A&D Business Blues?

What do firms have to say about the recent ABI Index, released by the AIA yesterday (June 23)? While new opportunities seem to be cropping up, two words still seem to sum up sentiments: "flat" and "volatile."

"HOK’s revenue has been ‘flat’ since late 2009, but we’ve seen an increase in the number of new opportunities, and have been fortunate to secure many of them. I believe this will be a very slow recovery in the private sector, because businesses are still very reluctant to add people–and job growth is the single largest driver in commercial real estate, design, and construction. Some of our best prospects include healthcare (where major institutions have re-established funding for their capital needs), federally-funded public projects, and development in growing economies, like India and China."
–HOK vice chairman Clark Davis, FAIA

“I’d say that we're in a pretty volatile situation until 2012. If you look at any macro report, there’s nothing to indicate that we’ll see any huge growth soon. We're seeing a build up of cash out there, but investors don’t have a lot of places to put their money and people are looking for bargains in the real estate market. Additionally, there’s no jobs growth; we’re continuing to see a lot of volatility in global issues and changes in demographics; and there’s still a huge amount of debt owned by the American consumer. I’ve yet to see someone imagine what the economy will be like when the consumer isn’t two-thirds of it. It’s definitely going to be a different economy in the future."
   –Todd DeGarmo, CEO, STUDIOS architecture

"At M Moser, we continue to observe volatile market conditions in many industry sectors. In the corporate sector, however, we are actively engaged with many clients and prospective clients who are taking the opportunity to think strategically about the future workplace. Whereas many large scaled construction projects remain tabled, many corporate clients are pro actively examining their workplace strategies to be better positioned when the market stabilizes…In an age of global competition, conventional dogma is no longer relevant and yesterday's trends are being challenged at every level. We have repeatedly heard our clients state that they don't want to get left at the starting line when liquidity resumes. To this effect, the notion of "cram and jam" is having an adverse affect on earnings, as financially stable companies are better positioned to recruit the best and brightest in their sectors."
    –David Weinberg, AIA, M Moser director, head of New York office


But there are those firms who are riding a more optimistic wave, as well:

“We have actually found the opposite and have seen rising billings month over month, with May being our highest month of the year. It’s looking like June will top May by 38 percent.”
   –Simeon Meyer, CFO, The Puccini Group

"The decrease in the ABI recently released by the AIA is not reflective of what we are experiencing at IA Interior Architects. We see strong demand for our services throughout the U.S. Whether this is due to our exclusive focus on interiors or capture of additional market share, our current and projected revenues indicate continued improvement and growth."             
    –Joe McClelland, Chief Financial Officer, IA INTERIOR ARCHITECTS


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–Stacy Straczynski


  1. Very interesting to see these quotes, especially for a recent graduate on the job hunt. It seems really hit or miss these days – possibly very dependent upon each firm's individual marketing strategies.

    Puccini writes "Puccini Group designs and manages popular restaurants and social spaces that add value to hotels and resorts worldwide" right on the front page of their website-this would obviously speak to hotel/resort owners during this economic downturn.

    Thanks for this post!

  2. We're glad the comments help! It's always nice to hear what the real-life industry is seeing, and not just what the data reflects.

    What types of marketing do you think the "up" trending firms are using?