Media

08.30.22

Relationships matter: The role relationships play in delivering high-quality design

Hal Keever and Brady Berry have worked together in Real Estate & Land Development for over 30 years, building a foundational trust in each other and their work.

By: Hal Keever and Brady Berry

 

When you’re hiring a new member of your team, you typically start with the question: Does this person have the right skillset? Once you know they have the technical capabilities, then the bigger question comes in: How well will this person work with me, the team, and our clients?

When Hal Keever and Brady Berry started working in Real Estate & Land Development together in 1988, they had no idea that their working relationship would last more than 30 years. In this interview, they’ll share why they’re passionate about what they do, how they bring that passion to clients, and why relationships are incredibly important.

How did you two start working together? Why did you continue to work together?

Hal: I was hired in one discipline, and Brady was hired in another at the same company. We started working on projects together and instantly connected. We think very similarly when it comes to our clients and project approach, as well as respect each other’s expertise, push one another, and can be open and honest with each other.

Brady: We started at separate spectrums of the design world and migrated to a shared passion for providing solutions to land challenges. Once you know a person’s personality and way of doing work, you tend to stay with them.

How do you build and maintain client relationships?

Brady: I’m a client advocate while maintaining good relationships with jurisdictions. I also strive to be solution-oriented – if there’s an issue, I provide alternatives when briefing clients on how it can be solved.

Being proactive and keeping my eye on the schedule and budget is imperative. This means looking out in the future and updating the client before they ask for an update. When issues arise, I make sure that the solutions are quickly determined and look for net zero outcomes (limit budget impacts) if possible.

We continually look for outcomes that are first in our clients’ best interest while maintaining good relationships with the approving agencies. On a recent project, the off-site improvements were very onerous to the project budget, and we worked with the owner and other consultants to provide a justifiable proportionality argument that supported the client’s position while giving the agency something they could use as justification for reduced conditions of approval. This is not to say it will produce the desired outcome, but it moves toward a solution where everyone benefits.

Hal: My motto is “we pick up the phone before they do.” Anticipating the client’s needs, advocating for them, and communicating with them constantly throughout each project phase are the keys to success in this business. No one likes surprises, so informing the client of any budget and/or scope changes immediately will help in developing long-lasting client relationships.We are currently working with The Mayberry Group on Phillips Landing, a 150-lot subdivision project in Sheridan, Oregon, and our project management practices have been very well received. We provide low market costs, treat the client with the utmost respect, communicate with them frequently, inform them instantly if a change occurs, and create an open-door policy so they can come to us for anything. We have been working with them for three years now and look forward to continuing to work with them.

Why are you passionate about your work?

Brady: I like understanding how things work and how to solve issues for my clients. When I come up with a creative solution that helps the client, it really makes my job fun.

Hal: I get great satisfaction from developing solid relationships with clients and anticipating their needs, coupled with providing excellent service and quality design.

Do you think you’ll be working together for the remainder of your career?

Hal: I sure hope so. Knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses helps satisfy our clients’ needs and expedite project millstones.

Brady: Hal and I know each other so well and know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, so at this point in our career I cannot imagine riding it out with anyone else.

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