When working with a new client I always explain our team structure and introduce the team members. This is not an atypical practice in any service industry. However, our team is special. I am pretty sure this also isn’t an atypical statement in any service industry, at least I would hope other company leaders appreciate their team as much as I do. I would like to take a few moments to describe our team structure and say a few things about our team members.
As a Design + Construct firm we are one team with different members specializing in designing or constructing. I head up the design talent in the office and Jeff Kloss leads the construction professionals. We have design project managers and design assistant project managers. And we have construction project managers and construction assistant project managers.
All of our team member’s desk locations have views of the Santa Monica mountains and the Pacific Ocean, and are not arranged by the team member’s job. So we have assistant design project managers sitting next to construction project managers and construction project managers sitting next to design project managers, etc.. The seating mixture throughout the office allows for constant collaboration between members of each specialty at all stages of every project. Our designs have unique characteristics and are highly detailed. Having all team members involved in each phase ensures our unique and detailed designs are executed as intended. You could say we do not work in silos; we work more in swirls.
It is the project manager who is the primary contact for the client. During the design phase, when there are many decisions to be made, much of the communication with the client is through phone calls and in-person meetings. Designers are really good listeners. They extract enormous amounts of information from conversations, allowing them to determine underlying goals and objectives, which are used to create and finesse all aspects of a project to reach a final stage that’s ready to construct.
Once construction begins, the team provides clients with updates on project progress, photos and videos through a software called ConstructionOnline. This software allows the team to communicate and coordinate, stay on schedule and on budget.
As for the team members as individuals, we have a delightfully quirky bunch. We range in age, gender and nationalities. Some are single, some have partners, some have children, and most have pets. It is remarkable and inspiring to me how varied a relatively small office can be. This variety of personalities can lead to lively discussions, but we always agree on two things, going out together for happy hour and creating great spaces for our clients.