Charles Named Fixr’s Top 100 Architects 2023

Charles Named Fixr’s Top 100 Architects 2023

Charles Hendricks Named as a Top Architect of 2023 has just unveiled its annual list of 100 Top Architects Influencing the Industry in 2023, celebrating the most influential professionals of the industry today. This exclusive list highlights the architects who have made significant contributions to the industry’s growth as a whole.’s selection process evaluated these experts on their expertise, experience, and the ability to inspire through innovation and growth. These 100 Top Architects have established themselves on both local and national levels with exceptional projects and esteemed reputations. 

Being acknowledged as a top Architect is a validation of each expert’s prestige. According to Cristina Miguelez, home remodeling specialist at, “These experts are creating a collaborative and innovative homebuilding process through their knowledge and dedication. Their work is what’s driving the industry forward today.”

Being featured on’s list affirms Charles’ leadership and expertise in the home building industry. This recognition establishes the fact that Charles is a leading force for innovation, which is vital to the continuous growth of construction practices and trends in 2023.


Headshot of Charles Hendricks


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 County, Shenandoah Valley Partnership, Explore More Museum, Park View Mennonite Church, Massanutten Technical Center Foundation, Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance Design Committee, and through many other volunteer opportunities. His core believe is that through design we can build a stronger and more vibrant future for all.

Read more about Charles and his work here.


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 home improvement resource specialist with the mission of helping homeowners make better home remodeling decisions. is unrivaled when it comes to providing unbiased, thorough and updated cost guides, price comparisons, and cheat sheets for hundreds of remodeling, installation, and repair projects. When the homeowner is equipped with the necessary knowledge, 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 2023, visit:

Building a Stronger Community.

Building a Stronger Community.

We hold to our belief that it requires action, time, and energy to build a stronger, more vibrant community. Community has many scales and our collective actions create a ripple effect. Last week Charles had a full schedule of events and he was reminded of the value each of us plays in serving our community. He attended his regular Tuesday morning Rotary Club of Rockingham County meeting which focused on Polio vaccinations around the world. This terrible disease is very close to eradication but simultaneously on the brink of another worldwide outbreak. The work of Rotarians to raise awareness, money, and to take action has made a significant difference with now only two countries in the world reporting wild Polio cases. As an aside, there has been a minor outbreak in a small community in New York, but it is not reported as a wild outbreak. These cases in New York remind everyone of the critical importance of vaccinations.

Mary Baldwin University

After Rotary, Charles headed South to Mary Baldwin University to talk sustainability with business majors. The first class he participated in consisted of freshman students who were eager to discuss and learn how an architect applies sustainability to their work. The excellent conversation and questions showed these students have deep desires to understand the impacts business has on the environment how they can be a part of creating a better future for everyone. The second class was a small group of students who have a primary focus and deep understanding of sustainability in business. The conversation was focused on how to build a sustainable business using the three principles of sustainability; people, planet, and profit.

Charles hit the road after meeting with the MBU students and went directly to Eastern Mennonite School for a second day of teaching Sketch Up and floor plan creation to high school students. The class is tasked with designing a 900 square foot house with 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom as a tool to learn this software and create three dimensional spaces.

To round out his day of service, Charles participated in a spirit night that he helped organize at Harmony Square Dairy Queen. Named “Pints for Polio” this twist on a traditional fundraiser is an annual event that raises Polio awareness in a family0friendly environment.

Not all of our days can be this jam-packed with community service, but is not lost on us how it takes many hands and willing hearts to intentionally build a better, stronger, more vibrant community.

“Mind Behind the Design” featuring Deborah Smith

“Mind Behind the Design” featuring Deborah Smith

It’s time to discover another great mind behind the design and today we are excited to feature team architect, Deborah Smith. Deborah is no stranger to setting BIG goals for herself and is a tremendous support to others in her role as an architect and as a servant leader in the community.

