Twenty YearsTwenty Principles

Over the past twenty years, we at BAM are thankful for the creative collaborations with our clients, consultants and each other. With two offices, we were founded in New York, and expanded into Los Angeles in 2013. We have grown from three founding principals to forty employees. We have weathered two crises, the 9/11 attacks, which took place less than a year after our founding, and the 2008 economic crisis. Those experiences helped us be prepared to navigate the current crisis, our current 2020 global pandemic. We have had no furlough and are carefully navigating our finances and strategies to stay ahead of the challenges. To commemorate our twentieth anniversary, we've gathered a variety of principles and facts about BAM, from our founding up until today.

5 People &Culture Principles

We strive to create an environment that fosters the success of every individual member of the team. Below are 5 pillars BAM believes are at the center of building strong and long lasting relationships with employees.

BAM seeks to form long-term relationships with people, and grow people from the grassroots up. Our commonly held purpose drives people to go above and beyond. We are an office of quick, eager learners and promote a culture of exploring new software, approaches and encourage cross-discipline learning. We support our team pursuing licensure and certification, and offer weekly in-house training seminars to empower our team. To date, BAM has many registered architects and LEED Accredited Professionals, with more pursuing licensure and certification in the coming year. We also offer weekly company-wide training ranging from technical skills to management training to people relations.

If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants. - David Ogilvy BAM is not a hire and fire firm; we don't bring people on for a project and let them go when the project ends. We hire BAMMERs to support their growth and interests as the company grows. We have leveraged our team's knowledge during this unusual year by engaging BAMMERs of all stripes to write BAM Insights research papers, furthering our knowledge bank and looking to the future of the industry.

Hire based on character, not appearance. BAMMERs are brought onto the team for their personality and design eye. We hire dedicated individuals with different specialties, backgrounds and levels of experience to realize innovative solutions. Our team has collectively grown up in four continents around the world, bringing unique knowledge, experiences, and perspectives. We have 28 women in our 40 person team, one of whom is a founding principal with an MBA, several of whom are registered architects and LEED certified.

BAM values being fair, being respectful, and caring about the work we do. We strive to create an environment that fosters the success of every individual member of the team. Our culture is focused on building camaraderie in the following ways:
  • Six months of buddy lunches for new hires, to help new members build relationships and learn anything they wish about BAM with existing team members over lunch.
  • Eight culture building activities across interests, including BAM yoga, meditation, quarterly outings, happy hours, educational seminars, staff meetings, virtual random encounters for team bonding, and holiday gatherings.

BAM supports internal mentorship by promoting communication between supervisors and direct reports, and external mentorship through involvement in professional organizations. Every employee has monthly check-ins with a mentor in order to maintain an ongoing dialogue for professional and personal growth.We've supported membership to 26 industry organizations over the years, including AIA and AIA committees, Biocom, CoreNet, IFMA, SHRM, AIGA and SMPS, to name a few. We've participated in countless speaking engagements throughout the country since BAM's founding 20 years ago.

5 Growth Principles

Build the firm you want to work at.

At BAM, we recognize that sustainable and stable companies are about much more than quarterly shareholder value. Successful companies focus on the long view over short term profit taking, making diversity the result of hiring the best and brightest. We are thoughtful about who we associate with (clients as well as consultants) in order to promote a “better normal” in our world. We don't just encourage, but foster the next generation of leadership. At BAM, the next generation is even more culturally diverse than the current one. We grow through professional development and not for the sake of growth.

We provide first to market design solutions on technically complex projects for leading organizations. We design environments, build brands, and tell stories that anticipate and inspire change. Our experience includes game changing projects, ranging from the first hybrid operating suite for Yale New Haven Health to the first fully immersive conferencing facility called NEMO and the first free standing life science co-working facilities across coasts, including Harlem Biospace in New York and HATCHspaces in Los Angeles.

Our Common Agreement: to form a community of like-minded people who are all different, each adding something different to our mix. We vow to work to keep this community viable, to support its well being and to gain from its wealth. Each time we gather, we choose to gather, we choose to join. We choose to show up honestly, respectfully and empathetically, to the best of our ability, knowing we are all doing the best that we can. We promise this to each other.

BAM’s vision is to design a world, grounded in a mindful approach to business, which inspires and enables people to do the extraordinary. Three core tenets of BAM are the foundation to support this vision:
  • Get the work: By exceeding client expectations and continually looking for opportunity where others see none.
  • Do the work: A talented team of inspired designers who are continually probing and researching, providing game-changing solutions for our clients.
  • Run the firm: A business focus from the top, with an MBA principal and strong accounting team actively involved in projects.

