4 Questions with Spirit of Advent Award winner Davy Fisher
With Advent since 2011, design director Davy Fisher feels Advent is just getting started. Fisher’s colleagues feel the same way, and they know he is a crucial part of that journey. This year, Advent employees bestowed upon Fisher The Spirit of Advent Award, given each year to the person across all departments who most exemplifies the values, mantras and vision of Advent. This person is the shining beacon who most represents the true spirit of Advent. Fisher, who has worked on recent projects such as TCU’s Athletic Hall of Fame and football offices and the University of Wyoming Gateway Center, designs these spaces himself, leads teams of designers, presents concepts to clients and drives architectural integration on key projects. Here, he joins us to discuss what this award means to him and to reflect on 2016. What does this award mean to you? Davy: One is just at a fundamental level, it’s being appreciated and recognized. The Advent culture is a very fast-paced and aggressive culture, but it’s also got a heart and a soul at the center of it. That’s very meaningful to me. The one thing you can always trust is that John Roberson and Todd Austin and the leadership of the company are good, deeply appreciative people, even if they ask a lot. They are always looking for ways to give back and there is this cultural bloodline of generosity and it shows up in the way they do the Christmas party and it shows up in the culture. It shows up in selecting individuals and appreciating them. What project did you work on this year that made the biggest impact on you, whether professionally or you felt like it really made a difference for someone else or maybe just looked cool? Davy: I thought TCU looked cool. I’m very proud of it. I liked the client a whole lot. The most meaningful project might have been one that I don’t think we ended up actually working on beyond consulting. I don’t know how they found us, but a university came to us and said “We’re building this $2 million innovation institute, we don’t really even know what it is except that we want it to be a place where the corporate sector, the faculty and teacher sector and the student sector all collide and create innovation out of those meetings.” We had 60 days to go out there and listen to the chancellor and vice chancellor and try to understand their vision and translate that information they could take to people and companies that would be stakeholders in the project. There were 40 pages of extremely heavy documentation on their vision that was difficult to understand. We crunched that with a pretty small group of people, including myself. We had never done it before, but we figured out how to step into their language and it took us three weeks to figure everything out. We designed a donor packet that was a little bit of text, a bit of technology, a bit of thought work. I think it might have been so satisfying because we had never done it before, that specific kind of project. It was a consulting sort of relationship where the client really said, “We’ve got a problem, can you help us solve it?” It was more thought work then design work, even though there were some really beautiful designs that we were really proud of, too. It had a great impact on me personally because as a representative of Advent, I gained great confidence and I knew that we could sit with anyone at any level and help them. It was super stressful but it was definitely the most meaningful project for me in 2016. What is your favorite part about working at Advent? Davy: It’s the collaboration. Coming to work and leading in a group of people that is as smart or smarter than I am, designers who are better, writers who are better, technology guys that are better, all of us getting around a table and saying, “Ok, we’ve got to think of something different.” Or, “How can we take this problem and solve it for them?” What we consistently come up with is so much fun. Watching people grow into their positions and being able to be a part of that growth is so much fun. Learning to be sharpened by people who are so smart and so talented, to go through the process of designing something that finally lands on a wall is great. Seeing guys and gals get their sea legs and bring in experience is so fun. I really feel like we can do anything. We do university athletic environmental storytelling and environmental experiences and we’re great at it. But I think if someone came in and said, “Hey, I need help with a political campaign, and I want to do something someone’s never done before,” we could do it. We could hand-select our team and put them around a table and come up with a solution and it will be about helping that entity do what they’re trying to do. Last question and most important one: The Force Awakens or Rogue One? Davy: Oh, man! At this very moment, Rogue One. There are a lot of things about it that I love.