Paul L. Armstrong, AIA
A licensed architect since 1991, Paul Armstrong earned his Bachelors degree in Architecture from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1986. During his junior year he studied at the Ecole Des Beaux Arts in Versailles, France. He spent a significant amount of time traveling and studying throughout both Western and Eastern Europe. While in school, Paul earned numerous design awards including the coveted Earl Prize first place finish for the 1985 James-Stirling Competition in England. In 1987 he won the Aspiring Young Architect Award in Chicago from the American Institute of Architects, (AIA). By the year 2000, Paul received his MBA and thereafter acquired his Illinois Real Estate Broker's license.
Paul's professional experience is well rounded and includes architecture, construction, real estate and business management. Throughout his architectural and construction career he has focused primarily on residential projects ranging in size from small additions to high-end custom homes upwards of ten thousand square feet. In 2003, Paul acquired Edward A. Anderson Company, a fourth generation family construction business located in Winnetka. While working alongside the previous owner Jim Anderson, whom Paul is related to through family lineage, he laid out detailed plans to reinvigorate the company. He has since continued to build upon its century old reputation for excellence and the best in classic craftsmanship. As a business owner, Paul not only manages every aspect of the business, but also maintains an excellent relationship with each and every one of his clients and sub-contractors. In 2004, Paul became affiliated with Chip Hackley and Hackley & Associates, Architects. As architects and business partners they both provide their clients with a choice to design and build together using one team of professionals from Concept-to-Construction.
Highlights of Paul's early designs and construction work can be seen at the Highland Park Club designed by (Otis) OKW Architects. Later examples of his work can be seen at Southgate on the Glen, Glenview, where he was instrumental in the redevelopment of the Glenview Navel Air Station. Here Paul played a pivotal role in the overall management of custom home designs while improving traditional architectural styling and detail execution for Edward R. James Homes. He managed a large team of architects and designers while being responsible for the design and construction of more than 40 custom homes per year. These customized homes ranged in size from 3500 to 5500 square feet and were typically sold well in excess of a million dollars.
Prior to the Glenview redevelopment project, Paul spent seven years immersed in product design, engineering, maintenance and business management from a different perspective. In 1992, as a fourth generation family member Paul became Vice-President, Engineering of Armstrong Bros. Tool Co., a 100-year old family hand tool design and manufacturing business located in Chicago. In 1994, he served on the management team, which facilitated a merger between this company and Danaher Corporation, thus providing Danaher with a hand tool brand that could compete with industrial competitors owned by Snap-on and Stanley.
Paul continued on in a high profile position with the post-merger management team in Chicago, implementing strategic plans for the transition and integration of the Armstrong Brand and the 220 mostly union employees into the Danaher Business System (DBS). During this time, Paul also managed the Development of New Products and designed and patented the Scaffold Pry Bar Ratchet (US Patent #5970552). With 70 associates reporting to him, most of who were in the union, he became fluent in the tools of Total Quality Management (TQM) and used Kaizen, KanBan (Just In Time Manufacturing) and the ISO 9001 quality control system to increase productivity 35% over a two-year span.
He continues to use many of these same tools in his day-to-day business endeavors. He strives to streamline and improve efficiencies at Edward A. Anderson Company including the peaceful removal of the carpentry union, overall insurance burdens and other costly overhead structures. Doing so has reinvigorated his business, his employees and long time customers while remaking the company extremely competitive in the North Shore residential construction market.
While Paul loves his work, he will remind you that his greatest enjoyments in life revolve around his family of three children and his teenage sweetheart Paula, whom he married in 1990. Some of his most exciting life experiences occur during time spent together, whether at home or on one of their many travels – be it through Alabama where Paula grew up and went to college (Roll Tide), or to other national and international destinations. Paul is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and is active in numerous other local and national organizations. Paul and his family live in a home he designed and renovated in Wilmette. His children attend school in the same district (New Trier High School) that he graduated from in 1982. He and Paula enjoy giving back to their local community as well as Chicagoland through organizations such as Urban Initiatives and Christopher House.
When he is not traveling or exercising, Paul enjoys any outdoor activity – usually with his children in tow. These include, fishing, scuba diving, skiing, boating and camping or just fun in his own back yard. In fact, on cold winter weekends he can be seen cleaning the ice rink and making man-made-snow for sledding activities. When it comes down to it, Paul's philosophy is simple; "Life is short – so play like a kid who enjoys every minute of it!" Adhering to this philosophy, he continues to enjoy a lifetime of creating better environments for all to enjoy – both inside and out.