When you ring in your second year of business in the middle of a global pandemic and a booming market, you know it’s going to be a crazy ride. But for us at ABLA, it’s all part of the journey. We sat down with Andy Baron, President; Thomas Durant, Vice President; Brian Rogers, Associate Principal; and Chris Szabo, Associate Principal, to look back on the highs and lows of 2021, as well as what to expect in 2022.

What were your expectations going into 2021?
Thomas Durant: We were cautiously optimistic.
Durant: Though we were aiming for a high-growth year, we were also navigating the ‘new normal’ due to the Covid restrictions.
Chris Szabo: It was uncharted territory.
Brian Rogers: The market was suddenly booming, and we had our foot on the gas with hopes coming year would continue to be strong.
Szabo: It was eerily reminiscent of the years leading up to the recession.
Andy Baron: Housing demand was increasing, and lots of families were relocating to Arizona. We found ourselves looking at a robust market with bountiful opportunities.

Did you meet those expectations?
Rogers: Yes, we thrived last year.
Szabo: From developing the team to building new client relationships and taking on new projects, we far exceeded our expectations.
Durant: And the market certainly continues to exceed expectations. Phoenix is one of the hot spots for relocating.
Rogers: Also, our office stayed healthy and strong.

What challenges or obstacles has ABLA had to overcome in 2021?
Baron: Although they weren’t unique to ABLA, we experienced ongoing issues with Covid-19 and the availability of labor.
Szabo: Covid-19 challenged leadership in many ways. We had to be creative and open-minded and find ways to keep our employees safe while the demand for ABLA’s services increased throughout the year.
Rogers: The robust real estate market produced some aggressive schedules—it was an incredible opportunity, but it was challenging.

What accomplishments has ABLA had in 2021?
Rogers: Our team continues to get stronger.  They developed skills to pivot and respond quickly to requests.
Szabo: Our employees really shone in 2021.
Durant: They really grew, both in knowledge and cohesiveness as a team.
Szabo: ABLA also continues to expand its portfolio of work. We’re excited to have the opportunity to be involved in so many types of projects.
Baron: The successful growth within the firm allowed us to advance and promote high-performing members of the team, which ultimately helps to develop the future of ABLA.

What are ABLAs Goals for 2022?
Durant: Keep growing, mentoring the team, and exceeding client expectations.
Rogers: Continue to find opportunities in the challenges we face.
Szabo: Keep doing what we’re doing: support employee health and growth, remain committed to client satisfaction, and keep growing the business.
Baron: Our goal is two-fold: to continue to support the growth and mentoring of our talented team, while providing the highest quality of design and client service. 

Your message to 2022?
Rogers: Dig in deep, muster some grit, and hold on tight.
Szabo: Let’s work together—to commit, create, focus, succeed, and grow.
Baron: It’s time for ludicrous speed.
Rogers: 2022 is going to be a fantastic year for growth and opportunities with ABLA.
Durant: Bring it!