Business Profile: Abacus Architects, Inc. Firm celebrates 10 years
Originally posted in Sheboygan Press, Sept. 14, 2013
Business Profile is a news feature of Sheboygan Press Media about new business or those celebrating significant milestones. Questions this week were answered by the partners of Abacus Architects, Inc.
Name of owners:
Robert Heimerl, president; Kurt Davis, vice president-CFO; Joel Van Ess, vice president-civil engineering: Paul Mentink, vice president-architecture; Kyle Karstaedt, registered architect/quality control.
When was your business founded?
August 4, 2003
What does your business do, what services do you provide or what do you make?
Abacus Architects, Inc. creates innovative and cost-efficient solutions to meet its clients’ facility needs. Abacus is a full-service architectural firm, as well as a civil engineering firm. We also offer interior design, LEED expertise and LEAN design solutions. We assist clients of many different types – civic, corporate, education, hospitality, municipal, religious, residential, retail, senior living.
Past and current clients include Johnsonville, Sargento, Viking-Masek, Dutchland Plastics, Pine Haven Christian Communities, Landmark Square, Meals on Wheels, Just Kids Dentistry, Oostburg State Bank, Lakeshore Technical College, Lakeland College, Sheboygan Area School District, Oostburg School District, Cedar Grove-Belgium School District, The Highland House, 5 Pizza Ranch Franchises, Cherry Berry, Tower Car Wash and Cellcom/Glas.
How many employees do you have?
We started with four, are now at a team of 10, and looking to hire additional staff.
Tell us the story of your business-how it came to be created and why?
“I saw a lack of interest in our local market by the firm I was with,” Heimerl said. “In addition, I was out of town many nights each week serving clients around the state, while my two young daughters were at home. I was compelled to make a concerted effort to serve our county. Working locally has been a blessing on two fronts, both personal and professional. Not only am I around more for my family, but I’ve also had the opportunity to form friendships with local leaders.”
What dreams do you have for your business?
“To be sought after by local companies, organizations and establishments based on our reputation and to provide thoughtfully functional, yet beautiful, building projects,” said Heimerl.
“My dream would be to increase to around 14 to 15 employees and have a reputation that would allow us to have the ability to pick and choose our work. I would like to make enough profit every year to be able to reward our employees the way they deserve to be rewarded,” Mentink said.
“The dream that I would have is for the business to experience the success and reputation that would allow it to perpetuate well into the future, developing a body of work that would establish it as a staple in the community and profession,” Karstaedt said.
As a business owner, what do you enjoy most?
“It seems our happiest clients are those who have worked with our competitors in the past. These clients appreciate our high level of service. Exceeding their expectations of us is very rewarding, for the entire team,” Heimerl said.
“I truly enjoy working with our clients-meeting new people and having the chance to make their visions and dreams become a reality. My biggest reward is following their project through to the end and attending their ribbon cuttings and grand openings,” Mentink said.
“I believe what I enjoy the most is developing solutions. Problem solving is a large part of what we do and achieving the appropriate answer to a question can be very satisfying,” Karstaedt said.
What is your greatest challenge?
“To get potential clients to understand that our team can out-perform larger firms. We are not only capable of handling high-budget projects, but believe we can bring a level of personal service to our clients that they sometimes don’t realize exists. Our goal is quality in every job we take on, not quantity in terms of the number of projects we do. We strive to give our clients the personal attention we believe they deserve and somehow need to find an effective way to translate this message.” Heimerl said.
“Day-to-day, making sure our drawings are always at the highest quality we can make them. With some tight deadlines, we need to be sure not to rush,” said Mentink.
“I believe one of the greatest challenges that exists for us is the pace at which things now move. The type of work that we do is not always conducive to quick delivery, yet the expectation for what is produced and the speed at which it is done is always increasing,” Karstaedt said.
As a business owner, what has been your proudest moment or achievement?
Being entrusted to improve the facilities of the most prosperous local companies, Johnsonville and Sargento, for instance. I [Bob] hold successful business leaders, such as Lou Gentine, in the highest regard, on par with how others view sports heroes, such as Aaron Rodgers,” Heimerl said.
“I certainly have my favorite projects but being able to hit 10 years in business is probably our greatest achievement,” Mentink said.
“I’ve always felt that the greatest achievement that we can have is the satisfaction and appreciation that is communicated to us by a client. When a client is so delighted with the outcome of a project that it makes what that client does better, and they are excited to share it with others, knowing that it could not have been achieved without us, that is satisfaction. We are in the business of creating environments that enhance the lives of others. When that works out just right, that is where the greatest achievement is,” Karstaedt said.
Posted On September 14, 2013 | in Releases