E4H 10Qs – Getting to Know the People Behind the Projects…Ray Boudreau

posted July 2nd, 2024 in Blog

by E4H


“I believe that healthcare design will continue to move in a flexible fashion.”

E4H associate principal Ray Boudreau is based in the Boston office. He has played pivotal roles in E4H projects like the Wentworth Douglass Hospital Pease Medical Office Building development, and Lawrence General Hospital’s New Surgical Building, and continues to be inspired by solutions that improve patient and family experiences.

1. Where did you grow up?

I grew up just outside Boston, MA, in the small community of Watertown. I studied architecture at Wentworth Institute of Technology in the Fenway area of downtown Boston.

2. How did you get into design?

Surprisingly, golf. Growing up I always loved to draw and build popsicle stick structures, but I never directly linked it to architecture. When I started high school, my father urged me to pick up a fall season sport and suggested golf. My golf coach, Mr. Travers, just so happened to also teach Technical Drafting, which is where I was first introduced to AutoCAD. My passion for both architecture and golf have grown exponentially from that point on.

3. Who influenced you?

My father. He worked in construction as a pipefitter. He had a great mind for problem solving, meticulous attention to detail, and a grinding work ethic. He instilled those qualities in me… and the importance of duct tape. He taught me to respect every person on a project team and construction site regardless of your role. There’s always an opportunity to learn from someone who is an expert in their field and often they’re willing to work together towards a common solution.

4. Why healthcare architecture?

Another surprise, ice hockey. I often say that I didn’t choose healthcare architecture, it chose me. Aside from my Co-Op position at a small residential architecture firm, I worked as a Zamboni driver at the local hockey rink in Watertown. Wayne Pelletier (my biggest mentor) was watching his son’s hockey game and conversing with a couple rink employees who recommended that he speak to me. Wayne offered me a trial drafting position at his firm that specialized in healthcare architecture and my path was set. I was immediately enamored by the opportunity it gave me to directly help people in need and have been rewarded by it continually since. Ironically, I’ve had the opportunity to work on some of the same hospitals where my father installed mechanical and med-gas systems. It’s amazing how life comes full circle.

5. What inspires you?

Working with healthcare professionals to identify the best way to improve patient and family experiences through the built environment. Understanding that most people are coming to the facility you’re designing on potentially their worst day. The spaces that we create together have the ability to enhance healing, elevate hope, and provide a positive impact even when facing difficult prognoses.

6. What advice can you give young designers?

Everything you do, do with a purpose. Taking the time to formulate a plan makes execution much more straight forward. Ask questions, a lot of questions. Most people in this profession are passionate about what they do and are willing to take the time to teach and mentor. Take advice from the construction side of the business. The skilled trades have great experience and knowledge to share.

7. Most memorable projects?

My first large scale project was with Huggins Hospital in Wolfeboro, NH. A 102,000 SF replacement hospital with multiple clinical modalities. It really jump-started my career being exposed to that type of project early on.

And Lawrence General Hospital – New Surgical Building. One of my first projects with E4H. An extremely challenging project with a difficult existing site. I co-located in an office on-site for the entire project which really allowed me to see into the inner workings of hospital operations.

8. What is your favorite part of the design process?

Each area of design has its charm. To be honest, I enjoy each one for different reasons. The beginning stages of design are full of optimism. Working closely with our clients to fully understand their visions and helping them bring those ideas to life. The detail of construction documents and the artform of putting a set of drawings together. And the tangible result of construction, finally being rewarded for the effort put forth on the project.

9. Where do you see healthcare design in 5 years?

I’m not entirely sure. Technology in healthcare moves faster than we can design and construct. By the time a project is complete, there are already parts of it that could be out of date. I believe that healthcare design will continue to move in a flexible fashion. Being able to adapt to these changes gives facilities the greatest opportunity to keep up with an ever-changing environment. I mean, who could’ve predicted the last 5-years?!

10. How do you unplug?

I play ice-hockey at least once a week. The physical exertion of it gives me the ability to truly live in the moment and forget about everything else. I also recently started boxing for fitness which also requires a singular focus that keeps all outside anxieties at bay.