“One of the great things about HagerSmith is the freedom the office has given me to grow as an individual.” – Bryan Gibson
In his 14 years at HagerSmith, Bryan Gibson has learned to wear multiple hats while managing the architect group and his own projects as principal and vice president of the firm. Originally from Indiana, Gibson started out as an architectural intern. In the process, he has learned the importance of high accountability and instills it within his team today. Gibson points out, “we’re a family-oriented, tight knit group; HagerSmith is unique because we push the envelope and push young grads to take responsibility, be accountable, and project manage.” Bryan uses most of his experience in design, construction document production, project management, and construction administration to help move the firm forward.
“My favorite part of working at HagerSmith is the day to day interactions with my co-workers. It really is a fun place to work,” says Gibson; he has a similar appreciation of the firm’s clients, saying “most of the clients of HagerSmith have held a relationship with the firm for 40 years and a lot of that is nurturing our relationships with them.” His current team is a fun mix of highly experienced architects and ambitious new graduates. Scott and Tony are seasoned veterans and Trent and Zach are getting started in their careers in architecture; as Gibson points out, there’s a passing of knowledge from the experienced architects down to the interns and often sees himself as the bridge that closes the divide. It seems like a role he’s happy to take on as he says about his team “they make it an easy job because everyone is so eager to learn from each other.”
One of the reasons HagerSmith works so well is because of the collaborative nature of the teams themselves. When tasked with working on a new project, the interior design group, landscape architecture, and architecture groups will often come together to brainstorm and develop ideas and concepts. “Everyone works in the office so its easy to walk over to someone’s desk to ask a question.” As far as finding the right people who fit the teams’ personality and energy, Bryan says “we find great, young talent and get them involved in the office day-to-day and grow them as professionals. Many of these interns will become the future of this firm.”
As the industry continues to shift due to advancements in technology, Bryan works to shift with it. In the beginning, there was just a handful of firms doing 3-D modeling to capture building designs and now, it’s the norm. The building software used at the firm has also changed how things are drawn. Now, not only are they able to draw 3 dimensional worlds, they’re better able to save clients future headaches and money by being able to eliminate any potential problems they can foresee through the technology and client walk-thrus.
Speaking of changes, Raleigh has undergone a metamorphosis, with many older buildings either being torn down and replaced or undergoing complete renovations. “Raleigh is pretty shockingly different,” Bryan points out as he reflects on his 14-year career working in downtown Raleigh. “It’s growing fast and it’s growing in all the right ways. I think it’ll be completely transformed in the next 10 years.”
As fast as Raleigh is growing and looking for ways to support the growth in the form of new high-rise commercial and residential buildings, HagerSmith is looking to maintain their current growth, “we don’t want to get too big where we can’t support employees, but we don’t want to be too small either, so we’re in the perfect position. We work extremely well at the size we’re at.” However, according to Bryan, that doesn’t mean they’re not looking to grow as a firm. A goal for HagerSmith, in Bryan’s eyes, is to work on building their list. “We want to have a robust portfolio of work, we want to make sure we’re well rounded.” For now, Bryan wants to continue to focus on the people and work. “I don’t think I would’ve had the opportunity to continue to learn and grow from intern to principal over 10 years and I want to keep fostering the environment we have. It’s exciting, full of new experiences, and I truly have fun every day.”