SBM Articles


Kurt Kearns - Time With The Boss

Kurt Kerns


Industry: architecture and design/construction

What is your mission?

To create value for our clients and improve the lives of others by design.

What led you to your industry?

I’ve been blessed with the skill to notice when a mentor comes into my life. An amazing gentleman and renowned Missouri architect, Charles Jackson, was the longtime director of facilities at Lincoln University. When I was in grade school Charles and my mother, who was an amazing artist, collaborated to design my father’s office building first, then my parent’s house. It was amazing to watch a blank sheet of paper become a design, then the design become a set of drawings that Charles used to communicate with the construction team. I spent many hours on construction sites, watching Charles and my mother work with the builders. The experience left an indelible mark and inspired me to pursue the profession.

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?  

It’s a number of things. Hiring quality people has been the cornerstone of our success as a young firm. I enjoy the collective input of our talented team to help steer the company in the direction we choose. As a unit, we’re quite fearless and we’ve made really good decisions in pursuit of big projects like the National Blues Museum. We do this with the same confidence as a large firm. If someone is going to give us big at-bats, we’re going to take big swings.

What’s the hardest part of your job?

Having to sit still at a desk is hard for me. I love interacting with our clients and helping the vision come to life. I love to stand in the middle of a building shell and visualize the environment created by the walls, the lights, the textures and the experience that future visitors will enjoy. That’s my workspace.

What’s the overall best part of your job?

As a former touring musician, I’ve tried hard to bring the comradery of a tour bus environment to the culture at V Three Studios. I’m not suggesting we drive around together looking at kick-ass architecture but that we support each other like band and crew members would. As we grow, we’re adding team members with individual strengths that collectively can check their egos at the door and deliver an amazing project that always leaves the client wanting more.

What best advice would you share with new entrepreneurs?

Self-discipline is key to individual success. You just can’t phone it in. I’ve read hundreds of business books, and one phrase that continues to stand out is knowing the difference between “working on the business and working in the business.” I tend to work on the business in the morning and work in the business in the afternoon. Commitment to finish what you started that day might require some late-night hours after some family time.

What’s your favorite place in St. Louis?

I have a feeling it’s soon to be the National Blues Museum, a major project for V Three that gives our entire organization tons of pride. It’s great for the blues, and it’s great for St. Louis.  I also love to spend time at Shock City Studios. I designed it, my bandmate Doug Firley owns it, I’ve made great music there, and it’s an inspiring environment for creativity.

What has made you successful in your industry and in St. Louis?

I will allow the presupposition in your question, but if I’m successful as a business owner after only five years, then it’s because of the careful attention placed on building a team. V Three pursues projects where we know we can bring expertise and add value. It also helps to love your profession, and we do.

Submitted 3 years 324 days ago
Categories: categoryTime With The Boss
Views: 1236