Geoffrey Grimes grew up in Marshalltown, Iowa, but he points to his time at Iowa State University as the key to his success. A love for drafting sparked an interest in the field of architecture and charted a course. By Junior high, Geof knew he would pursue this passion at Iowa State University, graduating in 1969. Part of his graduation requirement was to work in the field of architecture and Geof spent two summers working for Toenjes, Stenson and Warm in Waterloo, Iowa. After graduation, Geof went to work fulltime for the firm, became partner in 1973, was appointed president in 1986, and remained in this leadership capacity until his retirement in 2011.
Today, that firm is known as StruXture Architects and is highly regarded as a leading architectural firm. StruXture has built a reputation throughout the industry, as well as within communities throughout the state, for solving problems that exceed customer expectations. Led over the years by Geof’s creative, thoughtful and quiet leadership, StruXture is known for authoring unique and student-centric educational spaces. “Education buildings were always a favorite of mine,” cites Geof.
“Geof is very forward thinking and visionary. Geof did a lot for the Decorah School District. The middle school building is still talked about today,” said Doug Nefzger, former Director of Business Services for the Decorah School District. “Geof is always thinking about what’s best for the client, the kids, and the community.” Geof’s reputation for understanding community needs, navigating political dynamics, bringing people together and delivering unique, creative solutions has earned him much respect within his industry.
“Geof’s success is his ability to communicate. He’s able to talk to the public about sensitive issues, removing emotion from the decision,” cites former Waterloo Community School District Superintendent, DeWitt Jones. “Geof is like the E.F. Hutton commercial….when Geof speaks, people listen!”
The last half of Geof’s career at StruXture was not about drawing or drafting—it was about community outreach and seeing what could be improved within the community. StruXture Architects moved the firm’s headquarters to Downtown Waterloo at a time when that area was struggling, and StruXture Architects became directly involved in the revitalization of the area.
Geof’s reach has been far and wide in the community, beyond the buildings he has designed. He has been heavily involved in community theatre, and met his wife, Vicki King, during a production of the Sound of Music at the Waterloo Community Playhouse in 1971. “What I think he is known for is his constant involvement in the community in one way or another. Not only when he was actively employed but now into his retirement,” says Gene Leonhart, President of Cardinal Construction. “Geof is approachable, consistent, honest, and he always follows through.”