AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – Architecture is a field that is still dominated by men and finding female presidents of architectural firms is even rarer. Sheila Sims is the president of ‘Sims + Architects’ and is making an impact on a field dominated by men. Sims said when she began architecture school, she noticed right away she was the minority.
“When you would get into a design studio there will be about fifteen, eighteen people. There were never more than three or four girls in a class. And so, you know you kind of got used to it early on,” said Sims. “I think there is a lot more women coming into architecture and construction now, which I think is awesome. But yeah, early on it was tough.”
Sims talked about a few of the struggles she faced when she first began her career as an architect.
“I remember a lot of the times I would go out in the field, to you know a job sight. They are constructing something that I drew, and a contractor will ask me a question. I would give them an answer and they will say well I’m going to call the office just to make sure,” said Sims. “You know, they didn’t necessarily believe me. But then they will call the office and they are like well what did she say. This, well then do that. So, it’s taken a long time, but I’ve been doing it for a long time. I’ve actually been at this firm for over thirty-two years.”
Although Sims faced a few challenges at first, she said her love for architecture is what keeps her going.
“My physiology is work hard and always do your best. Be nice to people and you will gain the respect. And so now I feel like I’ve gained the respect of the people I work with. You know the contractors in the field. It was a hard road to get here but it’s paid off,” said Sims.
An Amarillo native, Sim added that the most rewarding part of her job is looking at the projects she was a part of across the town.
“Architecture is a really exciting job and career. There is nothing cooler than thinking of something in your head and putting it on paper. Then walking through it you know once it’s built,” said Sims. “I grew up in Amarillo, I was born here east side went to Oak Dale, Bowie and Caprock and I just love Amarillo. I just love this town and it’s just fun to me to drive around and see things that I had a part of.”
During Sim’s career as an architect, she had the opportunity to be a part of many different projects in Amarillo. Sims said a few of her favorite projects were the Bowie sixth grade campus, the Amarillo College gymnasium and Amarillo city hall.
“I’ve really loved doing the fire stations, we’ve done three fire stations here in town. And those have been a lot of fun just working with the firemen. And, you know, they live there part of the time. So really doing something personal for them that, you know, is useful, but it’s also cool, we get a lot of compliments on those,” said Sims.
Sims mentioned that her most challenging projects are typically projects that involve people from outside of Amarillo.
“But it’s always fun. I like meeting new people. And, you know, we like challenges,” said Sims.
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