PAT ARMOUR: Ha rd Wo rk a nd Foun da t i on fo r W hen Pat Armour founded Armour & Associates in 1965, the firm’s success was not a foregone conclusion. However, what started as a one-man shop in his house 50 years ago would grow to eventually become Pond & Company. Pat was already a successful structural engineer when he decided to start his own firm. He was aided by his hard work, passion for the industry, and not a small amount of good timing. He was in the right place (Atlanta) at the right time, when the city was embarking on a building boom. The firm grew along with the city. “He laid the foundation for the reason we’re sitting here now,” recalls Greg Swinks, Pat’s grandson. That foundation began after World War II, when the young Navy veteran graduated from Georgia Tech in 1951 with a degree in Architectural Engineering with a structural emphasis. Charles Rudolph Armour, Jr., was nicknamed “Pat” in honor of his birthday—he was born on St. Patrick’s Day. He was also a born engineer. Greg describes him as “a true structural engineering nerd.” He was a big time tinkerer and loved technology and computers. That engineer had a musical side—he played trumpet in a jazz band at clubs around Atlanta during college to pay for school. Greg recalls that he was good, and he still played occasionally for his family in later years. In the 1970s and ‘80s, Pat threw everything he had into making the company succeed— financially and personally. “It was a substantial commitment,” said Greg. The company faced its share of growing pains, but Pat was determined to see it succeed. His hard work eventually paid off. Al Pond agrees. “He laid the foundation for everything we are today. He was the consummate professional and a respected structural engineer in the Atlanta community.” Al joined the firm 10 years after it started, and Pat was someone he looked up to and respected. “To run a successful business you need two types of people—someone to get the work and someone to do the work. Pat’s forte was his technical ability in how he did the work. “Integrity. When I think of him I think of integrity. A business starts with integrity,” says Al. “He was a great role model for myself and others.” Pat’s projects read like a Who’s Who of Atlanta landmarks— they include the Georgia World Congress Center Phases 1 and 2, Underground Atlanta, Scottish Rite Hospital, Perimeter Center and Southlake Mall. John Fumbanks recalls that when Pat was working on the first phase of the Georgia World Congress Center (which was the biggest project at the time for the firm) he worked with a developer who insisted that everything be done as economically as possible. Pat’s innovation was to come up with an economical system for the design of the exhibit hall roof that would be repeated on successive phases of the GWCC. John says the roof framing scheme he developed, an “alternate panel loading system” spread the weight equally throughout the roof. John recalls that Pat made the structural elements consistent so there was an economy of scale for the steel fabricator to purchase materials. John met Pat through professional associations, before he even joined the firm. He recalls that around 1980 he attended a GSPE meeting at which Pat and Jim Cape were also present. John had recently changed jobs and the partners asked him how he liked his new employer. “They told me that if I ever decided to make another change, to let them know first.” He did, and in 1981 John joined what was then known as Armour & Cape. In those days the firm’s work was primarily commercial development. “Pat had a knack for knowing how to design a 4-10-floor structure economically,” says John. Pat trained a lot of the young engineers, passing on knowledge he had gained from his own mentors. Was Pat a mentor for John as well? “Yes, very much so. He was extremely willing to teach people in the firm.” Despite his portfolio of high profile projects, the main outward sign of Pat’s success was He laid the foundation for everything we are today. He was the consummate professional and a respected structural engineer in the Atlanta community. “ “