Rock the Ridge to support MTC

Rock the Ridge to support MTC

It is time to ROCK THE RIDGE to support MTC! MTC has programs including agriculture production, architecture, auto technology, carpentry, collision repair, dental careers, fire and rescue, heating and cooling technology, nursing, welding, and more. Supporting technical education is critical to the success of any community. Charles serves on the foundation board and the marketing committee and says, “The work we are doing to support these students will pay off for our entire community as MTC develops our community’s future heroes.”

Rock the Ridge

Rock the Ridge is a new summer kick-off event produced by Massanutten Technical Center Foundation and hosted by Massanutten Resort. With so many positive comments after last year’s event hosted at the school, MTC Foundation wanted to kick it up a notch and expand on the ever-popular Thunderstruck vibe. Thus, this new collaborative event was born.

This festival will feature three main stage bands, food, beverages, fireworks, and more!

Bluestone Communication

MTC foundation worked with Bluestone Communications this year to kick off the marketing plan for the foundation and fundraiser – Rock the Ridge. This nationally affiliated student run PR firm at James James Madison University was a pleasure to work with over this last semester. Working with the Bluestone Communications team from JMU allowed us to develop a brand standard for MTC Foundation and graphics specific to promote the upcoming concert.

These students work with a variety of businesses and non-profits each year. Along with branding and social media, they work to get media exposure, which they did for us through WHSV and the DNR.

Bluestone Communication

The Massanutten Technical Center Foundation, under the direction of its Executive Board, supports the mission of Massanutten Technical Center:

“Massanutten Technical Center will provide high school and adult students with the skills, knowledge, and industry-based experiences necessary to attain success in career and community.”

MTC plays a vital role in the community that directly benefits area students, businesses, and citizens alike. Area businesses have access to economical, high quality training services for their employees and a steady supply of highly-skilled potential employees. With MTC in the community, adults can continue their education, and working men and women can acquire new skills that greatly enhance their career prospects. At MTC, high school students are prepared for a future of lifetime learning and career success.

Harrisonburg Architect named in top 100 for 2024

Harrisonburg Architect named in top 100 for 2024

fixr top architect charles hendricks

Charles Hendricks Recognized as one of the 100 top Architects of 2024 recently revealed its annual selection of the 100 Top Architects of 2024, spotlighting key players in today’s construction industry. This exclusive list acknowledges the experts who are continuously contributing to the growth of the residential design sector.

 These top architects have made this list based on criteria such as expertise, experience, and the ability to drive innovation and progress. They are acknowledged both locally and nationally, have earned their place through remarkable projects and a solid reputation.

According to Ornella Bianco, Home Improvement Specialist at, “The influence these experts have on the industry is undeniable. They are at the forefront, keeping up the pace with evolving homeowner preferences and advancing residential architecture in 2024.”

Being included in’s list affirms Hendricks’ leadership and expertise in the home design sector. This recognition underscores Charles Hendricks’ role as a catalyst for innovation, crucial for the ongoing advancement of residential architectural practices and trends in 2024.

Charles was also included on this list in 2023 and prior to that appeared on the Fixr top 200 experts in the construction industry list each year from  2020-2022

About Charles:

Charles Hendricks and is an architect, Rotarian, and father living in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. He serves the firm as Principal Architect also focused on business development, marketing, sustainability, and building science. He serves the community through a wide range of organizations including the Rotary Club of Rockingham CountyShenandoah Valley PartnershipExplore More Museum, Park View Mennonite Church, Massanutten Technical Center Foundation, Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance Design Committee, and through many other volunteer opportunities. His core belief is that through design we can build a stronger and more vibrant future for all.

About Gaines Group Architects:

Gaines Group Architects is a small firm with a big idea – design can build a better community, enhance livability, reduce construction and operation costs, and protect our environment.

Design matters.

We work hard to understand the best practices in the industry so we can provide our clients with functional, affordable, and beautiful design solutions. We do this through a focus on quality, value, building science, and timeless beauty. Gaines Group Architects is located in Harrisonburg and Charlottesville, Virginia. We serve a wide range of clients from custom homes, renovations, additions, commercial, retail, industrial, ecclesiastical, and non-profits.

Mission statement

Through design we want to build a stronger more vibrant community. We want to design solutions that make positive changes for everyone in our community.

Why we do it

Because we want a better future for our clients, community, and world.

About is a go-to resource for home improvement, dedicated to aiding homeowners in making informed decisions about remodeling. stands out for providing unbiased, thorough, and regularly updated cost guides, price comparisons, and cheat sheets for a wide range of remodeling, installation, and repair projects. With the necessary knowledge at hand, connects homeowners with the best-matched contractors in their area to begin their home improvement projects.

For the complete list of the 100 Top Architects of 2024, visit:

Project Update: Harrisonburg Rockingham Child Day Care Center

Project Update: Harrisonburg Rockingham Child Day Care Center

The Harrisonburg Rockingham Child Day Care Center is heading into the final weeks of construction for phase 1. Walls have been removed and others added. Doors are relocated to the right locations and electrical outlets have been added. The restrooms have been shaped and the rough-ins are ready for fixtures. Best of all, the drywall is almost done so the paint to roll.

