Simon Spark: An Artistic Inspiration
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
SAN FRANCISCO — Simon Spark has always been an artistic person, but he never expected to apply his talents to the realm of residential remodeling. “I started working in the construction field to support myself while attending college, where I studied fine arts,” he remembers. “After graduating, I spent the next 10 years working as a professional artist, doing primarily mixed media sculptures and drawings. Eventually, in my mid-30s, I came to a crossroads where I wanted to start a family and needed a more financially lucrative livelihood. So, I got my contractor’s license and went into business doing residential building and remodeling in San Francisco.”
Today, as president of Build SF, Inc., Simon says his favorite part of his job is the choreography of running projects. “I enjoy managing projects and building the right teams of people to ensure everything runs smoothly. It’s a lot like playing chess—you have to make sure you have the right pieces and are moving them in the right way.”
Originally from the United Kingdom, Simon now resides in San Francisco. “I moved to the U.S. for a college opportunity and never left. I lived by turns in New York and Chicago before making my way to San Francisco, where I’ve lived for the past 30 years.”
Outside of work, Simon spends his free time on a number of active pastimes. “I like getting out to the countryside for walks, hiking and cycling,” he details. “I also practice tai chi and enjoy music, movies and, of course, the San Francisco dining experience.” Additionally, Simon enjoys doing things with his wife, Leanne, and their three children, Baxter, Ashley and Max. “We like to go on family hikes and bike rides, as well as attend the kids’ sports and performance events. My oldest son, Baxter, is a theater performer, so we enjoy attending the productions he’s involved in.”
In regard to his life and career, Simon describes how his background as an artist informs his latter-day livelihood. “As an artist, I have a pretty sharp sensibility for design. I’m also good at seeing how feasible a project is from a design standpoint, which is why I like to be involved early in the process. My focus is always on making sure we provide a great design and, ultimately, a high-quality product.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Simon says he’d dive back into art. “I’m certainly interested in re-engaging with that aspect of my life. I haven’t been active as an artist since I became a father and a business owner, so if I retired, I would probably return to sculpting and other art forms.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: Have you ever read a book more than once?
A: “And Quiet Flows the Don” by Mikhail Sholokhov.
Q: What’s your favorite movie genre?
A: I’m a bit of a crime thriller addict. One of my favorites is “The Usual Suspects.”
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Southeast Asia.
Q: Are you a dog person or a cat person?
A: A dog person.
Q: If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: The future. I’m interested in seeing how much the world has changed a century from now.
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