Introducing BRW’s newest Architect—Justin Zumel, AIA!

There’s nothing like closing out a year by checking a major goal off the list. Justin Zumel did just that by passing his last two exams on the final days of November. He’s at a loss for words about how he feels to be finished. Relieved. Excited. Apprehensive. Curious about what to do with all the extra time.


Justin graduated from Texas A&M in 2016 but didn’t start testing until the end of 2019. He set an ambitious goal for completing the process in six-months. He relearned how to learn and understood the challenge of maintaining a balance between being a team player on the job while honoring his professional aspirations.


He failed along the way – an obstacle that was not planned for, but he knew of the possibility. Undeterred, Justin restructured his process. He established a rhythm of studying before and after work each day and full 6-8 hours on weekends. If you were in the Dallas office at 6:00 AM, you could find Justin in a focus room pouring over his materials. COVID-19 knocked him off course, but he found motivation in recording his hours on a spreadsheet. The final 10 weeks were very intense.


After roughly 1 year since his first exam, Justin passed his last two exams back-to-back and did not celebrate until the results were on his NCARB record. He shared the good news with his mother first – and tried to trick her into thinking he’d experienced another setback. After sharing the good news, Justin enjoyed a cold beer, some well-deserved sleep, and a little binge-watching.


So now what? Justin’s not quite sure, but he’s excited to find out. We’ll just have to stay tuned to see what he accomplishes next!

Congratulations Justin!