Originally raised on a sheep farm in Rockingham County, she naturally gravitated towards hobbies involving drawing, combing through house plans, watching HGTV, and solving puzzles. She has a remarkable green thumb from helping in the garden during her childhood and originally thought this would lend well to a career in landscape architecture. It wasn’t until she visited Virginia Tech and wandered through the hallways of the architectural school that her dream of pursuing architecture was realized. Seeing the architecture studios through its pyramid skylights and feeling the creativity exuding from the desks covered in drawings and 3D models set her on a path that would become her very successful career. Looking back at this inspirational visit, she didn’t know at the time just how much work would be involved to achieve her goals, but this memory stands out as a big influence in her journey.

After a rigorous 5 years of studying at the Virginia Tech School of Architecture and Design, Deborah graduated and joined the Gaines Group in 2012. She dove into working at the firm headfirst and was the single employee working with Charles in the Harrisonburg office for the first few years. After one year of working at the firm, Deborah knew this was the path for her and set the goal to eventually tackle the architecture licensing examination process to become a registered architect. Because she likes an added challenge and she was curious about the innerworkings of running a small business, Deborah started an MBA program at Eastern Mennonite University while working full time at the firm. Years of hard work paid off when she received her MBA in 2016 and passed her final architectural licensing exam in 2018 to finally be able to call herself Deborah Smith, Registered Architect.

Deborah’s years of experience and education provide a great depth and level of detail to each project she works on. There are parts of each project she enjoys, but she especially appreciates working on adaptive reuse projects in which older buildings are brought back to life for new purposes. These types of projects require a lot of problem-solving during the design and construction process to either make an existing building fit the new use or to expand an existing building to serve a growing organization. Addition and renovation projects are also some of her most memorable projects, especially if it is a historical building! Our office building (the Depot), Eastern Mennonite Elementary School, Deering Hall, and the Blue Ridge Area Foodbank are just a few of her favorite projects to date.

Outside of her life as an architect, Deborah has a dedication to serving the greater community. While studying at Virginia Tech, she served on the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad which is the oldest collegiate student-run, student-led, all-volunteer rescue agency in the country. Currently, she continues to make a big impact in the community by serving as the president of Harrisonburg Women’s Service League; which is committed to supporting women and children in the community through volunteering time and fundraising for local nonprofits. She also recently graduated from the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program in which she worked with colleagues to open a pop-up shop providing business and interview clothing to anyone in need, free of charge.

When Deborah isn’t working hard in the studio or volunteering in the community, she loves spending her time reading, gardening, painting, drawing, traveling, and attending the many wonderful community events that happen throughout the year (Red Wing Music Festival being a favorite!) She has a special love for animals and welcomes many rescue animals into her home through fostering and adoption.

Whether it’s setting big goals, serving the community, harnessing her creativity, or having a soft spot for animals in need, Deborah is a team player who makes an impact wherever she lands.

Best of the Valley – TOP 5!!

Best of the Valley – TOP 5!!

You did it, you boosted us into the Best of the Valley – Top 5!! Voting has opened now to determine the Best of the Valley and two runners-up. Voting is open from June 25 – July 2 and you can vote daily to show us your support and help our chances. We greatly appreciate you taking the time to help our team.

Gaines Group Architects are included in three different categories:

Best Home Improvement Company

Best Company to Work for

Best Gallery Space

Here are some reasons to support us in each category

Best Home Improvement Company

The best home improvements start with a good plan, so a vote for us here is a vote for planning. We have saved clients countless dollars by designing the right solution, that is efficient to build rather than just guessing at the solution and figuring it out as the project unfolds. We also try to provide valuable information through our blog (here, here, here) so that even those that don’t hire us have the right information before starting their home improvement projects. We humbly ask for your vote in this category.

blue ridge mountain home

Best Company to Work for

While many of you have not worked for us, you probably have seen how much fun we have working. We love what we do and have fun doing it. While there are 5 very deserving companies in this category we ask for your vote. There are 12 of use at Gaines Group Architects between the two offices with over 200 years of combined experience and an average tenure of over 15 years. We celebrate each other and try to find special ways to build our team while building our community (here, here, here). We humbly ask you to vote for us as the best company to work for each day through July 2.

