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Celebrating 50 years of doing things differently.

Iconica is not just an architecture, construction, or engineering firm. It is the intertwined effort of all three to create better outcomes for our clients. As we celebrate our 50th anniversary and look back at the past five decades of doing things differently, we are reminded of the importance of learning, experiencing, and focusing on our values and behaviors. As part of this celebration, we want to share 50 iconic lessons that emphasize our core values and further differentiate how we approach projects.

50 Iconic Lessons

1 – Celebrate Success!

At Iconica, we believe that success should always be celebrated! That’s why we ring our gong to recognize our employees. Whether we are celebrating new employees, projects, or personal achievements, the gong is always a great thing to hear. We’re kicking off our series of 50 iconic lessons with a reminder to prioritize celebrating your successes.

2 – Change is good

Embracing change is essential to growth. Here are a few things we’ve learned about how change can be good!

3 – What’s in a company name?

Our company has changed its name three times, but each time it’s been to better express who we are.
Be a friend
4 – Be a Friend
Kindness is contagious! At Iconica, we understand the importance of friendship and giving back. A few years back, our President and CEO, Jim Pientka, gave each manager at Iconica a smiley face balloon. He asked them to share the balloon with another employee and tell that person why they appreciated them. Then, the person receiving the balloon was to do the same to another employee, and so on.
50 iconic lessons reading
5 – Read, read, read
Reading has the power to open up our minds and broaden our horizons; here are a few books that have taught us incredible lessons.

6 – Be a Sparkler

Being a sparkler is more than just shining – it’s about inspiring those around you and recognizing the contributions of others. At Iconica, we make it our mission to be someone that elevates those around us.

7 – Listen Generously

At Iconica, we take the time to stop and listen generously. It’s not just about listening to respond – it’s about showing empathy and understanding and giving our full attention to others. Connecting on a deeper level helps us grow personally and professionally!

8 – Food Brings People Together

Nothing brings people together like a good meal! 🍽️ We use our food truck, ACE, for employee appreciation days, client socials, subcontractor lunches, and giving back to the community. We love seeing everyone come together over delicious food!
9 – Make a Difference
At Iconica, we recognize that every act of kindness counts, and that’s why we offer our employees paid time off to volunteer.
10 – Yes, And
It’s all about saying “Yes, And” at Iconica! We embrace creativity, optimism, and teamwork to get excited about thinking outside the box and making ideas bigger, better, and bolder.

11 – Inspire Others

Every great accomplishment starts with a vision. Our team collaborated on a mural for MSCR West to inspire others that anything is possible. Check it out & be inspired!

12 – Boost the Fun Factor

Here at Iconica, we take our lessons with a side of fun! We believe in treating each other respectfully and injecting joy into every day.
13 – Safety
Safety isn’t just a job requirement – it’s part of our culture here at Iconica! From always wearing personal protective equipment to conducting job site toolbox talks, we ensure every step is taken to keep everyone safe.
14 – Lunch and Learns
Embracing a culture of continuous learning, we provide lunch and learns as a platform to share knowledge, develop professionally, collaborate, and enrich ourselves personally.

15 – Find A Way

At Iconica, we’ve learned the value of finding a way: embracing resourcefulness and staying resilient in the face of challenges. We believe in seeking solutions rather than making excuses and putting in the extra effort to complete a project. Our integrated design-build approach allows us to deliver results that we’re proud of, with expertise in architecture, construction, and engineering all under one roof.

16 – Build a Culture, not a Company

We believe in more than just creating a successful business. We are passionate about cultivating a thriving culture that embraces work-life balance and prioritizes our team members’ well-being.

17 – Ask Questions

Our 2023 interns had a unanimous piece of advice for future interns: embrace the power of asking questions. As we continue celebrating our 50th anniversary, we’re reminded that curiosity has been the cornerstone of our success. Here’s to 50 years of growth and learning, driven by the simple yet impactful act of asking questions.

18 – Thank You
Gratitude is our superpower! Whether it’s a heartfelt card, a client appreciation lunch with ACE, our food truck, or a simple smile, we believe in saying thank you sincerely.

19 – Embrace Change

We understand that change is an integral part of the design-build journey. Our job is not just to build but to transform, evolve, and ensure that our client’s needs and wishes are met and exceeded.

20 – Teamwork
As a design-build firm, we have learned that working as one team under one roof is a true advantage. We have architects, construction professionals, and engineers, all blending their unique skills to tackle any project. Trusting our co-workers and valuing their contributions is one of our keys to success. Check out these fun photos of our team at various team-building events. Go team!

