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Announcing Newly Licensed Architect: Chris Warren

Ionic DeZign Studios is proud to announce that Architectural Associate Chris Warren has successfully completed his Architect Registration Examination (ARE) 5.0 and is a newly licensed architect.

The ARE is administered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) and is designed to assess aspects of architectural practice that affect the integrity, soundness and health impacts of a building.

Chris has seven years of architectural experience, and joined the Ionic team in 2019.  He earned his Bachelors of Architecture degree from Virginia Tech in 2011.

Chris’ experience includes residential construction, with a multitude of projects involving  low-income housing, multifamily residential and single family homes. As a registered architect Chris will continue contributing his unique vision to Ionic designs, with a focus on creating outcomes that exceed client expectations.

Please join us in congratulating Chris on this achievement!

Our Amazing Intern – Jaxon

Right after the presentation, a father brought his high school son to introduce to me and talk about the project in further detail. He also shared that his son was doing some AutoCAD in high school and wondered if we considered any internships. IONIC had considered summer interns in the past when there was a good match. We’ve even hired college students that worked part-time and went to school the other. Dahlia White is a testament to that success as she began with us that way more than 10 years ago.

So when this proud father introduced me to his son, Jaxon, a high school student, I must say that I was a little bit leery as to his ability to do much around our office. Honestly, everything we do is on the computer these days. And most high schools don’t teach the level that we would use in our office. However, I was very impressed with his portfolio work and found out that he had been in training with AutoCAD for three years. That’s just unheard of!

Jaxon was a pleasure in our office during his time with IONIC. He continued to grow and develop and not only honed his skills with AutoCAD, but quickly jumped into helping produce construction documents. We were excited to hear that this wasn’t just a job to make a few bucks but the beginning of a career and that he intended to go to architectural school at Virginia Tech.

Thanks Jaxon for all of your participation and energy that you shared in our Richmond office. We look forward to hearing and seeing great things from you in the future.

P. S. There are always summer breaks and holiday weekends!

Here is a quick note he shared with us:

My experience with IONIC started when they came to do an addition to my church; my dad dragged me along to the meeting just in case they offered an internship of some sort. I was doubtful that anyone would want a 17 year old kid working for them, but I went along anyway. After the meeting, I was super nervous about asking these two strange men (Eugene and Aaron) that I had never met about coming to work for them as it was my first time doing something similar to this.

However, it went smoothly! I secured the internship as well as a small pay, which was just unbelievable, and I went from there. When I first started at IONIC the one thing I remember is how welcomed I felt while I was first starting, almost like the family just took me under their wing immediately.

My first project I remember was a small project off of Twin Oaks, and Jeff gave me the floor plans and told me to put them into AutoCAD, no big deal right.

However, as I progressed I realized how hard it was! But with the help of Aaron and Google, I was able to continue to grow and learn. I am forever grateful for the opportunity that was given to me by IONIC and I am super excited to be back next summer!

IONIC isn’t only a business, it’s a family who care for one another deeply.

Thank you Jaxon for the kind words…Looking forward to seeing your success at Virginia Tech!

The S-Curve

I was recently afforded the opportunity to hear Kyle Johnson, the minister of Next Level Church, speak at the recent Annual Member Meeting of NACDB (National Association of Church Design Build) in Arlington, Texas. He gave the keynote address based on the “S-Curve” thought process regarding growth. It was interesting to hear him compare business and church growth. Something you might not normally expect. I took the following notes and added my own thoughts and embellishments as they apply to our own experiences.

It’s funny how things often tie together. Kyle was about to share his message which often referenced the rollercoaster or S-Curve theory. As I was walking over from the hotel to the convention center where the event was to take place, I noticed a wonderful orange sunrise coming up in the distance. It was striking. But what caught my attention especially was the shadowy figure of the rollercoaster from Six Flags in the foreground. A few hours later Kyle would be sharing his thoughts about rollercoasters and sunrises……hummmmm makes you think.

