On June 14, 2023 Copeland Building Envelope Consulting will be 5 years old. I think that’s pretty neat. About half of businesses fail within the first 5 years, so getting here was by no means a foregone conclusion.
Things started simply. On day one I began work at a used IKEA desk in the unfinished room above my garage, typing on a 3-year-old $200 Chromebook laptop attached to an ancient Black Friday doorbuster mini TV, sitting in a folding chair.
The first site visit was to a condominium association in Hudson, MA called The Esplanade. As a result of that site visit the firm issued its first invoice the next day… for $250.
By July I was working on a masonry project at Harvard’s Houghton Library. This beautiful building was the firm’s first institutional project and a great launch pad for what has become a core practice area.
In September business was booming and I upgraded the office to include a used carpet and a plastic folding table with a plant. I also added a free swivel chair from the side of the road. None of these improvements helped when temperatures dropped in November and I was reminded that the room above my garage was unheated.
The next couple of years flew by in a whirlwind of proposals, reports, site visits, meetings, and drawings. I was loving every minute and at the same time quickly realizing that I needed help.
By February 2020 I was ready to welcome the firm’s first employee other than me. I had also moved out of the unheated garage and upstairs to our 2nd floor in-law apartment.
That first hire was a learning experience for me and things didn’t work out long term. But learn I did, and in summer 2020—in the midst of the pandemic—I started hiring what has now grown to be a team of 10 (soon to be 11!) amazing professionals.
In 2022 the firm moved out of my house and into an awesome industrial-chic loft space in Hudson (up the street from that first site visit). I didn’t have a vision of what the firm’s first “real” office would look like when I started, but the exposed timbers, brick masonry, and big bright windows make for a space much nicer than I could have reasonably hoped for.
In the inaugural blog post back in 2018 I wrote:
Copeland Building Envelope Consulting will focus on improving the process of designing, investigating, and repairing building envelope systems.
I set out intending to “…engineer the system of building envelope consulting.” I’ve tried to stay true to this mission and I think we’ve come a long way.
We focus on trying to get to the root of the problems that plague our building stock and coming up with practical solutions—and that often involves changing how we do the work of consulting. The goal is solutions to problems, not drawings, reports, or slide decks. It’s why we are here.
I’m most grateful for the voluminous and varied contributions from everyone on our amazing team over the last several years. Seeing this positive, enthusiastic, cohesive group develop and grow has been by far the most motivating and inspirational part of the entrepreneurial journey for me.
…everything is on the table. Nothing is sacred.
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Here’s to the next 5.