In an Era of the Disappearing Mid-Sized Firm, 4240 Architecture Opts to Grow from Within

Michael Smith Natural Resources Bldg CSU_4240 Architecture

DENVER 4240 Architecture, a Denver-based 35-person architecture and planning firm, recently expanded its leadership team with several internal advancements. These advancements include Michele Decker, CPSM, to Principal, Marc Snyder and Brandon Mixon to Associate Principal, and Ian Wilson and Ken Roberts to Associate.

“In a firm where titles carry weight and leadership advancements are thoughtfully considered, founding Principal, Randy Johnson, and President, Lou Bieker, made a strategic decision to decline acquisition offers in order to preserve the firm’s culture and lay a foundation for 4240’s sustainable future,” commented Michele Decker, CPSM, new principal in the firm. “…Also, not many firms tout their ‘mid-size firm’ status, but I think there’s something human about being able to know everyone within the firm—to collaborate, to grow together. We also like that we can be nimble in responding to client’s demands.”

“Michele’s influence spans many domains of practice, both inside the firm and in the industry,” says Randy Johnson. “Her intrapreneurial approach to marketing analysis, strategic positioning, office management, and client relationship development has proven to be extremely effective in the marketplace and we’re honored to have her.”

Her most recent industry association involvement includes: serving as the 2016-17 President of The Society of Marketing Professional Services Colorado, a 501c3 organization with over 260 local members; speaking with colleague, Marc Snyder, at The Association of College and University Housing Officers’ International Conference regarding an original research project 4240 conducted with Colorado State University; and, leading the Discovery Committee for Urban Land Institute Colorado’s Young Leaders Group.

Michele joins Christian Barlock, T.J. Carvis, Matt Cecere, and Andy McRae who were elevated to the principal level in 2016. In addition to the impact these individuals have made within 4240, they are also quite active in the local architecture community. Christian Barlock’s classical design approach is enhanced through his involvement with and promotion of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art. T.J. Carvis serves on the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Colorado Government Affairs Committee, helping to address construction defect reform, while Matt Cecere is the co-chair of AIA Colorado’s 2017 Practice + Design Conference, taking place September 21 – 23 in Keystone, Colorado.  Andy McRae’s role on the Denver Commons Design Review Board brings a sharp eye for design to benefit downtown’s transformative landscape.

In the midst of internal advancements for sustained leadership growth, 4240 has remained focused on its service to clients in both the private and public sectors. The 2016 AIA Clients Insights Report indicates that 80 percent of owners want an architect who serves as their advocate, not just as a transactional service provider. Matt Joblon, chief executive officer of BMC Investments, noted that 4240 not only has a “…dedicated staff [that] is professional, creative and honors the firm’s commitments and deadlines,” but that “they are [also] phenomenal problem-solvers, which brings tremendous value to projects.”

In the public sector, 4240 has strived to build a strong footprint in Colorado with nearly $200 million in projects on the Colorado State University campus alone. Mike Rush, University Architect of Colorado State University, commented, “4240 has a very inclusive process in which they bring forth ways to collaborate and find innovative solutions. The way they work dovetails nicely with the processes we have in place, and even in an institutional environment, we are able to keep projects on track and deliver on schedules that parallel work in the private sector.”

As Denver’s design community continues to evolve, mid-sized local firms have become more the exception than the norm. Architecture firms, like 4240, are encouraged to focus inward to retain top talent, preserve what makes them unique, and best serve the needs of their clients.

Image: 4240 recently designed the Michael Smith Natural Resources Building Addition at Colorado State University’s Warner College of Natural Resources, Fort Collins, CO.

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