Three architecture firms have joined the growing portfolio of one of the only investment groups focusing on the architecture space. Charrette Venture Group (CVG) announces new contracts with Process Architecture in Orlando, Florida, BuildingWork in Seattle, Washington, and HKP Architects in Mount Vernon, Washington. “We now have eleven firms in our investment portfolio and roughly 20 additional firms contracting for various services,” said Todd L. Reding, president and CEO. “We have come a very long way in less than three years,” he said. Charrette Venture Group provides services, technologies, group purchasing programs, and other assets related to improving the business side of a design firm. “Ultimately we help firm owners improve as business leaders,” says Rena Klein, FAIA, the firm’s vice president for investment partnerships. “Most architects never received any formal business training, and there are few resources to help them. CVG identifies firms that want to grow, and forms a long-term partnership with shared risk so we’re all working together to improve the business,” she explains.
HKP Architects has undergone several ownership changes since its founding by Henry Klein in 1952. The small, rural Washington firm has successfully taken on large scale projects and bares a strong reputation in the Northwest. Owners Julie Blazek and Brian Poppe intend to diversify its customer base and build upon the strength of the firm’s history. “We know we must constantly be improving our firm,” says Blazek. “That includes improving the way we’re running our business. The CVG partnership gives us a wide range of resources that would be difficult for us to secure in their independent categories,” she says.
The architecture firms in the CVG portfolio range from a sole proprietor in Vermont to an 18 person firm in Alabama. The areas of practice range across all industries. CVG is actively working with architecture firms in sixteen states and one foreign country.
Wes Featherston AIA, founded Process Architecture in Orlando, Florida in 2011. The firm currently employs three full-time persons and has experienced consistent growth. “I don’t want to just create the usual architecture firm,” says Featherston. “I want to grow a profitable business that allows us to win the projects we are most passionate about. The CVG partnership gives me an immediate sounding board for business decisions,” he says.
CVG has also developed its own proprietary client relationship management system, nicknamed “Abadaba”. The software is made available to all of the firm’s investment partners, and they use it to create and manage their business development processes. “It is critical that our firms adopt a consistent business development process, and we’re proactively pursuing new opportunities,” says Reding. “We don’t wait for the phone to ring,” he says.
BuildingWork was started by Matt Aalfs, AIA, in Seattle in the Spring of 2016. The firm has a staff of six full-time employees working on a range of civic and commercial projects. Previously Aalfs spent 16 years at Weinstein AU Architects and Urban Designers, eventually becoming the managing principal. “It felt like the time was right to set out on my own, and I wanted to build something new,” he says. “But running a business is very challenging. I knew from the start that I could not do it alone. CVG gives me a team dedicated to the success of my firm,” he says. “It is a strategic advantage.”
Charrette Venture Group is currently considering new investment partners in key geographic areas. For more information, visit www.CharretteVG.com or call 515-207-2422.