Mary Moltzan’s earliest foray into architecture may have occurred in the backyard of her suburban Chicago home at age 5, but its location was almost certainly an indicator that she’d one day wind up in the Sunshine State.
“I remember already wanting to be an architect then,” she told GrowthSpotter, “and I had a sandbox that was about 10-by-15. I would build roads and cities. I also loved to draw boats.”
Moltzan’s name now carries with it a prominent title: she’s a partner at Charlan Brock & Associates with a host of designations: AIA, LEED AP BD+C . They’re all achievements attributed in part to the influences of an engineer father and a prevalence for technical solutions over written ones.
Outdoorsy as a child, Moltzan was active in Girl Scouts and briefly considered majoring in forestry, but high school activities like drafting, in which she excelled, slowly won out over others – including band.
“I played the saxophone,” she laughs. “I was terrible.”
Moltzan’s love for camping, however, persisted. While an undergrad at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, a random weekend trip turned into a 25-year annual tradition between a core group of 15 friends, Midwestern architects and engineers all, until others began assimilating into the mix.
“First we were talking about work, then we were talking about kids, then we were talking about 401Ks,” Moltzan explains. “Some of us married each other, some brought in new spouses, a few dropped out and have been unable to attend for several years – but we’ve moved around to places like Minnesota, Kentucky and Pennsylvania.”
Moltzan’s husband, Jim, whom she met at a wedding in 1990, was one of the non-architects. Like, really non-.
A kung fu-based martial artist, Jim moved to Orlando in 1992 to open a school and Moltzan followed soon after. Though the business lasted only five years, the marriage is still going strong with 21 years coming up in September.
“I did a lot of martial arts early on,” Moltzan says. “Now I’m just trying to keep up with my kids.”
Son Max, 18, just graduated from Lake Brantley High School and will be off to the snows of Syracuse University in the fall. Here’s hoping some of his parents’ Midwestern blood runs in his native Floridian veins. Daughter Tory is 16.
“We’re trying to figure out the semi-empty nest thing,” Moltzan says. “We just got back from vacation and part of our conversation while away was about putting together the Bucket List – but first we’ll have to figure out college for our daughter.”
In the meantime, a newer tradition – visiting at least one new baseball stadium a year – is a fun placeholder that began about seven years ago. She says they’ve logged almost 15 thus far.
“For some reason, we’re Cubs fans,” she laughs, “and if we can see the Cubs, that’s great, but it’s not mandatory. Last year, we were in Cincinnati and saw the Reds play the Nationals.”
On her hot list to see: Yankee Stadium in New York City’s Bronx neighborhood and, quite conversely, the Big Green Monster at Boston’s Fenway Park. She had hoped to see a ball hit the water of McCovey Cove during a foray to San Francisco’s AT&T Stadium, which sits right on the bay, but missed out.
Wrigley Field, however, remains Moltzan’s all-time favorite, one that brings her architects’ excitement bubbling to the surface.
“They’ve done so much work on it – a ton!” she says. “They’ve made it into a really cool place.”