Growth is linear…up and to the right. Well that’s what we would like to consider consistent growth. Consistent and sustainable growth. But we know that is in theory only and does not necessarily occur in practice. Growth doesn’t happen in our businesses in a linear fashion. Nor does growth for churches happen linearly either. It’s more up and down like a rollercoaster. A continuous cycle that has its ebbs and tides and hopefully moves generally upward as the cycle repeats.

There are several recognizable phases that are evident in this S-Curve process:

1. Launch

The launching is the first phase and can easily be demonstrated by the kick off of a new business. However, other areas can be illustrated by this such as expansion, an acquisition or even a new service. Something different. Anything new can be considered a launch phase. On a rollercoaster, it is when you sit in that seat and pull down the bar that holds you in… and you suck your gut in just a little bit more so you can tug on it just a little bit more and the bar clicks tighter one more notch. Then you hear the air breaks go off on a rollercoaster. Hear we go! Hang on!

2. Acceleration

Seth Godin described the next phase of any business cycle as the acceleration phase. That moment when your movement just begins. It’s slow as first but you are proceeding forward. Gaining a bit of momentum possibly. It’s that first dip on the rollercoaster as it leaves the loading area and heads out on the track. A short  downward portion that we all experience in our stomachs possibly, both on the rollercoaster and in the business world.

3. Rapid Growth

The third phase is all about growth. Business is fun at this point. Work is coming in. So is money. This is what was planned, right? Up and to the right, just as all business models are represented. Growth is rapid. You get more projects than you know how to handle. You have to hire more people to perform the work. Things are good, maybe even a bit frantic. But that’s okay. You are making money. Making progress. Accomplishing a lot. This is good. A little sweat is good… right? Sure it is. Put your hands up on the rollercoaster! You feel like you could do this all day.

4. Diminishing Returns

Oh no, here it comes. You couldn’t really expect it to continue up and right forever, could you? Progress slows, but that’s OK because you were swamped and now you appreciate the breather. It should be nothing. It might last a month, maybe a few before you recognize the slowed forward momentum. Maybe you looked at your financials and see that you increased in revenue in every previous month. Over and over. But not this month. It was still a good number. Maybe even a little dip from last month. Nothing to worry about… or is there? It’s that moment on the rollercoaster when the first car goes over the top of the hill. The question for business owners is are you in the front seat or the back? Can you see what is ahead or are you blinded by an obstructed view?

5. Free Fall

Here comes the sickening feeling in your stomach. We lose a project. And then another. We never lost projects before. What do you mean our prices are too high?After all these years of our relationship and the past work we have performed for you? The other guys? It’s a downward spin on the rollercoaster. You can feel the wheels coming off the tracks just a little bit. Stomach floating upward into your throat. Not enough work for those new people you just hired.

Here is the moment when we have to begin to make a difference in our company. Being a good leader isn’t just about doing good when things are well. That’s easy to manage. A good leader recognizes the issues and takes action. I’ve often heard that it isn’t the challenges that makes you who you are, but how you react to those challenges.

You are going to have to avoid the Doom Loop. You keep doing the same… over and over. Where is that ultimately going to get you? Probably in the same spot you began… without progress. You tried something new and it didn’t take off immediately. You got scared and freaked out! The free fall makes you want to stop what you are doing and go back to something safe. The growth isn’t there anymore and it isn’t happening the way you hoped or planned. Trust the systems, structures, communication and processes. It’s there… give it time.

However, if there aren’t any changes made, your are bound to endure the Doom Loop. A good leader will make the necessary changes. Sticking your head in the sand and expecting it to get better isn’t a solution. If you are not willing to make the changes necessary to get back to the top of the S-Curve then you will certainly suffer. And so will the rest of your team.

So guess what? Every organization will experience some part of the Doom Loop. The real question is for what duration will you remain on this reoccurring cycle? How long will it take you as a leader to react? Good visionary leaders can see across the rollercoaster and see what the future holds. You must be willing to make the changes necessary. Jim Collins describes this trait as a good leader becoming a great leader.

Sunsets: Close your eyes and picture a sunset in your mind. Where are you? What is the perfect sunset that you envision? If this was asked in a room full of people, everyone would have a different answer, right? Is only one person envisioning the correct sunset? No they are all correct but they may not be envisioning your sunset as the leader. Your sunset is the vision of the company. The direction you are going. The master plan or maybe the 3 year vivid vision such as Cameron Herold suggests and our office does. So have you shared your vision with the others on your team so they know what your sunset looks like?

