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WTA Architects

Les Tincknell, FAIA

Shannon Vaughn

How long have you worked at WTA?

Since April 1, 1958


What is your favorite place in the world?

Les has been to so many different places in the world that he can’t pick just one. But “home” is always at the top.


What is your favorite movie?

Casablanca, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1944.


What are the most memorable projects that you’ve worked on at WTA?

Kempton Elementary School (1961) and Bridgeport High School (1960). Both buildings “broke the barriers” for the time period and the location. The buildings were departures from traditional school buildings constructed in the Saginaw area during the 1920s-1950s. Additionally, new classroom systems were introduced, implementing an entire new way of teaching.


Do you have any big plans or trips for the upcoming year?

Les and his wife Marion are leaving for a month-long trip to Australia and New Zealand on February 2nd. During this trip, they will inadvertently travel around the entire world in the following manner – Detroit to San Francisco to New Zealand, flying across the Pacific Ocean. Their cruise will begin in New Zealand and end in Bali, where they will travel to Qatar, then across the Atlantic Ocean to Philadelphia, before traveling to their final destination of Detroit.


Beginning with high school, name the institutions where you obtained your education?

Romeo High School, Class of 1947 followed by the University of Michigan, Class of 1958


Do you have any pets?

Les currently has no pets, although they have had several cats over the years. His favorite cat was one they found and took in around Christmas time, and so he was appropriately named Nicholas.


Who is your favorite author?

David McCullough


Do you have any favorite family traditions?

All the traditions that happen around Christmastime.


What are your family statistics?

His wife, Marion, two sons, two daughters, and nine grandsons and five granddaughters


What is any advice you can offer to the younger generations of architects?

Les says that today’s architects are better-educated and better-equipped coming out of college, which is a good thing. However, he says no matter what, the one thing any good architect needs the most in this profession to be truly satisfied is passion for the profession.


Before WTA, did you have any other jobs?

Les grew up as the youngest of 5 children in Romeo, MI and as a young person, he worked with his family on their farm.


What made you want to become an architect?

As a young person in high school, he was persuaded to go to school for engineering. After WWII, there was a high demand for engineers. However, he switched his major in college and went into architecture instead because he was a creative thinker and he liked to work on 3-D projects, etc. The profession of architecture was much better suited for him.


In all your years at WTA, what is your proudest moment?

There isn’t one moment; rather, it’s knowing that he has been responsible for keeping the company alive and strong through the generations. Passing the firm on and keeping it healthy, full of longevity, and quality. Looking back, that is what he is most proud of.


What is your definition of success?

“Hard work.”


What is your favorite quote?

“Less is more. No, ‘Les’ is the most.”


If you could have another job for a day, what would you do?

Something involving history and archaeology


Do you watch Netflix?



If you could meet anyone dead or alive, who would it be?

Winston Churchill


How did you meet your wife?

After high school, Les went into the service during the Korean War and was stationed in New York City. In 1953, he went on a blind date with a young woman from the Flushing neighborhood of Queens. Her name was Marion. They married in 1955. Looking back, Les always says he got the two best things while in the service. He was awarded the GI Bill and was able to attend college, and, more importantly, he met the love of his life.

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