Culture of Opportunities: Q&A with Director of Architecture Ippei Iwata
In the world of Gray, things are constantly changing. From day-to-day, and seemingly hour-to-hour, the landscape for our team members is one of consistent movement. But it’s this ever-evolving environment that breeds a culture of opportunities for continual improvement within our teams and company. We spoke with Ippei Iwata, director of architecture at the Gray West office, about his time with Gray, his favorite part of the Gray family, and how this environment has spurred growth in him.
Can you tell us what your normal workday or “day in the life” is like?
“In my role, there’s not really a normal workday. One day, you may be on site at 4 a.m. watching concrete pour, knowing that a grueling amount of coordination was put in to make sure underground electrical conduits are in the correct place. Another day may bring 10 hours of constant phone calls and meetings. The very next day I may visit a potential customer to learn about their new production line. I am fortunate to be able to tackle different and unique days with a cohesive, hardworking, family-like team.”
What do you enjoy most about your work?
“I enjoy waking up in the morning knowing that each day will bring new challenges and new relationships filled with learning. There are enough variables on every one of our projects that my work is often about new discovery and learning.”
What do you like most about the Gray West Office and Anaheim?
“I enjoy the culture, cohesiveness, and diversity it offers. The Gray West design team now includes team members with demographics that represent Southeast Asia, East Asia, Western Asia, Middle East, and the U.S. The second language spoken most frequently is now Farsi.”
What has been the most memorable experience with Gray since you started?
“I remember the Gray team sweeping the floor at 11 p.m. as the customer’s president prepared for the final inspection the following day. This helped affirm a sense of belonging with the customer that no task is beneath one another, no detail is too small, and that the team is willing to do everything to make a project successful.”
In one word or phrase, how would you describe Gray?
If someone was visiting the Orange County area, what would you recommend to them as a “must-do?”
“I would recommend heading down to Newport Beach, pick up a longboard, look at the Pacific Ocean and slowly mumble, ‘The waves are so gnarly, dude.’”