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LUXUS Design Build Appoints Project Manager

LUXUS Design Build, an award-winning full-service residential and custom home contracting firm, has appointed industry expert Travis Holden as the company’s project manager.

“Travis is a perfect addition to our team and a master of his trade,” said Michael Gardner, owner and founder of LUXUS Design Build. “His extensive background in civil engineering, architecture, design and construction are just a bonus to his unparalleled work ethic and the value he brings to our clientele.”

Since building his first home by himself at just 20 years old, Holden’s subsequent 16-year career has revolved around the architecture, construction and engineering industry. His skill set was solely developed through hands-on learning and field experience, allowing him to perfect his craft and organically evolve.

Holden’s role with the firm includes overseeing day-to-day operations, managing contracting and bidding, managing job sites and assisting with billing and finances. Holden joins the team from his role as a project manager and partner of a local architectural studio for 14 years.

“Joining the LUXUS Design Build team perfectly aligned with my professional and personal values, specifically because of the emphasis they place on quality over quantity,” said Holden. “The entire team is genuinely passionate about the craftsmanship of every project and always caters to the minute details, which is a rare find.”

With his new title, Holden plans to help develop the company’s construction division to ensure it is equipped to build all the company’s original designs and transition to in-house building only. Holden’s current projects include the 2023 The New American Home, a custom high-performance home as part of the National Association of Home Builders’ annual home build project.

Original published in the Nevada Business Magazine To read the entire article, go to nevadabusiness.com.

Michael Gardner at 2019 New American Remodel

Business leaders give tips on attracting and keeping millennials

By Valerie Putnam

Members of the generation known as millennials are fast becoming a strong force on the national labor front. According to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, 1-in-3 American workforce members are millennials.

“They are the future,” President and COO of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Gordon Miles said. “It’s exciting watching a new generation get into the business.”

Millennials, typically defined as being born between 1982 and 1996, already account for 20 percent of the BHHS operations Miles oversees in Arizona, California and Nevada.

Several area companies are developing specific strategies to target and recruit talented candidates, known to be a technological-savvy, diverse generation.

Social media

Attracting potential applicants differs from recruiting their mature counterparts. According to recruiter.com, 68 percent of millennials use mobile devices for job searches.

“The new-school approach for attracting talented millennials is social media,” said Michael Gardner, owner of studio g Architecture (sgA) and luxus Design Build. “We found having a social media presence, a lot of younger talented people will find us through those sources.”

Therefore, understanding how to deliver video-driven messages through social media outlets, such as Facebook and Instagram, is vital.

“I approach them on the level that they are communicating in,” Miles said. “Everything they do is interactive. We integrate video and make it quick and to the point so they can consume it and go onto the next thing.”

Purpose

According to a 2019 Deloitte study, almost 80 percent of millennials say they “would be more motivated and committed at work if they felt their employer made a positive impact on society.”

CEO of Lake Industries and Revenue Media Group Saville Kellner recognizes millennials’ desire to be part of a company aligned with their core values.

“Millennials want a sense of belonging,” Kellner said. “And they want to feel like they are making a difference both to a company and to society as a whole. So, it has been really important for us to be clear about our core values and, specifically, how those align with their goals.”

Kellner also finds millennials more inquisitive and wanting to change jobs often.

“A bigger challenge than attracting the younger generation is the retention of the younger generation, and that is something we’re working on, literally every day,” Kellner said, who said the average tenure is three to four years. “We know that our companies are great places to put down roots. It’s up to us to provide that purpose-driven environment that keeps the younger generation engaged.”

According to a 2016 Gallup poll “How Millennials Want to Work and Live,” millennials change jobs more than the older generation, with around 60 percent of millennials looking for new job opportunities.

Expectations

Miles noted millennials value direct, honest communication, detailed job descriptions and expectations.

“You can be more direct,” Miles said. “Outlining what is expected to achieve the results they’re looking for. Don’t sugarcoat it as much.”

The Gallup study also found opportunities for advancement are important to half the millennials polled; a percentage that is higher than other generations.

“I think their expectation of us, as the employer,” Gardner said, “is very open, direct communication.”

