BWBR Expands Capabilities with Strategic Facility Advisor

Brandon King has seen the costs of a facility from both ends of the spectrum.

As an architect and owner’s representative, he’s seen the first costs, those capital expenditures for design and construction that are established after months or years of planning.

As a facilities manager and regional director for planning, design, and construction at a large, multistate health system, he’s seen the operational costs, from the energy use to operational efficiencies and facility resiliency.

Along that line, he’s noticed gaps, those in understanding of why building owners make certain decisions and those in the capacity to manage facility assets that preserves its effectiveness and operational integrity over the life of the building.

“Over the life of a building, many times more than first costs are spent on building operating expenses. These facilities are around for 30 years or longer, and building owners have many needs that they are trying to address on their own,” King said.

It is with that view that King recently joined BWBR as senior strategic facility advisor, a new position that brings a client-side, operations-centric focus to facility design and management. His two-decade experience spanning architecture and real estate consulting to management of both facilities and planning, design, and construction of complex spaces gives him special insight into the challenges that owners experience during their buildings’ life cycle.

“When you see a design, you understand it’s a representation of a diverse set of opinions at that particular time in an organization,” he said. “Over time, models of operations evolve, and expectations change for user groups, such as patients and care staff, college students, or scientific researchers. Organizations must continue to focus on their strategy to meet the needs of their business and stakeholders. The building should facilitate that strategy even through evolutionary and generational change.”

King’s curiosity into creative design as well as operations management is what led him down this dual path, reflected in his academic training. He holds master’s degrees in both architecture and business administration, the latter of which he pursued after working in the architecture field. While he thrives on architecture’s ability to put order to a complex world, he also wanted to learn more about why and how decisions are made on projects.

“From activation planning to change management to ongoing occupancy evaluation and measurement, even the best designs benefit from a kind of ‘human commissioning’ so that facility managers can show their organizations are achieving the efficiencies they planned to achieve.”

Brandon King, AIA, MBA

With his MBA, he found himself sitting at the table in a different position: as the owner’s rep, team leader for capital projects, real estate strategist and advisor, and regional facilities director. The conversations he was having grew to include counterparts in finance, legal, marketing, and human resources.  

“Organizations are made of hundreds of diverse opinions, and architects come in at really intense moments,” King said. “Architects are very good at bringing together those varied interests and absorbing the information to output a building. It’s at the heart of their design-thinking capabilities. That same expertise can be applied to operations, where the complexity and constant change can make it just as intense and demanding as capital planning and design.”

From activation of a space as it’s brought online to ongoing utilization analysis to measuring the continued effectiveness of the space, King sees points in the life of a building where there are opportunities for organizations to maximize their capital investment. Staff utilization is only one of the factors limiting an organization’s ability to seize on these opportunities.

“If you look at today’s mechanical systems, their complexity calls for commissioning by engineers for organizations to achieve optimal performance from their investment. Today’s buildings, themselves, are no different. From activation planning to change management to ongoing occupancy evaluation and measurement, even the best designs benefit from a kind of ‘human commissioning’ so that facility managers can show their organizations are achieving the efficiencies they planned to achieve,” he said.

“The two biggest costs for organizations are human resources and facilities. The connections between those costs are the building designs and how they facilitate productivity, creativity, collaboration, efficiency, and resiliency. It puts facilities in a vital strategic position to help organizations manage their costs. With a better understanding of facility management needs and our knowledge of design performance, we can bridge the gaps to help managers and directors achieve their planned goals.”

King joins a growing part of BWBR focusing on integrating design with operational strategies and services to optimize facility operations, building performance, and human performance.

Lloyd Bergquist, the second ‘B’ in BWBR, passes

A gentle soul always with a smile on his face.

More than a physical description, those words captured the essence of Lloyd Bergquist. A person who valued the lives he touched more than the projects on which he worked, his friendly and approachable demeanor was a hallmark of his personality at BWBR, one that continues to be felt through those he mentored and one that will be missed even by those who had brief interactions with him.

Lloyd Bergquist

Lloyd passed away on Nov. 14 at the age of 91. The legacy he leaves behind goes far beyond his name in the firm’s moniker, BWBR (Bergstedt Wahlberg Bergquist Rohkohl).

Lloyd’s name sitting next to Chuck Wahlberg’s seemed rather apropos given that it was Chuck’s recommendation to Milt Bergstedt in 1957 to hire Lloyd. Still relatively fresh out of the University of Minnesota’s architecture school, a time that was interrupted by service in the Army, Lloyd had impressed Chuck while the two worked together at a previous firm. Upon hiring him, the firm gave Lloyd the task of opening at office in Menomonie, Wis., in pursuit of work. While not a fruitful endeavor for the firm, it proved advantageous for Lloyd, who met his wife while singing in a choir before moving back to the Twin Cities and continuing to build BWBR.

Lloyd’s warm and affable nature not only benefitted the firm through the projects he earned with the relationships he made but it also attracted the talent during his time as hiring director, some who would later become leaders, themselves. Among those include Greg Fenton, one of six current directors, and Pete Smith, current president and CEO of the firm, whose family moved next door to Lloyd when Pete was 5 years old. While Pete may not have known then he wanted to be an architect as an adult, Pete credits the mentorship and friendship Lloyd provided for his path in the profession and the firm.

Arrowwood Resort

Lloyd’s name was added to the firm’s moniker in the mid-1960s, and through the 70s and 80s, his position as vice president helped shape the course of the firm that it remains on today, both in the world of design and the profession, itself. Like Milt, he believed in the power of diversity and social justice to build better communities, and his eye for art and design allowed him to see how people could benefit from great architecture. That appeared in his work for churches like St. Anthony Village Lutheran, Normadale Lutheran, and St. Bartholomew Catholic to the renowned Arrowwood Resort.

Normandale Lutheran Church

Design of Inver Hills Community College earned the firm its first design award from the Minnesota Society of American Institute of Architects in 1973. Lloyd’s work on 111 Washington Square still holds prominently in downtown Minneapolis’ Gateway District. His talent and professional success earned him an appointment to the College of Fellows with the American Institute of Architects in 1980.

Photograph of 111 Washington Square in downtown Minneapolis
111 Washington Square

Lloyd retired in 1995, playing choral director at the company holiday parties until his last as an employee. While no longer coming to the office on a daily basis, he never really left the firm, visiting often and still providing the mentorship that those he mentored practice now. And with each visit, he brought his gentle and warm nature which even young employees associated with his smile.

Click to read more on Lloyd’s life.