Top 50 Under 40 Forrest Popkin

This year OED is recognizing and celebrating Frederick County’s young professionals who are leaders in their industry, give back to the community and add significant value to their company and its culture. Join us as we get to know our Top 50 Under 40.

Forrest Popkin, 35
Senior Project Manager, Architect
323 W Patrick Street, Frederick

Forrest Popkin is a Father, Husband, Architect, adjunct professor, Sunday school teacher, Federated Charities Board Member and mentor. As the Senior Project Manager with ZA+D, Forrest develops and designs on several projects, while teaching as adjunct faculty with University of MD Eastern Shore and Frederick Community College.  Forrest is often found preaching why people should live and work in Frederick.

What has been your greatest professional accomplishment? 

Wrapping up My third brewery project design, Frisco Taphouse Reckless Ale. That in addition to Black Flag Brewing and Cushwa Brewing combined hospitality and fabrication spaces, which was a fun challenge. I am honored to design these projects and then of course enjoy the results!

What is your experience with volunteering and civic engagement?

Member of the American Institute of Architects, Potomac Valley. 

Federated Charities - 2022 Vice President/Treasurer, Board of Directors; Volunteering with Frederick Festival of the Arts; East Frederick Rising – Past Secretary; Sustainability Lecture to Myersville Elementary; Guest Juror University of Maryland & SkillsUSA Architectural Design

What was your first job?

Deli Clerk "Meat Slicer" at a Giant Food Deli Counter

Who is your greatest influence?

My mother, a stay-at-home mother of 4 children. She taught me the importance of working hard, treating everyone equally, learning every day, volunteering, mentoring, showing gratitude, celebrating the small things and possibly the most important thing: never taking yourself too seriously. Many memories of her volunteering time with 4H, Cub Scouts, at synagogue. You could really tell she enjoyed giving her knowledge and time, without conditions. I was blessed to have such a role model in my youth.

What do you like to do for fun in Frederick County?

Walking around Baker Park with my family, Keys Games, hiking, antique hunting, enjoying local breweries and restaurants.

What leadership book would you recommend and why?

So Good They Can’t Ignore You -  A book that challenges the narrative that people should “Follow Their Passion,” and instead reframes how passion may actually follow honing one’s craft. It explores themes that I think are useful for individuals struggling with their place in their field, but also can help managers identify how to best aid their staff in achieving their long term goals.  Cal Newport also has books about reframing how we use Email “A world without Email” that has helped me identify more productive workflows in the office.

What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute to your success and why?

I tend to be unabashedly curious. I feel there is never any shame in asking a question, remembering that you have more to learn. Where many have fear of looking silly asking questions, I often feel I am the one who will ask those. I think a lot gets tied up in people's egos when they are trapped into pretending they have to know everything. I actually teach in part because as I continue to read more about Construction, Computer Aided Drafting, Design, I feel there is always a new piece of information I pick up. Every year students teach me a few things. That helps me grow.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Continuing to make people’s dreams turn into a reality, leading ZA+D to becoming the region’s go to full service architectural firm with our attention to high quality and community focused design. I am also looking forward to bringing the brightest and best under our firm's wing, to be part of Frederick's continuing growth to mentor other future leaders in that time to be the best architects they can be.