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Upstarter Profile

Michael Judice

Architect, McMillan Pazdan Smith

  • Native of Fredericksburg, Virginia
  • Industry Architecture

As an architect with McMillan Pazdan Smith, Michael Judice designs facilities within the firm’s Community Studio — contributing his vision to projects like a court house parking garage, Police Operations Building and massive redevelopment sites.

Though “community” is much more than a work focus for Michael, it’s integral to his family taking root in the Upstate.

He launched his career in New York City, where he spent 13 years gaining experience with world-renowned firms such as EYP, Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM), and HOK.

Pursuit of family life brought him to the Upstate, and in September of 2019, Michael joined McMillan Pazdan Smith as a project architect.

Originally from Fredericksburg, Virginia, Michael completed the five-year program at Virginia Tech to earn his professional Bachelor of Architecture in 2003. While living and working in Brooklyn, he met his wife, Cathryn, a Spartanburg native. The pair married in fall 2014 and looked to buy a home, though found New York City was too expensive.

After a stint in Philadelphia where Michael helped HOK’s Philly office expand into that market, the couple had their son Liam and decided to relocate to Charlotte to be closer to Cathryn’s family in Spartanburg.

It turned out the Queen City wasn’t close enough to family as they had hoped, so Michael left his position with Gensler in Charlotte to join the McMillan Pazdan Smith community studio, working out of the firm’s Spartanburg office.

“My wife found a great craftsman bungalow in Converse Heights and we put an offer on it and went for it,” he says. The pair is renovating the home to unite the house’s original character with the needs of a growing family.

It’s located within charming neighborhood with tree-lined streets and Happy Hollow Park, and downtown Spartanburg’s shops, restaurants and offices like Michael’s are only a mile away. He can walk down the street from the office in downtown Spartanburg to meet his family for lunch.

The Lemongrass Kitchen has the most authentic pho I’ve been able to find outside of New York City,” he adds.

Working for the MPS community studio has also connected Michael to a “Who’s Who” of people working to further improve and develop the Upstate.

“The Northeast was a hustle all the time,” he says. “What I really like about the Upstate is that there are better opportunities here to make an impact in the local community. It’s small enough to actually effect change, and to get involved. When you come from a bigger city, it’s such a large machine, you’re never going to be more than a tiny cog. Here, you have a conversation with the right person, and they introduce you to somebody else who can get you involved.”

Michael is already involved with several local nonprofits and sits on the board of Trees Upstate, a 501c3 dedicated to the mission of planting more trees in Upstate parks, schools, and neighborhoods.

Upstate farmer’s markets are another one of Michael’s passions. Most weekends, you will find him shopping at the Spartanburg Farmer’s Market, where he’s on a first-name basis with most of the vendors. It’s yet another opportunity to serve: Michael was also recently elected to the Hub City Farmer’s Market Board of Directors, a 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to increase supply, demand, and access to healthy, local food for all in Spartanburg County.

In addition to being “foodies” who share their stories over locally sourced meals with Cathryn’s family, the couple also enjoy taking advantage of the plentiful outdoor opportunities like hiking and camping that the area has to offer.

And in July 2021, Michael and Cathryn welcomed twin boys, Luca and Benjamin, to their family. The twins were born two days after Michael’s own birthday, so he jokes that he’ll “never celebrate my own birthday again!”

As the boys get older, the couple are looking forward to getting them plugged in to the excellent children’s programming in their city. Michael is also excited about some upcoming future developments he will play a part in designing that will further improve the livability of this booming region.

Upstate SC Favorites

Restaurant

The Lemongrass Kitchen for Vietnamese, or The Kennedy for Southern-inspired fare in Spartanburg

Community Activity
Philanthropic Engagement

Trees Upstate & Hub City Farmer’s Market

The Northeast was a hustle all the time. What I really like about the Upstate is that there are better opportunities here to make an impact in the local community. It’s small enough to actually effect change, and to get involved.

Michael Judice
Architect, McMillan Pazdan Smith

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