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Photo, nnp, nd.
DIRECTION FOR CURTIS
During my days and nights in Saudi Arabia I had time to do a great
deal of thinking. I found that architecture, as we were practicing
it in New Orleans, was no longer fun. I had come to enjoy the freedom
and independence that the distance from my home office provided.
I could see things more clearly. I was tired and fed up with the
administrative problems that beset us--cash flow, payrolls, and
slow accounts receivable. I realized that I had lost communication
with my partner and that our goals were not the same. I thought
of establishing a separate international branch of Curtis and Davis
with offices in London where a fresh approach could be made. Failing
that, I firmly resolved to make a fresh start somewhere else. This
opportunity was not long in coming.
had not been paying their bills, and my work in Saudi Arabia had
not produced anything in three dimensions. There was evidence that
Saudi Arabia would embark on an austerity program. Our projects
might never be constructed, and the correctional projects we had
counted on would be tabled.
CURTIS AND DAVIS SOLD
TO DANIEL, MANN, JOHNSON AND MENDENHALL, 1978
During this period my partner, Arthur Davis, had made overtures
to sell the firm to Daniel, Mann, Johnson and Mendenhall (DMJM),
an extremely large architectural and engineering firm in Los Angeles.
His work had produced the terms of the deal. DMJM would acquire
our name and our jobs in progress, the large VA Hospital for North
Little Rock, the University of New Orleans Events Center, a prison
in Massachusetts, a large correctional institution under construction
in New York, and various small jobs for which they would pay us
according to a formula. We would keep the accounts receivable and
the accounts payable. We had two years to liquidate. For all intents
and purposes, Curtis and Davis, as we knew it, ceased to exist.
Davis and I would become employees of a new company with the same
name at our regular salaries plus attractive benefits and retirement.
But I also had the right to leave and still practice my profession.
The sale was finalized in May 1978. By July of that year I had started
a new career at age sixty as Nathaniel Curtis, FAIA, Architect,
a firm that consisted of me and my secretary, Veronica Ohlmeyer.
There are not many times in one's life when a major opportunity
presents itself to make a decision that can change one's life.