2015 was a year of growth for The Gaines Group, PLC in both Harrisonburg and Charlottesville. As the economy came back stronger than it has been in the last eight years, we saw tremendous growth in both number and diversity of projects. It was a great year all around.
I started with the firm in 1999. This marks my 15th year working with Ray and Roger taking away my graduate school time. Many things have changed over the years. Roger and I are partners, our firm name moved from Raymond E. Gaines, Architect to The Gaines Group, PLC. We have grown to include two offices and 10 people. Our depth and skill with over 100 years of combined experience is better than it has ever been before. We have seen talented and amazing designers come and go over the past 17 years. However, I believe right now we have the best team that we have ever had. As we move into our 30th year in business we have some big plans. I look forward to sharing the news with you as things are finalized. Thank you for your support on social media and in the community as a whole. I am looking forward to 2016 and expect big things.
As we stand here on the verge of a New Year, I cannot help but look back and evaluate what we accomplished in our 26th year in business. To sum it up, 2013 was a good year, but there is still work to get done. We continue to be one of the fortunate firms in the area that has seen steady growth, for that I am very thankful. We had the chance to design a wide variety of projects from warehouse to custom home, basement renovation to apartment community. I continue to pray that our future is brighter than our past – we have momentum for sure – lets hope our good fortune continues.Some of our successful ventures in 2013:
Timberlake Place finally finished construction. This project experienced many obstacles along the way. However, now that it is done, we celebrate along with JABA in providing a project that features 26 affordable age restricted apartment units in Charlottesville. This project is 100% Universal Design compliant and EarthCraft Certified. It has also been selected as a featured project in the VSAIA Virginia Communities Exhibition opening in January in Richmond.
We continued to spread the word about Healthy, Energy-Efficient, and Durable design solutions through lectures at UVA Darden School, Blue Ridge Community College, Shenandoah Valley Partnership, Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors, Eastern Mennonite High School, Virginia Sustainable Building Network, Charlottesville Networking Group, and Countryside Real Estate Services.
The Hinge House achieved LEED Certification. This project was started by CATEC (Charlottesville High School Students), and finished by Greene County Habitat for Humanity.
Two homes for Charlottesville Habitat for Humanity achieved LEED Silver Certification.
Wellness Concepts, an office building in Grottoes, Virginia, achieved LEED Gold Certification. This 18,000 SF facility really shows how building right cuts energy consumption showing a 40+% average annual savings.
We again participated in the SVBA Home and Garden Show. The all new venue was very successful with added activities including a kid zone, beer garden, and classic car show.
Duke Gardens got a facelift – this design project gave new life and improved the safety of an older student housing project in Harrisonburg.
Waverly Place, an apartment community in Louisa, broke ground. This is the first in a series of multi-family projects being designed in the Charlottesville office.
HR Green Network continued to offer a positive influence in the community. A green building directory was started, groups joined together to advocate for a higher standard for the new middle school, and a conversation was started with the city on the importance of efficiency.
Charles became a Certified Green Professional through the National Home Builders Association. This adds to his Certified Aging in Place specialist, Construction Document Technologist, and LEED Accredited Professional certification.
As I said, it has been a good year. Thanks for all those that have trusted us to deliver design for your project. I look forward to the coming year and the opportunities that have yet to reveal themselves. We have a bright future.
As 2012 draws to a close I sit here thinking about what we have accomplished, what we have left to get done, and the potential for our future. Unfortunately, the construction economy continues a very SLOW recovery and we continue to be faced with hard financial decisions. Our firm was fortunate through the last five years to retain all of our employees, even adding an intern position to the Harrisonburg office, but that has not been without sacrifice. Our clients have continued to show faith that our work adds value to their projects through healthy, energy-efficient, and durable design solutions, but those projects have come with tighter design scopes and shorter development timelines. Our planning process has been embraced by clients looking to renovate their basements, add decks, remodel bathrooms and kitchens, build new homes, develop commercial ventures, and even a couple of warehouses and industrial facility remodel. To say the least we have a broad reach of projects and clients from all backgrounds. I hold fast that 2013 is the year that we emerge triumphant knowing that we have survived and will have the opportunity to serve many more happy clients for years to come throughout Virginia.
Some of our successful ventures in 2012 are listed below include:
1. Participating with many different community organizations giving presentations on green building, building science, social media, solar power, rainwater harvesting, and healthy environments. Our venues included the Spotswood Garden Club, James Madison University, University of Virginia School of Architecture, UVA Darden School of Business, Shenandoah Valley Technology Council, Shenandoah Valley Builders Association, Massanutten Technical Center, Department of Energy, and the Construction Specifications Institute.
2. The construction of our Crossroads Farm Custom Home was completed in February with some final punch list items left to get done. This energy-efficient home features vegetated retaining walls, rainwater harvesting system, high performance HVAC system, self-cleaning windows, local materials, and a high performance insulation package.