By Jason Hartman, Authority Magazine
February 10, 2022
…The final key to success is to be impactful. The desire to be impactful is at the heart of why many of us are in this industry and what drives us when we come into work. It’s not to push paper to get the job done, but it’s about the impact of the work that we produce, specifically with our mission at Wight & Company.
As a part of my series about the ‘Five Things You Need To Know To Create A Highly Successful Career As An Architect’, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mark Wight, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Wight & Company, an award-winning architecture, engineering and construction firm that has been in business for more than 80 years.
Mark Wight earned his Bachelor of Arts from Reed College and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Notre Dame. While Mark was never formally trained in architecture, engineering, or construction, he has been a determined student of the industry for the past 36 years. Under Mark’s leadership, Wight & Company disrupted the industry more than two decades ago by pioneering Design Led-Design Build, an integrated model of project delivery that promises design and delivery excellence at unrivaled schedule and cost savings. This multidisciplinary approach connects architects to the cost implications of their design decisions and centers the collaborative process as the key to discovering the most creative and responsible solutions.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this particular career path?
My grandfather, Raulin B. Wight founded Wight & Company in 1939 as a civil engineering and land surveying business. As the business started to grow, however, the world had other plans, and my grandfather left to serve his country as a Colonel in the Army Air Corps. When his tour was over, he brought his military engineering experience back home and reopened the doors of Wight & Company.
When my grandfather’s tenure came to an end, my father took over the business. He merged his architecture firm with my grandfather’s engineering firm, and a new iteration of Wight & Company was born.
I had no interest in leading the family business, but then my father got sick here in Chicago. He asked me to come back to help him organize the sale of his company to the people who worked there. However, when I came back and looked into the company, it had more debt than revenue. We needed a different solution since my entire family was wrapped up in it.
When I took over the company in 1987 it was very small and in trouble. It was through luck, good people, and a healthy dose of determination that we were able to win a couple of big jobs and here I am today.