From “Me” to “We”: Reeves Wiedeman retires, Helix looks to the future
Did you know that the traditional gift for a 31st anniversary is a timepiece? An item that serves as a reminder of time spent, as well as time that is yet to come.
It’s only fitting that as Helix approaches its 31st anniversary, we reflect on the time of the very individual who opened Helix’s doors and look ahead to what the future holds.
“What I realized early on is that you can’t really do this business alone. I needed good people around me. So, I went from a ‘me’ to a ‘we,’ and that’s a theme that I’ve been thinking about a lot through my career.”
When Reeves Wiedeman, FAIA planted a flag in Kansas City more than 30 years ago, he leveraged his connections in his hometown to get his foot in the door and find new opportunities. Finding that there were others who shared his passion for revitalizing Kansas City, Reeves quickly added new partners.
As Reeves explained to the Kansas City Business Journal, “What I realized early on is that you can’t really do this business alone. I needed good people around me. So, I went from a ‘me’ to a ‘we,’ and that’s a theme that I’ve been thinking about a lot through my career.”
The budding firm evolved from Reeves Wiedeman Architects to Helix Architecture + Design, the integrated design practice that brings architecture and interior design together to create a community of designers that achieve exceptional work. Another strategic merger with Blackbird Design Studio and bringing Doug Stockman, AIA to the firm set the stage for Helix’s leadership transition and positioned the firm for its continued success.
“We learned to fly,” Reeves said in the KCBJ article. “That soared us into great opportunity. As I’ve found out, that’s what I wanted. As you bring on new partners, you’ve got to learn to get out of the way and give them the opportunity that you had.”
In the spirit of creating opportunity, Helix named Erika Moody, FIIDA as its second-ever President in 2021, succeeding Reeves.
Helix will remain true to the spirit and many of the practices that were set in motion by Reeves. The firm will stay focused on each of its key markets: higher education, workplace, multifamily development, and community-oriented work. Building upon the success of many of its award-winning partnerships, Helix will continue to seek out new opportunities for collaboration. Using these principles as a platform for taking off, the firm has its sights set on what lies ahead.
“When you have a 30-year firm, you look around the landscape of Kansas City. There aren’t a lot of other firms that are in that enviable position where they have a great reputation and that entrepreneurial spirit,” Erika told KCBJ. “We don’t necessarily need to be that sort of scrappy, take everything firm; we can continue to be selective and work with clients that really mirror our values.”
Through the course of the organic transition, Erika and Helix Principal Alissa Wehmueller now own 51% of the firm. This means that Helix can pursue women-owned certifications at the state and federal levels, an added benefit for many of our clients.
“It’s almost like an asterisk, or an extra cherry on top,” Erika said.
Helix has also identified new opportunities for growth, bringing our expertise to new regions and expanding our reach outside of Kansas City. Carrying on the entrepreneurial spirit, the firm is currently exploring planting a flag in a new city.
Maybe it’s because he was once a yell leader for the University of Kansas, but Reeves vows to remain a constant cheerleader for Helix.
“Wait until you see what’s next.”