ADD Inc., now with Stantec
Founded in 1971, ADD Inc. began as an office building design firm in Boston. Today the company has been acquired by Stantec, a multidisciplinary design firm that recognizes the market value in combining the cultures, clients and services of the two companies. ADD/Stantec now has offices in Boston and Miami and provides planning, architecture, interior design and branding services for mixed-use real estate developers, college and universities, hospitality and multifamily housing clients.
“We’re a commercial design firm,” says vice president Fred Kramer. “We’ve been recognized by the American Institute of Architects for different projects over the years so we’ve developed a very strong regional brand.”
Kramer is the former president of ADD Inc. and has transitioned into the role of vice president of the commercial sector in the United States for Stantec. “My job is to help grow the commercial practice in the United States,” says Kramer.
Leading the pack
The professionalism and talent of his co-workers is what motivates Kramer every day. “The people I work with give me the biggest sense of pride,” Kramer explains. “We’re a client-centric, process driven, design-services firm. The client-centricity is about us being consultants and making it all about the client; design-service is really important because our work is beautiful, but everybody can do “beautiful” in this day in age so it comes down to performance and service, and our buildings perform very well over the long term.”
The reputation of ADD Inc. and its regional geographies, along with the profitability of the company attracted the interest of Stantec, which created an opportunity for both companies to discuss the idea of an acquisition. “It’s about having a greater geographical reach through a larger North American-based company,” says Kramer. “It’s also about being able to leverage greater services on behalf of our clients. ADD Inc. was not a multidisciplinary architectural and engineering firm like Stantec is. That brings a lot of nice aspects with it like the ability to work beyond our region and leverage new services existing inside Stantec on our client’s behalf. We’re now working throughout the country and into Canada so it’s already paying dividends with new client pools and new geographic reach”
Seeking to create a south Florida presence, Stantec was interested in the fact that ADD Inc. had established itself in the Miami area. “Our Miami office grew to about 80 people when we were acquired by Stantec,” says Kramer. “They were very interested in having a Florida location in addition to Boston as they are very focused on market growth in the United States.”
Recognition for innovation
Before joining Stantec, ADD Inc. renovated the Gale South Beach Hotel. Located in Miami Beach, the Gale project includes an intimate cocktail lounge, a tin-ceiling Italian restaurant and a rooftop infinity pool framed in Carrera marble. The juxtaposition of midcentury elements and high-fashion glamour earned ADD Judges’ award for Best Renovation in the ninth annual Hospitality Design Awards.
In further recognition of renovations in Miami, ADD Inc. was selected as a recipient of a Merit Award of Excellence for Renovation and Additions in the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) 2012 Florida Caribbean Honor & Design competition. The program is Florida’s most prestigious architecture award and recognizes the region’s most outstanding design.
Back in Boston, ADD/Stantec is continuing with multifamily housing projects and college and university work. “We’ve enjoyed the ongoing development of the seaport area which has been really good to us lately,” says Kramer. “We’ve got six or seven multifamily housing projects which contain a few hundred units each going on right now,”
ADD Inc. recently completed a project for the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. The Treehouse Residence Hall was conceived with the collaborative input of students, faculty and the neighboring community as an artful and sustainable building along the Avenue of the Arts. “This was a really neat project that was actually recognized globally as one of the four best high-rise buildings in the Americas by the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban habitat. Kramer explains. “It’s a very interesting, cutting-edge residence hall that has received a lot of great press so we’re very excited about that.”
As the acquisition of ADD Inc. settles in with Stantec, the performance metrics utilized will continue to be driven by client relationships. The management of a broader range of accounts will be the primary adjustment as revenue and profitability continue to grow. “The breadth of goals, geographic reach, services and market sectors, lends some stability in a company that is as diverse as Stantec is,” says Kramer. “With the acquisition I envision us working in different parts of the country, leveraging our expertise across Stantec’s platform. My commercial leadership role places me in a position where I have the ability to help other geographies of Stantec be successful in the things that we’ve done well and I envision us bringing to Boston a new set of capabilities and values for clients.”
Now part of Stantec, ADD Inc. continues to expand throughout the North American market, the values and practices that have created success for both firms will be forged to create innovative and responsive design solutions for the future of the industry.
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