Flexibility

Besides open communication, a 2018 Deloitte survey details how millennials look for companies that place an importance on work-life balance through programs such as flexible work schedules.

“While we’re still a fairly traditional company in terms of posted office hours,” Kellner said, “We’ve become looser about when people come and go and where work gets done.”

Gardner concurs with the notion millennials are looking for flexible hours.

“Our official office hours are 8 to 5,” Gardner said. “However, we have allowed a flexible work schedule.”

Culture

Office culture and work environment play a significant role in attracting and retaining millennials.

Miles had the traditional 6-foot cubical walls lowered to encourage social interaction. The workspace also offers his agents benching areas with tables to sit and work in a communal setting.

“They’re big about the office environment,” Miles said. “They like to be open and collaborative, feel the energy in the room. They don’t want to be sealed away.”

Kellner notes that millennials want a comfortable workplace, stating they want “almost an extension of their homes.”

“We have snack bars with company-supplied food and drinks, a Zen room, great common areas and awesome kitchen facilities,” Kellner said. “The physical layout of our workspace bears almost no resemblance to what it was as recently as two years ago.”

Kellner recently spent over $250,000 on his workspaces to attract the younger generation.

“We’ve reallocated real estate within the building to create additional meeting space for our teams, which has resulted in a whole new level of collaboration between employees that did not exist previously,” Kellner said. “These spaces are in constant use all day long and I think it has absolutely made us more productive.

“I’ve always loved the look and layout of the Apple stores,” Kellner continued. “We wanted that to be top of mind when making these changes and I think we achieved that. Everything is bright, flows well and imparts a feeling of high quality.”

Gardner designed his 4,000-square-foot office space with a large open upper bullpen area and several sub-environments within the office. He has seven employees, over half of which are millennials.

“One thing I’ve learned about millennials is they are very individualistic,” Gardner said about his younger staff. “Meaning every single one, even though we generalize, is very different. So, we’ve done our best to create an environment that they can work in based on how they’re feeling on a specific day or week.”

Gardner’s space also features a snack area, full residential-style kitchen with eat-in bar, cooktop and refrigerator, four conference rooms, one pseudo-private office, surround sound for music and pingpong area.

“All the extra-curricular elements are critical,” Gardner said. “Most of them will put forth the time and effort at their desk but then also want to be able to get up and do something else during the day.”

Corporate learning

Besides extracurricular elements, Gardner believes developing a mentor-style work environment is crucial to the success of his business. He is trying to attract both age demographics to his firms.

“What I found is that to attract great millennials, you need to have great mentors,” Gardner said. “So, in addition to investing in the growth of a younger person, you need to have somebody with a track record to mentor them. You can’t have one with the other.”

In addition to a mentor-style structure, Gardner’s office design encourages communication and learning among staff members.

“All of us including myself sit up in the bullpen area,” Gardner said. “My whole concept behind that is it allows everybody to hear what’s going on.”

Kellner, whose staff consists of 60 percent millennials, uses a different approach. He enlists millennials on staff to help develop ways to attract and retain others in the same demographic.

“No one knows how better to attract a younger workforce than a younger workforce,” Kellner said. “We’ve let the millennials drive a lot of changes. The biggest ones being to the workspaces and overall culture. They’ve helped us find new and creative ways to attract, engage and retain customers for our products that have helped us expand our market significantly.”

Between his two companies, Kellner offers graphic design, sales and marketing, customer service, clerical and warehouse positions.

“We have millennials in every department of both companies,” Kellner said. “Many of whom are in supervisory and management positions.”

Technology

Conjointly with office culture and environment, technology is a significant factor for retaining the millennial employee.

“Technology is a big thing,” Miles said. “Years ago, I could put in a wireless system that would accommodate one device for every person. The younger generation walks in carrying four devices per head.”

Accommodating the additional strain on the system requires businesses to install infrastructure upgrades.

“Your infrastructure has to be different to accommodate the millennials,” Miles said.

Miles invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in technology upgrades, including installing fiber to ensure a wider bandwidth for his staff and integrating efficient applications such as G Suite from Google, an integrated suite of cloud-based computing, productivity and collaboration products that travel with the user.

