IA Executive Directors David Bourke and Tom Powers take note of 2014 milestones and plan for a robust year ahead.
Last year was a special year for IA as we celebrated our 30–year anniversary by working on projects firm-wide that gave back to our communities. Through a number of charitable donations, we shared our experience and talent to make a difference in the places in which we live and work, and demonstrated the power of design.
Over the last year IA experienced tremendous growth across the firm, and we added Houston and Portland to our list of new locations. This expansion shines in the context of IA’s powerful “integrated design” approach, where workplace strategists and designers work in concert to create unique solutions for our clients. We also made big investments in training, new and improved design technology, and, most importantly, retaining our great professionals while hiring the best and the brightest in our profession to build an even stronger practice and culture.
The U.S. economy experienced substantial growth in 2014, consistently for the first time since 2008. The S&P 500® Index rose 30 percent from the end of 2013 through 2014. IA typically tracks well with the S&P—this year, we beat it! No one can deny a stronger economy helps architectural billings, but having a strong culture and brand is also critical to the long term growth and success of our firm.
Reinforcing our values is important to maintaining our focus and unique position in the industry as the leader in architectural interiors. For the past 30 years, this filter has been at the core of our strategy and has been reinforced by the market’s reaction to IA and by the professionals we attract. Our interiors–focused approach has enabled us to innovate and challenge ourselves to grow, rather than diluting our offerings. An added benefit is that our interiors approach has fostered a great deal of collaboration with firms that focus on core and shell design and architecture. As a result, this has created more opportunities for our respective firms.
We continue to develop expertise in our field, put clients’ interests at the forefront of our firm, and stay true to David Mourning’s vision when he founded our firm more than 30 years ago. It has made us the firm we are today. As Dave has written, “IA was established because it was time for interiors to stand on its own, to be taken out of the back room and blossom and prosper on its own. The firm… would be named for what it does—interior architecture—and who we are—interior architects.”
Looking at 2015
We believe 2015 will build on the investments and achievements of the past two years and it will be another stellar year for IA. Our model is somewhat unique in our industry and our scale helps differentiate IA in the market. Our local focus is key. We can bring global expertise in workplace strategy, design, workplace data, design technology, and thought leadership to any assignment. This is a huge benefit for clients trying to make critical decisions about their business.
Our strategy will remain consistent. We will challenge the traditional services model and continue to create better ways to serve our clients and to earn their trust. We will speak up on their behalf, striving to change what needs to be changed and to reinvent what no longer works. IA has never been about the status quo and never will be.