March 29, 2018

Going on 15: Galvin Preservation Associates Get Air Play


Galvin & Associates, like any new business, struggled at first. Likening the small group of architectural historians to a “garage band,” company founder Andrea Galvin and a handful of employees practiced their craft, honed their skills and created harmonious pieces of work. They soon earned a reputation for excellence and the business grew from word of mouth. The “band” was starting to get some air play.

Andrea had a big vision for the fledgling company. To grow responsibly and add services, and to create a great work environment where employees felt appreciated and heard. She wanted to provide amenities that other employers didn’t, such as an on-site daycare. “Can’t do it overnight though,” she said. “In the beginning, we were just trying to make ends meet.”

In those first five years, the company was far from offering an on-site daycare center—which is still a dream—but the company marked several milestones. In August 2005, Andrea incorporated Galvin & Associates as Galvin Preservation Associates Inc. Four months later, in January 2006, she moved her employees into the company’s first real office on the first floor of the MJ Building in Redondo Beach’s Riviera Village. A year later, Andrea’s husband, Rich, joined the firm and expanded the company’s offerings to include environmental planning.

The company also saw a growth in employees.

“When I joined in August 2008, there were seven of us total,” said Danielle Buzas, who took the helm of the operations and marketing departments. She was, at the time, the operations and marketing departments. “A couple more staff members were added a few months later and our little crew of nine became a tight-knit family.”

While Galvin Preservation Associates Inc. was still a small operation, Danielle said that the company had a lot of the same qualities and values that staff still enjoy today, such as a that “tight-knit family” feeling, non-competitiveness among staff, fun while working hard, and a work-life balance.

“I also recall the openness of Rich and Andrea to the ideas and feedback from staff,” added Laura O’Neill, a Senior Architectural Historian who was also hired in 2008. “I’d say this was a major perk of working for a small startup firm. We could ask them to seriously consider expanding some of the key benefits, like the 9/80 schedule and the 401(k) plan.”

Laura said employees could speak honestly if something or someone wasn’t working out and threatening the firm’s valued culture. “The openness remains to this day,” she said.

The larger ensemble enjoyed their time together, bonding over coffee, lunch, and big life events, and celebrating the wins of big projects. They played so well as a unit, that they created a foundation suitable for further expansion. Galvin Preservation Associates Inc. was about to go on tour.


Going on 15: This is Part II of IX articles leading up to GPA Consulting's 15th anniversary in October 2018. Please look for Part III on April 26.