21 – Deliver Unparalleled Customer Service

Our unwavering commitment to delivering unparalleled customer service is built on a few fundamental principles. We start by learning what matters most to our customers and prioritize listening before providing guidance and action. We constantly strive to deliver the highest value and customer satisfaction at every opportunity. When we make a promise, it’s done with professionalism and respect.

22 – Make New Employees Feel Welcome 

The onboarding process at Iconica is about welcoming employees and setting them up for success. Our approach extends beyond introductions; it includes an office tour, departmental lunches to forage relationships, and cross-departmental training that explains everyone’s responsibilities within our organization. This process ensures that every employee feels valued welcomed, and understands their integral role in our collective success.

23 – Ubuntu

Serving the team, project, and client above oneself defines Ubuntu. Success comes from supporting others, admitting mistakes, valuing their contributions, and remaining humble enough to undertake any task.

24 – Share Your Knowledge
This year, our interns heard from our employees about their career journeys. These informative sessions provided valuable insights for professional growth. It’s all about nurturing growth, learning from one another, and building a stronger community.

25 – Mutual Respect

Mutual Respect, our core value, motivates us to champion our clients, embrace diverse perspectives for collaboration, and prioritize preferred communication methods. With mutual respect, we maintain accountability with our customers, vendors, colleagues, and within our team.

26 – One Revolution at a Time

Change begins with one revolution at a time. It starts with the little acts, where we defy stereotypes and collaborate seamlessly with architects, construction professionals, and engineers under one roof. These small actions can spark a revolution, transforming how we work and innovate together.

27 – DISC Assessment Tool

At Iconica, we leverage a personality assessment tool to enhance team communication. Our employees showcase their unique communication styles through a brief assessment quiz, fostering a deeper understanding and improving overall team communication dynamics.

28 – Celebrate Employee Milestones
We believe in recognizing and celebrating the remarkable dedication of our employees. We understand that their commitment to our organization is pivotal to our success. That’s why, when our employees reach significant milestones in their tenure with us, we make it a point to host a memorable party in their honor. These celebrations serve as a moment of appreciation and reaffirm our commitment to fostering a thriving and supportive workplace.
29 – Industry Networking
Networking within our industry allows us to form valuable connections, stay updated on industry trends, and explore collaboration opportunities. These relationships and insights help us deliver better results and are integral to our growth and success.

30 – Focus on the Client

The client always comes first. We are dedicated to understanding and surpassing their needs, working collaboratively to deliver exceptional solutions. We focus on turning visions into reality by listening and supporting our clients.

31 – Embrace Technology 

Hear from Shane, a MEP Designer / VDC Specialist at Iconica, as he highlights the versatile applications of drones and how we’ve successfully embraced this technology, seamlessly integrating it into our design-build approach, ultimately transforming how we manage projects and visualize designs. Shane’s insights exemplify how we deliver exceptional value to our clients through innovation.

Mentor Others
32 – Mentor Others
Mentoring others is a true passion of ours. We wholeheartedly believe in giving back and fostering the growth of individuals in our industry. Through job shadowing, events, or actively participating in programs like UWM SARUP, we are dedicated to sharing our knowledge and experience with others. We take pride in helping individuals on their journey to success and guiding them as they navigate their career paths within the industry.

33 – Plan the Work, Work the Plan

As a design-build firm, we approach every project with a fully integrated team of pre-construction estimators, architects, engineers, and construction professionals. We plan; the pre-construction team conducts feasibility studies and cost analyses. Our architects and engineers collaborate to design a functional and aesthetically pleasing space while our construction professionals bring this vision to life. This seamless teamwork, with open communication and real-time adjustments, ensures our projects are completed on time and within budget.

34 – Adapt to Industry Changes

Adaptation and evolution of construction practices are crucial for staying competitive and meeting the ever-expanding industry demands. Over the last five decades, we’ve continually refined our methods to align with these shifts, ultimately resulting in the delivery of top-quality buildings for our clients.

35 – Do the Right Thing

We believe in accountability and acknowledge our mistakes when they occur. We view errors as opportunities for improvement, fostering a culture of transparency and continuous refinement. The path to success begins with integrity and the willingness to rectify missteps, ensuring our client’s trust and satisfaction remain at the forefront of our mission to revolutionize the construction industry.

36 – Leverage Technology 

We leverage the power of technology through 3D scanning. Shane, our VDC Specialist, is here to share how it revolutionizes our operations and enables us to enhance workflow efficiency, generate highly detailed 3D models of existing structures, assess existing conditions precisely, and conserve valuable time and resources on our projects. By adopting this technology, we empower our team to make informed decisions and deliver exceptional results.