Even in this economic climate that is paying more attention to business survival than growth, BAM remains focused on growth planning in the right ways.What’s the right way?  It’s growth for personal fulfillment. What’s the wrong way? It’s growth focused on pointing at how many zeros are behind billings, number of projects, or number of people. One feeds health. The other feeds ego. By following the healthy model of growth, we believe it’s part of BAM’s secret sauce that will keep us in a strong position in the years to come.

5 Client Principles

BAM collaborates with clients that are leaders in what they do. The design solutions we create personify their leadership. We listen.

The ultimate goal of design at BAM is to find creative design solutions at the intersection of the client’s vision and pragmatic requirements. We operate with a One Team approach, meaning that you will be working with the same team members from the beginning of your project until project completion, resulting in knowledge continuity and making sure ‘by the way’ comments made in programming show up in construction. Transparent communication and clear documents are the bedrock of our business and ingrained in the fiber of our culture resulting in strong business practices.

Focus on client relationships, not only the projects. Our business is based on relationships. It makes smart business sense for us to have deep dialogue with the stakeholders involved in every project. BAM strategically focuses on 4 core sectors to benefit our clients in workplace, healthcare, science+technology, and media+entertainment. Externally and internally, we work hard to develop trust with our clients and our employees, resulting in over 95% of our work coming from repeat clients.

At BAM, no jerks means we believe the work environment and every project can and should strive to be an experience full of enthusiasm and encouragement, building a “can do” culture.  We believe it’s what’s lead us to be involved in so many successful leading edge projects.We keep the following values front of mind to maintain positive relationships inside and outside of BAM:
  • Embrace work as an opportunity for growth
  • Bring our shared vision to every meeting of every project
  • Attract, inspire, enable and retain the best and brightest
  • Provide responsibility with authority to achieve results
  • Design for tomorrow

BAM provides a managed design process with decisions made by informed professionals. By following well-established company protocols, projects stay on time and within budget. We stand behind the fees, schedules and efforts described in our proposals.

BAM is a full-service creative design practice deeply rooted in the best-practices of strong project execution. Our team collaborates with you, your internal team, and your other professionals to define issues, framed through a problem solving approach, to realize out-of-the-box solutions by being:
  • Nimble. We are fast, accurate and flexible.
  • Thorough. Our meticulous processes ensure the built space matches the design vision.
  • Forward Thinking. We pro-actively identify problems before they become the unexpected.

5 Business Principles

Our process needs to be high quality from start to finish and that is the way we approach business.

It’s been proven over and over through history that any organization – be it a country or a business – is collectively smarter as a group than any one individual or small group of individuals. We believe this to be true for BAM as well as any country. This is a key foundational reason why we encourage hearing the voices of the people at BAM. That doesn’t mean it’s not messy or it’s a straight line. To prove it, we’ve already accomplished more than we ever would have anticipated since BAM started 20 years ago and the plan is to keep growing as a group.

Our firm was born when the founding principals questioned the way architectural services were being provided. The founders prepared a business plan that won the New Enterprise Competition sponsored by the NYU Graduate School of Business. The award included funding capital. From this origin, BAM has maintained a management structure unique to A&E firms. In our partner structure of architects, one partner, educated with a top school MBA, runs the firm. She’s not an architect. She’s trained in business. That strategic decision allows the rest of the team to do something on client projects.

Sometimes, things don't go as planned. BAM is not a culture of pushing mistakes under the rug. Our staff meetings have a "Leaders Lessons Learned," where we invite our team to share something that didn't go as planned and how it was resolved. We offer a safe space to share items that didn't work out, no shame or judgement involved. We may learn from mistakes, which strengthens our team and our skills for the future.

What is the difference between persistence and stubbornness? After all, architects and designers are infamous for being stubborn. The difference between the two is that persistence accounts for a feedback loop – if something isn’t working, adjust without giving up on the general goal. One of the things that makes BAM successful, and happier than most, is our emphasis on persistence while keeping stubbornness at a distance.

2020 has been a challenging year all around and we are all in the same boat. We know from written and oral history that there are a whole bunch of people who’ve faced much more daunting challenges and went on to do some really impressive things – by staying engaged and developing a determination to make their world and that around them a better normal.Making the work world a better place is one of the founding principles of BAM. That doesn’t mean we’re going to get everything perfectly right every day. It simply means we’re going to be engaged and maintain a sense of determination to achieve the things we believe will result in a better normal, and help make the world a better place.

BAM Creative, Twenty Years, Twenty Principles Summary

Here is a summary grid of all our 20 principles.