Ai3: Educated Design

May 2014

In 1998, Scott Dunlap reached a crossroads: he’d been tagged as a principal at an architecture firm and had a choice to make. Did he want to commit to a career at someone else’s company or take his future into his own hands? In March 1999, he convinced three of his talented colleagues to take the leap with him, and incorporated Architecture Involution (Ai3), LLC, in Wayland, Massachusetts. Today, Ai3 has annual revenues capped around $3 million and a staff of 15. And it’s been that way since the firm’s first year in operation. In fact, the growth and the revenue cap are exactly how Dunlap envisioned them. The firm has met its objectives by focusing on specific types of jobs. “Our goal was always to do major projects, not small ones, and we’ve all run big projects,” he asserts. “Within a year of forming the office, we landed a brand new middle school in Natick, which was a $25 million project, and then we got a $64 million contract in Lynnfield for multiple schools. We really only need a couple of large projects to meet our gross revenue goals.”In addition to scope of project, it’s the niche Ai3 works in, education, that’s been a major contributor to its success.

Since its founding, Ai3 has steeped itself in studies about how design can optimize the school and classroom environment. That focus has resulted in school designs proven to improve everything from absenteeism to overall achievement, giving the Ai3 team a reputation for bringing more than just design to their projects.“Now,” he adds, “we can be pretty selective about what we do.” In 2002, Ai3 made another move to improve the business by switching its banking to Salem Five. The big benefit? “We don’t have to think about the banking side of things,” says Dunlap. “With other banks, it seems like I was always involved in accounting and taxes related to bank work. Salem Five has made it easier to do banking and concentrate on our business.”

Salem Five Resource

Simplify Your Banking

According to Architecture Involution’s Dunlap, Salem Five has made all of the architecture firm’s banking easier. Among the chief benefits for the company has been Online Business Banking.* “In the past, when we’d tried online banking with other banks, I was constantly struggling to correct mistakes and learn the tools,” he says. “We haven’t had any of those issues since switching to Salem Five Business Online Banking.” With Salem Five Business Online Banking, you can manage all your business banking, 24 hours a day, seven days a week from anywhere you can connect to the Internet. The service lets you:

  • view account balances and transaction details online;
  • transfer funds and pay bills from your computer;
  • store merchant information to save time paying regular vendors;
  • pre-program bill payments or fund transfers for scheduled dates;
  • place stop payment requests for one or a series of checks; and
  • download your account information into Quicken (QIF format).

Learn more about Salem Five Business Online Banking