Corporate Interiors-Project Architect

Do you work best in the creative energy of a design studio?  Do you enjoy meeting the challenge of designing new and unique projects all over the world?  Would you say yes to an opportunity to work with the best, creative minds in the business?  If so, please consider this Corporate Interiors, Project Architect role.  My client is a firm of outstanding individuals whose fluency in the language of architect and innovation is matched by the practical, real-world experience necessary to transform ideas into one-of-a kind places.

This firm’s leadership is predicated on the success and development of their staff.  With a very low principal to staff ration you will get the personal mentoring you need to grow your career.  

Applicant to the role will be responsible for day-to-day management and production of drawings for all phases of a project, to include test fitting through contract documents. The candidate must be able to oversee the management of the drawings including: detailing, quality control, and will oversee drawing support staff.  Attending construction meeting and preparing field sketches as well as handling aspects of contract administration phase will also be required.  Candidates, who possess excellent organizational and multi-tasking skills, have the ability to work effectively in a team atmosphere, and meet deadlines will move to the front of the line. 

The right candidate will have a BArch and Certification/Licenses/Registration and Minimum 10 years experience in corporate interiors projects.  Fluency in AutoCAD 2009 a newer and MS Office required. 

If you are looking for an opportunity to grow in your career, learn from leading experts and develop a portfolio of exciting and progressive work, please forward your resume and portfolio for review to


Vice President of Construction (Greater China and South East Asia) Store Development

Global lifestyle brand, recognized around the world as a premium brand and whose products include apparel, accessories and fragrance collections for men and women as well as childrenswear and home furnishings.  As a whole, this company comprises one of the world’s most widely recognized families of consumer brands.  This firm is an innovator in inspirational lifestyle branding.

The company is expanding into China and South East Asia.  As part of this growth my client is hiring a new VP of Global Construction.  This role will be responsible for overseeing the entire construction process within Greater China and South East Asia.

Reporting to the Senior Vice President (located in the US), the positions will oversee and manage all new store construction and renovations in the region.  The right candidate will deftly organize tracking and approving of all constructions costs, review and approve all schedules and budgets, oversee the hiring, managing and supervising of all construction teams, and manage all construction contracts from execution of contract through completion of project.


-Bachelor’s or Master’s degree

-10+ years experience in high level retail construction and management

-Experience managing multiple projects in multiple stages

-Strong negotiation and influencing skills

-Proven analytical and decision making abilities

-Self directed and respected

-Retail construction highly valued

-Ability to travel to construction sites

-Knowledge of regional markets and the ability to work in a faced paced retail environment is required

To apply to this position please forward your CV to David Brown.  His email is

Senior Interior Designer-Corporate Interiors

Global Design firm, responsible for some of the most recognizable and profiled places on the globe, is looking for a Senior Interior Designer to join their Corporate Interiors Studio. My client needs a talented designer, someone with at least 10 years of tasteful design experience and deep exposure to corporate environments, who is willing to restructure, revamp and re-engineer this department.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make your mark in an established, global firm. Are you biased for action? Can you be successful dealing with ambiguity? Are you driven and imaginative with the skills to develop a plan to make your vision a reality?

If you are willing to meet this challenge head-on, please submit your resume and portfolio to David Brown, the website is here.

This is not a role for anyone; this role requires a certain personality. Please only apply if you feel you will be successful in such a dynamic environment.

Shopping from home 2.0

Think about the last thing you purchased from home. How did you do it? Were you on-line? Did you use the phone?

What did you buy? How long did it take to get your purchase? Three days? A week? Did you get it overnight? What did that cost?

What if I told you that in the near future you will be able to shop from home in a way that will provide products to you instantly, will be fully customizable to your needs and will be as easy as printing concert tickets? Would you believe me? What if I told you that many are shopping this way today?

Today’s topic is a true game-changer. 3-D printing represents a paradigm shift in how consumers will “shop”.

But first, what is 3-D printing? Wikipedia’s definition does a good job of explaining. “3D printing is a phrase used to describe the process of creating three dimensional objects from a digital file using a materials printer, in a manner similar to printing images on paper. The term is most closely associated with additive manufacturing technology, where an object is created by laying down successive layers of material.”