Harrisonburg Construction is hard at work executing the plan that we worked out with the building owners to maximize the functionality of this existing building for their day care. Phase 1 construction will provide the rooms and spaces needed to open this fall for infants up to pre-school students. Phase 2 is planned and ready to start (they could use your financial support to get everything done they need). We have learned a lot about grants, day care standards, and faith on this project from some amazing clients with a wonderful mission – to provide affordable day care in Harrisonburg.

Many of the exterior changes, including the playground, will come in phase 2 construction. Phase 1 construction is focused to allow the facility to open the functional space by this fall. We will also update the exterior of the facility and replace the windows.

Harrisonburg Rockingham Child Day Care Center

The classrooms on the north and west side of the building have tall windows and lots of natural light.

Harrisonburg Rockingham Child Day Care Center

We are adding a window into this east classroom to bring more natural light into the space.

Harrisonburg Rockingham Child Day Care Center

The protective cover is starting to be removed from the stainless steel in the kitchen – do they look like portals into another dimension to you?

Stay tuned for more updates as this project starts to get paint, doors installed, and a ceiling in place!

If you are thinking about opening a day care, give us a call so we can help evaluate your building options.

Confession about owning a small business in a post pandemic economy

Confession about owning a small business in a post pandemic economy

I own a small business in a post-pandemic economy, and life is difficult. (Disclaimer: I have 4 business partners, I don’t do this alone).

I keep seeing posts on social media from other small business owner friends of mine and I think we are all feeling the weight of the world right now. I can tell you I need help, support, and compassion right now more than I have in the 16 years I have been a business owner. Thank you to all those who are supporting me and offering words of encouragement. Thank you also to all my clients who are allowing me to design for them.

But more about the challenges: Owning an architectural firm means I have to have thick skin, a very high tolerance for stress, and be extremely flexible in schedule, goals, and expectations. I have not found the balance, if there is such a thing, and tend to give more to others and the business than to my own mental and physical wellbeing. Owning a business is hard.

Something changed coming out of the pandemic. Expectations are higher, timelines are shorter, price structures are more volatile, and product shortages are unpredictable. It is beyond stressful to figure out the challenge of balancing meeting our clients expectations, mental health of staff, and providing a safe place for design creativity, with staying economically competitive and quick. Are you done yet? While all these challenges / goals have always been there for small architectural firms, since the pandemic it seems they are all heightened. It is not necessarily directly related to the pandemic, but there was a shift in how our clients think about us and what our employees expect in a workplace since the pandemic. Many days it feels like everything is in a very fragile balance and any small wrong move will break the system. We balance building code compliance with aesthetic beauty with structural product price spikes with changing communication patterns from our clients, consultants, and employees. We are expected to pivot quickly and stay on top of all the changes all the time. Products that used to be readily available are no longer in our market. Builders that used to need work are booked out for a year or so. Software costs skyrocketed from just a few years ago when you could purchase a software package to now having to purchase an annual subscription. The market has shifted where the big firms will frequently compete with smaller firms for local projects. These larger firms have entire teams dedicated to responding to potential client requests while in a small firm we each wear many different hats and have to give time in many different ways and directions.

I am not complaining about owning a business and getting to set my own schedule, write my own mission statement, and set my own path. (Well sort of set my own path and as long as my schedule is work a lot I can set it for sure.) I love what I get to do: solve spatial problems for our clients that enhance their livability, protect the environment through sustainable design practices, and inspire joy through beautiful design work. I just wish it was a little easier to find the clients, deliver the projects efficiently in a more relaxed schedule, and figure out the balance between earning a comfortable living and being affordable. It does feel like I am climbing a steep hill with the sun in my eyes many days.

Does anyone else have some insights on the joys and challenges of owning a small business? Please share, it is good to know that others face similar challenges.

Elk Rock Meadow Craftsman Home is Taking Shape

Elk Rock Meadow Craftsman Home is Taking Shape

The Elk Rock Meadow Craftsman home is taking shape! This two-story craftsman home on a partial basement sits on a beautiful property at the top of Afton Mountain, and the views in every direction are absolutely amazing. We worked hard with our client to incorporate the right building science standards to produce an efficient, durable, and comfortable home. Hearing them express excitement about how the rooms are taking shape is an incredible reward for all the work we put into the design.

Elk Rock Meadow Custom Home

The views out the front door looking through the future front porch frame the amazing views this building site features looking out towards the golf course.

Elk Rock Meadow Custom Home

The views out the back are absolutely amazing and the den frames them perfectly. On this clear day you can see mountains beyond mountains.

As the second floor takes shape we eagerly await the roof trusses to be placed so we can see the entire structure. The front porch is going to be a great gathering space and the read deck will allow for hours of relaxing views. Working with an amazing landscape architect, Huntlands Landscape Architecture, will seamlessly incorporate this structure into the site.

Elk Rock Meadow Custom Home

Elk Rock Meadow Custom Home

My favorite view from this project is over Elk Rock Vista and Elk Rock Manor, two other homes at Elk Rock Meadow we had the privilege to design.



Elk Rock Meadow Custom Home

 The flex space above the barn will allow the home owner to explore many future hobbies and interests. This building was designed to be flexible for future uses.

Elk Rock Meadow Custom Home

Elk Rock Meadow

If you are interested in finding your dream home give us a call, we can help you come up with the right plan.