mentor me in architecture, yet our relationship and friendship have progressed beyond design and business. Striking a balance between personal life, producing superior architecture, and making money has been a difficult skill for some of the world’s greatest architects. Having Jeff to share and discuss these types of experiences with so that we both can move forward is the true definition of a mentor.”
So yes, mentoring really moves beyond the work process. And it’s timeless. It takes a certain personality to mentor, but mostly it takes someone who is willing to learn as much as they are teaching. “Of course the traditional idea of a mentor is a senior level architect and the mentee an entry level intern, however, the truth is that these roles are oftentimes reversed in the best mentorships,” Damon said.
Damon is young in the field, and he knows it. But the 34-year-old is more than willing to be blown away by new knowledge of those he mentors, as evidenced when a mentee once showed him how to use a 3D printer. Now that’s cool.
As for the licensure process, he has sound, simple, pragmatic advice: “Knock them out as soon as you get out of school so you don’t lose the information.”
So this architect will obtain his license, continue to mentor, and maintain an attitude open to new ideas. “I fully intend to continue this cycle as I accumulate experience points and hopefully one day a mentee/friend will be writing the same thing about me,” he said. Until then, he is busy raising a toddler, writing letters to a pen pal he has had for 16 years, working his way up to principal, and knocking out the AREs. Exam number 4 is on the books for March. We’ll keep you posted.