Christopher Wilczynski, a Michigan State University landscape architecture graduate, is a senior design partner with Arthur Hills/Steve Forrest and Associates. He has worked on such courses as the Red Hawk Golf Club in East Tawas, Michigan; the Heritage Eagle Bend in Aurora, Colorado; the CrossCreek Golf Club in Temecula, California; the Heritage Ranch in Fairview, Texas; and the Black Golf Club in Yorba Linda, California.
I started working for Arthur Hills in 1987 as an intern. Over the years I have learned a lot from Art. He taught me to be very client oriented–making sure the client is getting what they want and getting a good value. Arthur taught me to be very business savvy.
Fresh out of college, all I had was my design school background. He shaped me and showed me how to make a design better, to make sure the contractors were turning a profit as well, and how to do it all with a smart business sense. He also showed me how to enjoy some of life simple pleasures, too.
We were doing a course in San Antonio, Texas in 2001 – adding nine holes to the Hyatt Hill Country Resort for our longtime client, Woodline Development. We were going to spend a day in San Antonio and then head to Austin the next day to start work on a new project there. We had dinner that night at a famous steakhouse, and we were all climbing into the car, headed to Austin, when Art turned around and ran back inside the restaurant.
We assumed he’d either forgotten something or was going to use the restroom before getting in the road. Whatever Art’s reason, he ran back inside with such urgency, we didn’t question it.
He returned a few minutes later with a gigantic pecan pie and four forks!
The next day in Austin, during our design meeting, we had our mid-morning break. I went out to the car to grab some paperwork, and there was Art, sitting in the van, eating the leftover Pecan pie. I didn’t bother asking for a bite!