Paul Tzanetopoulos is a Project Manager at Central Building & Preservation, where he bids and manages masonry restoration projects primarily on high-rise structures. In July 2020, Paul became the new Secretary for the Skyline Council. Learn more about Paul and how he quickly fell in love with historic preservation following college and soon became involved in Landmarks Illinois’ young professionals committee.
What is the best part of your job?
I get the opportunity to travel around the city, inspect and study some of the most important buildings in the city, and in doing so, am allowed to see and access parts of these historic structures that are never open to the public. We are then able to work with experienced and knowledgeable architects and engineers to repair these buildings for decades to come, with the best modern building technology has to offer the field of restoration construction.
When and why did you become involved with LI and join the Skyline Council?
I graduated from The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in December of 2017, and started working at Central in March of 2018 and have loved the field so far. I became involved with the Skyline Council in the summer of 2018, knowing the great work they do promoting preservation, I wanted to be a part of this young group that will develop, grow and learn from all of our different backgrounds to best promote preservation. I believe the collaboration across so many trades all in the same industry will not only help develop stronger ties in the preservation community, but also enhance each and every member’s knowledge of the field, broaden their perspectives and better understand how we can all work better together in the future.
Why is historic preservation important and what about it interests you?
As people, we attach our own personal experiences and feelings to the objects we encounter every day. Buildings that reflect or housed historical moments, pushed the limits of architectural ingenuity or engineering, captured the essence of an era or merely hold a special place in our hearts and minds because they just do, are tangible parts of our lives and experiences. Protecting them is an important connection to our past, and an important reminder of how we got to where we are today.
What is one thing about historic preservation you would tell another young professional to spark their interest?
While preservation, by definition, is keeping something exactly as it was, the field of restoration preservation melds the ingenuity of past builders and the modern knowledge, materials and technology we utilize in construction today. It is not only incredibly interesting to learn about different eras of construction, technology and tools that defined the limitations of the buildings being built, but can also inspire new ideas based on the creativity of the past.
What impact do you think young professionals like yourself will have on the future of historic preservation?
In this modern era of rapidly, ever-changing technology, the fight to keep older historic structures standing is only going to get more difficult. As the young professionals carrying this goal forward, I think modernizing these structures further with more modern technology will be the biggest change and also the biggest challenge in future preservation efforts.
What do you do to support and advocate for preservation either in your professional or personal life? (or both!)
Having graduated college in December of 2017, I am just starting my career in the “preservation world.” However, I hope that joining the Skyline Council is just the beginning of my preservation advocacy!
What do you do in your free time?
Spend time with friends, hike and backpack when I get the opportunity, enjoy and explore the city, golf and play men’s league softball and hockey.