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Episode 87: Timeless Architecture – A New Venture in Montana with Nik Sirna

Ted speaks with Nik Sirna, owner of NVS Architects based in Montana. Nik relocated from the midwest, started his own company, and is thriving through word of mouth recommendations. Today he discusses work ethic, overcoming challenges, and building something from nothing.

In the podcast, Ted and Nik discuss how he has quickly built a customer base through his great work ethic and communication skills, the challenges of starting over, the importance of listening to the customer, and the ways technology is changing industry businesses. Listen in to hear how Nik is climbing the ladder of success and the mentality he uses to tackle problems as they arise.

TOPICS DISCUSSED

  • [1:15] How Nik and Ted met
  • [4:10] How difficult is it to relocate your business and family?
  • [9:05]  Is it hard to acclimate to a new style or design or craftsmanship?
  • [11:35] Listening to the client
  • [13:05] Architects can work anywhere
  • [15:00] Designs based on location, Square footage is just a number
  • [19:20] How tough was it to build up a firm with no clients? Getting your start.
  • [25:45]What’s the difference between school and real life practicing architecture?
  • [28:55] 3D modeling vs. real life
  • [33:35] Budget realities and hard decisions
  • [39:38] Exciting Projects
  • [42:12] The power of word of mouth and building relationships
  • [45:50] The process of landing a big project
  • [48:45]  Mentorship and working hard matters
  • [51:20] You have to learn to figure things out, and don’t take no for an answer
  • [57:00] Wrap up

CONNECT WITH GUEST

KEY QUOTES FROM EPISODE 

  • We’ve found our lane for sure. We’re always evolving, but we’ve definitely, we definitely have our niche and we’ve got our aesthetic, which has been nice and it’s, it’s again, been welcoming
  • Sometimes some of the best projects are some of the smaller ones where you gotta be creative with space and you be articulate with some of the structural stuff and you can create some really dynamic stuff. So it doesn’t all have to be these huge, the huge projects are great, but a lot of them, the ones that challenge us design wise, tend to be a little bit smaller and really make us think outside of the box a little bit from a plan standpoint and come up with some awesome solutions.
  • I’ve been lucky enough to fall in line. I come from a big family of Italian entrepreneurs that they very successfully sold food, but more importantly, created an amazing culture and amazing business wrapped around people. I mean, they have staff that have been part of their team for 40 years because they believe in them, right? They set a path and their customer base, they love the family, they love the people, they love the experience, they love the communication. I’ve been able to take a lot of those key things.

About

Nik founded NVS Architects in 2022 to pursue his passion for people and architecture wholeheartedly.

After receiving his master’s degree at Kent State University and studying in Florence, Italy, Nik received a job as a Project Manager with a construction company. During his time in that role, he was able to understand the complexities of construction and all it takes to bring a building to life. While the experience was great, his creative drive was untapped.

At that point, Nik transitioned to a small, highly sophisticated firm, just outside of Cleveland. It was then that Nik began to understand what architecture really was and how to enhance his craft.

In his 10+ years in the architectural world he has realized that architecture is much more than designing buildings. It is your willingness to listen, your ability to relate to people, being understanding and malleable, and expressing yourself through creativity. When you do those things, you can create amazing experiences and environments through architecture.