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Kyle Macht is #SDLivingTheDream:
Learning Evolves to Leadership

Monday, June 15, 2020

In this installment of our special series, #SDLivingTheDream, we hear from a self-described jack of all trades who evolved into a true leader with the help of experiences in the Solar Decathlon.


Name:  Kyle Macht

Years participated in Solar Decathlon:

2007: core team member

2009: team leader

2011: rules inspector

University team:  Penn State

Current organization / employer:   Macht Architecture

Current role:  Principal

How did participation in the Solar Decathlon affect the trajectory of your career?

It shaped me into who I am today, not only in my career but as a person. I went from being the jack of all trades in 2007 to leading a team of 200 students in 2009, a role I was asked to step into. I learned so much from both experiences, pushing me to accomplish something way beyond the assignments in school. Solar Decathlon gave me the drive and passion that allowed me to continue as a leader throughout my career.

Describe a work outcome, building project or other achievement you are most proud of and how (if) it relates to your experience with Solar Decathlon.

Since Solar Decathlon, I have worked in big teams and by myself as a consultant, designer, builder, installer, etc., but have always focused on sustainability and buildings. But one of the projects that defines my career most is the one I am most proud of. It is also the first that I designed and built as a professional. I designed and built this project with my father, my current business partner in Macht Architecture. It is a net-zero modern home on the edge of a cliff with a 30-mile view of the Delaware water gap. Our goal was to show a sustainable, courageous way to design and build a home. This home is beautiful, efficient (net positive currently), and is full of many little mistakes that many don’t notice, but stuck with me as lessons for each mistake.

I thought I knew so much coming out of school and realized there was soo much more to learn, there is always more to learn. Since my parents still own this home, we were able to learn from all of these little mistakes, relating to building science, detailing, execution,  managing a job site, dealing with people, etc. I often use this project to talk about how homes work and why certain things are important.

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