Every month the Administrative/Professional (A/P) Council highlights an A/P staff member through a series of questions as another way for the Illinois State community to connect. This month readers can get to know Rick Kentzler, university architect.
As university architect, what are your job responsibilities?
In simple terms, we oversee the planning and design process for major capital construction projects, from performing initial investigation into planning and programming of the project, acquiring the services of design professionals, to managing the design meetings with the user groups, to getting the construction documents packaged and ready for bidding. What we do is similar to tending to a small city. We have office buildings, we have residential buildings, we have food establishments. We also have streets, sidewalks and utilities. There is always something happening with our assets.
How long have you been an employee at ISU?
I am on my 28th year at Illinois State. Fun fact: My predecessor, Bob Ward, was the first university architect, and he was here for nearly 20 years beginning in 1970. If I can hang on until 2020, Illinois State will have had but two University Architects in a half-century span of time.
What do you love most about working at ISU?
We get to create new things every day. The people I get to work with to do that, both users and the others in the office, is a fun group. Of course, the complaints about construction fences and closing of sidewalks and/or streets go along with that, but the end result is always worth the inconvenience.
What is one fact about yourself that might surprise people?
I have an identical twin brother (Mick), so when people say, “I am glad there is only one of you,” they are wrong. And, according to my wife and kids (and his wife and kids) we are a lot alike, though I strenuously object to that.
When you’re not working, what are you most likely doing?
My wife and I like to go hiking, sporadically in the Appalachian Trail region when we get the chance, as well as Illinois, Indiana and Michigan for shorter trips. It is a great way to put your brain on hold for a bit.
What is your favorite spot on campus?
The Quad. We have a great Quad, and it is different from others. Many campus quadrangles are very nice open spaces (i.e., no trees) that are really only used for getting students from point A to point B. ISU’s Quad is more of a park, with a lot of trees, that encourages more student activity and interaction.
Who was your favorite teacher/professor in school, and how did he/she impact you?
Bernd Foerster, dean of the college of architecture at Kansas State (circ. 1976). He taught freshman-level introductory classes exclusively. He was a very calming influence for a bunch of anxious freshmen. He helped us understand that architecture was less about lines on paper and more about engaging with others around you.