The Dialogue with Lanny Cope
This feature is a question-and-answer session with a new Blount County Chamber member. So here we go with our 92nd installment visiting with Lanny Cope, AIA, President of Cope Architecture which enjoys the process of guiding our clients through their building projects, listening and responding to their needs, and providing an exceptional product that they can be proud of.
Describe what Cope Architecture does. Cope Architecture is a full-service architectural design firm providing architectural design services as well as project management, interior design, master planning, and construction administration services. We are dedicated to offering the best professional services associated with the practice of architecture. We are committed to providing meaningful design, a skilled technical team, and impeccable client service. Our portfolio includes a wide variety of projects, including educational, commercial, correctional, judicial, institutional, health care facilities, conference centers, sports facilities, automobile dealerships, and industrial projects for various federal, state, local and private clients. We provide our services on large scale new projects as well as smaller scale projects including maintenance, re-roofing, additions, ADA compliance, feasibility and energy assessments, interior and exterior renovations, and open-ended Indefinite Delivery projects of a wide variety.
How did you get started? I founded the company in 1983 as an architectural firm serving Knox County and surrounding counties. Project types included hotels/motels, recreational sports facilities, commercial office buildings, retail developments, and automotive dealerships. I soon expanded into designing educational buildings for local and state governmental clients. The next markets I expanded into included federal government clients such as DOE, DOD, and the U.S. Postal Service.
What is your background? I received a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Tennessee in 1974 while working as an intern at several architectural offices in Knoxville. After graduation, I worked at Goodstein, Shore, Cope & Dozier, where I was named a principal of the firm. This experience gave me a firm foundation in the design of schools, commercial offices, retail, restaurants, and military facilities. During this time, I became a licensed architect in the state of Tennessee beginning in 1978. With my license and 10+ years of experience, I embraced my entrepreneurial spirit, followed my dream, and founded Cope Architecture in 1983.
Who is your mentor? I attribute much of my skill development to the principals at the Goodstein office where I worked for over 9 years, beginning as an intern architect and advancing through the ranks to become a principal share-holder. I was mentored by Mr. Goodstein in marketing skills, Mr. Binkley and Mr. Dozier in technical design skills, and Mr. Hahn in client management skills.
Describe your customers. Cope Architecture has a variety of client types from private individuals to school boards to federal procurement agencies. Our primary market segment is educational facilities, with this comprising over 50% of our current workload. Our educational clients vary from rural county school systems to Board of Trustees for our larger higher education clients. We believe client satisfaction is the truest measure of success and the most effective strategy for securing future work and we strive for that end in each and every project that we do. Most of our clients are in the governmental sector including local, state and federal governments. We have been very selective in our private sector clients in healthcare, automobile dealers, industrial clients, and in the hospitality industry.
Name three things you wish you knew when you started. 1. You cannot be successful without surrounding yourself with other very talented people. 2. Diversity of project types and clients is very important. 3. Do not chase small projects unless there is a big one behind it or some other compelling reason.
What do you enjoy about running Cope Architecture? No two days have been alike in 40+ years. Everyday is a new challenge. I enjoy the many different roles to play including marketing, administration, design and conceptual planning, legal matters, team management, and project management.