Mr. Bakken is an architect, general contractor, project manager, consultant and tradesman currently working in Phoenix Arizona. These pages present a broad overview of his professional career. Prior to earning degrees in Architecture and Environmental Design at the
University of Minnesota he was an experienced tradesman. Among architecture students he was unique in that he knew how structures were built in the real world. This experience enabled him to assume leadership roles in design and construction of two active solar energy research projects.
In his final year of architectural education, Mr. Bakken purchased, designed, and completely renovated a
1904 home in Minneapolis. Upon graduation, he formed a construction company building high end residential homes in the Minneapolis area. This expanded into commercial, historic renovation, retail and restaurant projects.
In 1986, he formed a partnership in Phoenix with a local developer. The first project was a 12,000-square foot residence featured on the cover of the Paradise Valley magazine. When the owner could not find a suitable precast concrete baluster, Mr. Bakken designed and produced the product on site.
This operation evolved into a separate business and was sold off to another entity. He also formed a construction company specializing in restaurants, tenant improvement, hotel and industrial projects.
During this period, he was retained as a project manager/consultant by several construction companies and retained as an architectural designer for numerous projects.
In 2002, Mr. Bakken was hired by Paul Steelman Architects in Las Vegas. Notable projects included Gaylord Convention Center, Celine Dion retail shop at the Flamingo Hotel. Deciding not to relocate, he took a position with RHL Architects designing retail and shopping center projects in the Phoenix area.
In 2005 DWL Architects needed expertise in construction documents, contract administration and design.
Sky Harbor International Airport
Two Comerica Banks
Williams Mesa-Gateway – several projects
GSA Border – Arizona Border Crossing Stations
Because of his extensive construction and experience in the field he was frequently asked to review projects for constructability, audit contractor change orders, provide inspection reports, solve contractor problems and review submittals for projects under construction. In 2010 his extensive airport experience prompted Raytheon to retain Mr. Bakken as project manager for TSA Checkpoint Upgrades of West Coast Airports.
Several notable projects were LAX, Ontario and John Wayne Airports. He managed multiple stakeholders, obtained permits, solved constructability issues, worked with architects and engineers in preparation of construction drawings, prepared cost estimates, managed subcontractors and followed each project to its successful close.
In late 2011, Raytheon was unsuccessful in renewing the TSA contract-it was awarded to Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Mr. Bakken was offered positions with both companies. He accepted a position at Lockheed Martin as Area Manager of airports in seven Central US States. In addition to supervising other project managers, he assumed a project manager role at larger airports or that presented challenges. Upon completion of TSA projects, he took on a project management role for several other airport and IT projects.
Taking advantage of his field and cost estimating experience he provided cost estimates for more than 20 airport expansion projects.
Currently Mr. Bakken is working on several development projects, providing architectural services to Phoenix contractors, developers and owners.
What made you want to start this business?
I've been doing this type of work for more than 30 years in Phoenix making money for other companies and as a sole proprietor. Have made the decision to do go all in for my own company.
If you had to start over from day one, what would you have done differently?
Nothing. Looking back, some of the decisions I made may have resulted in a better outcome but the experiences gained by them are my greatest strengths.
What is the toughest part about having a business in 2016?
No different 2016 no different than any other year. Having a clear vision of where you want to go and sticking with it.
If a customer was to choose between your business and three others in your field, why should they try yours first?
My business places customer first even if it means telling them someone else would be a better fit. During the process of designing a residential addition I went over options with the owner, explained the pros and cons of each and asked how she would like to proceed. Her comment was "You're the first person to ever ask me what I want instead of telling me what I should do".
What is the number one way you are currently bringing in new customers?
Word of mouth is always best.
Has the Internet played a big roll in your business as it has become more prevalent?
I have not used the internet but relied on word of mouth. I think the Internet can get the word out to more people who can still talk to my other clients.
If you had to look six months to a year down the road, where would you like to see your business be?
Would like to have more of a backlog instead of working one project at a time.
As an owner of a small business are you still working in the business, managing it, or now have passive ownership?
Still working in the business but see more opportunity to take on more by partnering with other businesses.