Generator Studio’s first office was the former poker room above my garage.

We put away the ashtrays and decks of cards to make room for a simple 2′ by 8′ folding table that served as the working desks, drafting table, reception area and lunch room for both Tom and myself.  Remarkably, this 16 SF plastic table top served as the intellectual and functional home of Generator for the first two years.

One of our first clients liked our low overhead and frugality so much he stated, “If you ever move out of here, I won’t hire you again.”

He lied.




Landing our first project as Generator Studio in 2009 (thanks KMG Hotels!) was the ‘sh_t just got real’ moment: We had to get it done on our own. Where we once relied on folks at our previous firms to help draw & coordinate, it was now just Mike & me. Welcome to entrepreneurship 101.

KMG founders Jay & Sanjay Koshiya were starting their hospitality venture along with Jim Ecton at Level Builders. The five of us in the office of a beat-up hotel we were renovating was a special time and one I won’t forget. Had to dig deep to set aside my life of sports project globetrotting to grind out smaller—but as it turns out—very personally rewarding projects. I had disliked biz networking, but that goes out the window when launching a business. Learned how to hustle and loved the connections I was making.

Projects floated in: Kelly Manning at Tavern In The Village; Owen Buckley at LANE4 Property Group with Jeff Berg (Colliers) renovating Corinth Square. Driving out to Dodge City for their historic downtown master plan when we needed to be back at the garage drawing. Crazy times. Stressful. Exhausting. And absolutely worth it.

I became a better person and architect, better listener and connector, better at giving back. But the sports world we left didn’t forget about us. Mike Kress back to you.



Stay tuned for the rest of the Generator story.