Getting to know Erik Velez

June 21, 2023

Erik Velez is an Architectural Project Manager known for his enthusiasm and creativity at HLZAE. With 10 years of professional experience, his responsibilities include project management, coordination and work typically associated with the Construction Administration phase of a project. There are some days where you can find Erik on site, overseeing interior finish-out projects, which includes assessing progress, resolving issues that inevitably come up during construction, and meeting with Owners & Contractors. On other days, you can find him in the office working on project deliverables, such as reviewing and coordinating project related submittals from contractors, development of drawings & bid sets, producing various report types and on occasion capturing photos for the Marketing Department.

Erik’s journey to the architectural world began in Dallas, Texas. He was stationed there as he worked in publishing and started his own national lifestyle magazine. He was also having his house built during this time and throughout the construction process, he started to become increasingly interested (bordering on obsession) in architecture and the built environment. He recalls a dinner conversation that occurred around the same time amongst friends and overheard someone at the table discussing how their brother had just finished Architecture School.

“I turned to my friend sitting next to me and commented on how that must be the most amazing career and I wish I had become an architect, to which they responded, ‘So why can’t you?’”

About a year and a half later, Erik found himself at the beginning of his Master of Architecture pursuit at NJIT. Inevitably, a change in scenery became necessary, which led Erik to New York City and eventually HLZAE.

With a head start at Zimmerman Project Management, a subsidiary under the HLZAE umbrella, Erik’s role transitioned as he became involved in many “non-traditional” HLZAE projects. He appreciates the diversity in the project types and being able to work with so many people throughout various studios and departments within the firm. What Erik enjoys the most about his role at the firm is difficult to pinpoint but doubling as the firm’s photographer is definitely up there. Whether assisting the Marketing Department or other studios, he loves whenever there is an opportunity to capture photos.

The most difficult aspect of Erik’s role is also one of the things he enjoys the most. Because he is fortunate to work on “non-conventional” HLZAE Projects, there is a learning curve, which can sometimes be steep. The upside is not only is there an added level of excitement to the project but it also often allows Erik the opportunity to work with colleagues he may normally not have had the privilege of working with.

“I use the work privilege because I have never worked at a firm with such a rich and diverse pool of amazing individuals with such extraordinary talent.”

When Erik isn’t on the job, you can find him doing anything related to photography, art and design, fishing, motorcycles. He also enjoys activities which involve hanging out with his dog named River. His favorite building is the Palazzo Chupi (360 West 11th Street) designed by artist, Julian Schnabel. The building’s style is of a Venetian palazzo but built on top of a prewar structure that was once a former horse stable.

 “The design typology that most speaks to me is a design that can incorporate and achieve the blending of classical and modern or contemporary architecture into a single design that beautifully contradicts itself.”

At HLZAE, we integrate our inspection, design, and construction services to prolong the lifespan of buildings. With each project, we evaluate the alternatives for traditional versus contemporary repair techniques and advise clients on decisions subject to landmark requirements. When it comes to executing project plans and generating project deliverables, you can always count on Erik Velez to work collaboratively with our team of architects and engineers to meet your project schedule and budget!

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