Lee Carter grew up wanting to be a cartoonist.

He was — and still is — a comic book fanatic. He loved reading and drawing them. When his sixth grade teacher asked him what he wanted to do with life, he told her he wanted to be a comic book artist.
“They don’t make much money,” she said. “Since you like to draw, why don’t you look into architecture?”

Lee took her advice, and after doing some research he found the field to be both interesting and creative. By the time he started high school, he knew what he wanted to do. His twin brother also loved comic books, and Lee was able to convince him to go into architecture as well. Now, they both work in the field.

He began his role as a project manager this summer. In this role, his responsibilities include facilitation communication between the project team, client and contractor and ensuring the financial health of his projects.

Lee had been interacting with HAA for quite some time prior to joining the staff, and he liked to think he’s always had a connection here that allowed him to be hired somewhat seamlessly.

“I was part of the original four-architecture firm teams, including HAA, when the first DPS bond program rolled out. All four teams worked in the building around the corner leased by HAA,” Lee explained. “Charles McLean, Russel Lecoursier and Dave Esparza were all part of that DPS prototype elementary school team. I also worked with HAA on the New North Terminal for the Wayne County Airport Authority. I was on one of the four architecture teams that worked out of Ghafari’s office. HAA had several former staff members on that project who I still keep in contact with today.”

With experience working on projects from all three sides of the table — as an owner, contractor and architect — Lee’s background is unique.

“That experience provides me with an understanding of the goals and objectives of the different stakeholders involved with the projects,” he said.

Since he is relatively new to the HAA team, Lee has yet to complete a project, but he’s most excited about the Hudson’s Tower.

“I can remember going there as a kid — I have the Santa Claus pictures to prove it! — and I was just a few blocks away watching as it was imploded,” he explained. “Being able to be a part of that site’s renaissance is sort of full circle for me.”

A native Detroiter, Lee’s favorite thing about this city is its grittiness and its potential to become more than what it is. He loves getting together with his family for huge cooks outs and gatherings. He’s also a new dad, which he says has shined a different light on things.

“It’s a real labor of love.”