Tell us about yourself?
Born and raised in Hamburg, Germany, I studied Architecture at the University of Miami. As a professional I dedicated my own firm to the advancement of sustainable principles and have applied green concepts in my architectural practice as well as numerous consulting projects.
Some of these projects are LEED NC for the first GSA Miami Dade County project, LEED EB for public and private clients, LEED H for multiple homes, including the University of Miami’s Presidents residence, and Energy Star evaluations.
I am co-founder of the South Florida Chapter of the US Green Building Council, now the Florida Chapter, and past chair of the AIA Miami COTE and served on the board of a local Historic Preservation Organization.
My knowledge in sustainable design has contributed to transforming the south Florida marketplace. I received the AIA Miami Historic Preservation (2005), Sustainable Design Architect (20011 & 2009) and Young Architect of the Year (2010) Awards for my efforts.
Under my leadership, the firm was recognized as a top 25 sustainable design firm and projects have received sustainable design and historic preservation awards.
Beyond my involvement in the green building industry I educated as an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, School of Architecture where I created a new lecture course, Contemporary sustainable design, taught from 2009 to 2014.
What do you think is the single biggest misconception people have when it comes to startups?
the required time to make it work. A great appeal is the concept of being in charge of your time. While that is partly true, the amount of time and the required accommodation of the clients’ time generally lead to significantly more time commitment than a typical employed schedule.
If you could go back in time to any moment from your journey, and give yourself one tip, what would it be?
Charge better fees. Accommodating clients’ budgets leads to undervalue of work. It is a hard path to return from.
What makes you stand out as an entrepreneur?
My German heritage brings with it a strong work ethic and commitment to timely completion of precise work. Commitment to suitability and durability for every project and attention to the clients wants separate my design and practice from the competition.
What are some of the best working habits you’ve gained over the past couple of years?
Patience and follow through. I always had these characteristics, but believe that I continually improve upon them.
Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?
The company was started to advance sustainable principles in the build environment in South Florida and beyond. As such my projects and professional outreach are focused on education and implementation of sustainable principles through my projects as well as lectures and talks.
Where do you see your business in five years?
Sebastian Eilert Architecture has shifted focus on new homes as well as expanding the interior design service side of the business. I believe that multiple new homes as well as some hospitality projects will further expand the companies portfolio in the coming years.
What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you in getting there?
Key challenges remain staffing and office setup. As a boutique firm a highly qualified staff and team is essential to perform on the highest quality level. As most entrepreneurs are aware, the daily/monthly managing of staff, office and marketing remain challenges for any business.
Talk to us about your biggest success story so far?
Every project that has closed out is a success – each with its own merit. Ground up homes are especially satisfying, as they bring my vision to life from a blank canvas.
How do clients and customers find you? Are you much of a salesperson for yourself?
Clients fund Sebastian Eilert Architecture through work of mouth and the online presence of the firm. The strong creative focus of architecture are not generally aligned with the skills of a salesperson. However, as an entrepreneur highlighting the firm and its team is an important element of operation.
What one tip would you give to fellow startup founders?
Build a operating budget cushion and share your success with your team. Giving back to your team members or allowing them to grow with and into the company are value options to keep the company strong.
And finally, what do you hope the future brings both you personally, and your business?
I hope that Sebastian Eilert Architecture continues to be recognized as a sustainable architectural leader in South Florida. With more new homes, restaurants and resorts, I look forward to pushing the realities of sustainable projects implementation for off-grid and net positive projects.