A message from Craig Allen Smith, AIA
This month marks Portfolio’s twenty-fifth year in business. As a young architect I spent a few years at a firm that introduced me to the hospitality industry at a time when that specialization was in its infancy. I learned a lot and being young, confident and fearless I ventured out on my own in hopes of starting a firm that would not only provide great design but done in a way focused with the knowledge of a hotelier. We have learned a great deal along the way and in this ever-changing industry we continue to be challenged and excited.
What I did not anticipate early on is just how much this career would define my life. As you work through growing a business there are so many people that touch your life along the way they become a part of who you are. I think of the terrific staff that have contributed to the success of Portfolio over the years and know that their talents have greatly benefitted who we are today. Working so closely with people on projects - from owners to operators, project professionals and contractors, manufacturers and reps - you realize that these are the people who are your friends and not just business associates. And even the people in the industry you come into contact with on a less frequent basis, competitors included, you come to recognize as casual but no less important friends in this relatively small industry.
While family has grown on an almost separate course, I look at my evolution of the last twenty-five years and see that my best friends are people I have met through the industry. I met my wife first as one of my staff and only years later did we connect, making for a tremendous partnership in life and business! There are thirty-year friendships that are as solid today as they were (dare I say it) when we were young. I have witnessed many of those friends rise through the ranks to become the leaders in our industry, heads of companies and the bearers of high standard. We have helped the hospitality design industry evolve from its early days in the late-eighties and early-nineties into the exciting and diverse community it has become. Yes, I suppose, we have become the old guard – rather, the experienced ones - and intend to hold that honor for a bit more time.
So while I consider the milestone of Portfolio’s Twenty-Five Year Anniversary, I want to give my most heartfelt thanks to the people in this industry, for it is you that have helped make my business, my career and my life such a fantastic and interesting journey.
I look so forward to the next twenty-five!