For the visual learners, a video:

From the video it’s not hard to imagine how 3-d printing will change every aspect of the shopping lifecycle. Imagine. No longer does a toy maker need to manufacture and warehouse plastic action figures. All a shopper must do is download the 3-D file and print the toy at home. The shopper can also customize the action figure (or wrench or model car or phone case) to exactly what they want.

And that is the true game changer. As prices of 3-D printers drop, they range from $500 to $20,000 USD today; the shopper has the ability to create their own product. Much like wood toys were created and given to children 100 years ago, the 3-D printer gives the end user ultimate control and creativity in regards to the end product.

Now the 3-D printer is not the death nail of retail, at least not for the next 20 years, but it is a call to action for retailers. Products that are currently homogenized will fall by the way side as consumers search for, and spend for, unique creations and bespoke designs.

Doing the good work.

Today I received my digital Architect magazine and while I was reviewing it, one story hit me like a ton of bricks.  It is no secret; I own a recruiting/staffing agency, not an architectural firm.  What so surprised me about the story was that it hit me where I live, MY small recruiting business.

The article is about how the AIA, with other groups I am sure, was able to lobby Congress and change a bill that would have had detrimental tax implication for small business of all sorts.

At the heart of the issue was H.R. 4213, the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act.  Now, not to risk losing you back to Facebook I will paraphrase.  Basically Congress was planning to pay for the unemployment extension by taxing “S” Corporations, the common legal structure of small businesses, who have three of fewer partners.  What the new legislation would do is tax income, all income, as payroll tax, regardless of how the money was uses after received.

With an efficient, focused and strategic two part lobby campaign, the AIA (again, with others I am sure) was able to remove the “S” Corporation language out of the law.

If you would like more information, Architect magazine has created a great flow chart.  You can see it here.

The reason this hits home for me is that I also have set up my firm as an “S” Corp.  I had no idea this bill was introduced or the risk it posed to my firm.  I am also happy to know groups like the AIA are looking after small firms as we go about the day to day of growing our companies.

This post is a “thank you” for the efforts of the AIA.  It is nice to know they are taking care of small firms when we can’t.

Trends in Retail.

Earlier this month I attended Global Shop in Las Vegas.  For those of you not in retail design, Global Shop is THE yearly trade show for all things retail.   It covers everything from workshops on the latest trends to new shelving for store displays.

I attended the show this year because many of my clients were going and I like to keep up to date on the latest trends and challenges in retail.  My approach this year was three fold.  First, walk the show floor.  This is a great way to spot new trends in retail as well as understand what is tried and true.

Second, I network.  The show is a great place to connect with existing clients and candidates and meet new ones.  I also enjoy the Retail Design Awards.

There is also all the hosted bars sponsored by different vendors, but what happens in Vegas…

The third arm of my approach is to attend interesting, design focused classes.  I feel this is where I learn the most about new trends and new challenges in the retail design field.

Now that I am back into my day-to-day I will be writing a series of blog posts about the classes I attended.  If I were to create a theme to this year’s event overall it would be “Retail is Personal” or maybe “Retail in Transition”.  In the fasted-paced, always connected, social media, instant feedback and suggestion world we live in, retail is making some exciting, and maybe controversial, changes.

This first post is about the mingling of the on-line and brick and mortar shopping experience.

First, watch this video

I am sure most of you have seen this.  I have seen it several times and I am still amazed.  Think of the possibilities.  The shopper still has the social interaction, a major aspect of shopping, yet has access to unlimited and even unique products, much like online.  Companies also benefit.  Stock can be minimal; items are simply shipped from a central warehouse when purchased.  Warehouse costs dwindle.

One talk that I think addressed how retailers are blending the on-line with the brick and mortar was titled Designing Right Brain Stores, hosted by David Kepron a Principal with Callison.  His talk was very interesting with many topics that ranged from the right and left brain, social interaction and the main point I came away with, shopping=playing.  Playing the way a child might play, having fun, enjoying yourself and not noticing the passing of time, playing like you do on Facebook or other on-line sites.

From the looks of this video, shopping is well on its way to meeting the child in each of us in a very personal way.

Year of the Dragon!

As we in the West put away our party hats, noise makers, aspirin and eye drops and start the work of the new year, the Chinese are getting ready to celebrate.  Chinese New Year is January 23, 2012 and 2012 is the year of the Dragon!

