Hoefer Wysocki is proud to announce that Rob Welker has been promoted to President. For the past several years, he’s provided leadership in managing renewal business and aggressively cultivating new business opportunities. A key to his growth strategy is a focus that magnifies the firm’s culture and the appreciation and understanding of the relationships and teaming required to achieve outstanding results in the planning, design and construction of projects.
As a strong advocate of the design-build methodology, he believes and stresses the importance of ONE! One voice, one group, one team and most importantly, ONE FAMILY!
Rob Welker was also featured in the Kansas City Business Journal today, interviewed by Austin Alonzo. “Newsmaker: Hoefer Wysocki’s Welker Wants to Build ‘One-Stop-Shop'”
Rob Welker, newly minted president of Hoefer Wysocki Architecture, is bringing business and contracting experience to the Leawood firm. Welker, a partner, isn’t an architect, but he is helping the firm add business, expand its geographic reach and build new market sectors.
Welker is a busy man, splitting his time between Kansas City and the firm’s new office in Dallas and working late nights routinely. But he makes time to play soccer with his boys and keep his yard lush. If only he could find more time for taekwondo.
Why an office in Dallas?
As a full-service architectural firm — we also do interior design and planning — we’ve been providing services coast to coast, and in 2014, as we saw the market really heating up, we decided to move forward and open an office in Dallas with really the primary goal of developing and driving the growth of Hoefer Wysocki.
(The Dallas office) allowed our Kansas City office to focus on the Midwest and our Dallas office to focus on the South. Our goal and our future is adding additional offices, but we’re trying to strategically put us in markets before we even show up in those other regions. I think what’s been great out of opening (the Dallas office) is it’s been able to expand our outreach to recruit talent that sometimes we couldn’t get.
So we did it for two reasons: as a growth opportunity for the company, and revenues and building types, and No. 2, for our people.
Are there any other expansion plans to discuss?
The timeline I don’t know — is it one year or five years? — but we want to get on the West Coast and probably the Southeast. Those are our two next markets we really want to chase. We’re getting our bearings in Dallas right now, and we’ve been working in Texas for the last eight to 10 years. Having the actual shingle and our name out there, it’s a big difference.
What’s next for HWA?
There’s a lot. We added three market sectors that we weren’t primarily doing two years ago. Having the original — health care, commercial and the judicial group — and now adding multifamily, hospitality, higher education and retail. It’s diversifying.
Right now, our biggest market is health care, but if you look at how health care is being delivered today, it’s being delivered in a mixed-use environment. All of our building types that we were doing are now combined with one another on one campus. We wanted to get those additional building types and add them into our portfolio so we can be a one-stopshop for an entire campus.
We’re trying to create places. … The future to me is the whole collaboration of the mixed-use development. It’s all building types in one location. That’s why we’ve added all these different market sectors.
Tell me about your family life.
I have a wife of 18 years and two boys, 11 and 12. I try to be a partner at home, and if I can help out in the mornings, because I usually work later in the evenings, I want to be able to help out by making breakfast for the boys and cleaning the kitchen and making sure they’re on the bus. It’s a big deal to me whenever I can do that because I have great conversations with them one-on-one, and you get a lot out of them first thing in the morning. On the weekends, I try to hang up the (business) hat and try and become a focused father and husband.
Soccer is our life with our kids. We have six to eight games every weekend all year long. We have no family in Kansas City, so we’re it, and we rely on each other very much.
How do you unwind?
You’re going to think I’m nuts, but I love working in my yard because it’s the only time that I can’t answer my phone, and no one really interrupts me. My wife says I don’t have time to do it, but I say this is where I decompress. I love a lush landscape. I love playing in it. I love being part of it. Being part of the environment relaxes me. Kids don’t really want to help you in the yard.
The big thing is being part of my boys’ soccer programs. I love watching them play. I love talking to them about the game. I love watching the games with them. We definitely love going to sporting activities together.
What’s your favorite toy in the shed?
I do like my concrete saw. It’s kind of big and bad. I think everyone should have a power washer — that’s one of my favorite tools — to keep your driveway steps and garage spotless. The lawn mower is not my favorite, but I am super (anal retentive) about straight lines in the yard. They have to line up correctly.
Any little-known facts about yourself you’d like to share?
Soccer is my No. 1 passion. I love being part of that and watching it and playing with my kids. But also, taekwondo. I’m a second-degree black belt. We do self-defense training. I like that. It’s a lot of fun. I haven’t been able to do it more recently because of my travels. But it’s discipline. And I love having the challenge. You can’t rely on anyone else — it’s you in taekwondo. …
We used to have Friday night as my fight night. We had a group of guys that I would typically spar against on Fridays, and we were always hurt because we’re just getting too old and beating the crap out of each other.