HI, MY NAME IS… Benjamin McRae, or just Ben.

I’VE LIVED IN PHOENIX FOR 26 YEARS AND I LOVE IT BECAUSE… of the desert hikes and trail runs. The sun beats the rain I had in Oregon. The food, and the freedom and uniqueness in architectural design in this arid climate is something I also love.

A TYPICAL DAY IN MY LIFE INCLUDES… time for me and my physical and metal health, time for my family, and time for Benjamin Studio. My morning begins with a workout, which rotates between the weights at the gym, a 45-minute walk or a trail run. I love my morning coffee after my workout. I often get my kids off to school, a middle schooler and a high schooler. We have a 1-month-old daughter as well, so mornings nearly always include her and her mom. I head into the office around 8 a.m., which is a small suite above Vita Coffee and Cave and Post near 7th Ave and McDowell. My day is typically planned out with design, production, internal team coordination, and client meetings. After work, I love to spend some quality time with my wife and family, which often includes us cooking a home cooked meal, and connecting about our day. To wind down, I will spend some time reading, and when we have time, watch some TV. With a 1-month-old, our routine includes getting her into her bedtime routine as well.

MY FAMILY IS… the center of my world. I have two boys, 13 and 16, from a previous marriage and a beautiful newborn with my amazing wife, Shauna. We love being together, playing a board game, watching a movie, going out to eat, and try to do a couple trips a year together.

ONE THING I CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT IS… coffee. That is what first came to mind. One thing is so challenging. Family would be an obvious answer, but outside of family would be coffee, working out, and finding a creative outlet.

MY FAVORITE MOVIE I COULD NEVER GET TIRED OF WATCHING AND WHY IS… I never get tired of watching the original “Star Wars” movies, or “Indiana Jones.” I love sci-fi, action, and a mix of fantasy.

WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, I WANTED TO BE… a fisherman. Growing up in a small coastal town in Oregon, I initially thought I wanted to be a commercial fisherman, or logger. Something to do with the outdoors and industries that employed a lot of people in my town at that time. That did evolve when I was 10 or 12. I began to love drawing, specifically homes. This led me to the desire to be an architect, even though I had no idea what an architect was at that age.

THE SONG I WOULD SING AT KARAOKE NIGHT IS… I used to pick one of two songs, either Guns N Roses – “Sweet Child of Mine,” or Led Zeppelin – “How Many More Times.”

THE ONE PERSON WHO MOTIVATES ME IS… my wife, Shauna. She is an amazing partner who challenges me to follow my dreams, always work on growth and being a better version of myself, and to be a better husband and father.

THE LAST THING THAT MADE ME LAUGH OUT LOUD WAS… my kids. I love when my kids make me laugh.

THE PERFECT DAY IS… sleeping in just a little bit (I rarely do that) and going for a morning walk with my family to grab a coffee. Or going for a trail run and being in nature in some way. Also, enjoying an amazing dinner with my wife, laughs, and perhaps a Manhattan. Then, winding down with the family with a movie or a game.

MY FAVORITE LOCAL NONPROFIT IS… Boys Team Charity. My boys, my wife, and I are part of a local volunteer organization that supports many local nonprofits where we spend many hours volunteering. The other would be the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). My youngest son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 3 years old. We have supported this organization for its research and support of Type 1 diabetics.

MY LIFE IS… full. It feels as if every minute of every day is scheduled. Even with this full schedule, I don’t feel overwhelmed, I feel fulfilled.

MY DREAM VACATION WOULD BE… one that I haven’t yet taken, which would be a trip to Italy.

THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I’VE EVER RECEIVED IS… work hard to master your emotional intelligence, and do not personalize anything.