Choosing a Path
What do you want to be when you grow up? How many times were you asked that question when you were young? You may have said astronaut, firefighter, police officer, doctor, or nurse. Maybe you just didn’t know. Pat Birch, AIA, LEED AP, Schemmer Architect and Senior Project Manager, found her destiny in high school when she took architectural and technical drafting courses.
In 1975, virtually no girls took drafting classes. Birch feels that her drafting teacher, Mr. Al Gilmore, made the biggest impact in her life. “I excelled at drafting, pretty much did better than all the boys – in both classes. And Mr. Gilmore, through his encouragement, support, and skill as a teacher helped me believe in myself,” says Birch. “He made me confident that I could become an architect - I was talented and would do well in architecture. He set me on my path to a wonderful career. I will never forget Mr. Gilmore and what he gave me during that senior year in high school. I am so thankful and fortunate.”
Fast forward to 2020, in Birch’s 38 years as an architect one thing has always remained the same…
“My work has not been a purpose; rather it’s a passion. I am a personable, hardworking, creative architect who enjoys a challenge. The most rewarding aspect of my job is when clients are excited about the architecture we have created for them. I do everything I can to have happy clients. They’re the best.”
Lincoln Rotary Club 14
In addition to Birch’s work as an architect, she previously served on the Lincoln Rotary Club 14 Board of Directors and currently chairs the Environmental Project Committee.
As the environmental initiative chair, Birch and other Rotary members recently discussed the impact educators have on our lives. In honor of Rotary #14's 110th anniversary, club members selected the Cascade Fountain as the featured Signature Project. The Rotary presented a $200,000 donation to help renovate the Bicentennial Cascade Fountain, also known as the Teachers Fountain. The fountain was built in 1978 as a collaboration between the Lincoln-Area Retired Teachers Association and the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department to commemorate America’s Bicentennial.
Things have come full circle for Birch as she is able to pay homage to Mr. Gilmore and his fellow teachers that made an impact in her life and the lives of so many others.