Kober Hanssen Mitchell Architects

February, 2009

Kurt Mitchell, president and CEO of Kober Hanssen Mitchell Architects, knows well that sometimes you have to pass up the small fish in order to land the really big ones. He says that’s one of the reasons his company’s annual revenue has tripled over the past four years. Three of Kober Hanssen Mitchell’s award-winning projects are Kapolei Hale, the Ko Olina Visitor Center and the Ala Moana Pacific Center.

Mitchell says although the national credit crisis has impacted the ability of some clients to secure funding and loans, he remains optimistic that new opportunities will present themselves as a result of the unstable financial situation.

“Now, more than ever, leaders need to lead,” Mitchell says. “Sometimes, it takes a little creativity, so you also have to be conscious of how money is spent and be smart about how you utilize your resources.”

For example, Mitchell implemented a four-day workweek to promote efficiency and sustainable practices in his three office locations. He also invests heavily in his staff. The company holds monthly in-house workshops to introduce employees to new trade products and ideas or hear about industry updates from guest speakers. Additionally, employees receive about $1,000 a year to attend whatever conferences, workshops or certification courses they feel will add to their skill sets.

Mitchell says the future of Kober Hanssen Mitchell Architects will be dictated by the talents of his staff. “It’s really up to them to decide what type of business we’ll be in the next five to 10 years,” he says. “But no matter what direction we head, I always tell them, ‘It’s not just about what we design, it’s about how it fits into the larger picture.'”

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