Best Gallery Space

There are 5 great gallery options included in this category, but we are in the coolest building. Since this nomination is for the best gallery, I think the choice is clear, vote for the gallery that is on the National Historic Register. Vote for the gallery that includes a display celebrating the history of the Chesapeake Western Railroad and brings life to this 1913 building that we almost lost. Vote for the gallery that has the best food and drink each first Friday of the month supporting a local artist and helping to build a better community. Vote The Depot for Best Gallery Space.

Charles named Fixr’s Top 200 Experts in the Construction Industry 2022

Charles named Fixr’s Top 200 Experts in the Construction Industry 2022

Charles Hendricks

Charles Hendricks Named as a Top Expert in the Construction Industry 2022’s annual list of the top 200 experts in the construction industry has just been released for 2022. The exclusive list names the most influential players in the sector, whose innovative and inspiring work is continuously contributing to the growth of the construction industry as a whole. uses a rigorous method to find those who are deserving of their place on the list. This is based on their expertise and knowledge, experience, and growth as an inspiration to others. Their success at both national and local levels, combined with stand-out projects and esteemed reputations means they are warranted members of the top 200. 

By being named by as part of the list, each expert’s prestige is recognized. Remodeling specialist Cristina Miguelez says, “Shaping current trends and staying on top of what is important to homeowners in 2022 is what is driving the industry forward. This is exactly what each named expert in the top 200 continues to do.” 

Inclusion in the list means confirms that Charles has shown strong leadership and expertise within the home construction industry. Charles’ continued innovation plays a vital part in the continued growth and evolution of construction methods and trends in 2022.

About is a home improvement resource specialist with the mission of helping homeowners make better home remodeling decisions. is unrivaled when it comes to providing unbiased, thorough, and updated cost guides, price comparisons, and cheat sheets for hundreds of remodeling, installation, and repair projects. When the homeowner is equipped with the necessary knowledge, connects homeowners with the best-matched contractors in their area to begin their home improvement projects.

For the complete list of the Top 200 Experts in the Construction Industry 2022, visit:


Top blog posts for 2021

Top blog posts for 2021

Time for another year-end recap, here are the top blog posts for 2021 on the Gaines Group Architects page. This list is misleading as I pick the blogs with the most clicks over the year, so of course, older blogs have more time to get those clicks. This was also the first year I let someone else write blog posts on a regular basis, which changed the point of view of this blog from being my voice to being the firm’s voice. So the list is the list, let me know which are your favorite as I am once again writing the blogs and will want to make sure I am writing content you care to read.

charles hendricks

The first on the list is an older post but tells a bit about my story of finding my way and following my heart.

10. My path to following my heart and building a better community

9. YASS 2021 “Architecture” as a community and skill

WINNER WINNER – it is always fun to get recognized for your design work, this one was a surprise!

8. Tiny house architects – Gaines Group Architects gain national honor

Keezletown Custom Home

7. Construction continues on this Keezletown custom home

I have a series of top 10 list of things I need to do to my own home and I use for blogs – reminds me of all the work I have yet to do.

6. Top 10 things to do this spring for your home and health

5. Falling lumber prices are a start, but how do we fix the housing market?

Depot Harrisonburg

Glad this one still gets clicks and man do I love this building!

4. A love story, Architect, Depot

3. Time to renovate your home?

2. Why you should job shadow while still in high a school #futurearchitect

And the TOP BLOG post for the last 12 months, drumroll, please……

young architect
  1. Architecture to create a greater good – Can architecture create a greater good? Have you found your purpose? Do you put service above self?

Bonus blog

This is a blog I created as a resource for potential clients trying to decide how to move forward with a custom home. I hope to do more with this list of blogs to create a guide, just need the time to do so. It is one of the most clicked-on blogs I have created.

Thinking of building a custom home? Start here first!

I will do a better summary of the year in a blog post soon, but this photo of stickers on my desk is a good visual representation of this past year for now.