Benefit

“I think it’s important to bring in the younger generation because they’re going to bring a whole different perspective to an office environment,” Gardner said. “And the other pseudo selfish reason is I think it makes me better. I think they push me so it helps me not become complacent.”

Original published in Las Vegas Business Press.  To read more of the issue go to businesspress.vegas.

Michael Gardner at 2019 New American Remodel

C-SUITE: Michael Gardner, studio g ARCHITECTURE

BY Lyn Collier

Michael Gardner is the owner and founder of Las Vegas-based studio g ARCHITECTURE and luxus DESIGN BUILD.

Q: What are you currently reading?

A: “Reality-Based Leadership: Ditch the Drama, Restore Sanity to the Workplace, and turn Excuses Into Results” by Cy Wakeman.

Q: What is your favorite restaurant?

A: Javier’s in the ARIA. My wife loves Mexican food and it has grown my appreciation for the cuisine. When family, friends or clients are in town, we always love to take them to Javier’s.

Q: Where do you work out or play your favorite sport?

A: I usually start my days with a great morning workout before heading into work. I enjoy going to Lifetime Athletic because it gives me the flexibility and convenience to start my day off right.

Q: How do you decompress after a hard week?

A: Either working out or spending the weekend in Boulder City with my wife and pups. We have two Australian shepherds that love the outdoors, and there are some great places on the outskirts of Las Vegas that offer plenty of space to roam to relax with our dogs.

Q: What is the biggest challenge facing Las Vegas in the next five years?

A: One of the biggest challenges Las Vegas will face in the next five years is how to keep up with the incredible growth. This city has always been known for its hospitality services, but now it’s growing and becoming more prominent in areas like real estate, athletics and cuisine.

Original published in Las Vegas Business Press.  To read more of the issue go to businesspress.vegas.

Michael Gardner at 2019 New American Remodel

What Will Smart Homes Look Like 10 Years From Now?

BY PATRICK LUCAS AUSTIN

 

It’s 6 A.M., and the alarm clock is buzzing earlier than usual. It’s not a malfunction: the smart clock scanned your schedule and adjusted because you’ve got that big presentation first thing in the morning. Your shower automatically turns on and warms to your preferred 103°F. The electric car is ready to go, charged by the solar panels or wind turbine on your roof. When you get home later, there’s an unexpected package waiting, delivered by drone. You open it to find cold medicine. Turns out, health sensors embedded in your bathroom detected signs of an impending illness and placed an order automatically. Good thing you already knocked that presentation out of the park.

 

That, at least, is the utopian version of the smart home that exists 10 years out. Swedish research firm Berg Insight says 63 million American homes will qualify as “smart” by 2022, with everything from Internet-connected light bulbs to cameras that let us spy on our pets from the office (there were nearly 130 million homes in the U.S. in total in 2018). But a decade from now, experts say, we’ll move from turning the lights on and off with our voices to total immersion in the Internet of Things (IoT). Thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence, the smartest homes will be able to truly learn about their owners or occupants, eventually anticipating their needs. Developments in robotics will give us machines that offer a helping hand with cleaning, cooking and more. New sensors will keep tabs on our well-being. Central to all of this will be the data that smart homes collect, analyze and act upon, helping to turn the houses of the future from a mere collection of gadgets and accessories into truly “smart” homes.

 

All the automated attentiveness will come with a high price tag: consumers will spend $123 billion on IoT gear by 2021, according to advisory firm ABI Research, a number that’s likely to rise thereafter. Aside from Internet-connected televisions, manufacturers are putting their R&D and marketing budgets behind home-monitoring and security gadgets–they will have 22.6% of the smart-home market share by 2023, estimates research firm IDC, with smart speakers and lighting equipment not far behind, at 15.4% and 11.8% respectively. There are already at least 7 billion connected IoT devices, according to market-research company IoT Analytics. But as smart-home technology becomes easier to use and its benefits become more clear, the industry is poised to take off. “Sustained growth is expected to continue … as consumers adopt multiple devices within their homes and as global availability of products and services increases,” according to IDC.

