Larry Mitchell and Mark Hugeback said they were “two young and naïve guys without much of a plan” when they launched M+H Architects in 1989 in a world of architectural blueprints drawn by hand.
They specialize in what they call the mission-critical market, such as data centers and utilities. “They’re recession-proof,” Mitchell said.
They also are in other niches: private education, commercial office building and interiors, recreation centers, and industrial and distribution facilities. Local clients have included MICDS, World Wide Technology, Reliance Bank and the former St. Louis Rams, for whom they designed the training center in Earth City.
The drivers of their recent gains included a more strategic approach to what they were doing and a willingness to embrace technology modeled on the video gaming industry. (“We had been a little remiss during the recession,” Hugeback said.)
“We’re one of few area firms using virtual reality technology, so clients can get the feel of a building before it is built,” Hugeback said. “They can immerse themselves in 3-D by putting on goggles. They can walk down stairs, go into conference rooms. They make better decisions faster, and we have one of the fewest change orders in the industry.”
M+H downsized from 28 to 18 during the recession. “But we made a conscious effort to keep the senior people,” Hugeback said. “They had the relationships with clients and the experience.”
They’re back to 28 employees today, with more on the way, and more emphasis on younger talent. “The old guys know how to assemble the architecture, but you have to have the millennials to run the software,” Mitchell said.
Add any jobs in 2015? One.
Adding any this year? At least three, plus two summer interns.
Leadership: Larry Mitchell and Mark Hugeback, principals.
* This article is from the June 17th edition of the St. Louis Business Journal