It was a fortuitous discovery with a convenient application: the family business. His father, Aaron Tatum, had been building homes for decades, and suddenly Zach was able to appreciate his father's vocation from a new perspective.
The younger Tatum quickly learned that he liked drawing plans, he said, both as original concepts and as modifications to existing blueprints. He joined his parents in their home-building firm, Aaron Tatum Custom Homes, and built his first house in 2006.
Since then his wife, Amanda, has joined the company too, as design coordinator for all custom builds.
Outside of work, the Tatums have found a calling as all-consuming and “even more rewarding” than homebuilding.
After the premature delivery of twin girls four and a half years ago, the Tatums learned that one of their daughters, Olivia, was born with Down Syndrome.
As Olivia and her sister, Sophie, have grown and begun attending school, the Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma has been a steady and beneficial part of the Tatums' lives.
The association seeks to “raise awareness and provide resources, as well as to promote acceptance and inclusion for people with Down Syndrome” and organizes several fundraiser events, said Megan Winkler, executive director.
The Tatums have made one such fundraiser, The Buddy Walk, an annual family event. Their team, “Olivia's Monkey Munchkins,” comprises three generations of Tatums in uniform for the cause. This year's Buddy Walk will be on Oct. 19 at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Amanda Tatum said the event is especially meaningful to parents of children with Down Syndrome.
“You just don't understand how it hits you in the heart unless you have a Down Syndrome child,” she said. The sense of accomplishment for Olivia, and the whole team, “is just so special.”
Zach Tatum's mastery of design software has meant that the second-generation builder is “always learning things about how to improve homes.”
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