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Focal Point: Jacob Cherry, AIA, Project Manager

Jacob Cherry, AIA, is a project manager at Wold with over a decade of experience in the design and construction industry to guide projects through all phases of project delivery. With project experience ranging from master planning and new school design to long-term facility maintenance and accessibility improvements, he has a passion for helping to create inclusive environments for all users. His commitment to fostering meaningful dialogue and collaborating with our clients helps to bring their visions forward.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, his Cajun grandmother’s alma mater, and a Master of Architecture from the University of Minnesota. Born and raised in Baton Rouge, he spent much of his youth fishing in the swamps and salt marsh of the Gulf Coast and considers water a central force in his life.

How does your personal experience influence the planning and design of education environments?

My parents were always strong supporters of the public education system. I attended East Baton Rouge Parish Public Schools, a system that struggled to integrate after the Brown vs. Board of Education decision through a desegregation process that spanned nearly six decades. All of my education took place in underfunded schools that faced difficulty in providing adequate educational environments and suffered from years of neglect. I understand from firsthand experience the impact that the quality of space can have on a student's education. Through my work, I prioritize the learner’s experience and seek to improve facilities so that they may better support educational programming. I actively strive to practice our purpose of making a difference in the communities we serve because it has a deep personal meaning for me.

How did you first become interested in the architecture industry?

My first job as a teenager was in residential and commercial roof repairs. Year after year during hurricane season, I would drop what I was doing and help families and businesses keep a dry roof over their heads. Later, I worked as a carpenter’s apprentice, piecing back together historic homes. In fact, I’ve worked on the restoration of two historic homes built prior to 1800 and once put a wood roof on a house by hand-cutting shakes with a hatchet. I found a passion for restoring old buildings, and during the economic recession, I took that passion with me when I returned to school to pursue an education in architecture.

How do you define creativity?

Sometimes spontaneous and sometimes the result of a focused effort, creativity is the application of cultivated skills to solve a problem. It just happens that sometimes the “problem” is a blank canvas or a broken chair, and the skills might be tangible, physical craft, or intangible and knowledge-based.

If you weren't an architect, what would you be doing?

With my background in restoration and building, I would probably be a residential contractor.

What advice do you have for new professionals in the industry?

I recommend surrounding yourself with people you trust and respect. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make mistakes, in the right company you’ll find answers to both!

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More About Jacob

My wife and I met in 2008 in Louisiana. Since we met, we’ve lived together in five cities across three different states, moving a total of 11 different times. Throughout our many moves, we picked up some strays. I’m a big softie when it comes to animals, and we currently have three indoor cats and three strays that hang around my house and get two meals a day (don’t worry, we had them fixed and immunized). If raccoons and opossums start coming around, I’ll probably feed them too. We have nine niblings (nieces and nephews) and no children.

What do you do in your spare time / what are some hobbies you enjoy?

I’m an outdoor enthusiast. Any chance I get, I’m either on the water or in the woods. I enjoy fishing of any kind and bow hunting. You could also call me a tinkerer as I enjoy woodworking, mechanics and generally taking stuff apart to see how it works.

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What advice would you give to your 21-year-old self?

Stay in school, apply yourself and never compromise your values. Keep a straw hat with you in the summertime, an ice chest with fresh ice and cold water and a fishing pole in your truck.

What type of music is on your workplace playlist?

I’m a southern hip-hop aficionado, but lately, I’ve been diving into Americana. It’s a strange mix when my Spotify channels combine those two together. More than anything, I love live blues music and have seen Tabby Thomas and Chris Thomas King at small venues – once while bartending at Teddy’s Juke Joint, and I most recently saw Buddy Guy live at the Ryman.

What is one thing on your bucket list?

I want to travel more! It’s the bucket list item that you can never cross off and always provides an opportunity for new experiences.

To learn more about Jacob Cherry, his experience and his insights, visit here. Our Focal Point series provides a behind-the-scenes look at the talented team members that bring our work to life.

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