People born under the Dragon are passionate, brave and self-assured.  Dragons in general are blessed with good fortune. They are smart, enterprising and have a wicked sense of humor. They also have a natural flair for fashion.  Wealth is also an important aspect of the Chinese zodiac.  Dragon years are lucky for anyone thinking of starting a business or initiating a new project of any sort because money is easier to come by for everyone, whether it’s earned, borrowed or received as a gift.

This brings us to why I am blogging about the Chinese New Year and the year of the Dragon.  As many of you know I have been working in China and in Asia for about a year and a half.  Business has done very well and I am very please with the clients I have, the people I have placed and the relationship I have developed.  It is no mistake, however, that I have chosen the year of the Dragon to establish my business in China.  I am hoping the luck of the Dragon will smile on my endeavors in China and beyond.

But that is for next year.  For now, enjoy the spirit of the New Year.  Welcome longevity, wealth and prosperity and eliminate any negative chi from your past.  Enjoy your family and the best of luck to you and yours.

You can learn more about the Chinese New Year here. 


Is this thing still on?!

Wow, I am blogging again!  I know, it has been a while.  Bear with me, my reason’s are good.  I have had a fantastic year!  Business is booming and my time is scarce.

So what has changed?  Why have I dusted off my blog?  Business is still great, busier than ever, and 2012 is on track to see my firm grow even more.  Well, I am blogging again because I really like to blog AND I have something new  I want to share.

As you know I have been placing candidates into Asia for a year or so now.  I am now taking the next step.   I am physically growing into Asia, Hong Kong to be specific.  This new office will give me a home base in the region that will allow my firm to take advantage of the astonishing growth and development in the area.  The job boom for Architects and Interior Designers as well as Construction and Real Estate talent is like nothing I have seen.  I am very excited.

This office is the logical next step in my business plan, and I want to share my experience with you.  Starting next year I begin the work of opening an office, establishing a deeper client base, and hiring staff in Asia.  And you will be there with me every step of the way, good and bad.

So, if you like, bookmark this page because there is much more to come.

Robbing Peter…

As the economy slowly starts to correct many of my candidates are realizing and unhappy truth.  Architect salaries are 10% to 20% less than they were a year ago.  This trend was highlighted in the Architect Magazine 2010 salary survey.  Firms of all sizes have been in survival mode, doing whatever they could to stay afloat. No surprising, the most widely used tool was the lay-off. In fact, the Architect Magazine article quotes Kermit Baker, Chief Economist of the AIA: “Our estimates are that 25% of the positions at architectural firms were lost since the middle of 2008”.

Second tool in the firm’s survival tool chest was salary reductions.  Unfortunately salaries are fast to fall and slow to rise.

Some of the highlights from the article are:

•  Median salary fell from $88,800.00 to $80,900.00
•  68% of the firms surveyed made changes of some sort last year
•  There was a slight increase in bonus’ correlating to smaller base salaries

Click here to read the article.

What I have seen since this article was posted is good news, the worst may be over. The industry is taking its cautious steps to recovery. I also think the industry may be set up for another problem, a looming talent gap as a  mass exodus of talent finds shelter in other industries.  The article states that most of the lay-offs were concentrated in the lower salary spectrum. This young talent could not wait for the industry to recover and has left or is thinking of leaving for greener fields. This talent gap will be a blow to the industry not realized for another decade.

It will also be history repeating itself.

The recession of the 1990’s created a talent gap as young architectural talent left the industry due to lack of work. As the industry recovered, grew and thrived this talent gap became more obvious. While the work younger staff does, mainly drawings, can be outsourced to other firms or even done by a Project Manager or Sr. Project Manager, the business development, client management and other “higher function” skills that are unique to each firm cannot be passed down to the up and coming talent because they are not long in the industry.  This creates a stress on the more seasoned staff, they worked more in the weeds, unable to lend their skills at a strategic level and some even postponed retirement.

We know what will happen, we have seen it in recent history.  So what is the fix? While one fix does not fit all needs one idea might be the AIA. The group is uniquely poised to help firms fill the talent gap. Not through hiring but through training. The AIA’s continuing education program is a great forum to train the industry on firm management, business development and other important aspects of the business of architecture. I know that this is already a part of the wonderful curriculum the AIA puts together, I just wonder if there is a bigger idea there. Some way to either train leadership how to mentor and train younger staff or provide individual training to firms.

