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The University of Texas at San Antonio Online Magazine

Class Notes

Mark Wohlfarth ’94

Coming full circle

Mark Wohlfarth learned the value of hard work at an early age.

Mark Wohlfarth ’94

Mark Wohlfarth ’94

“I started working as a stock boy at age 13 or 14, and continued to work all the way through high school and college,” said the cofounder of Sabinal Group, a general contracting firm in San Antonio. “I literally dug ditches.”

Wohlfarth earned his degree in architecture while working full time. It was a long seven-year journey, but ultimately the connections he made during college launched his career, he said. While still in school, he landed a job assisting local architects Joe Stubblefield and Jose Luis Hernandez, and soon discovered he had a knack for managing construction projects.

After spending four years establishing and managing a San Antonio satellite office of the Dallas-based firm Constructors & Associates, he decided in 2005 to launch his own firm with high school friend Danny Benavidez.

In its five-year existence, Sabinal Group has racked up a list of high-profile construction and renovation projects, including the Museo Alameda restoration, the Sullivan Carriage House at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, and a wide range of restaurants, shopping centers, corporate offices and university facilities.

Wohlfarth’s architectural background and a lifelong interest in historic preservation have drawn him to some special projects over the course of his career, such as managing the construction of the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum and overseeing the excavation and restoration of the historic south grounds of the Texas State Capitol.

“We found old whiskey bottles from the 1880s buried in the state capitol lawn,” he said. “It was like getting a glimpse into the Wild West.”

Wohlfarth’s affinity for history lent itself perfectly to a recent construction project at his alma mater. The firm constructed a stylish reading room and a state-of-the-art climate controlled storage room on the fourth floor of the John Peace Library. The 2,700-square-foot space will house and protect a portion of UTSA’s growing collection of rare books and historical documents, as well as the university archives.

From his vantage point as an architectural preservation buff, Wohlfarth easily summed up the importance of the work done with the Special Collections department.

“You can’t lose your past,” he said. “These are precious documents.”

—Anne Peters

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