Where are you on the rollercoaster? And can you truly evaluate your current status? The bigger question is what are you going to do about it? How will your react to this challenge?

www.ionicdezigns.com

Headed to the Lone Star State!

I’m polishing off my cowboy boots and heading down to Arlington, Texas to attend the National Association of Church Design Builders (NACDB) Annual Member Meeting on Tuesday. IONIC is a proud NACDB member and this is a fantastic opportunity for me to connect with my fellow NACDB peers and stay up to date on this important market we serve.

Arlington Convention Center, here I come! Watch our social pages for updates from my trip. Maybe I should pick up another pair of boots while I’m there!

Inside IONIC – William Henry “Harry” Harris III, AIA

Based in our Richmond, Virginia office, Harry has an extensive architecture background and is known for establishing enduring, successful business relationships. In his current role with Ionic DeZign Studios, he is responsible for business development and client relations.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on several church projects in Virginia, which include additions to St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Lynchburg, a Master Vision Plan for Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Powhatan County and renovations to the Sanctuary at the Glen Allen Church of Christ. I’m also working on a new multipurpose addition to Bear Creek Baptist Church in Bakersville, North Carolina.

 

What inspires you?

Assisting our church clients in realizing their vision by enhancing their facilities to accomplish their mission and ministry within the church’s community.

 

How do you like to spend your free time?

From a young age, I have enjoyed sailing and I currently continue to sail the Chesapeake Bay whenever possible on my sloop, “Sapphire.” There is nothing more refreshing than manning the helm of a sailboat on a brisk day on the bay with all sails aloft.

 

Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” Psalm 127:1

 

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I have had the good fortune to assist the youth of Richmond through my 35 plus years of service with the Kiwanis Club of Richmond. Our life safety programs for at-risk children and our annual Christmas party for the patients at the Children’s Hospital are always inspiring.

 

Also, as a board member for more than 30 years, and a past vice president of Elk Hill Farm, Inc., a treatment program for at-risk boys and girls in the Central Virginia region, I have been inspired by its success. The program has grown from one campus treating 30 students, to five campuses treating more than 700 youth. Our design of the Singleton Chapel at the Elk Hill Goochland Campus continues to be my favorite Sacred Space design project.

This is the first in a series of “Inside IONIC” posts, designed to help you get to know the talented, innovative team at Ionic DeZign Studios.

IONIC Welcomes Soloman Peterson

Ionic DeZign Studios is pleased to announce that Soloman Peterson, Architect, AIA has joined the IONIC team serving in the position of Branch Director in our Richmond, Virginia office located at 3307 Church Road, Suite 200. Soloman has relocated from Nashville, Tennessee to join the firm and will focus on day to day management of the office, management of projects and business development along with building and fulfilling client relations.

Soloman has over 30 years of experience in the design professions, most recently serving as Director of Business Development / Senior Project Manager for Lose & Associates, a multi-disciplinary firm.  He previously served as Director of Architecture and Business Development with Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates / Architects, opening and managing their Charlottesville, VA office, and prior to that served as Director of Architecture and Engineering with Lantz Construction Company in Broadway, VA.

Soloman also operated his own practice based out of Charlotte, NC for nearly 20 years and the first project he completed was in 1986 for the Pearson Signature Dealerships Richmond Honda location. He is the Architect of Record on well over 100 Virginia projects including completed projects for Richmond Public Schools, Chesterfield County Government, Rockingham County Public Schools, and the City of Harrisonburg as well as a broad array of private projects; most notably including the recent renovation and expansion of the historic Wayne Theater for the Wayne Theater Association located in Waynesboro, VA.

Soloman excels at leading integrated project teams in the collaborative delivery of planning, architectural and branded environment projects and will be joined in the office by a staff of 2 registered Architects and 3 associates to serve the current and future clients of the firm in Richmond and throughout central Virginia.

Please feel free to reach out to us if we can assist you in any way with your architectural or interior design needs. www.ionicdezigns.com