“I was not the best student,” is how graduate Adam Reed Tucker opened his address to more than 100 GBN students standing around him outside of his new exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry.
“I did not immediately succeed. After my freshman year, I even had to take time out of college to do some soul searching. I even moved back home as I started my career and determined my goals,” he continued.
Now, after discovering his passion , Tucker was about to guide these students through his self-produced spectacle “Brick by Brick” - a monumental achievement for anyone, let alone a person who dubbed himself an immature, misdirected high school student.
Tucker got his act together when he rediscovered a passion for building, a fascination that started with his first LEGO set, long before attending his first day of elementary school. He enrolled at Kansas State University where he earned a degree in architecture with an emphasis on philosophy and design theory. Upon graduation, he worked at a few architecture firms before venturing out on his own.
It was at this time, on a random day, Tucker walked into a toy store near his home and purchased a few boxes of LEGOs. He was inspired to build a LEGO interpretation of the Chicago Sears Tower.
And then the letter from LEGO came. It wasn’t a complimentary communication or even a recruitment piece as one might think - it was a standard cease and desist letter calling for Tucker to stop marketing his creations.
Next came meetings with LEGO executives. After sharing his vision for working with the brick, LEGO and Tucker partnered to create and design the LEGO Architecture line. Since then, Tucker has become one of only 13 LEGO Certified Professionals in the world and has continued working with the company on various projects.
Tucker’s non-traditional path that led to a passionate career, was shaped in part by a few role models who inspired him while at GBN.
“Ms. Block challenged us to channel our creativity into whatever it was we enjoyed or were good at,” said Tucker. “You have to find your own way.”
Tucker has kept in touch with GBN teachers Lee Block and Jason Berg, and has come back to GBN to share his knowledge, experience, and yes, even a few thousand LEGOs.
“Adam has given our art and engineering classes probably 50,000 LEGOs - in every color and formation - to use to create, dream and build upon our classroom experiences,” said Berg. “On numerous occasions he has visited our school, shared his story, and, no doubt, inspired students with his authenticity.”
Tucker realizes the irony of his telling students to “think outside the box,” when in actuality, he has built an enviable career thinking “inside” a box of LEGOs to push those little pieces to the maximum of their capabilities.
“Sometimes the smallest, most minimal things turn out to be the most meaningful,” says Tucker of his favorite piece from the exhibit, the Hoover Dam replica.