REMIGER DESIGN is a St. Louis-based planning, architecture and interior design firm specializing in the planning and design of commercial, corporate and higher education facilities. The firm was founded in 2010 by Vern Remiger, an industry veteran with more than 35 years of experience in architecture, interior design, planning and facilities management. Working with clients in the corporate office, finance, higher education, information technology and recreation industries, REMIGER DESIGN strives to provide exceptional client service with flexible, creative and cost effective design solutions.
BusinessInterviews.com: What inspired you to launch your business?
Vern Remiger: After 25 years of working for someone else, I decided it was time to go out on my own. When I left the firm I had been working for I also bought another architectural firm and merged the two into what is now REMIGER DESIGN. I wanted to create a firm with a reputation for providing exceptional client service with flexible, creative and cost effective design solutions.
BusinessInterviews.com: What issue does your core product help solve and how so?
Vern Remiger: At our core, we are a business about serving our clients to help improve their bottom line. To help accomplish that goal, we work with our clients to enhance their work spaces for increased productivity. The work space visuals are unique to each project we work on, even throughout the same company.
Work spaces and environments are ever-changing, and understanding who will be utilizing the space and what is needed to help promote productivity are some of the fundamental questions the team is faced with answering. With three generations currently in the workforce, all of which have unique and different ways of working, the answers to these questions are not as cut and dry as they used to be.
BusinessInterviews.com: What has been your biggest challenge as a business owner and how have you met that challenge?
Vern Remiger: Architecture school and more than 35 years of experience in the field didn’t prepare me for the business side of having my own company. I wasn’t as prepared as I could have been for what owning my own business meant, especially from a tax basis. Part of overcoming this was through trial and error, but also surrounding myself with advisors and a team I could trust.
BusinessInterviews.com: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you/your Company?
Vern Remiger: When I started REMIGER DESIGN, I envisioned a firm of 15-20 people – small enough to still be personal while at the same time being large enough to be competitive. We recently became a team of 15 people, and I envision reaching 20 employees within the next year or two. In addition to our growth in employees, we have also doubled our sales each year for the last three years. It has been very fulfilling watching the company grow and flourish, and I am excited for this upward trend to continue.
BusinessInterviews.com: Where do you envision your company in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
Vern Remiger: As a matter of fact, I am in the process of starting a succession plan. In five years, I hope to be successfully moving through that process, with a good portion of ownership transitioned. In ten years, I see myself in purely a consulting role of the firm, and in 20 years I see myself traveling and enjoying time with my family.
BusinessInterviews.com: Have you had any mentors or role models that have influenced you? Describe the impact.
Vern Remiger: One of my mentors is actually one of my clients who has become a close personal friend. I began working with his company in the 1980s while still with my old firm. We worked together a lot over the years, and I always admired his business sense and how he works with other people. When I started REMIGER DESIGN his company followed me which I consider an honor. Whenever I have an issue or need to bounce ideas off of someone, he is one of the first people I go to for advice.
BusinessInterviews.com: Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
Vern Remiger: I have considered myself successful throughout my career. I believe it is because of my past success that I was able to open my own firm. Some of my former staff and clients came with me when I started REMIGER DESIGN, and I think that their willingness to follow me shows not only a level of integrity, but can also be used as a measure of success. I am also very fortunate to be successful in my personal life as well. I have been happily married for 38 years and all my kids are married, happy and I believe would consider themselves successful as well.
BusinessInterviews.com: How do your competitors view you?
Vern Remiger: I think competitors view REMIGER DESIGN as good competition, as a firm that delivers on what we promise and that can go head-to-head when vying for a potential client’s business. I do feel however that size matters when competing with other firms, and that is why my goal from the beginning was to have between 15 and 20 employees. A firm that size is still small enough that clients feel they are getting the individualized attention they deserve while at the same time big enough to deliver the amount of work needed to be seen as a top-tier firm.
BusinessInterviews.com: What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs and business owners? What do you wish someone told you?
Vern Remiger: I wish someone had told me to take more business classes when I was still in school. There is a lot to understand in the business world, and I was not as prepared for starting my own business as I could have been. I think it’s important for entrepreneurs and business owners to not be afraid to take risks. You can learn a lot even if something doesn’t turn out as planned, so I say just go for it!
BusinessInterviews.com: What’s the biggest risk that you’ve ever taken and how did it turn out?
Vern Remiger: The biggest risk was when I decided to go out on my own and start REMIGER DESIGN. I wasn’t forced out of my previous firm, succession planning did not go as promised so I left. I was courted by other firms but decided I didn’t want another boss and started my own business. I had to take out a line of credit and borrow money. Had the company not been successful, this would have fallen solely on me and my wife. And being later in my career this was very risky.
BusinessInterviews.com: Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?
Vern Remiger: You should surround yourself with people that are better than you. Creating a great team is crucial when owning a business. Try and remember that no task is too small and sometimes even the boss has to do some grunt work. You can be successful if you surround yourself with successful people.
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