Principal for Science Architecture
of an architectural design firm

Working closely with an architectural design firm, we secured a Principal for Science Architecture who is expanding our client's presence in the higher education, pharmaceutical, and real estate development markets. The individual has quickly demonstrated his capabilities as a seller-doer who has the talent to acquire projects and manage multiple project teams. His long-term plan is to become an equity partner in this growing firm.

Our client is a boutique, full service architectural firm specializing in complex research and laboratory spaces serving top tier academic research campuses, as well as private pharmaceutical organizations.

Helbling was retained to attract and secure a Principal to specialize in Science Architecture. Our client’s objective was to continue growing and expanding their presence within the higher education and real estate development sectors while also adding support to their future succession and ownership plan. They sought a Principal Architect who could develop business in their target markets, manage multiple project teams, and continue to raise the already sophisticated design standard of their firm.

Working closely with our client’s three principals, we took time to understand their short and long-term goals so as to assist them in determining the competencies and background that should be sought in prospective candidates. Together with them, we determined that the ideal candidate needed to be multi-faceted as a design architect, have experience leading large complex projects with sophisticated owners and possess a strong understanding of the construction documentation process. The professional had to have the personality and desire to develop and nurture relationships with prospective and current clients and possess excellent communication skills for continued direct client interaction.

In addition to this background and skill set, our client ideally wanted an individual who could be brought in as a principal who would have the ability to buy equity in the organization in the near future. Both parties realized the challenge of finding someone in the design field who could be both a seller and a doer, fit within their corporate culture, and have an interest in becoming an equity partner in a firm.

Initially, Helbling focused search activities within the regional area of our client, as well as in areas where they expressed interest in opening an office. Shortly after beginning the actual recruitment process, we determined that it would be best to secure a candidate who would be based in their corporate location. Utilizing our network of contacts, we received referrals from our owner and general contracting / construction management clients. We also researched other architectural firms that were performing significant projects for higher education institutions and pharmaceutical laboratories, focusing on individuals at the principal and associate principal levels.

Collaboratively with our client, we attracted and secured a professional who resided within our client’s local area and had managed the successful completion of challenging projects with Ivy League and other prominent institutions, as well as with a nearby laboratory real estate developer. The professional has a proven track record of working autonomously with clients and leading internal project teams.

The placed candidate is assisting in the expansion our client’s presence in the higher education market as they have obtained several significant projects to date. Whereas the firm had not worked with real estate developers in the past, they are now establishing and building relationships with those entities, and they have already been named as the Lead Architect on their first commercial development project.

Our client notes that the professional fits within their culture well, is exceptional at securing work, brings fresh ideas to their entire team, and is helping to educate and mentor their younger design professionals. Beyond that, he is instrumental in the development of an overall strategy for the firm’s future growth and profitability. In following up with the individual over the past year, he says he is thriving within our client’s culture, feels that it is a great fit and opportunity for him, and is confident that he is adding value to the firm.

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The selected candidate fits well within our client's culture, is exceptional at securing work, brings fresh ideas to their entire team, and is helping to educate and mentor their younger design professionals. Beyond that, he is instrumental in the development of an overall strategy for the firm’s future growth and profitability.
Wes Miller, Managing Director - Southeast

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