We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Michael Muroff a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Michael , thanks for joining us today. Are you happy running your own firm? Do you sometimes wonder what it would be like to work for someone else?
I really have the best of both worlds. I have a terrific business partner Scott Purdy. Our personalities mesh well, and we are on the same page about so many things. I find it invaluable to have incredible trust in my business partner to bounce ideas off, discuss unique project challenges, and provide constructive criticism during the design phase of our projects. Scott and I share a very similar philosophy and approach to business and design, while also inspiring one another to dig deeper and design more unique and singular buildings. At the same time, being a business owner allows me the freedom of choosing which projects to take on, as well as how to approach design decisions. Our favorite part of our job is helping our clients leave their legacy by designing buildings that exemplify who they are or what they do.
Michael , love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
I think I “backed into” my industry. I was always good at math, art, and science, and I loved creating art and watching construction. Growing up, my plan was to be a Major League Baseball player, so I never considered any other professional choice. On a college visit/interview at Cornell University, the interviewer actually suggested that I look into Civil Engineering and Architecture. I took an internship in construction, and then one in architecture, and then I discovered an architecture firm that designed baseball stadiums and took that as a sign from the universe. One of the guys I worked with at that firm connected me with a world famous architect in New York named Peter Eisenman, and I took an intership with Eisenman Architects. That experience completely transformed my design skills and solidified my vision in the profession. I knew I wanted to design cool buildings that people could enjoy. I’m most proud of our firm’s reputation for being one of the premier design firms in the area, while also being humble enough to listen to our clients individual wants and needs, so that we create buildings that stand out in their environment and help our clients leave their legacy in the community.
We’d love to hear about you met your business partner.
I was introduced to my business partner in December 2002. Our personalities are so similar that we clicked right away. I don’t fit the typical stereotype of an architect. I’m a former college athlete, and I’m very outgoing and social. My business partner Scott Purdy is also a former athlete, extremely social, and highly intelligent, though he doesn’t like people to know that part about him. We have very similar approaches to building design, to the importance of friends and family, and to life in general. We’ve been working together for 20 years, and I can’t imagine a better and more fitting work environment. Scott has been an inspiration to me and has helped me grow and develop as an architect.
Are there any books, videos, essays or other resources that have significantly impacted your management and entrepreneurial thinking and philosophy?
I’m a voracious reader, so there are a ton of books that have influenced me over the course of my life. When I told people I was going to architecture school, everyone suggested I read Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. It’s a book about architecture, but it’s more about being true to yourself and your values and not compromising them to be popular or please critics. I have a variety of differing interests, and have never felt that I fit into a specific group, and this book allowed me to embrace that. Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point is another book that was so transformational for me. My biggest takeaway from this book was a chapter that talked about the need to find a way to stand out an express yourself in your profession. I credit this book with helping me understand more about myself and my profession, and I completely changed my approach to marketing my business after reading this book. A friend and mentor turned me on to Tim Grover’s Relentless: From Good To Great To Unstoppable a couple years ago. Tim Grover has worked with hundreds of high level competitors including Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant and made them even greater. His book is about achieving total mental and physical dominance in any aspect of life. He divides people into three groups – The Cooler, The Closer, and The Cleaner. His message is that a great leader knows the best way to get people to raise their performance is to put them where they can truly excel. Cleaners don’t block others from reaching the top; they bring them along with them. This book has inspired me to elevate the game of my teammates at work, and this has really helped to catapult our business.
- Website: www.purdymuroff.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/purdymuroffarchitecture/
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/purdymuroff
- Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/company/purdy-muroff-architecture-inc