• photo of Armando L. Gonazlez
    Armando L. Gonazlez

Member Spotlight: Armando Gonzalez

Name: Armando L. Gonzalez, FAIA
Member Since: 2001
Membership Level: Ambassador
Chapter: Southern California
Job Title: Founding Principal at Gonzalez Goodale Architects

Tell me how you first got involved with the Caltech Associates and why supporting Caltech is important to you.

Since I work in Pasadena, I have always been aware of this incredible Institute in our city. I learned about the Associates through a friend who was a member, and I was invited to an event on campus. I wanted to become more knowledgeable about the exciting things taking place at Caltech and subsequently joined, which was twelve years ago. I always had a sense that being exposed to the talent at Caltech and learning about their work could lead to strong partnerships within the community. We can gain so much by learning about the innovative research and education that Caltech scientists and engineers are undertaking.

What do you wish other people knew about the Caltech Associates?

The Caltech Associates have members, both alumni and non-alumni, all over the globe. There are three main chapters, in Southern California, Northern California, and New York. We have many exciting events that take place in these chapters, and as an Associate you can attend any of them; I don't think many Associates realize that they don't have to limit their engagement to their own chapter. There are some wonderful opportunities to expand one's network, such as the recent Google reception that took place at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. And with the recently expanded regional events and travel program calendar, members will have more opportunities to get to know other members and visit new and exciting places. 

What do you enjoy most about being a Caltech Associate?

I greatly enjoy the relationships I have made and continue to build through the Associates. Through various engagement opportunities, I have met wonderful members, faculty, students, and staff. Being an Associate, I appreciate that my membership supports the Institute and thus celebrates its history and founding. As an architect, of course I greatly enjoy the campus and its old and new buildings. I often walk across the campus and marvel at the old trees and nature.

Outside of your involvement serving on the Associates board and as the membership committee chair, what do you do?

I am founding principal of Gonzalez Goodale Architects, based in Pasadena with studios in Old Pasadena. We design educational, civic, housing, and mixed-use projects that create environments that enrich public life. I am also involved in my community, serving on the board of Huntington Memorial Hospital and as the chair of the Building Committee. I am also the vice chair of the Flintridge Center Board and serve as chair on the Board of Centro Latino for Literacy in Los Angeles.

What might we be surprised to know about you?

My wife, Brenda, and I enjoy hiking, and we recently hiked the Grand Canyon for the sixth time. It was our second time hiking "rim-to-rim," which is 24 miles in total. Now, being 72 years old, it took much longer than my first time, when I was in my fifties. We also recently rode the rapids and camped for 15 nights along the Colorado River. I value these opportunities to connect with nature in such spiritual environments; it reminds me that we are just specks in time. I am fortunate that Brenda is adventurous and that we can enjoy these explorations together.

Do you have a favorite Caltech story or moment?

When I first learned about the Associates, I read about the history of its founding and it really touched me. Its mission to support and advance the welfare of Caltech and its commitment to educate students in an atmosphere of research conducted by scientists of the highest distinction is still as meaningful today as it was back in 1926. I am excited that the Associates are still as relevant, and our role is essential in providing funds to support innovative projects, explore new frontiers, and push the boundaries of knowledge.

Closing sentiments?

As I begin my new role as the Associates membership committee chair, I am looking forward to working with the board and staff to enhance relationships with current members and strengthen the membership campaign to review communications with members and prospects. I am a strong advocate for the importance of communications, both via traditional and online outreach methods. I enjoy the Associates' LinkedIn account that provides the latest news and the opportunity to connect with members and look forward to enhancing our online communications for members. I am also excited to attend programs in the upcoming year and get to know more of the members.