Next Wave: Aaron Polhemus
Profiles on emerging young professionals in the local housing industry
Online only: Aaron discusses his involvement with local non-profit WE CAN
Aaron Polhemus, Polhemus Savery DaSilva Architects Builders
As Aaron Polhemus addressed the team of 40-plus employees at Polhemus Savery DaSilva Architects Builders (PSD) during a company meeting a couple of years ago, he stood before them as their new president and CEO—a moment that he recalls as both exciting and daunting. After years of increasing responsibility at the firm, Polhemus is humbled to now be leading the charge at PSD, working alongside a dedicated team that includes his father, Peter Polhemus, a founding partner of the integrated architecture and construction firm. “The mutual commitment between our team and myself is a very strong one,” he says. “What makes working [at PSD] special for me is that team commitment.”
CCH- What would you say has been the key to your success at PSD?
AP- First and foremost, it’s about being a part of an organization that does something special. In our case, that’s designing and building unique homes and structures that are customized for each client, site and place in which we work. That said, having hardworking people who are excited about what we do, and then having a process that we are committed to together, is what makes my success possible.
CCH- In your opinion, what makes for an effective, strong leader?
AP- In my collaboration with successful mentors over the years, I have gained an appreciation for true organizational awareness and clear communication throughout an organization. Particularly in our industry where everything we do is so highly custom, I think listening is crucial—listening to our team and our clients as to what’s working, what’s not, and where we can improve. A large part of my role is collaborating closely with clients throughout the process, as well as checking in with our team, ensuring that communication lines are clear and that we are all working together. I also make a point of staying connected with outside trade partners by going to the project sites on a continual basis.
CCH- What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned from working alongside your father?
AP- One of the most significant is the importance of ensuring that construction is executed in a way where the architecture is really respected and understood. You don’t just go out and build something—you need to plan it, understand it, and then execute it in a way where the architecture “makes sense.” Every detail in designing and building is important. When it comes to fine architecture, it is the thoughtful execution of the small details that makes the big difference.
CCH- Earlier this year you were named to the WE CAN Board of Directors. Why is this particular organization important to you, and how important is it to you to give back to the Cape community?
AP- We have been involved with WE CAN for years now, and I have always admired what they do as an organization and what Andi Genser has done as executive director. They support women and their families in our community in a meaningful and long-term way. I think that is really unique. The Cape is a special place with a strong sense of community and deserves our support.
CCH- What words of advice do you have for young professionals like yourself looking to make it in the local home building and design industry?
AP- It takes time to develop within this industry. I believe that the people you surround yourself with ultimately make it all possible and enjoyable. Don’t forget to enjoy what you do.