Business leader says attending PBSC helped elevate him as a designer
Life has come full circle for Michael Garrison, a community business owner for the past 23 years. Growing up in Belle Glade, Garrison earned his associate degree in architectural design at Palm Beach State’s Belle Glade campus and has designed some of south Florida’s most prestigious properties.
During his time at Palm Beach State, Garrison saw much of his artistry and skill grow thanks to professor Todd Mowry, who taught drafting courses and enlisted Garrison to complete several small side projects. “Knowing the basics about lines is how we were taught at Palm Beach State.” Years later, professor Mowry would join Garrison in his business, a partnership that lasted 10 years.
Starting his first business as a drafting company for other architects and engineers, Garrison gained practical knowledge of construction drawing. “Understanding early how to build things taught me structure that I still rely on today.”
With a career in residential design, Garrison worked throughout the state from Ft. Lauderdale to Orlando with companies such as Gordan Homes. Later, he would shift his expertise to virtual reality.
After a rough patch caused by the recession in 2008, Garrison reinvented his business, embracing new mediums for his craft, including Omniverse, a digital platform for creating 3D workflows and applications. Now, most of his projects center around custom home design using virtual realities, something that has reinvigorated him. “I enjoy working and finding solutions with my customers. There is nothing that can’t be accomplished with a well thought out design.”
For today’s design students, Garrison shares his top three recommendations when entering the architectural design industry. “The idea should always start in the mind, develop your flow and begin with creating shapes of all forms. For me, I’m a drawer at heart and love working on exotic projects.”
Garrison offers a tremendous example of how his time at Palm Beach State provided an early educational foundation that has helped elevate him as a designer with a strong business acumen that has served him well. His ability to pivot in the face of adversity has brought a new path for him to demonstrate his proficiency and establish himself as an expert in his field.
One of Garrison’s mantras captures a simple yet powerful reminder of what the College strives to deliver for any student’s experience – in school, business and life. “I live on purpose and love to learn.” Remembering the tough times through which he persevered, Garrison didn’t lose sight of what has driven him since his days at Palm Beach State. “I followed my dream and never gave up.”
In recognition of Palm Beach State College’s 90th anniversary, the weekly Alumni Spotlight Series showcases the College’s role in preparing generations of graduates to achieve success in myriad careers and give back to their local communities.