After experiencing life in some very different firms, I made the major life decision to try it on my own.
I began as a sole proprietor, working out of my basement. I had work, but I was doing everything myself, simultaneously, on all projects. I could see that to be successful, the firm needed to expand.
I took on a partner, Dwain Lutzow, whom I had known since we played on the same Little League baseball team. While we both managed projects, we split up the management/office responsibilities – he handled the money side, and I focused on the design/project side.
This worked well – and only because we trusted each other, were both skilled architects, were willing to work hard and learn, and had a similar vision for the firm’s future. That was 29 years ago, and we are still partners. We outgrew the basement and designed two office buildings which at one time housed our offices.
Despite the ups and downs of the economy, over the years the firm has grown to 8 partners and a staff of 34. Along the way, we opened a second office which we staffed until this past year, when we consolidated into a large centralized corporate office.