Earlier this week, BRW shut down the phone lines and turned off the neon “open” sign (well, metaphorically at least) for two whole days! Employees from San Francisco, Houston and College Station took planes, trains and automobiles to converge at the Filter Building for this year’s Firmwide Advance.
Originally this company retreat began as a single-day event but as the company grew, so has Firmwide. We’ve evolved from a small gathering the day before Thanksgiving to a full two-day event at White Rock Lake, but the mission has never changed. We call our retreat an “advance” because of the time we spend discussing the status of our firm and how we can improve in the future.
“It’s an opportunity to take time outside of the office to gain a new perspective as a group, which is worth more than all the email you miss over two days,” says Craig Reynolds, FAIA. “We learn about working as a team, current trends in architecture and even take time to enjoy touring some of our finished projects.”
Two days is barely enough. With a record number of new employees this year, we needed every minute! We listened to Cliff Welch, AIA of Welch Architecture share his wisdom on adding artistic touches to personal residences. We discussed the future of sustainable architecture with David Richter, FAIA of Richter Architects. We tested our knowledge and skills with a staple gun building miniature walls (yep, walls. #itsanarchitecturething). We even squeezed in hiring a professional photographer to take new headshots for everyone.
Most of all, we took time to enjoy socializing with coworkers and matching faces to the flurry of emails we handle every day.
“BRW is like a family and it is so nice to take time out of our busy schedules to physically come together in one room for two days. By sharing our knowledge and experiences, it encourages us to support each other in the future,” said Julie MacDonald, AIA, a San Francisco employee.
Now that Firmwide Advance is over, BRW employees are having extra coffee and catching up on piles of messages but we are working with refreshed enthusiasm – just the boost we needed to continue working together as a team!