Calvin Powitzky Named Pasadena ISD’s Distinguished Alumnus for 2014

Calvin Powitzky Named Pasadena ISD’s Distinguished Alumnus for 2014
Posted on 02/28/2014
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Distinguished Alumnus 2014
Founder of PBK Architects and co-founder of Bay Architects in Pasadena, Calvin Powitzky has been selected to receive Pasadena ISD's Distinguished Alumnus award for 2014. 

When Calvin Powitzky was a student at Pasadena High School, he dreamed of becoming a successful architect. Years later, that dream became a reality.  Now the founder of PBK Architects and co-founder of Bay Architects in Pasadena, he has made it his mission to give back to the community that formed who he is today. 

“I aspired to be an architect when I was in school and later an architect of significance for the community that helped me reach my life’s goals,” he said.

On April 10, the public is invited to join Pasadena High School alumni, district administrators and Board of Trustees as Pasadena ISD honors Powitzky, the 2014 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. The reception will be at the Carmen Orozco Professional Development Center in the Frank Braden Complex, located at 1832 E. Sam Houston Pkwy in Pasadena.

For three decades, Powitzky’s name has been synonymous with humanitarian efforts and the design of nearly 50 building projects throughout Pasadena ISD and over 600 educational, commercial and religious facilities throughout Texas and Louisiana. He has worked cooperatively with district leaders and community members to build 18 new campuses, including Dobie, Pasadena Memorial and the new Career and Technical High School. Also notable among his professional accomplishments is his work with San Jacinto College. He designed Interactive Learning Centers for all three campuses and he has completed four new health and science buildings.

“Construction follows instruction,” he said. “An integral part of the design process is working with the stakeholders, educators, parents and other representatives to design a school that fits the educational needs of the students. The Career and Technical High School is a good example of that. It’s a quality-based learning facility providing Pasadena ISD students a unique environment that will help them excel in trade industries when they graduate.”

He and his design firm were also involved in the renovation of 28 campuses including his own alma mater Pasadena High School.

Powitzky’s professional achievements are a reflection of his educational accomplishments. He graduated from PHS in 1964 where he flexed his athletic skills on the gridiron with the Mighty Eagles as a member of the All-State Football team. Powitzky graduated in the top three percent of his class and was named senior class president, Mr. Pasadena High School and he was an All-District choir member.

One might say Powitzky was born to build. As a young up-and-comer, he spent most of his school days working in his father’s lumber company, the Powitzky Lumber and Hardware Store. He says the experience kept him grounded and gave him a healthy appreciation for hard work.

“I was surrounded by good, solid middle-class families who valued hard work, integrity and honesty,” he said. “Even after my teammates and I played football in the hot sun, we still went to work in construction. We played hard and worked harder.”

Today, when he is not designing buildings, he is helping to shape dreams.

Powitzky’s philanthropy is as extensive as the programs he nurtures. From building a new women’s shelter for Bridge Over Troubled Water to a new Salvation Army facility in Galveston, he has put the needs of the community first.

In particular, he has dedicated the last 30 years to serving on the Board of Directors for several organizations including the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, the Salvation Army and the Bridge Over Troubled Water. He has also been a member of the Pasadena Rotary. 

Powitzky’s participation in the education of Pasadena ISD students spans decades. In fact, he was one of the founding donors of the Pasadena ISD Education Foundation and currently serves on the Board of Directors, where he has spread cheer and helped countless district students achieve excellence through the annual Prize Parade program, a mini grant initiative that provides teachers with funding for their classrooms.

“I thought it would be a great way to give back to Pasadena – my hometown and the kids who reside here,” he said. “I wanted to do my part to raise money for children to fund efforts that teachers cannot afford.”

He reflected on the first project he designed for Pasadena ISD. “If you recall,” he said with a chuckle, “Pasadena ISD bought an old mall from Strawberry. I remodeled it and made it into the administration building. Before I remodeled it, it was the worst building I had ever worked on. But that has all changed.”

For Powitzky and his wife, Patricia, volunteerism and church have always been a natural part of their lives. The couple met at South Main Baptist Church in Pasadena where they are still membersand he serves as a deacon. They raised two children, Eric and Dayna, who both graduated from Sam Rayburn High School. Dayna is an assistant principal within the district, while Eric became a successful ear, nose and throat doctor.

Powitzky attributes his successful journey to his experiences as a student at Pasadena High School.

"Pasadena High set the tone for my life," he said. "I learned that if you work hard, you can make something of yourself and achieve your dreams.

"Working with my father at his lumber company and attending PHS taught me the value of hard work, dedication, integrity and honesty. Those values have stuck with me my entire life."