Alumni Spotlight

A Dream Career Designing Dream Homes

Joseph "Seppi" Hutter '12

Alumni SpotlightFor a long time, Joseph "Seppi" Hutter '12 knew he wanted pursue a career in architecture. He chose to move across the country from Seattle to attend Philadelphia University, which was initially a tough choice because of the distance. After he visited campus and spent time in the city, he fell in love with the area and felt at home. As a student, Hutter majored in Architecture and played on the tennis team.

Hutter's studies at PhilaU reinforced his dream to become an architect. Aside from his numerous late nights in the studio, Hutter gained experience during his 2010 summer internship at ID Architects in North Philadelphia. During his internship, Hutter worked alongside Ivano D'Angella, owner and professor of architecture and capstone course instructor at PhilaU. Hutter helped D'Angella with a small development in South Philadelphia by assisting with drawings and models. In 2012, Hutter graduated from PhilaU with his degree in Architecture. He values his PhilaU education because it allowed him to build a strong portfolio to present to potential employers. "In the field of design that is just as important as your degree, as it shows your skill set and what you can offer them," explained Hutter.

Upon graduation, Hutter encountered the challenge facing many recent graduates of finding full-time employment. According to Hutter, the field of architecture shrunk in half after the 2008 financial crisis. "Being a 2012 graduate, we were still feeling the hit and after graduating in May and having September roll around and then November, it was starting to get nerve racking in how long it would take to get a position," acknowledged Hutter. "But I kept with it knowing that eventually something good would come of it, and I ended up landing a great job at Gelotte Hommas."

Hutter is a job captain at Gelotte Hommas Architecture, an award-winning custom residential and commercial firm in Seattle. The firm recently celebrated its 30 years in business. At Gelotte Hommas, they design custom homes ranging from 5,000 square feet to much larger ones like the one Hutter is currently working on which is 16,000 square feet. His position allows him to be a part of all aspects of the design phase.

Being able to be a part of creating clients' dream homes is rewarding for Hutter. "Our clients save for years and years and come in to the firm so excited that they can finally afford to either build that dream home that they are going to raise their kids in or that dream home that they are going to retire in." During the 30 year anniversary party, the principal at the firm said, "Very early in my career it started to become less and less about the homes and more about the people." Hutter also shares those values which is why his career is so rewarding and fun.

When asked about the future of architecture, Hutter noted that urbanization will be very popular within the next 20 years. He explained that people of his parents' generation used to want to earn enough money to purchase a home in the suburbs. Today, more and more people will start to live closer to the city. "This will put a strain on infrastructure systems, most of which are hundreds of years old, and design will need to become more efficient and more sustainable."

Hutter plans to continue learning and growing. "This profession is something you cannot learn overnight," said Hutter. "I just want to keep gaining as much experience as possible." He would like to complete all of required tests to become a licensed architect.

Transitioning from life in college to being a working professional was not difficult for Hutter. Managing five years of academics and playing competitive tennis prepared him to be at ease with balancing his professional and personal life. Hutter continues to stay active by doing short distance triathlons and playing golf every Sunday with his friends.

He strongly believes that hard work and positivity have made him a stronger person and helped him succeed. "PhilaU has prepared you to be successful; go show the professional world that you can handle it." It does not stop at landing a dream job. "Keep looking for ways to make the business better and I think you will find yourself being very successful in your career."