Bradenton native Michael Bryant, vice president of Fawley Bryant Architects, Inc., is in charge of designing the new $51-million Manatee Technical Institute (MTI) campus at Caruso Road and S.R. 70 in east Manatee County. The 215,000-square-foot facility is expected to open in 2008.
"I graduated from Manatee High School, class of '73. Starting in the 11th grade, I attended a two-year drafting program at MTI part-time during the school day. That's where I took a drafting class and decided I wanted to be an architect.
"I actually got my first job through MTI in 1974, as a part-time draftsman for a residential designer named Gary Tyler who designed small single-family homes mostly in west Bradenton. He gave me a lot of experience; I got to meet a lot of building contractors, and home owners would come into his office and we'd work with them. That gave me an understanding of how to talk to a client, an understanding of how buildings are built, and really how to put together drawings. It was fortunate that it was a one-man office because I got to be involved in every aspect of the job. If I had been employed at a larger company I would have been relegated to one task.
"I have a lot of respect for MTI. I wasn't a real stellar student. The basic academic atmosphere of high school wasn't enough for me. It took something like MTI to focus me and help me find a direction in life. Once I found a desire to be an architect, I went from a really poor student to someone who made A's in calculus in college.
"It's thrilling for me to do the MTI project. I was fortunate enough several years ago to be able to work on the $20-million Manatee High expansion, too; in fact, that's the reason Rick Fawley and I formed our partnership in 1994. As a former student, I think there's a passion down in there for the school. I'm really happy to be there."