CEO on Leadership: Lawrence R. Armstrong, CEO, Ware Malcomb

The head of this international integrated design services firm offers his perspective on the industry and what’s ahead for his company.

Ware Malcomb is a leading design firm focused on commercial and corporate real estate with 22 offices in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Panama. Founded in 1972 by Bill Ware and Bill Malcomb, its services include architecture, planning, interior design, branding, civil engineering and building measurement.

In 1990, CEO Lawrence R. Armstrong and retired President Jim Williams acquired ownership of the firm. Today, Ware Malcomb is led by Armstrong and Executive Vice Presidents Jay Todisco and Kenneth Wink.

Development: What led you to a career in architecture?

Lawrence R. Armstrong: The inspiration for my architectural career came about when I was seven years old. My father bought a vacant lot next door to our small ranch house in Northeast Ohio and had a new home built on it for our family. After that, I knew I wanted to be an architect, and I am very fortunate for that.

Development: Could you briefly describe how Ware Malcomb has managed its growth since its establishment in 1972?

Armstrong: Our focus was on diversifying the business, making it resilient to recessions and growing the company beyond Southern California. We have structured the firm to service our clients wherever they need us. Most of our expansion across North America has been driven by our clients asking us to expand into new markets with them. This in turn fuels our team members’ growth and provides excellent opportunities for professional development.

Development: Where will you take the company over the next five to 10 years?/em>

Armstrong: We have developed strategic goals in our long-term plan, which provides geographic target locations as well as the growth goals for our business units and product diversifications. The goal is to maximize the market share in every region we operate in and in each product offering we provide.

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