Mile High Climber: Zachary Callaway, Architectural Designer with Rosemann & Associates

Mile High CRE is excited to announce that our April Mile High Climber is Zachary Callaway, architectural designer with Rosemann & Associates, P.C. Mile High Climbers are industry professionals who innovate, inspire, collaborate, and take risks. They are future leaders and change-makers, and they deserve to be celebrated.

Zachary is a visionary architectural designer dedicated to project success and problem solving with Rosemann’s clients. His can-do, positive attitude accompanied by his authentic desire to learn and improve wows his clients time and again. Zack is the go-to REVIT designer and source of information for Rosemann’s 60-person multifamily architectural firm. Along with assisting in training new employees, he has been instrumental in understanding the potential of the firm’s software, implementing efficiencies, challenging preconceived notions, and spearheading consistency between the firm’s four offices.

1. How did you start your career in the AEC industry?

Like many others in this field, I knew I wanted to work in the AEC industry from the early days of building elaborate structures with Lego and K’Nex on my bedroom floor as a child. After graduating with a Master of Architecture degree from the Savannah College of Art in Design in 2013, I moved out to Denver in search of a way to turn my dream into a reality. Rosemann & Associates took a chance on me as their first hire at the newly formed Denver office, and I’ve been with Rosemann & Associates ever since.

2. What do you enjoy most about your job?

First and foremost, I really enjoy the people I work with. My colleagues have been the biggest source of information and inspiration in my career. Every day there is something new to learn, and I try to take in as much as I can.

Secondly, design and creative problem solving have always been a huge passion of mine. The great thing about architecture, and specifically my role at Rosemann & Associates, is that problem solving can come in many different shapes. One day might involve a design question of how best to implement the surrounding context into the facade of a new multi-family community. The next day might address how to best design a specific component to help improve firm-wide workflow efficiency and accuracy. And oftentimes, I’m coordinating with the AEC community to produce the best product we can for the owner, operator, and ultimately the patrons of the buildings we design. Every day offers something new, and that’s what keeps me going.

3. What have been some of your favorite/proudest projects or career accomplishments?

The award-winning Stonecrest of Wildwood in Grover, KY (an 81-unit assisted living and memory care facility) was a project I was brought into early to help develop the architectural aesthetics. This project, along with the Stonecrest of Burlington Creek in Kansas City, MI, was part of a larger, nationwide rebranding exercise of NorthPoint’s Stonecrest properties (now part of Anthology’s Senior Living Communities). The architectural language we developed on these two projects set the script for many other similar communities across the US.

I have also been a key member of Rosemann’s Building Information Modeling (BIM) development firm-wide. I have personally built hundreds of Revit components that help improve day-to-day efficiency and ease of use for many of our BIM employees, saving the company hours and helping to improve documentation accuracy and reduce coordination errors. Being told by colleagues that the components I developed have helped make their lives easier is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job.

4. What have been some of the biggest challenges in your career and how did you overcome them?

Being the first hire at a new office offered many challenges right away. I was thrown into the proverbial fire from the very beginning, and while there were bumps along the way, every challenge offered a new learning experience.

One specific hurdle that I had to overcome was the concept that a great design is more than just aesthetically pleasing. Not only must a design element function in a way that best serves its intended use, but it must also consider constructability and costs. A particular design might be beautiful on paper, but if it can’t be built or is too expensive, then it’s not meeting all the necessary design criteria. There is plenty of beauty in simplicity and there is a time and place for complexity and ingenuity, the key is designing within that fine line.

I am still applying lessons I learned from the first month on the job to my projects today, eight years later.

5. What advice do you have for an emerging AEC professional?

Never stop learning and always ask questions. Research that term you heard in a meeting that you didn’t fully understand. Sit over the shoulder of an experienced drafter and watch them work and pick up on some of their tricks of the trade. Take a photo of that sketch your project manager drew on the back of a napkin at the job site, and decipher the conversation behind that sketch and the reasoning it was created. But most importantly, NEVER be afraid to ask questions.

6. What are some of your goals for the future?

Training, educating, and mentoring others is going to be a big goal of mine moving forward. By taking the information that previous mentors have taught me, and items I have picked up over time, I hope to improve the knowledge of those around me. I firmly believe the AEC community can only benefit from the shared experience of others in the field, and I hope to do my part in paying it forward on behalf of everyone who has taught me so much along the way.

7. What trade associations or non-profits have you been actively involved with throughout your career?

As a hobby, I sketch people’s pets to help raise some money for local Colorado animal rescues and no-kill animal shelters. With the help of everyone who has supported this endeavor, I have been able to raise over $500 to support MaxFund Animal Adoption Center, Cayleb’s Kindred Senior Dog Rescue, and Best Friends Animal Society. This is a passion project of mine and I hope to keep doing it long into the future.


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