Friday Bios: Marc Labadie

September 30, 2016

It’s been a while, but Friday Bios are back in full swing! This Friday we bring you Q&A with our soon-to-be-retired Specifications Writer, Marc Labadie. Marc has been with us since 1987, and though we are sad to see him go, we fully believe he deserves the break! Luckily our Friday Bio guru Elisa Rocha got some questions in before he was out the door.

Where are you from and what brought you here?
Born in Chicago in nineteen and forty-seven (as Paul Butterfield would say), first visited Portland in 1955, came to stay in 1965

Alma Mater?
Reed College 1969, BA in French Literature!

When did you realize you wanted to become a specification writer?
Growing up in Chicago, I was always interested in architecture (born, grew up and went to elementary school within six blocks of the Robie House in Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago); after college in the late 1960s, no way I was going back to school, but I was eventually able to talk my way into an office boy job at SERA in 1978—the rest is history.

Did you consider other careers? What were they?
4 years at USPS – as soon as they offered me a manager position I was out of there!
4 years as a land surveyor – interesting and fun to work outdoors, but not a career track

Which TVA project are you most proud to have worked on and why?
Tie between Nike World Campus and Knight Arena, for the successful integration of site and building(s), overcoming significant obstacles/problems.

Which TVA project was the most challenging and how did you or your team overcome the challenge?
Knight Arena—TVA transitioned during CA from design firm to take on primary responsibilities of prime architect and achieve occupancy on schedule!

What is your philosophy toward your work?
We all work together to produce a complete and buildable set of documents to enable construction of a well-designed project, joining building and landscape in an integrated package.

Name something beautiful, remarkable, or inspiring in Portland (building, space, environment, event, person, organization or organism… anything goes).
The variety of vibrant neighborhoods, each with its own character.

What is the last book you read?
Underground Airlines (speculative fiction about US history if Lincoln had been assassinated before taking office and the northern states blinked and allowed slavery to remain in the Deep South).

What is your desert island food?
(Sand?) Homemade ragu/pasta

What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your work?
The end of December ;)

Portland is changing rapidly. What do you miss? What do you love? What would you like to protect?
Life is change, get over it!

Name the most beautiful place you’ve been to in your life.
The front lawn at Reed College campus on any number of Saturday spring afternoons in 1966. View from a sailboat at the north end of Desolation Sound.

If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you meet?
Charlie “Yardbird” Parker
Yolanda Schweiger (first love in third grade)

What type of music do you listen to?
Jazz and blues, NOLA brass band

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
Play the piano

If you were immortal for a day, what would you do?
Nothing special—I am immortal every day (aren’t we all?)!

If you could retire tomorrow and money was no object, what would you do?
Ask me next year!