Perkins Eastman - L Bradford Perkins, Principal and Executive Director
2011 has seen a return to the “new normal”. We are one of the firms that have returned to normal levels of profitability and growth. Moreover, we expect 2012 to see a continuation of normal growth in revenues and profits. This has occurred at a time when many other good firms are still struggling with the impact of the recession and weak economy. We attribute our improved outlook to four parts of our long term strategic plan as well as some luck:
1. Lean Operations
The recession forced us to challenge every expense category and every staff position to make our operations as lean as possible. We found that during the long expansion prior to 2008 we were spending large sums annually on staff positions and other expense categories that did not contribute appropriately to our practice. By 2011 we had become a far leaner operation.
2. An Emphasis on Demonstrated Expertise and Value Added
In more competitive times, such as the present, clients tend to favor firms that can demonstrate that their services bring real added value. Our emphasis on providing our clients with more than generalist architectural and interior design services, has been rewarded with a sharp increase in new projects for the last 18 months.
Our healthcare practice, our specialties driven by demographics (senior living and primary/secondary education), our work in recovering regions of the U.S. (in particular Washington DC and New York), our international practice and some hospitality and corporate projects have been strong. This has more than balanced out the continuing weaknesses in publicly funded projects, most commercial development in the U.S. and the ongoing economic slowdown in large parts of the country.
We have been committed to building a practice that can work anywhere in the world. Our international practice—involving most of our core practice specialties—has been growing rapidly in China, Southeast Asia, India and the Middle East. We expect this growth to continue.