Of course, as our homes learn more about us, keeping them secure will become all the more important. Every device that’s connected to the Internet is a potential target for hackers. When we’re talking about devices that can unlock our homes from afar, peer into our living rooms using cameras, and collect our most sensitive and personal data, cybersecurity will become all the more vital. Any kind of massive breach that turns off consumers, says Daniel Cooley, chief strategy officer at electronics-component manufacturer Silicon Labs, could be catastrophic for the industry. “I call it a mass-extinction event for the Internet of Things,” he says.

 

A range of technological developments will drive smart-home technology well beyond what’s available on store shelves today. Innovations in artificial intelligence, for example, stand to upend almost everything in our lives, including our homes. You might already be using some kind of AI-powered voice-assistant gadget to get the latest news or weather forecast every morning. But in the smart home of the future, those AI platforms could serve as the brain for entire homes, learning about residents and coordinating and automating all of their various smart gadgets. IoT company Crestron, for example, is working on software that tracks a person’s habits, like which music they want to hear in the morning or which lights they want to be on at a certain time of day. Then, once it gets the hang of a user’s preferences, it automatically plays just the right playlists or dims the lights before bedtime. “That’s really the next evolutionary step in true automation,” says John Clancy, head of Crestron’s residential business.

 

Robots, too, will have a role to play in the smart home of the future. Smart vacuum cleaners like iRobot’s Roomba are already picking up after us, while products like the Aibo, a robotic dog for children, show how they might help keep us company like a pet. As for the future? Robotic-furniture company Ori Living is working with Ikea on pieces that change based on your needs, getting the bed out of the way when you need a desk, or hiding your closet when it’s dinnertime. Design firm Design3 recently showed off a smart-home robot concept, CARL. The fabric-covered bot is meant to slowly roll around your home, activating its retractable cameras and sensors to detect intruders, notify you of any harmful emissions or keep an eye on your pet. And computer-graphics company Nvidia is working on a smart robotic arm that can act as its owner’s personal sous chef, doing everything from slicing and dicing veggies to helping with cleanup; it could be particularly useful for busy parents or disabled users. If such a device went into production, cameras and sensors could help prevent it from accidentally injuring an innocent bystander who’s just on the way to the fridge for a quick snack before dinnertime.

 

Health applications will drive at least some of the smart-home growth over the next decade. Cameras and sensors embedded in refrigerators will suggest more nutritious alternatives if people are reaching for the sugary sodas a little too frequently. Similar technology in medicine cabinets will check if residents have taken their prescriptions. And sensors will even show up in toilets to check for signs of any potential health conditions by scanning human waste before it’s flushed. Bathroom-fixture company Toto has experimented with urine-sampling toilets, while one company has filed patents for devices including a mirror that’s meant to monitor users’ health just by analyzing their skin. Homes will have health sensors of their own, too, that check for issues like water damage, pest infestation and so on, alerting owners to any potential problems before they become far costlier to manage.

 

All this learning and scanning that the smart home of the future will be doing may understandably raise privacy concerns. Indeed, some smart-home devices have already been targeted by hackers, whether to access the data they hold or to use them as tools in larger cybersecurity schemes. In 2016, hackers took over hundreds of thousands of insecure IoT devices, then used them to send bogus Internet traffic to target websites in hopes of crashing them; the incident temporarily crippled Internet connections throughout parts of North America and Europe. Government regulation is in the works too. A bill put forth by Virginia Senator Mark Warner in March would push the government to set up minimum security requirements for smart devices used by federal agencies; such requirements could eventually become standard for the industry at large.

 

You’re more likely than not to end up in a connected home one day, whether you mean to or not. Architect Michael Gardner, founder of construction firm Luxus Design Build, says homes are increasingly being built “smart” from the ground up. “It’s such an integral part of the home that we’re designing it from the beginning, where beforehand technology was always an afterthought,” he says. Ultimately, experts say, people will come to see smart-home technology as essential as electricity, refrigeration or air-conditioning. Smart-home tech, and the data it collects, will “be like plumbing,” says Cooley, from electronics-component manufacturer Silicon Labs. “You’ll rely on it.”

 

Original published in Time Magazine. To read more of the issue go to time.com.