35th Anniversary | 11 Milestones
My career at M+A Architects spans 34 years, and with this year being the celebration of our 35th Anniversary, I suppose I am the most suited to speak of it, in that I have worked here nearly the entire existence of the firm.
The M+A we are today, although true to the principles it was founded on as Meacham & Apel Architects, is a drastically different firm than it was in 1980. Not only just our sheer size of staff, but the expanded types of projects we do and where they are located. Inside our office walls is a creative, youthful, and constantly evolving group of designers. Together we foster not only a driven, collaborative and fun work environment, but accompany it with a culture that is family-centric and flexible.
In lieu of describing our 35-year history filled with firm milestones and key turning points (what I think is an interesting read), the millennials in my office suggested I create a top 11 list to be featured on a Anniversary blog. Why 11 and not 10? I have no idea. But since David Letterman has now retired, so with him, I think it is time for the “Top 10 List” to be put to rest as well, so let’s go with a top 11!
So here it is, the top 11 things (in chronological order) that have made the biggest impact on transforming M+A into who we are today:
1. Westerville Municipal Complex – constructed in 1987, it cemented our firm’s position as a high level civic design firm, received an AIA Honor Award and its exterior plaza has become the premier place for community ceremonial events
2. Mill Run Church - (now Upper Arlington Lutheran Church) built in the late 1990's, this very visible facility exemplifies our firm’s early commitment to religious design and expression
3. Easton Town Center - brought not only a national presence but transformed our portfolio
4. Our first transition in firm ownership - with new leadership came a shift in culture
5. The recession - leadership worked feverishly to preserve the firm by improving inefficiencies, enhancing marketing and expanding project types
6. Rebranding from Meacham & Apel Architects to M+A Architects - accurately represented the firm we became and enhanced perception in Central Ohio
7. Opening a Russian office - although no longer a part of M+A, it provided a gateway to diverse international work and recognition
8. Moving our office to Grandview Yard - provided a more urban location and allowed us to design our office as a showroom and direct reflection of our work
9. Merging with a healthcare design firm, KMA Design Partners - drastically expanded our healthcare portfolio
10. The Bob Evans Farms Corporate Headquarters - a marquee project for us in architecture, interior design and branding
11. Opening a Cincinnati Office - diversified clientele and provided a new region to help build
by Jim Mitchell
Principal, Executive Vice President, Director - Civic/Community Studio
Jim has been with M+A since 1981 and currently serves as the executive vice president of the company. Jim's favorite place to eat is Polaris Grille, and his favorite movie is National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.