Business Spotlight: HB&A Architecture and Planning
As part of our blog series, the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC is pleased to pair up with our new 2022 board chair, Andrea Barker, principal and business development of HB&A Architecture and Planning, to dive into some Q&A’s on her role with the company, her background, and the fascinating work HB&A does in and around Colorado Springs. HB&A is a certified Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) by the U.S Small Business Administration. Andrea Barker joined HB&A in 1992 and was promoted to Director of Business Development in 1998. In 2007 Barker became a principal. Andrea is part of HB&A’s management team and leads the effort to generate new business.
Colorado’s second-largest city is an epicenter of opportunity. Doing business in Colorado Springs offers unmatched advantages, nationally known talent, and operating costs that bring down, not burn through, bottom lines. We are pleased to house a plethora of innovative and diverse companies in Colorado Springs.
What advice would you share with young women interested in pursuing a career in architecture? What innovative or particularly exciting projects have come from HB&A’s unique specialty in working with military clients?
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t pursue architecture because you’re not artistic enough, technically savvy enough, or not math inclined. A person can come to architecture from many different paths depending on your interests and your gifts. If you want to be an architect, you can learn the skills you need and find a place to fit in. Architecture is a human based endeavor and a path to a career in architecture may start with an interest in how people interact with each other, with all facets of history, application of new technology and materials, pure sculptural design, innovative research, sustainability, building construction, or from a pragmatic problem-solving standpoint. There is a place for you in architecture, there is no one stereotype of what an architect is that applies to all.
Often when people hear that our largest clients are the military, they assume that all we focus on are mission centric command and control facilities. In reality, our work serves the men and women that carry out the mission and their families across their 24/7/365 lives. We touch every type of land use and all different types of buildings in our architecture and master planning including command centers, administrative headquarters, industrial areas, as well as childcare centers, fitness facilities, housing, churches, schools, and fire stations. It has been exciting to deliver our services for the Space Force based in Colorado Springs with its unique global reach across many renovations and new projects. We also enjoy a very long and deep relationship with the exceptional higher education institution of the United States Air Force Academy with its accelerated academics, applied research, premier athletics, that is also a fully operational air force base and airfield. Rounding out the military installations we serve is Fort Carson, the most populous installation in the region.
As a leader engrained in the Colorado Springs community, what project would you say has been your favorite to work on so far? What makes Colorado Springs such an exciting place for architecture and planning?
It’s hard to pinpoint one outstanding project, but one that we are particularly proud of is the North Colorado Springs Readiness Center. It is our biggest (60,000 SF) brand-new construction and LEED™ Platinum certified project. We finished the Readiness Center in 2015 for the Colorado Army National Guard on land provided by the United States Air Force Academy.
Colorado Springs has significant potential for development in our city core because we didn’t see the building boom of the 1970s – 1990s like other downtowns of similar-sized cities around the country. Colorado Springs is beginning to realize its potential. HB&A has supported this growth by our work on new urban housing options in the downtown area. Our continuing partnership with Darsey Nicklasson of DHN Planning and Development is very rewarding to prove the need for downtown living options. We designed both of Blue Dot Place and Casa Mundi small apartment projects that delivered walkable urban living in the city center. Blue Dot was the first newly constructed apartment building downtown since the 1960’s and has served as the catalyst and proof of market for the current boom of new multifamily housing projects in downtown Colorado Springs. It has been exciting to be a part of the shift for greater urban living options for Colorado Springs.
Attracting talent is the name of the game in 2022. What steps does HB&A take to ensure open positions are welcoming for a diverse talent pool, and what partnerships do you leverage in the community to ensure prospective talent knows about HB&A?
Currently, HB&A is 51% women-owned and women comprise 14 of our 26 total staff. The demographics of our staff reflect the wide diversity of our community at large. When hiring new staff, we seek out talented people whose skills and personalities seem to fit our office culture and project requirements. The diversity of our staff has happened naturally by stressing required skills and giving opportunities for all those that are committed to bringing their best work and attitudes to our team. We celebrate the strength of our team and give a glimpse of our firm culture via our social media channels. We are very proud of our welcoming workplace of skilled professionals, particularly as new hires quickly become integral to our creative problem-solving team.
Interested in a career with HB&A? Apply and find out more here: https://www.hbaa.com/job-postings