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BUILDING BLOCKS By Allyson Marrs

You may have seen Guy’s work around town. Chances are, you’ve even stepped in it at one point.

Guy is an engineer. Sectors of Bellevue are part of his resume. Civica, the Bravern, Washington Square and 989 Elements are all on that list.

The man is literally all around town. But the first materials he toyed with were a bit more…well, plastic.

“I liked to build things when I was young—Erector Sets, Legos and anything mechanical, I would take apart,” said Guy. “My mother would always come to me to fix things—the lights, the toaster and others. I was the designated repairman at home.”

5 ReflectionsNow, his company DCI-Engineers seems to be the designated structural consultants in Washington, and with locations in Oregon, California and Texas, in other states, too.

“It’s like a growing organism, really,” shrugged Guy. As long as you’re doing good work, it’s kind of its own entity, expanding on its own.”

After his Lego days, Guy attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo to upgrade his materials. He majored in civil engineering, and from there, he moved to Washington for graduate school at the University of Washington, earning his master’s in engineering, structures and mechanics.

It’s a safe bet that he can still build an out-of-this-world-cool erector set space machine, though.

Eight years into the industry, Guy and his friend Mark D’Amato decided to go out on their own. “Mark called me up one day and said, ‘Are you ready?’, and I said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it!’” said Guy. By 1988, the duo was in business.

That business is all details—safety details. “We design the skeleton of the building and then the architect puts on the skin,” said Guy. And the skeleton is essentially the guardian for every person who will eventually visit the building. “The structure is, of course, everything that supports the building, from gravity loads to seismic loads to wind loads.”

It’s a heavy responsibility, but Guy knows a thing or two about support and protection. “I have four sisters,” laughed Guy. Three of who are younger. “I was always the protector.”

Perhaps it’s because he grew up with so many sisters that Guy now seeks a little ease in both work and play. “When I look at a project, I like simplicity. Maybe it’s because that’s what I need in my life,” he laughed.

Some of his favorite projects have that effortless look. “I like building structures that are very clean, very organized and simple to construct.” Buildings like 1918 Eighth Avenue in Seattle. “Even though it’s not, by far, the most significant project we’ve done, it idealizes the way we’d like to be able to do all our projects,” he said.

Those terrifyingly tall high-rise buildings are some of Guy’s favorites. “They’re the most interesting. (1918 Eighth Avenue) was a fun project to be involved in just because of the nature of the site and the type of construction.”

Along with high-risers, DCI also creates hospitals, schools, shopping centers, fire stations, apartments and a hoard of others. “No way could I oversee all of the projects,” said Guy, “I mostly do selective project management,” estimating that the company has created thousands of structures over the years throughout the nation.

It’s a process that involves a team of architects and designers, and Guy wouldn’t have it any other way. “Relationships are probably the most enjoyable part of the whole industry. A lot of the people in the construction industry have similar interests, and it’s easy to develop friendships.”

But when it comes down to base level, the blue prints and steel beams are just the building blocks to the future bustling lives that will enter the finished project.

“I love seeing the whole project come together,” he said. “You start with a piece of ground and then you end up with this almost living structure—a building that houses people, that people work in and people live in. This is the pride of doing the project, and you get to say, this is one of ours.”


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