Franc Blackbird

Studio function: Big Cheese and ultimately responsible

“I got into architecture because it was the biggest challenge that I could find. And sure enough, every day I have to learn something new!”

Hometown: Sacramento now. Lived in a dozen states and Europe.

Licensed architect: California, Nevada

Education: Bachelor of Architecture-Design from Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX

First job: Junior Hot Shoppes dessert and salad server, Falls Church, VA.

Inspirations: Art, wine, foreign lands, nature

Interests: Science fiction, antiques, old buildings, dogs and cats

Pet peeves: Huge egos and cell phone conversations in public places

Franc has over forty years architectural and construction experience. In addition to experience as Principal of Blackbird Associates, she has served as:

Principal Architect for the department of Facilities Design and Construction at the University of California Davis Medical Center, leading a team responsible for planning, design and project management of a $500 million capital improvement program for a 120-acre campus in Sacramento, CA.

Assistant Manager for the Facilities Planning Department of the Texas Technological University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, Texas, leading a team responsible for planning, design and project management of a four-campus academic, research and patient care system located throughout West Texas.

Project Architect for two architectural firms developing laboratory, educational, detention and commercial facilities

Leslie Thomas

Studio function: Working projects from cradle to grave, quality control guru, specs sage

“Growing up, I loved art and doing artsy-craftsy projects. Architecture is a way to keep my childhood fun alive with a big electronic color book.”

Hometown: Roswell, New Mexico (alien? No, army brat.)

Licensed Architect:  California

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Architecture, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

First job: Restaurant drink server during high school, El Paso, TX

Inspirations: Fall, nature, my dad (a patriotic immigrant who taught us honesty, integrity, honor and pride)

Interests: Quilting, travel, hiking, camping, sci-fi, reading

Pet peeves: Drivers who don’t know where they’re going … in front of me

Leslie joined Blackbird Associates in 1999 and has thirty-five years of architectural and construction experience. In addition to Principal Architect of Blackbird Associates, she has served as:

  • Owner of a CAD drafting service primarily for architectural firms, working on governmental, post-secondary and commercial projects.
  • Project Manager for an architectural firm developing commercial and industrial projects.
  • Designer for three architectural firms developing commercial, multi-family residential, and educational facilities.

Toby Furuoka

Studio Function:  Design and manage small to large projects

“I have known this is what I wanted to do since I started drafting in high school as a freshman. It is challenging, rewarding and fun!”

Hometown:  Stockton CA, lived in Phoenix AZ for some time, now Elk Grove, CA

Licensed Architect:  California

Education: Associates of Occupational Studies, Architecture UTI, Phoenix AZ

Affiliations:  California Society of Healthcare Engineers

First Job:  The Creamery, made sandwiches, and scooped ice cream, Stockton CA

Interests:  Golf as much as possible, my dog, craft beer, sports, auto racing

Pet Peeves:  Flakes, slow drivers and golfers, entitled people

Toby has over twenty years of architectural and construction experience, in addition to experience at Blackbird Associates, he has served as:

  • Job Captain at a residential design firm in El Dorado Hills, CA: Managed production of architectural drawings of single-family residential production housing plans for major home builders.
  • Drafter at a custom residential design/build firm in Phoenix AZ: Produced architectural, structural, electrical, HVAC and plumbing drawings for high end custom residential projects, and assisted on the construction site managing sub-contractors for design build projects.
  • Fire Sprinkler System Designer at a fire sprinkler design/builder in Lodi CA: Produced fire sprinkler design drawings for, commercial, industrial, institutional, residential and education buildings.

Alvaro Vaca

Studio function: Project management, design, construction documents

“Architecture is a profession of service, I love collaborating with people of different backgrounds and orientation to help our clients achieve their goals, so they can provide their service!”

Hometown: Davis. Born and raised in Quito, Ecuador – at almost 10,000 feet altitude.

Education:  Architecture Degree from Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador

Licensed architect: California

First job: Collating paper for invoice books at uncle’s print shop during summers

Inspirations: Family

Interests: Travel, science fiction, macro photography, “fútbol”, music, geek stuff

Pet peeves: People blasting music at nature sanctuaries, such as camping sites or the beach

Alvaro has over seventeen years of architectural and construction experience in Education, Healthcare and Civic projects. In addition to experience as Project Architect at Blackbird Associates, he has served as:

  • Project Manager / Project Designer: Alvaro worked at medium, small and large firms in northern California developing and coordinating educational, government and healthcare projects. His role included everything from napkin sketches to successful closeout.
  • Drafter / Model Maker: Before there was Building Information Modeling & 3D, scale models were powerful tools to communicate architectural design to clients and stakeholders. Alvaro began his architectural career as a model maker for firms in the Bay Area.

Angela Corey

Studio function: Bookkeeping, marketing, administrative management

“Hops is a plant – Plants are vegetables – therefore beer = salad.”

“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”

Hometown: Half Sacramento, half Oceanside, CA

Education: BA California State University Sacramento

Interests: Art, photography, craft beer, ocean

First job: Retail

Experience: Bookkeeping 20+ years, marketing 15 years

Pet peeves: Bad/slow drivers

Angela has been with Blackbird Associates, Inc. for three years and is responsible for keeping everyone on their toes.