Billy Riggs

Principal and Director of Design


What are your objectives or goals as the firm’s director of design?
My goal is to make sure that we have the right person with the right skill set available to help each project at the right time in the design process. Then have them be available to keep the ideas in line throughout the project. It is about establishing a parti diagram and a series of ideas that support that diagram and then keep making decisions that reinforce that parti and those ideas. It is very similar to creating a thesis statement at the beginning of a paper and then making sure that all your sentences support your thesis.

What attracted you to this profession?
As a child I watched my dad go off to work everyday and those days seemed very long. I figured I had better find some thing I really like to do if I was going to have to do it that much. In elementary school I had an art teacher ask what I was going to do for the art show, and I told her “I like to draw but I don’t like to draw people,” so she suggested that I draw a building. I drew a picture of the capitol, and it won a ribbon and was displayed in the lobby. So, I have been drawing buildings ever since. It is something I really like to do.

What three words would you use to describe your job?
Visual problem solving.

What are the most important personality traits to have in your profession?
Certainly, creativity and determination and drive all help, along with compassion and empathy.

What’s a typical week in your job like?
The weeks are never typical and that keeps the job truly exciting. A good week is one where I am helping some of my partners, design managers, or project managers, and getting to draw some solutions.

What do you like most about your job?
I like when we start a project with a client and have that initial period when we do not know where solving their specific problems will take us. It is very rewarding to see the solutions begin to emerge and begin to explore the unique nature of each project.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Bouncing between the never-ending series of hot deadlines that pop up for all our different projects and project pursuits. I am still amazed, even given short periods of time, the things we can come up with under extreme pressure.

What’s the coolest thing you’re working on right now?
The coolest thing I do is gather imagery from different designers and admire all the good work that is being done across our sectors.

What have you accomplished at Moseley Architects that you’re proudest of?
Not an accomplishment of mine but I am so glad that in the almost 29 years that I have been here we have grown from 35 to almost 300 people. I am so pleased that the firm has made the decision to place an emphasis on design and am honored to be asked to help with this charge.

What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?
I generally like weekend jogs (mostly thinking about the beer I am earning for that night), light yardwork, watching sports, and have recently retired from attending swim meets.

What music are you listening to right now?
Right now, I am almost always on Kacey Musgraves Radio on Pandora.

What’s your favorite film?
I cannot say that I have a favorite, but I do love a good sports movie where someone exceeds their own expectations. The one I have probably watched the most is Remember the Titans; this may have been an occupational hazard after working on the replacement T.C. Williams High School for seven years of my career. I was fortunate enough to meet some of the real people that the movie was based on during the design and construction of the new high school.

One of my favorite memories came during the building dedication when my young son, after watching the movie many times with his dad, asked the real Coach Yoast for his autograph. Great coaches are always coaching, teaching, and motivating and he told Will that he would be glad to, if he could get an autograph from his dad, the architect.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
Certainly, my family and the talents of others. I have been blessed to have had doctors help both of my children get through very serious medical situations with wonderful results.

What’s your motto or mantra?
“Billy how long will it take you to…” The answer is always “Two weeks!”