“There’s literally a team of people working together on every single project,” said Jon Cochran, senior director of business development. “The team-based approach — I’ve never seen anything like it. I really feel like it’s teamwork that gets things done here.”
Vice president and creative director David Winton echoed the sentiment, saying the company established a hierarchy as it grew to respond to the scale and diversification of its projects — but avoided creating an overly rigid structure.
“It’s nice for any particular team of individuals to have a manager to ask questions to and to provide insight and final sign-off, but that’s it,” he said.
This collaborative approach in part derives from Kalisher’s personal philosophy of developing the individual strengths of his employees.
“It’s impossible in the interview process to really understand who someone is and what he or she is going to excel at. One of the tricks to being successful is: Hire somebody, figure out what they’re good at and then let them focus on that thing,” he said.
The business’s Carrboro location, which Kalisher and others on staff describe as a “creative economy,” has affected the experience of the workplace in different, important, ways.
Whether it’s the local coffee and beer on tap in the lounge, talking walks on the train tracks while working through ideas or introducing employees from around the country to the diverse food scene, “the spirit of Carrboro,” as Kalisher describes it, is evident.
“It’s such a part of our history and our culture,” said Sarah Elder, a vice president and chief operating officer at the firm. As the first employee hired by the company, Elder remembers that staying in Carrboro was one of the company’s priorities as it grew.
“We will always be based in Carrboro,” Kalisher said. “I can’t imagine being based anywhere else.”