As a young man working with his father on construction sites, Jorge Carranza discovered he shared his dad’s passion for architecture and structure. “I spent a lot of time with him on the job,” he said, “and I used that as an opportunity to learn everything I could about building.”

His self-education led to early jobs as a “print guy,” organizing and coordinating technical drawings for a mid-sized firm. While there, he taught himself AutoCAD, the computer assisted design program, and was soon managing the company’s CAD operators. Not long after, he was overseeing operations for the entire 80-person firm.

The experience “prepared me for larger roles,” he said, and when the right one came along he took it, joining an international company as its liaison with global clients. “It was an education,” he explained, “and a chance to see how other parts of the world view architecture, and to overcome the language barriers that can get in the way of understanding the cultural differences in architecture.”

He later joined Newberry as a senior design associate and was quickly promoted in three months. Five promotions later, he became a principal. “I guess I showed a lot of initiative,” he explained. “I wasn’t afraid to take on unassigned jobs, and that created confidence in my abilities.”

That confidence has proved to be well founded.

When he was side by side with his father in the field, Jorge was able to see abstract concepts morph into concrete results. His hands-on knowledge of construction methods and building materials, coupled with a proficiency in drafting and detailing, are an ideal foundation that helps him manage everything from garage renovations to multi-million-dollar projects.

His professional abilities aside, the University of Houston engineering graduate has also sharpened another vital skill: communication.

“What makes a successful firm is the ability to get out of your own shoes and get into the client’s, and do what best fits them,” he said. “Every inch of a project has to be thought out with the client in mind. So we have to communicate constantly, listen, and be able to explain what we’re doing and why.”

The value Jorge places on attending to clients – as well as to his colleagues – comes naturally, as he has helped shape an internal culture at Newberry that puts people first.

“We’re really interested in each individual who works here,” he continued. “We have a diverse group, each with their own skill set, and we are always learning from each other. The respect we have for our people, like the respect we have for our clients, has strengthened the firm over time.”

Like others on the Newberry team, Jorge’s commitment reaches into the community as well. He created an organization to help engineering students at the University of Houston develop their portfolios, resumes and interview communication skills while also serving as a volunteer tutor for engineering students and as a volunteer with the Houston Food Bank. Additionally, he has participated in events for the Harris County Drug Court Foundation, the Houston AIA Kids and Architecture program, and AIDS Foundation Houston.

“I’ve had some great opportunities professionally and personally,” Jorge said, “and I’m grateful to have been given the chance to take advantage of them.”