SRQ Magazine: 12 Things

Michael A. Gilkey, Jr. was honored to have been highlighted in the June 2010 issue of SRQ Magazine in their feature “12 Things,” written by Abby Weingarten. The article, focusing on 12 things that inspire Michael, follows in its entirety.

Peace, in Michael A. Gilkey, Jr.’s world, is found in two places: the Florida outdoors and the warmth of his family home. A husband to his wife, Laura, and a father to sons Benjamin and Banyan, Gilkey is vice president of the Sarasota landscape design-build firm, Michael A. Gilkey, Inc. He holds a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Florida, and carries the business torch for his mentor and father, Michael A. Gilkey. Growing up on job sites as a young man, Gilkey learned every facet of drafting and installation. He is currently collaborating on projects with some of the most renowned architects and builders in the region.

Dryden coffee cup. On an annual trip to my late grandfather’s home in Hot Springs, Ark., we visited Dryden Pottery. An oversized green-and-brown coffee mug spoke to me, and I now use it every morning.

Benchmade pocketknife. As a teenager, my friend’s aunt once told me that gentlemen always carry pocketknives, in case ladies need strings trimmed from the hems of their dresses.

Canary trace paper. It doesn’t feel right to draft on anything but bright yellow canary trace paper. This habit takes me back to my college days, when I’d buy the paper (what we called “bumwad”) in bulk to save money.

My name. I wasn’t born a junior. My given name was Michael Gabe Gilkey. But I always looked up to my father, so at 13, I went to the Sarasota County Courthouse and changed my name to Michael Allen Gilkey, Jr.

Coming home. With my dog in my pick-up truck, I turn into the little blue house with the white picket fence, and am greeted by my two boys screaming, “Daddy!” I walk in, smell something delicious coming from the kitchen and my wife turns and smiles at me.

My class ring. I’ve worn my class ring every day since graduating from the University of Florida in 1999. It’s the same class ring my father has worn since his graduation in 1967.

Tools of the trade. The Mirado Black Warrior No. ]2 pencil, the 7mm Rolling Writer Black Ball Pen and the Rotring Fountain Pen.

Bryce Canyon in Utah. I’ve had the fortune of visiting this awe-inspiring place at three formative times in my life.

My grand-mother’s kitchen. In the woods of southeast Georgia, my 86-year-old grandmother still nurtures the most incredible vegetable garden I’ve ever seen.

My softball glove. For five years, I’ve been a member of “Those Guys,” a team in a weeknight softball league. It gives me a physical outlet at the end of a busy day.

A handshake. In today’s business climate, where so much correspondence is conducted digitally and over the phone, the value of a handshake is higher than ever.

Johnny Cash. When I’m in the design zone with my Bose headphones on, it’s often Johnny Cash’s voice I’m hearing (and sometimes singing, a little too loudly for my officemates).