Crafton Tull, a full service architecture, engineering and surveying firm, broke ground on a new office in the Meadows Office and Technology Park Thursday.
Lane Housley, executive vice president of energy services, started the energy services division nearly seven years ago in an office off Exchange Avenue with five other employees. Today, the company has a staff of 100-plus working with multiple clients in a five state region.
Zweig White ranks Crafton Tull as the nations 81st fastest growing firm.
Brad Lacy, President and CEO of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, gave Housley his first look at the Technology Park when he first set up offices in Conway seven years ago.
“I told him, Brad, we just have five people,” Housley said. “It doesn’t really warrant a brand new office out here yet, and he said, ‘if you ever have the opportunity I’d like you to look here.’”
They stopped on the top of a hillside over looking a lake and Housley said he knew if he ever got the opportunity, that’s where he wanted to be.
“It’s our sweet spot in the economic development world, in Arkansas and in this region and we are very, very happy that Crafton Tull will be our newest resident in the Meadows,” Lacy said.
Matt Crafton, president and CEO of Crafton Tull, said three key ingredients allowed this project to happen: one, there was a market place, two, the company invested in technology that gave them a competitive advantage and three, the people who drive the company.
“They brought an attitude of ‘we’re not going to fail’ and it’s can do, it’s positive, it’s weekends, it’s nights, it’s having a cell phone tied to your hip at all times, but it’s that can do attitude that made this happen,” he said.
As a Conway Area Chamber of Commerce Board Member, Housley was able to make connections that turned into projects for Crafton Tull generating enough revenue to build the new office.
With the rate at which the energy services division has grown, Housley said, the company has needed a new office for several years now.
Over the last two or three years Housley’s staff outgrew the original office causing some employees to have to work in garage spaces where they endured 80-plus degree temperatures in the summer and walked on flooded floors in the rain.
The new 13,000 square foot building will provide plenty of office space for employees while allowing room for future growth.
“We’ve always taken pride in our company providing great work spaces for our people, and so we’ve for several years wanted to do a project like this to offer our folks the space they need to do their job while also giving expansion opportunity to grow beyond where we are now,” Crafton said.
They now have about 45 people employed at the Conway office. The new space will allow the company to add 20 to 30 more office workers as well as more jobs in the field. The building was designed by Crafton Tull’s own architects and engineers. The exterior design will be a combination of heavy timber as well as stone and exposed metal components.
“The natural quality of the office park played a part in the design of the building,” said Mark Owings, Crafton Tull’s corporate director of integrated architecture.
Housley said a dry wall structure should be up by December and the company is hoping to be able to begin operations sometime in March.
(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1215. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)