Andrew Alajouri: Operations in Architecture

The majority of architecture firms still follow the same organizational chart that has been around since architecture has been recognized as an industry. This consists of a head architect as managing partner of the firm, with project managers and technologists/technicians reporting to them.

At Rossmann Architecture Inc. (RAI), the layout of their organization chart changed to include a branch for support staff, headed by the Director of Operations, Andrew Alajouri. A similar layout can be seen in many tech start-ups, but what prompted RAI to make such a significant change to their company layout?

Having always had a passion for the field of architecture, Andrew was prepared to spend his time and energy learning all he could about the industry. He began his journey studying at La Cité Collégiale, where he got his title architectural technologist, before spending time working as an inspector to give him hands on experience at the ground level. The next step for Andrew was studying with honours the theory and history of architecture at Carleton University and later being offered a concentrated course at Ryerson University on specialization, preservation and conservation of architecture. Andrew quickly left the position he had at another architecture firm to take the chance to further his education. The goal after graduation was to return to the Gatineau region and work somewhere that would allow him to focus on heritage projects, now more achievable with a specialization from Ryerson.
When he joined RAI in 2015, he started as an architectural technologist and later a project manager. His peers recall that since Andrew started, he had always taken on more roles and more responsibility than his position originally called for. Andrew found himself taking on the operations role without RAI having the official structure for an operations role. While this may have been a deterrent for others, Andrew is know for being somebody who adapts easily and can think on his feet.

As RAI began scaling immensely in 2020, it was determined that an operational director was needed and Andrew stepped up to fill in the position to organize and create structure in the daily operations of the firm. With business being a large part of his family’s background and some of his studies at Carleton, he offers expertise in both business and architectural operations that give him the perfect combination to step into the role of Director of Operations. Having worked as a technologist, a project manager and a project director at RAI, Andrew already had the experience that makes him the “unicorn” fit for this role.

The addition of the operations team has created more opportunities within the company both in capacity to take on projects and creating revenue, as well as growing the team. With the addition of this team, the administrative and architectural side of this firm has been streamlined. This allows the architects to spend their time designing, and not spending their valuable time operating the business.
“Andrew is such a vital member of the team, and a lot of our success stems from having him in our business”, says Vice President Sara Rossmann.

The growth of the company has exploded in the last year, and with team doubling and the revenue tripling, so much progress has come from having Andrew as a part of the firm.

While still assisting on architectural projects, Andrew now spends the majority of his time cultivating his operations team to ensure efficiency in all areas of the business. Having an experienced professional like Andrew take on this role has been key to RAI’s growth and continued success.