What's their secret? The two met at UWM School of Architecture and Urban Planning (SARUP) and, staying in Milwaukee, have managed to make many good contacts that led to work. They've also made smart business decisions that led to their success. Korb and Tredo decided to "hire up" as they term it -- hiring people with the same or more experience and expertise than they have; not a common practice among architects.
Architects I worked for preferred to mold an employee rather than learn from them. By putting their egos aside, this savvy business move has "paid off in spades," as Korb put it. Beginning with just two of them, they added eight great architects and designers in a mere two years and have maintained a staff of 10.
I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon with them. We toured the welcome center at St. John's and HOPE Christian School: Forits, both in Milwaukee. At both locations, we ran into the administrators. The banter was familiar and friendly, and it was clear that KTA made a connection both professionally and personally. The buildings were beautiful and sustainable, and the end users took great pride in KTA's contributions.
At HOPE: Fortis, We Energies provided funding for solar panelsÂ andÂ added a computer kiosk that allows students toÂ track electricityÂ generation and consumption. And, the school was cleverly finished to allow HOPE: Fortis to grow and add on in the future.
KTA also works on several projects at Marquette University, their latest beingÂ McCabe Hall, a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified residence hall on 17th Street and Wisconsin Avenue. As you will see in these photos, the residence hall smacks of their modern yet warm aesthetic. Too bad Korb and Tredo were also in dorms when I lived in residence halls; I would have loved to call one of their buildings home.
Just last week, I had another opportunity to tour one of their buildings, the Johnston Center in Milwaukee. This is semi-permanent and permanent housing for some of Milwaukee's homeless run by Mercy Housing. "We are intensely interested in working in our community," says Tredo. Both Korb and Tredo mentioned that they take nothing for granted and work hard to keep clients happy. They never assume they are a shoe-in for continued work with current clients.
When we toured the Johnston Center, I was lucky enough to meet two representatives from Mercy Housing, and, again, their rapport with their clients made me realize their incredible ability to connect with people on all levels. They seemingly hit it off in the beginning to get the work, then build and maintain trust and cultivate customers. Not only that, they connect clients with other vendors and resources, helping clients solve problems they agonized over. Good people to know.
But don't take my word for it, listen to these testimonials:
"We don't hire firms, we hire people," said Tom Ganey.
"Korb Tredo Architects is an excellent company to work with. We were extremely pleased to partner with them on our building project.
"Working with a church requires patience, as there are so many opinions among the members about what the project should look like and accomplish. Korb Tredo displayed an abundance of patience throughout the project.
"They were sensitive to our suggestions without letting go of their excellent vision. Because of their patience and tact, they delivered a building that meets our needs, but also speaks to who they are as architects. Even those who were somewhat skeptical of attaching a modern space to an old church are very pleased with the result.
"Korb Tredo went the extra mile and then some to create a beautiful space that met all of our concerns. I'm pretty sure that we have the coolest gathering space around. When we have visitors, jaws drop and we get all kinds of compliments," said Pastor Eric Goldschmidt of St. John's.
"If Korb Tredo proves to be as capable at designing buildings as they are with connecting people, then the project will be great," saidÂ David Lyon ofÂ Mercy Housing.
Take a look at these renderings, visit the buildings and be inspired. As always, let me know what you think.
Jeff Tredo | March 14, 2010 at 1:37 p.m. (report)
I'd like to amplify the people part of this story - in our office we have been truly fortunate to work with a dedicated and talented team over the past 3 1/2 years... Kathleen Laird, Amanda Gerken, Chris Eger, Angela Ryun, Kevin Rogers, Tadhg McInerney, Kyle Kinney, Laura Reske, Jeff Spruill, Paul Mattek, Karlton Lattimore, Sarah Plamman, Jacqueline Dupre, Kevin Kinney, Amanda Smith, Matthew Honold, Xavier Sanders and Emily Pallot.
1 comment about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Libby Castro
Published Nov. 21, 2010
Designed by Japan's Tadao Ando, the Pulitzer Foundation of the Arts building in St. Louis is an example of simple, yet successful design.
Published Feb. 6, 2010
Some leftover wood and a random Tweet sparked the idea for a new backyard hideaway.
Published Dec. 23, 2009
Tell me about the unique holiday decorations that you've seen. I'd love to know what y'all think. And, here are a few tid bits on my holiday decor.
Published Dec. 12, 2009
A few weeks ago, Libby Castro had the pleasure of sitting down with Jan Van Den Kieboom, owner and lead architect for Workshop Architects, Milwaukee. Here's a guy who has learned how to make design by committee actually work and still make a kick ass building. Really.
Published Oct. 17, 2009
Friday, Nov. 6 marks the sixth year for "Feed Your Soul," an event dreamed up by artists, designers and architects to benefit Wisconsin's hungry. And once again this year, it will be in the cool digs of Flux Design, a design shop at 811 E. Vienna Ave. in Milwaukee.
Published Sept. 24, 2009
Welcome to my blog OnDesign. Here I'll write about architectural projects happening in Wisconsin and on my travels. Have you heard about the new SC Johnson building in Racine?