ADC All-Stars: Tom Benefield, Senior Job Captain

Think of your dream architecture firm. Do you envision a stifling, stuffy environment that limits your creativity and is simply a place you go to work, or do you imagine a place where you can hone your craft, let your imagination soar, and construct a fulfilling career? If you are like many architects, whether you’re fresh out of college or have gained some hands-on experience, you probably envision the latter. And at Architecture Design Collaborative (ADC), that’s precisely what you get at an architectural design firm! 

Since 2014, ADC has been a nationally ranked architecture firm that serves Southern California with innovative designs, which is only possible because of our team. Read the first installment in our ADC All-Stars series to meet Tom Benefield, a Senior Job Captain at our firm and a key contributor to our culture of growth, inclusion, and collaboration.

ADC All-Stars: Meet Our Senior Job Captain, Tom Benefield!

Tom is a Cal Poly Pomona graduate and has been with the ADC team for 8 months. Before working with us, Tom worked in a lot of different disciplines. 

This varied experience includes a stint at a structural engineer’s office during college and at a model shop and landscape architecture firm during the recession when everyone was bouncing around where the work was. But he says he learned a lot on his path.

“I worked in multi-disciplined offices and got a lot of experience on several design projects that taught me more than any class could have. These projects included mechanical, electrical, plumbing, structural, health care, and civil engineering projects. Even if I didn’t work directly with the specialists on these projects, I was always asking questions and learning from them.”

– Tom Benefield, Senior Job Captain, ADC

By gaining knowledge from other people, Tom says that he learned the importance of passing on knowledge and how important it is to get an array of experience for your professional development, which is something he loves about ADC: you get plenty of hands-on experience and never get pigeon-holed in a single role. 

“One thing that makes Tom so great to work with is he’s always offering advice and available for questions. It feels like his top priority is helping us grow professionally. We always have opportunities to develop and learn. I think I speak for everyone when I say that it feels like you are always in a position to advance your architecture career here. When it comes to the knowledge he has, there’s an open bar.”

Sophie Johnson, Designer, ADC

Tom’s mom worked in auto dealerships for 30 years, and she saw a lot of trends and changes, which they still talk about whenever he sees her. Because of this, he says that he’s learned to embrace change and adapt, a quality he has instilled in his team.

As for the field itself, he says that what he enjoys the most is that he has learned so much about different fields, whether designing, managing, or facilitating a project, and can bring it all to the table for design projects with ADC. And the learning never stops!

“Architecture is truly a fascinating career because you have to gain at least a surface knowledge of so many things, which my past work experience has helped with. I see my knowledge in this field as a structure you’re constantly building, remodeling, and making it more impressive. And the fact we can make a difference in the world through design? That’s icing on the cake.”

– Tom Benefield, Senior Job Captain, ADC

Tom says even if the project itself doesn’t sound like a colossal feat, such as an office building, for example, a great design and build still have a monumental impact on the people who experience the space. And that’s what it’s all about. 

What Tom Loves About the ADC Culture

Since Tom has been here, he has really enjoyed the environment and how relaxed it is at ADC. He says that, while there’s obviously still work to do, all the pieces are in place for him and his team to succeed, which isn’t always the case.

“I’ve worked at a lot of offices, and ADC has been a lot less frustrating than other places where those pieces aren’t in place. So you’re making everything while going a hundred miles an hour on a project. Here, projects still go fast, but it’s more manageable, there’s enough time to do the side work that has to be done, and they give you all the tools you need to succeed. There’s no extra static involved in trying to get your stuff done.”

– Tom Benefield, Senior Job Captain, ADC

Another feature of the company culture that he greatly appreciates is the flexibility and willingness to accommodate employee schedules, which is exemplified in our hybrid work schedule. But, he says, the managers and culture still promote an unrivaled collaborative atmosphere! 

“Obviously, we have a hybrid work schedule. That’s been crucial for our work-life balance. But the impressive thing is we don’t compromise our team-oriented, collaborative culture for that flexibility. We have days when we’re all in the office, and everyone’s super comfortable collaborating. I’ve worked in offices where managers undercut and undermine each other because they’re competing. I love that we all have the same goal of succeeding for clients and helping each other grow professionally. It’s truly a special environment.”

– Tom Benefield, Senior Job Captain, ADC

But he also loves the company events and how vibrant and young the culture is at ADC. He says it helps keep him young and makes work more exciting (in more ways than one)! 

“For birthdays, they do a lot of cool celebrations with cakes and stuff. And we even had one with a nice fruit platter, which I haven’t seen in a while. We used to do them all the time back in the nineties, and I’d be lying if it didn’t take me back to the salad days a little.”

– Tom Benefield, Senior Job Captain, ADC

As for the people he works with and his experience as a manager? He defines his role as a check-in, and he loves that everyone can jump in and ask questions, how willing everyone is to help, and how different the team’s background is.

Whether you’re working on the development side or have a project with an interior aspect, there’s someone on the team who can help. And this has been, undoubtedly, his favorite part of joining the ADC family!

“If I had to describe ADC in a word, I’d say it’s young. And I love that. Everyone’s always passing knowledge on, and I’m in the middle of that ladder. It feels really good to help the younger members of our team build good careers, and it also feels good to learn from those with more experience than me, no matter their title. Plus, that youthful energy is infectious and keeps things interesting!”

– Tom Benefield, Senior Job Captain, ADC

Do You Want to Join a Team of All-Stars and Create Innovative, Inspiring Spaces? Apply Today to Join ADC!

Are you searching for a firm where new and seasoned architects can receive the opportunities and tools they need to architect their dream careers? Well, when you join the all-stars at ADC, that’s what you get.

Ready to lay the foundation of your dream career? Visit our Architecture Jobs page to apply today to join a team of architectural All-Stars!