A Marshalltown icon - the Roundhouse - and retired Marshalltown High School educator Dick Claypool would serve as inspiration for native Mark Williams to pursue a career in the highly competitive and challenging field of architecture.
And that career choice propelled him into the public eye as part of a team designing stadiums for high-profile NFL teams like the Dallas Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts.
On Oct. 7, it was announced Williams would be involved in a third project - the $975 million, 65,000 seat Peoples Stadium in Minneapolis. It will be the Minnesota Vikings home field.
Shown is a concept photo of the interior of the Peoples Stadium in Minneapolis designed by HKS of Dallas.
Shown is a concept photo of the exterior of the Peoples Stadium in Minneapolis designed by HKS of Dallas.
"I remember attending Roundhouse events at a young age," said Williams. "It had a huge influence. Later, I played in the pep band there."
He cited Claypool as an educator who provided more motivation.
"I took drafting and mechanical drawing from Mr. Claypool," said Williams. "I had always had an interest in math and drawing structures, and it fell into place in high school. Previously, I took mechanical drawing classes at Miller Middle School."
Claypool said he remembered Williams to be sincere, conscientious and a fine student.
Williams graduated from MHS in 1981 and continued his education at Iowa State University followed by Ball State University, where he earned his master's degree.
He has been an architect for 20 years - 16 with HKS in Dallas, reaching the rank of principal.
As a life-long Vikings fan, Williams said he is looking forward to working on Peoples Stadium.
He remembers his family making the four hour drive to see Carl Eller and Fran Tarkenton, or watching the team on television. He is pleased the current team is 4-1.
Williams commented on his newest assignment.
"The new stadium will present challenges," he said. "Anytime one builds in an urban setting there are issues, such as demolition, street closures and so on, but I'm looking forward to it."
Williams said he gets to Marshalltown "once every two or three years," to visit relatives, as his parents retired and moved. Ev's Ice Cream, Taylor's Maid-Rite and Zeno's Pizza were favorites as a youth and created lasting memories, he said.
Brad Clement of Marshalltown coached Williams in baseball, where Williams played outfield on one of Clement's championship teams.
"I've visited him in his Dallas office and he has showed me his projects," said Clement. "He is one of the best in the world at what he does. And it is always good to see Marshalltown people be successful."