Vladi Gorelik is the Regional Chief Architect for a national construction company, specializing in the design of office buildings and other corporate structures. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Vladi lives in The Woodlands, Texas with his wife and their two german shepherds, Duke and Marner.
Having designed more than 15 office parks, including 4 buildings of 5 stories or more, Gorelik has solidified himself as a staple in the Texas construction industry over a career that has spanned more than 25 years. He completed his undergraduate degree in Environmental Design at Texas A&M University before earning a Master of Architecture degree from The University of Texas in Austin.
Gorelik is an avid runner and chooses to spend most of his free time exploring with his wife, Stephanie. He is also a die-hard Houston Astros fan, and often writes opinion pieces about the team on his blog page.
1. What does a typical day consist of for you?
I try to get the most out of each of my days – both personally and professionally. Stephanie and I get up at about 5:30 every morning and go for a 1-2 mile run. We’ll have breakfast, take the dogs for a walk, and maybe watch the news. Once I get to work, not much of my day could be considered ‘typical’. As an architect, I spend a lot of my time working with project managers, drafting new building plans, visiting sites, designing small-scale building models, and seeking approval from different government agencies that we’ll need permits from. I also spend a significant amount of time with my team researching zoning rules and analyzing legal documents to make sure we’re allowed to build what we want to build.
When I get home, I try to shut work off completely and focus on some of my hobbies or spend more quality time with my wife and our friends. I’m certainly guilty of checking my emails at night though, so work-life balance is something I admit I could improve.
2. What keeps you motivated?
Honestly it’s the desire to show myself that I can do great things when I put my mind to it, that keeps me motivated. Architecture is all about learning how to push the envelope on new and exciting ideas while utilizing the lessons learned by our predecessors. It’s thrilling to me when I come up with a radical idea for a new project and am able to sit down (through serious trial and a lot of errors) and solve problems. My ideas turn into structures that will last long after I’m gone.
3. Where do you get your inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from everything in my life. I love to travel, and I love to live outside my comfort zone. I try to listen to the input of as many people as I can when I’m designing a new project. My designs are an amalgamation of my experiences and ideas, and are also influenced by what I take in on a daily basis.
4. Who has been a role model to you and why?
I grew up in a home with a single father with two siblings, as my mother fell sick and passed when I was very young. Watching him raise three children the way he did was always inspiring to me then, but even more so now that I’m older. He was faced with an absurd situation and every day did what he had to give us the best life possible. I know my brother and sister would both say the same thing, but I consider him to be my best friend even to this day. He instilled in us that even though life is going to throw everything but the kitchenette sink at you, that you have to keep moving forward. That’s stuck with me.
5. You’ve been a Houston Astros fan your whole life and have seen the ups and downs of the franchise. What kept the faith in those years of turmoil?
My parents were season ticket holders from the day the Astros started as the Colt .45’s in 1962. When my siblings and I came along my parents gave up their season tickets to help pay the bills, but still took us to a lot of games at the Astrodome. I value the time spent with my mom and dad dearly, and as I grew older my father and I really bonded at the ballpark.
But the baseball was intoxicating.
I had the privilege of watching some of the greats – Nolan Ryan, Craig Biggio, Mike Scott, Jeff Bagwell… the list goes on. We went through some tough times as a fanbase. 2011-2013 stands out as particularly painful… 3 consecutive 100 loss seasons will do that. But seeing them win the World Series in 2017 made a 51 year wait seem that much sweeter.
I began writing about the team as an excuse to dive deeper into some of the analytics that baseball is known for. Numbers fascinate me, so it’s always been fun to dig up interesting stats or facts and share them with other Astros fans on my blog.
6. What’s one piece of advice you would give to others?
When it comes to architecture, I always tell young professionals to be bold. Bring huge ideas and see what it takes to make them happen. In school we’re in awe of the modern marvels made possible by famous architects, but the reality is that they started out just like you and me. What they possessed was the willingness to shut out all of the people who told them that their ideas were impossible and they found solutions for problems that seemed larger than life.
7. Outside of work, what defines you as a person?
I would have to say adventurous. My wife and I love to find new things to do and explore. Because of our jobs, we don’t get to travel out of the country as much as we would like, but we make the most of our surroundings in Texas and the southwest states.
8. Explain the proudest day of your professional life.
Seeing my first building as a lead architect through from conceptualization to completion was by far the most rewarding day of my career. I had worked on a variety of projects in different capacities before that, but when you’re in the driver’s seat it’s a whole different pressure. The whole process took about 22 months and it threw curveballs my way that I never saw coming. I was lucky to be surrounded by a very talented team of professionals and together we got the job done only a month behind schedule – and most importantly, UNDER budget!