On Thursday, January 16, 2020, J. Brett Blanton was sworn in as the 12th Architect of the Capitol by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. at the U.S. Supreme Court Building.
Q: Why did you want to be the next Architect of the Capitol?
A: To answer this question, I must begin with the mission of the Architect of the Capitol: Serve, Preserve and Inspire. It is the Serve aspect that is most inspiring to me. I hope to maintain the legacy of my 11 predecessors and usher in a new era for the Architect of the Capitol (AOC).
Q: What are your first priorities as Architect of the Capitol?
A: My initial priorities will center around our human capital. We will transform the culture to one of transparency, accountability and responsiveness; harassment of any form will not be tolerated; we will work to better attract and retain a skilled workforce; and we will begin using decision-quality data to drive both budgetary and project management decisions.
Q: What are the lessons you have learned that you hope to bring to the AOC?
A: It is wisest to approach any issue collaboratively until a decision is required. Then make decisive decisions.
Q: What do you want AOC employees to know most about you?
A: I expect candid and straightforward answers to questions I ask. I will always be straightforward when engaging our personnel, so I require the same in return.
Q: How would you describe your style of leadership?
A: My leadership philosophy can best be described as empowering and inclusive. Although responsibility will always remain with me, I believe in delegating authority to practicable levels within an organization. As such, workforce managers will feel more empowered and take more pride and ownership for their day-to-day activities. The results of empowering the workforce include the ability to make accelerated facility decisions and improved customer service.
Q: What do you like to do for fun when you're not at work?
A: I enjoy working out. I need to because one of my other passions is smoking meat.
Q: What’s the best book you’ve read in the last year?
A: I often reread "Lincoln on Leadership." It is an easy read so I would recommend it to everyone. However, I recently read "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln" by Doris Kearns Goodwin. There are key lessons to take away from Lincoln's leadership philosophies such as: collaborating, understanding other points of view, surrounding yourself with people who will challenge you, standing up for deeply held principles, and being bold or decisive when needed.