Big ideas, inspiration, music, food trucks and a nationally-recognized author and speaker came to Ontario, California May 3 as HMC Architects hosted a special firm-wide celebration at its Inland Empire headquarters. Employee owners from each of the firm’s seven offices joined together to—as the event’s theme suggested—Connect, Evolve, and Emerge.

“Not since our 75th Anniversary in 2015 has HMC gathered in one place to be inspired, celebrate our people, and enjoy our successes,” said Brian Staton, HMC’s president and CEO. “Our goal with this event was to connect with one another, evolve our relationships, and ultimately emerge as our authentic selves in an effort to make us a stronger company.”

With an engaging and inspiring keynote speech, nationally-recognized Author and sought-after Speaker Mike Robbins shared lessons from his latest book, Bring Your Whole Self to Work, and how our experience and outcome is transformed when we stop pretending to be who we think we should be, and start showing up as who we really are. Robbins took questions from attendees and reinforced how his principles relate to HMC’s commitment to developing a culture of connection and authenticity.

In the spirit of connection, Staton tossed a Catch Box microphone into the audience and attendees took turns passing it around—learning about colleagues, introducing them, and sharing something that people may not have known—revealing that many play music, coach little league, and are artists in their off-work time.

“With seven HMC offices, many of us have only met via email or Skype calls,” said Alan Lamonica, vice president of Human Resources. “Meeting each other in person goes a long way in building a stronger team that can provide top-of-the-line work to our clients.”

Earlier in the year, all HMC employees were invited to submit ideas for a design competition that asked the question, “what will impact the human experience tomorrow?” Chief Design Officer George Vangelatos presented three finalist teams, who were asked to create a short film that demonstrated their idea. Anna Nagasugi, Talita Mathias, Nilo Tapia, and Justin Freeman’s “Simul-Vox” considered a device that would help eliminate language barriers. Apurva Samant’s “Phoenix Urban Restoration” imagined a safer City of Phoenix. Shweta Joshi produced a simple yet moving film, “Circle of Life”, which featured virtues—smile, patience, peace, kindness, friendship and love—as critical components to a sustainable future. Chief Design Officer George Vangelatos introduced the finalists, and after attendees voted awarded first place to San Diego’s Team Simul-Vox who received a trip to the Monterey Design conference and a GoPro camera. Second and third place went to Joshi and Samant, respectively, who each took home a GoPro.

The event also included a special address by Staton, where he shared highlights and exciting news from 2018 including HMC’s milestone of reaching the $100 million in revenue mark. Other successful 2018 highlights included ten new licensed architects, 85 percent returning clients, and 91 new hires. HMC does not plan to stop at 2018’s successes, however. Staton laid out the firm’s 2019 vision to move the firm forward with an emphasis on technology, exceptional design, continuous improvement, a relationship-centric culture, and cross organizational communication—challenging the firm to share knowledge with his new maxim—Talk, Tell, and Transform.

“We’ve had a lot to celebrate in 2018,” said Staton. “Our culture is contagious, our people are our greatest asset, and I’m excited for what 2019 will bring for HMC, our clients, and the communities we serve.”

See some photos from the event in our photo gallery.