Architect Gary Brock is one of those people who went on vacation and bought a timeshare. The usual story - fell in love with the place, got a sales pitch and made the plunge. But it wasn’t in Orlando … or even in Florida. Gary and wife, Michele, bought their timeshare in the mountains of North Carolina.
“We had never really been to the mountains and were invited with friends,” some 30 years ago, Brock said. “We came up with the kids.” The timeshare became the Florida family’s vacation spot until their children – boys Tanner and Taylor – graduated from college. Now, they have a mountain house to call their own.
“We found a lot and built this place” about 14 years ago, Brock said. “It’s really our second home.”
Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Brock mountain house is in Sapphire Valley – about 60 miles southwest of Asheville. Brock has a loft office in which he works. There, he also admires the view of the golf course and enjoys temperatures that hover in the 70s this time of year. “It’s just beautiful – it’s heaven.”
Brock, and college friend and fellow architect Butch Charlan started Charlan Brock Architects in in 1981. Charlan and Brock went to the University of Florida together and later worked at another Florida firm together. Charlan changed companies and contacted Brock one day to say he wanted to start a firm that was different and wanted Brock to do it with him.
“Butch said let’s go sailing and talk about it,” Brock said. “We had some wine and a handshake on the boat and that’s how we started the company.”
The partners have a sailboat model in the Charlan Brock office in Maitland – a reminder of that day, Brock said. The company, which focuses on urban, suburban and village development, now has six partners. Among their accomplishments and examples of their work include The Ivy Residences at Health Village and The Hub Orlando – student housing at the University of Central Florida. Both are unique community-oriented complexes.
Brock’s sons also work at the company and are part of the culture Brock and Charlan want to pass on of “impacting lives together.” Tanner is head of the construction administration department; Taylor is a project manager.
Impacting Lives is a business purpose the company has been following, part of how they wanted to be different, Brock said, but is now putting down on paper as the focus and culture for the future – impacting employee lives, client lives and the lives of those who choose to live in the communities they create. “Everything we do – we can be thinking ‘how are we impacting lives?’.”
As they plan for the company’s future, Brock and Charlan have a plan for retirement – its fluid though. Could be eight to 10 years, Brock said, but as they enter a new era, they are both going to allow themselves time off.
For Brock, that time off will be traveling with Michele. They plan to go to Alaska in August. “We haven’t been to Europe yet and want to do that.”
As they plan for the company’s future, Brock and Charlan have a plan for retirement – its fluid though. Could be eight to 10 years, Brock said, but as they enter a new era, they are both going to allow themselves time off. For Brock, that time off will be traveling with Michele. They plan to go to Alaska in August. “We haven’t been to Europe yet and want to do that.”
The Brocks will continue to spend as much time in their North Carolina paradise too, Brock said. By themselves and with their sons and their wives and the five grandchildren.
They like to hike and go to concerts and restaurants with friends. “We go up to the Pisgah (National) Forest – lots of waterfalls around and into Highlands – a beautiful town,” he said. “All these people from Florida are here in the summer. We’ve got lots of friends.”
Brock is no hurry to retire. “It’s something that is still very enjoyable,” he said. “It’s a great culture. It’s just a fun working environment. I don’t have any motivation to leave that.”
Brock is no hurry to retire.
“It’s something that is still very enjoyable,” he said. “It’s a great culture. It’s just a fun working environment. I don’t have any motivation to leave that.”