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Next Wave: Profiles on emerging building & design professionals

The Next Wave, Annual 2017 Cape Cod Home | capecodlife.com

Profiles on emerging young professionals in the local housing industry

The housing industry on Cape Cod and the Islands not only offers opportunity for financial success, but it also fosters innovation and creativity, providing a space where a younger generation can pursue entrepreneurial endeavors.

In The Next Wave, a new Cape Cod HOME series, we will shine a spotlight on these younger members of the local community who are pursuing their passions and making names for themselves. Many are following in the footsteps of the generations that came before them, while others are forging a completely new path.

The five young professionals featured on the pages to follow are leaders in their respective fields and have found success in their own unique way—but they all agree that success isn’t possible without the teams that support them. In addition to sharing their stories, the changemakers we profile offer some words of wisdom for fellow young professionals looking to break into the industry.

We hope you’re inspired by these talented individuals, and be sure to look for The Next Wave series in Cape Cod HOME throughout 2017!

Mark Bogosian

Longfellow Design Build

Profiles emerging building design professionals

Mark Bogosian named his design-build firm “Longfellow” as a nod to the home on Longfellow Way in Boylston that he helped his father, Barry Bogosian, build when he was just 12 years old. Bogosian had his hands in every part of the project, from clearing the lot to wiring the house. “I knew from a very young age that I loved seeing and creating spaces,” he says.

Nearly 20 years later, Bogosian, now in his early 30s, has turned his passion for design into a booming custom home business on Cape Cod. Having opened three Longfellow design showrooms in Falmouth, Osterville and Chatham within the last four years, Bogosian is quickly establishing his firm as a major player in the local building and design industry. His company’s focus, he explains, is to provide consistently high-quality construction—which leads to referrals—and that starts with a one-stop, teamwork approach.

“At Longfellow, there is a teamwork environment where quality comes first, which allows clients to be at ease that the project is being done properly,” Bogosian says. “We understand that homeowners are looking for somebody that can do a high-end, quality kitchen or new home but not charge an outrageous price. By having everybody in-house, we’re able to remain affordable while maintaining incredibly high-end finishes.”

Bogosian also credits his success to surrounding himself with the right people. “I have partnered with and employed people who are hard working and care about the details,” he says. “As the company has grown, it has grown not just by my efforts but also by the efforts of the now 50-plus employees that treat the company like their own.”

In an industry that is ever changing and evolving, Bogosian says his company strives to stay ahead of the curve. He and his staff regularly attend national conferences around the country, searching for the latest products and technologies to offer his Cape clients. “We always want to be two or three steps ahead of our competition,” he says, “and looking to see what’s next.”

Keep your eyes open while you’re learning the business. There are so many moving parts when it comes to building a quality home, and learning the fundamentals of what that takes will enable you to do things the right way. If you’re quality oriented you’ll always be busy.” -Mark Bogosian

Christopher Brown

b Architecture Studio

The Next Wave, Annual 2017 Cape Cod Home | capecodlife.com

For Christopher Brown, architecture is all about communication. In designing homes, Brown relies on communication—both verbal and graphic—to bring his clients’ visions to life and to establish a true collaborative experience. After all, he says, that’s part of the fun of being an architect.

“What’s refreshing for our clients is they know we’re listening and not trying to impose a design will,” says Brown, founder of b Architecture Studio. His team consists of two associate architects, Michael Holmquist and Kurt Stavdal. “Our clients have the comfort of knowing we are serving in their best interest. We want to delve into the best design options for them and create custom designs.”

Brown, 41, who calls himself a “lifelong architect,” grew up in Rhode Island and studied architecture at The University of Notre Dame. Before starting b Architecture in Winchester in 2010, Brown worked for architectural firms in Boston and taught architecture at the Boston Architectural College as well as Wentworth Institute of Technology. He opened a studio in Osterville in the summer of 2016, with the intention of expanding his business throughout the Cape and Islands.

While he enjoys designing clean lines, Brown says he wants his work to be appropriate given the setting and type of house desired—whether that’s modern, traditional or transitional. Understanding the “vernacular” of a project, he says, is important. “When we come to a new place, a new house type, we take the time to make sure we know that language, and then we can play with it,” he says. “We want to be very comfortable with the design we’re working with and meet our clients’ specific needs.”

Looking ahead, Brown plans to expand his firm but not to exceed its current boutique size. Brown says the collegiality he’s found with his employees has allowed for great success. “We can really create a studio dynamic,” he says, “and still be very productive and execute our designs.”

“Being able to sketch and to sketch on the fly in front of clients is still quite important, no matter how much technology exists. If you can sketch a design on paper first, it will be so much easier to model it with the software out there—and you’ll communicate your designs to your clients in an approachable way.” -Christopher Brown

Matt Cole

Cape Associates

The Next Wave, Annual 2017 Cape Cod Home | capecodlife.com

Carrying on the legacy of a family building company that has been in business for more than 45 years is a lofty responsibility. Third-generation owner and president of Cape Associates, Matt Cole, 37, handles this responsibility with an approach to business that has led his company in the right direction since the beginning.