37 – Treasure Feedback

Treasure feedback is an essential aspect of our work, as it serves as a compass guiding us towards continuous improvement. We engage in this process to identify and acknowledge what we’re doing well – our strengths, and also to pinpoint areas where we can enhance our performance. By valuing client feedback, we gain invaluable insights that help us to deliver even more exceptional projects.

38 – Make Quality Personal

Making quality personal is a shared journey that resonates throughout our workplace. It’s a team effort, not the endeavor of a single individual, that drives us forward. We understand that it’s the small, thoughtful touches from the project’s inception to its completion that genuinely make the difference. These details set Iconica apart and are a testament to our unwavering dedication to excellence, ensuring that our clients feel a sense of pride in what we collectively achieve.

39 – Actively Visit Job Sites

In this lesson, we highlight the significance of active, weekly job site visits that allow our architects to witness their impact in real time, bridging the gap between design and the real world.

40 – Verify and Clarify

We verify and clarify your unique desires, needs, budget, and schedule. This step is vital for clients as they define their specific requirements, and it genuinely excites us to align our strategies with your criteria, ensuring a tailored approach that lays the groundwork for a successful and satisfying collaboration.

41 – Design and Price

In the phase of design and pricing, we fine-tune plans and details, confirming they align seamlessly with the understanding gained during the verification and clarification of our client’s wants, needs, and desires. This critical step is where the envisioned building design takes shape, and we ensure that the confirmed price aligns with the previously established budget. Our commitment is to deliver a well-crafted plan that meets your specifications and aligns with your financial parameters, providing a seamless transition from vision to reality.

42 – Create a Visual

Design renderings help our clients visualize their projects. These visuals serve as a dynamic tool, allowing clients to provide valuable input. It’s more than just creating images; it’s a collaborative process that ensures the final outcome aligns seamlessly with our clients’ wants and needs.

43 – Make Quality Personal
Our unwavering commitment to the highest quality standards in our projects is at the core of our success. To ensure excellence in every aspect, we employ a quality control process that involves regular on-site visits. Our dedicated team meticulously assesses each project’s engineering, electrical, structural, mechanical, and architectural components, creating a comprehensive punch list. Our commitment to quality control is not just a process—it’s a testament to our dedication to delivering exceptional results for our clients.

44 – Listen to the Client

We wholeheartedly embrace the fundamental lesson of listening to our clients. We understand that a collaborative and engaging process is the key to a successful project. Our commitment goes beyond delivering exceptional results; we aim to make the entire journey enjoyable for our clients. By actively listening to their needs, preferences, and aspirations, we ensure that every step aligns with their vision. Our goal is a successful project completion and a client who feels valued and heard throughout the process. We measure our success not just by the quality of our work but by the satisfaction and happiness of our clients.

45 – Take Pride in Our Craftsmen

We take pride in the exceptional skills of our craftsmen, cherishing their remarkable ability to transform ideas into reality with a touch of uniqueness and cost-effectiveness. We harness the creative skillsets of our craftsmen, leveraging their expertise to design and create a distinctive product that not only captivates but also aligns seamlessly with a budget.

46 -Identify a Zag
As a fully integrated design-build company, we defy the traditional norms of our industry. Our food truck, Ace, is a unique addition and a symbol of our commitment to doing things differently. We utilize the food truck in various ways to support the community, express gratitude to our valued clients, and foster a sense of appreciation among our dedicated employees.

47 – Get the Facts

Each day, our pre-construction estimating team invests significant effort in obtaining vital information during the early design stages. Their process involves proactive communication with owners, working seamlessly with our internal architectural and engineering teams, and leveraging their expertise to refine and enhance the accuracy of our estimates. By consistently striving to acquire and understand the facts, we empower ourselves to provide our clients with the most precise and reliable estimates, ensuring transparency and confidence in our services.

Engage Staff
48 -Engage Staff
Cultivating a positive and interconnected workplace is crucial, and at Iconica, we achieve this by actively engaging our employees. A key strategy we employ involves the regular production of weekly videos that not only convey vital company updates but also highlight our core values and desired behaviors. These fun-filled videos are an effective communication tool, ensuring everyone stays informed.

49 – Be Flexible

Our construction project managers consistently demonstrate the essence of teamwork and flexibility. Collaborating seamlessly, they are prepared to be flexible every day, embracing changes and challenges that come their way. This adaptability is crucial in navigating the dynamic nature of our projects, ensuring successful outcomes for our clients.

50 – Execute as Promised

Our final lesson of the 50 Iconic lessons emphasizes the importance of execution. Step 3 of Iconica’s three-step process: execute as promised. As we bid farewell to the 50 Iconic lessons, we carry with us the profound understanding that true success lies not only in ideas but in the disciplined and dedicated execution of those ideas.

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