HBE is a design-build firm. What that means is that HBE accepts sole responsibility for architectural and engineering, design and construction on behalf of the prospective client. Instead of assigning the architectural design duties to a separate entity (i.e. an architectural firm) and, upon completion of those plans, bidding the job to general contractors for construction HBE can, though its single-source, approach theoretically do more “value engineering.” The company and its design-build approach is ideal for a young architect. An architect just starting out will have the opportunity to see a project from design through construction.
Three such individuals were asked to meet FSK at Jetcorp, where Fred keeps his private Lear Jet. These three architects were engaged in a complex “model building” assignment and Fred wanted them to travel with him. Being young and somewhat inexperienced the three were nervous. They were scheduled to fly from St. Louis to Eagle, Colorado (just west of Vail). Departure time was set for 6AM, (“wheels up”) but when the time came only one of the three young architects managed to show up on time. The two “late” architects were carpooling together and one overslept. In a stroke of poetic justice, our hero, Fred Kummer yelled at the guy who was on time. He kicked him off of the plane with instructions to tell his colleagues that they should be on time and that 6AM means 6AM.
Furthermore, Fred commanded the prompt architect to get the keys to a company car and collect the other two and drive the 600 miles to Eagle Colorado from St. Louis. These three architects were convinced that once they got to Eagle, Colorado and completed their assignment that they would all be fired. Thinking they were “toast” they did as they were commanded. The road trip was, no doubt, a bonding experience for the three amigos. Much to their surprise, Fred Kummer did not take any further action and the three architects continued to work at HBE. Meanwhile the story of the late architects spread throughout HBE in just a matter of hours. It was the stuff of legends. It was months before the young architects could laugh at the experience.