“We’ve succeeded by consistently delivering high-quality construction with a high level of integrity,” Cole says. “I believe that reputation is everything, so my philosophy is pretty simple: keep your head down, do good work, do it with a high level of integrity, and customers will come back for more and tell their friends about the good work you’ve done.”

Cole’s leadership follows in the example of his grandfather, Lester F. Langhans, Jr., who founded the company in 1971, and his father, Michael Cole, who ran the business from the mid-1980s through 2012. “As a child,” Matt Cole recalls, “I would visit the office and different job sites with my father and grandfather, so I was exposed to the business from a very early age.” After graduating from Bucknell University in 2001 with a degree in civil engineering, Cole spent eight years working for a large commercial builder in New York City. In 2008 he returned to the Cape and re-immersed himself in the family business, eventually taking over ownership in 2012.

With offices in Eastham, Chatham and Yarmouth Port, Cape Associates is one of the largest builders on the Cape, with more than 100 full-time employees. It’s important to Cole, who served as president of the Cape Cod Young Professionals board of directors in 2014, to provide career opportunities for Cape workers, and he says he views the employees he fosters as both a competitive advantage and a measure of the firm’s success. “Many individuals who have found long-term careers through the varied roles with the company and grown professionally become the stories I measure our success by,” Cole says. “Their growth contributes to our longevity.”

“The number one thing I would advise Cape Cod young professionals in this industry is to not get caught up in the allure of the city. Focus on the long term. You might be starting out at a lower pay working here, but the opportunities for upward mobility are much greater.” -Matt Cole

Christian Valle

The Valle Group

The Next Wave, Annual 2017 Cape Cod Home | capecodlife.com

To Christian Valle, president and chief operating officer of The Valle Group, success is not measured in dollars or the size of his company. Success, Valle says, is instead found in relationships.

“We operate on the basis that the relationship comes first and the bottom line is second, and we work to cultivate relationships not only with our clients and subcontractors but also with our employees,” Valle says. “The Valle Group is successful when our employees are succeeding and growing in their positions.”

The relationship between Valle, 40, and his parents, Joan and Joseph Valle—who founded the East Falmouth-based custom home building firm in 1997—has been especially key to the company’s success. After graduating from The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester with a degree in English in 1999, Valle, a Cape native, went to work as an assistant project manager for a high-end building firm in the Boston area. Valle says he always planned to eventually join his parents in business, but he first wanted to gain experience on his own.

In 2005, Valle and his wife relocated to the Cape, and he got a job as a project manager at The Valle Group. He says his father’s hands-off approach in mentoring him proved to be successful, allowing Valle to learn the business on his own terms. “The thing about family businesses is that the majority of them don’t work because the relationships become overbearing,” Valle says. “I’ve had a unique relationship, both with my father and mother, which has allowed the company to work and flourish because we respect each other and give each other plenty of space.”

Regarding working alongside his father, Valle says one of his greatest takeaways has been learning and utilizing the virtue of patience. “I make mistakes, and my employees do too, but that’s not something we dwell on,” Valle says. “We recognize those mistakes, we move on, and we try not to make the same mistakes. When I first joined my dad, I made more mistakes and errors, but his patience was an invaluable lesson to me.”

“Being a good employee is important, no matter what you’re doing, as well as having respect for subcontractors and vendors. That’s the key to getting to the next level, whether you work for them or they work for you.” -Christian Valle

Jessica Witter

Witter & Witter Boston Cape Cod Connection

The Next Wave, Annual 2017 Cape Cod Home | capecodlife.com

Recognizing a connection between homebuyers in Boston and those on Cape Cod, Jessica Witter found her niche in real estate. As more of her clients were looking to purchase homes in these two regions, Witter, a Cape native, saw the opportunity to offer the same service for this clientele in both locations.

Along with her mother, Joan, a successful agent in her own right on the Cape, Witter formed the Witter & Witter Boston Cape Cod Connection team through Sotheby’s International Realty of Osterville and Boston’s Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty of the South End in 2014. Two agents turned into six soon thereafter with the addition of four young female agents. Witter says the team is “unbeatable.”

“We truly understand what client service means, and we all provide that on an equal level,” Witter, 31, says. “It’s not about what we can take from them, it’s about what we can give them.”

With six minds working together, Witter says she and her team are able to think outside the box. Witter and her mother thought outside of the box when hiring their fellow team members. “We’ve never hired anyone from within the industry,” Witter explains, “so everyone that works for us has learned from us since the first day they stepped into real estate. I can teach you how to sell real estate, I can teach you about the market, but the things we look for within our team are more important and can’t be taught.”

What can’t be taught, she says, are core values. For Witter, the client comes first, and that’s a philosophy she learned from the example set by her mom. “My mother literally treats her clients as if they’re family,” she says. “We understand the emotional aspect of the business and that our job is 24/7. If you need me, you’re going to hear from me, and I’m going to be there for you.”

Your peers are everything. You need to respect everybody, not only your clients but also the people you work with, because it all comes back around. Dive in headfirst, find the passion within, and then follow that. The rest will fall into place.” -Jessica Witter



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