Coffee Break with Erik Madisen, principal of Madisen Architects

Erik Madisen


Madisen Architects

828 N. Broadway, Suite 206, Milwaukee, WI 53202

Industry: Architectural design services

Education: Master’s degree in architecture, 1985

Family: Wife, Jean Radtke


What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?
“Operate lean.  In a very difficult economy, particularly in the design and construction industries, we have continued to operate with no cutbacks, well positioned to grow in a recovering economy.”

What’s new at your company?
“We are in the initial stages of partnering with a client to purchase and renovate a historic building in downtown Milwaukee. As we move past the 10-year mark, we are looking to achieve growth by improving our technological capabilities and expand our client base through more sophisticated business development practices.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
“We plan to invest in the latest generation of Building Information Modeling (BIM) software. This will allow us to be more competitive, produce high quality 3D presentation drawings, and provide more accurate construction drawings.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?
“New business development. We have many proposals outstanding, however clients are postponing decision-making and forward progress on projects.”

What’s the hottest trend in your industry?
“LEED certification, implementing sustainable design and construction practices.”

Do you have a business mantra?
“We are continually building on our experience. We expect that every project we design will be the best project we have ever done.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
“It is difficult to single out one person. I have developed an inner circle of business persons in various professions who exemplify ethics, professionalism, and expertise whom I respect and seek advice from.”

What was the best advice you ever received?
“As a partner at my previous firm, we brought in a senior employee to mentor the firm and help us expand. Our practices and values did not mesh. Attempts at finding a way to work together were not productive. While explaining the situation to a friend, she said, ‘Maybe this person was put into your life to make you do something.’ That was the seed that started the process of starting my own firm. From that moment on, I have never looked back.”

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?
“I split a pair of pants wide open while on a roof measuring a building in Waukesha. Fortunately, there were not too many people around to see the show.”

What do you like to do in your free time?
“I enjoy running, hiking, and spending quality time with friends and family.”

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