AcquisitionSeptember 14, 2016 8:03am
ALLEVATO has become the Boston office of HFA, a 220+ person, multidisciplinary retail design firm based in Bentonville, AR with over 25 years of experience providing comprehensive A/E services for a variety of nationally recognized clients. We are dedicated to providing superior service, creative solutions, and meaningful spaces. HFA provides Architecture, Interior Design, MEP Engineering, Fire Protection, Refrigeration Engineering, Fueling Design, Structural Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Landscape Architecture services throughout the U.S. and Mexico. (See their website for more information.)
Lou Allevato discusses the impetus for this change, and where he sees this merger taking us in the future.
ac·qui·si·tion ˌ[ak-wuh-zish-uh, noun]
It’s not about acquiring something. It’s about staying small and going big.
In the nearly 15-year existence of Allevato Architects, our philosophy has always been “stay big by being small.” There are advantages to staying small:
- More control. There is much less to manage, which means you can manage everything.
- More proactive. You have more time to see everything through.
- A more personal touch. It’s what attracts clients. It is easier to develop closer relationships with clients and employees.
- More involvement. Being hands-on drives business and allows you to personally supervise work and manage proper mentoring of employees.
So, why go big? A 2015 survey by the Zweig Group revealed that 68 percent of the participating design firms had strategic plans that included either a merger or an acquisition. Firms are looking to transform their practices to full service “one-stop-shops,” among other things, and to specialize and find niche markets.
Upsizing has its advantages in terms of synergy – increasing design intelligence by creating a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. The value of a synergistic relationship is in the power to add only; subtraction isn’t an option.
Going big allows us to create access to a wider, more diverse client base and to utilize great levels of technology. This allows us to demonstrate our vast retail design knowledge and to strengthen our position nationally as industry leaders.
As the culture shifts from that of a small firm to that of a large one, employees will be presented new opportunities to expand beyond their traditional roles and to become more well-rounded architects and engineers. Staff involvement in firm-wide activities opens the door to them becoming firm ambassadors in marketing initiatives, business development opportunities and community outreach.
The goal is not growing for the sake of getting bigger. We believe the new HFA | ALLEVATO relationship provides an opportunity to expand our wealth of quality design experience in retail architecture to other geographic areas and clients. It also offers the added value of engineering services to the existing client base and access to new technologies, as well as critical staff development, encouragement and empowerment.
Through all this, we will not lose sight of what got us where we are today: being big by being small.