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    PMA Architecture: Transforming Design into Vivid Reality

    Brian J. DePrinzio, OysterPointer Newspaper

    In the quaint historic district of Hilton Village, charmingly tucked away, sits the quiet office of architect Jeff Stodghill, AIA, president of PMA, Architecture, an award-winning plan­ning, and interior design practice. 

    "I think the world thinks architec­ture is drawing and picking colors and carpets, and we do that, but we do a lot more," Stodghill reveals about his process. "We work with a full range of clients to try to take their wish list and transform it into a vivid reality which ends up yielding a new building, a new space, a new place for them. It takes a lot of psychology and working with people, understanding what is implied sometimes, rather than what is said technically, to interpret what they need and what they mean." 

    Stodghill manages the overall design efforts and makes the projects work. "I am involved with the designs, the coaching of the staff and assign­ing projects that they can really aspire to," Jeff explains of the direction he provides to his team of 11. "One of our happiest times is when we show up with a plan and folks look at it and say 'that's exactly what I had in mind' or 'this is even better than what I thought.' What we do is related to making spaces, places, and buildings into dreams," Stodghill says. 

    Jack Stodghill, Jeffs father, and self-published author started Planning Management Associates (PMA) in 1978. Jack started as a sole practitioner under the name 'Jack Stodghill Associates' in 1974. He started the firm after 14 years of being planning director for the City of Newport News. He has the honor of having written the first zoning ordinance in Newport News and being responsible for the planning, imple­mentation, and creation of the original master plan for Newport News Park, the largest municipal park east of the Mississippi River. Jack was instrumental in the beginnings of the development of Oyster Point and, among many oth­er accomplishments, he made it possi­ble to have Hilton Village added to the national register of historic places. He is currently writing a second book that he hopes to publish. 

    When Jeff Stodghill partnered with his father after completing his bachelor's degrees in architecture and mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech, he had relocated from Washington, 0.C., where he had been working for seven years. "My dad gave me the opportunity to develop my own architectural practice inside of the existing firm. At that time, they were not doing architectural design. They were doing planning, landscape architecture and a whole array of operations and consulting work. The first thing 1 realized is that we needed to develop a presence in the design and architecture field,'' Stodghill explains. "Today, we are mostly architecture and physical design, in terms of business. We arrived here by hard work and good opportunities. Obviously, my education helped, but I was fortunate to have found something early on that I am so passionate about and also, fortunately, my dad gave me the envelope of time and his patience.'' 

    Jack proudly tells, "Jeff took the existing firm as his platform and has added his own skills as an architect to produce the firm that we have today. There is little resemblance between the practice we had in 1978 and today's. Today's is much better." Jeff attributes this success to a talented staff with a diverse skill set. PMA is planning an expansion for its company, moving down the block on Warwick Boulevard. 

    Stodghill and his wife of 27 years, Katie, have a 15-year-old daughter, Alice. He is chair of the Newport News School Board, and in this free time, he enjoys boarding, traveling and working on multiple projects at home. He plans to take his family to Germany on vacation this summer. 

    "My advice," Stodghill says, "is to learn how to work with other people and stay with your passion."