Derek’s love of architecture took shape at Hampton University, where he says he was privileged to attend a prestigious institution that has educated thousands of African-American designers, architects, and urban planners. The rigors of its programs equipped him with significant advantages as he entered his professional career, along with deep friendships both in and outside the Department of Architecture. “Attending Hampton University was and continues to be a foundational building block in my life and career,” he says.
Derek understands the complexity and coordination that it takes to develop a project from programing through construction. He’s focused much of his twenty-five-year career on healthcare architecture, including new replacement hospitals, earthquake repair and seismic retrofit, hospital renovations, ambulatory surgery centers, and medical office buildings. He has also worked on large, technically advanced academic and science-and-technology projects such as the historic renovation of UCLA’s landmark Royce Hall. And he’s led the design and management of more than twenty-five hotel projects for brands such as Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton, Comfort Suites and Extended Stay America in California, Arizona, and Nevada.
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Derek was fortunate to have received great mentorship from a handful of people in the early stages of his career, which both educated and influenced him to “pay it forward” to the next generation of designers and architects. His passion is the people—”the clients; those who experience our projects; and the teams of creative designers that develop the buildings and urban spaces we produce. Teaching, mentoring and creating collaborative, diverse environments are motivating factors that I work to bring to each day.”