Of course this is just my opinion. I would love to hear others. Whether we are creating a new talent gap with this recession or not, we are still working through the last one. I know the attitude of the firm leaders I work with is “all ideas are welcome”.

Reposting: Does Your Firm Have a Jedi Council?

Hello internet.  I have decided to dust off my page and start posting again.  I have been away, growing my business, but my blog has always been an important piece of David Brown Recruiting so it is time to start again.

To re-start my blog I wanted to post my most popular article to date.  This article produced many great discussions as well as a few job orders and consulting opportunities.  I also think it is a timely piece because many of my clients are starting to recruit again.

So here it is, the Jedi Council piece.  For those who have seen it already, I hope you find it refreshing.  For this who are reading it for the first time, I hope you find it useful.


Definition: The Jedi Council was a group of twelve wise and powerful Jedi Masters elected to guide the Jedi Order.

I admit it.  I love Star Wars.  Well, at least the first three movies.  These movies had a strange and powerful influence over the boy I was in the late 70’s and early 80’s.  For whatever reason I can still recall specific details of the saga to this day, much to the chagrin of my family.

I believe the reason that the movies resonated with me, and everyone else, is that they were based on simple human truths.

As I have grown through my career of recruiting talent in the Architecture and Interior Design industry one of these “truths” has resonated with me, the idea of the Jedi Council.  Or to translate, a group of trusted and experienced firm employees who understand where a firm has been, where it is today and where it wants to go tomorrow.

I have seen several firms use this model to great success, specifically around business development and hiring talent into the organization.  But how does a firm build a Council and what is the best way to put it to work for your firm?

Building Your Firm’s Council

You will want to fill your firm’s Council with a mix of firm leadership and developing individual contributors.  By balancing these two levels within the group the Council can become aspirational, an appealing growth opportunity for the high bar talent in your firm.  Some firms I have worked with have made membership on the Council a rotational appointment and a qualifier for those on track to Principal.

All members of the Council must understand your firm’s core values and be able to speak about your firm’s value proposition (value=benefit-cost).  They should also have an understanding of where your firm has been, how it has grown and how it defines its self in the market.

It is also important for members of the Council to be involved with relevant organizations outside of the firm.  Successful Councils can function as outward public relations tools.

How to Use Your Council

Of course the Council can support a firm in limitless ways.  As mentioned above the group can be aspirational or a needed rotation as you develop talent within your firm.

Two uses I want to discuss here are public relations and recruiting.

The first, public relations, is an outward focus for the group.  Members of the Council should also be active participants in groups like the AIA, IIDA and others.  Leveraging those memberships and connections can be a great way to educate potential clients and the industry at large on the expertise of your firm.  This can be done through presentations, panel discussion participation and white papers.  By having this group, in conjunction with marketing and PR, be the “voice” of your firm it will also position your employees, and in turn your firm, as the go-to experts in the field.

Another way this type of council can be beneficial is in evaluating talent.  This is an inward focus for the council.

First let’s discuss the benefits of the firm on candidate evaluation.  Because the Council is made up of employees that understand your firm’s core values and are able to speak about your firm’s value proposition (value=benefit-cost).  Members have a unique perspective on how a candidate will meet the specific position need.

Also, through this understanding, the Council can evaluate the higher level fit with the firm from a semi-detached point of view.  Is the candidate biased for action?  Can the candidate deal with ambiguity?  Has the candidate effectively demonstrated the ability to work within a team or influence without authority?  These questions that speak to the over all firm fit should be part of what the council asks in the interview process.

Second, the Council should be selling the firm in the interview process.  The perspective the Council members bring can greatly influence and motivate candidates when interviewing.  In chorus with the rest of the interviewing team the Council member should be tasked with “selling” the firm.  They can also lend a more in-depth look into firm’s goals and how the candidate might fit into those goals.

The great thing about the Jedi Council idea is that it is scalable and can work in any firm regardless of size, specialty, market share or location.  The most exciting aspect of the Council idea is the way it can transform a firm into a knowledge and market leader through active participation in the industry and by evaluating talent, ensuring each hire is the right hire.