by Patrick Nolan
SBJ Contributing Writer
A full range of design services is what it's all about at Hood-Rich Inc. Architects, Engineers and Surveyors.
From the beginning, Hood-Rich has offered both architectural and engineering services, said Jack Hood, president of the firm. Hood-Rich does general practice architectural work and has designed churches, schools, university buildings, industrial plants, the Springfield Nature Center and exhibition facilities, Hood said.
"In our engineering side we offer structural, electrical and civil engineering," he said. As civil engineers, "we do water and sewer projects for communities around Springfield, as well as for the city of Springfield. Another division we have does land planning and surveying. They have done a number of subdivisions around the Springfield area."
Hood-Rich was founded in 1963 by Jack Hood and partner Donald Rich. "In 1989, when the company was incorporated, Mr. Rich left the company," Hood said. "Currently there are seven board members who consist of people that were with the company when it started. Many of our people have been here from 15 to 20 years."
The company's also a family business. Hood's daughter, Jana Funk, and his son, Joel Hood, are both principals in the firm.
"It's nice to have your children in the business," Hood said. "It works well for us we've enjoyed having them."
Funk is an architect and interior designer, and Joel Hood is a registered land surveyor.
Providing more than one facet of construction service is good business "because when certain areas of construction slow down, maybe the other area is up," Hood said. "It kind of gives us a balance as far as workload is concerned."
Another advantage for Hood-Rich is convenience, Hood said. "We can take care of (a client's project) all in-house and offer architectural and engineering services so they don't have to go around and get different services."
Hood added that he believes having an in-house interior designer adds to the firm's ability to deliver on client needs. "We think it puts the finishing touches on the building and gives the client another source of information as far as the finishes and interior materials," he said. "We think it is very important to have an interior designer on the project."
There are some new technologies and approaches to construction and design, Hood said. "We are getting quite a few requests for ground source systems and solar systems," he said. "That is a coming trend. Generally, if it costs a lot more money than conventional systems, your clients normally would pass it up just to keep cost in line. In the long run, over a period of years they would save money, but I think people are shocked by the up-front costs."
Hood said the greatest satisfaction of his job is seeing a building completed; seeing one of his projects that started with a dream come to completion, and having the opportunity to see people use and enjoy the building.
But there's a flip side to that sense of accomplishment, especially for a design professional who has been designing in a community for decades.
"You get kind of disappointed when some of your buildings are torn down," Hood said. "When you get 35 to 40 years of experience working in architecture, you get to the point where some of them are demolished so that others can be built. It's an unhappy feeling when you see some of those go, but usually something better comes back to take its place."
Hood said he believes the future will be good to to his company. "We've always stayed pretty busy," he said. "We've developed a lot of good clients and made a lot of friends with people we've worked for. We get a lot of repeat business."
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