Business Profile: Porath Tatom Architects
Location: 800 E. Dimond Blvd., Suite 3-670, Anchorage
Major focus of services: Porath Tatom Architects provides design services including design-build work. The firm specializes in planning schools, retail facilities and churches.
History of the company: Dale Porath and Art Kjos founded Porath Kjos in the early 1980s. Kjos left the firm nearly two years later. Porath added other partners later, including them in the firm’s name.
Despite Alaska’s economic troubles in the late 1980s, Porath Architects was buoyed by work for military bases and designing a multipurpose room addition for Anchorage’s Muldoon Elementary in 1989.
In 1999 Bill Tatom, who had worked at the firm from 1984 to 1996, bought Porath Architects. Although Porath has retired, he continues to serve the firm as a consultant, Tatom said.
Major past projects include the early 1980s design of Mears Junior High School; remodeling University Center to add a theater; renovating Dimond Center to include a skating rink and office tower; designing Valley River Center in Eagle River and planning for Carrs stores construction. The firm also worked on plans of the downtown Anchorage FBI building and renovating four Kmart stores -- two in Anchorage plus one each in Fairbanks and Juneau -- to offer groceries.
Current projects include design of some renovations at Carrs stores including Carrs Huffman in South Anchorage, Eagle River and Kenai and work on the Municipality of Anchorage permit center.
Porath Tatom Architects employs 13 people including four architects.
Top accomplishment of the company: Principal Bill Tatom is proud of the firm’s longevity. The secret of success: "I think it’s treating clients like they’re important, being a listener," he said. Tatom also cited the firm’s school design projects. In 1990 the Anchorage School District conducted a design competition to plan a prototype school for Bowman Elementary and for use in additional new school construction. Porath Architects’ design was chosen as the competition winner.
Major player: Bill Tatom, principal, Porath Tatom Architects.
Tatom earned a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Texas at Arlington. He operated his own firm in Dallas before moving to Alaska to work for Harold Wirum & Associates in 1982. Two years later he joined Porath Architects as a project architect. From 1996 to 1999 he ran Bill Tatom Associates before buying Porath Architects.
-- Nancy Pounds