Member Spotlight: Nick Tahran

Meet Nick Tahran

Nick Tahran
Marketing Coordinator
Harper Houf Peterson Righellis Inc.

How did you get into A/E/C marketing? What do you currently do at your firm?
I graduated from the University of Oregon with a journalism degree and wasn’t sure what to do with it, so I went to Europe to teach English. While I was abroad the economy crashed and there weren’t many jobs in the US, so I stayed in abroad. I returned in fall of 2011 and there still weren’t many jobs, but luckily I got a position as a marketing assistant at an A/E/C firm, and I’ve worked in the field ever since. At HHPR I help with proposal and interview preparation, pre-RFP marketing, and a range of other tasks that keep life interesting.

How has SMPS helped you in your career development?
SMPS has been a big help since I, like most marketers I know, never intended to be a marketer. Some of the skills I learned in college were helpful, like writing, but I had to learn other skills on the fly. I’ve been lucky to have many wonderful coworkers who helped show me the ropes, but SMPS connected me to many more marketers of varying experience levels, and I’ve learned a lot from them. I’ve also really enjoyed getting to know my peers.

What’s an interesting fact about HHPR that our fellow SMPS members should know?
Several TV shows have filmed in our Portland office. If you ever visit, keep an eye out for the likes of Carrie Brownstein or Steve Buscemi.

What’s your favorite part of working in the A/E/C industry?
One part I really like is seeing the positive impact of our projects – safer roads for walking, biking, and driving; well-designed buildings, parks, and public spaces; stuff like that. But my favorite part is probably the variety of interesting people I’ve met – both the technical staff and marketers. Few children tell their parents, “I want to be an A/E/C marketer when I grow up." Most marketers seem to stumble into their positions after studying a wide range of other things – literature, theater, music, journalism, art. I’m interested in all that stuff, so I tend to find marketers easy – and fun – to interact with. SMPS has been a great venue for meeting other marketers.

What has been one silver lining of the past year for you? (I.e., do you love working from home? Have you taken up a new hobby? Etc.)
I’ve attempted – to varying degrees of success – several hobbies under the lockdown to keep from turning into Jack Nicholson from “The Shining.” A few that come to mind are drawing, baking, cooking, canine agility with my dogs, vegetable gardening, studying the Polish language, and writing. I’ve recently returned to rock climbing, and I just had my first fencing lesson last week, so I might have a new hobby there. But I’m ready for more social interaction!

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