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Building a future in Morgantown

Desmone Artchitects emphasizes company culture, client satisfaction

Desmone Architects, an architecture and interior design firm based out of Pittsburgh, Pa., opened a Morgantown branch in March.

The local branch is run by two employees, project manager Brad Frankenhouser and architect Joshua Frick, with the expectation of expanding to four or five employees over the course of the year.

Frankhouser describes the company as a “generalist type of firm,” with specialties ranging in all areas of architecture.

Designers, architects and interior designers make up the staff, but all engineering is done by outside consultants.

The company was created in 1958 when Charles L. “Luke” Desmone joined his uncle, John Desmone, in efforts to create a family-owned business. The company eventually grew to 36 employees and became an employee-owned business with six partners.

Principal Chip Desmone was inspired by Luke, his father, and decided to pursue a career with the firm once he graduated from CMU.

“I have never worked for anybody other than my dad,” Chip said, emphasizing the significance of company culture.

“It’s really important that everybody is enjoying their work and making a strong contribution to the region,” he said, pointing out that Desmone Architects won Best Places to Work awards almost every year for the past 7 or 8 years.

Frick is a new architect with the company, and he has a deep appreciation for the creative atmosphere it generates.

His interests in drawing, building and creating led him to pursue architecture, and Desmone Architects is providing him the opportunity to grow in his skills and thrive as an architect.

The company’s outward focus strives to ultimately make clients happy.
A project isn’t, isn’t successful by how many awards it wins. It’s successful by how happy the client is at the end,” Frankhouser said.

The local branch is already making its mark on Morgantown by designing the new Monongalia County

Development Authority building, among others in the area.

Director of Monongalia County Development Authority Holly Childs describes her time working with Desmone Architects as a great experience.

“We are daily working with them on refining the building and making it the best it can be,” Childs said.

A wide variety of clients are encouraged to meet with the staff to discuss potential building plans.

“We can hold someone’s hand from the beginning and explain how everything works and have meetings to draw programming information out of [clients],” Frankhouser said. “Or at times, we’ll have clients that are well versed in those kinds of things and are able to kind of give us the programming information up front to get started.”

Desmone Architects currently resides in a building on Hartman Run Road, but they plan to move into the Development Authority building upon its completion.