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Balancing Act: Navigating the Competing Goals of Architecture with Merrick’s Values


By Alain Rivard, AIA, Vice President of Architecture

Architects and engineers have dual duties: serve the client AND serve society. To meet these duties, we balance four goals:

  • Structured advancement of the profession
  • Ethical values
  • Client service
  • Technical knowledge

When these characteristics conflict with each other, our duty is to figure out how to serve one without disregarding the other. Often, “what the client wants” can’t be done without violating another balanced goal. In these instances, we serve as a buffer to work hand-in-hand with the client to find the right solution that will balance their needs with the other goals we uphold as professionals.

Merrick’s new purpose, vision, and values align well with the ethics of the architecture/engineering profession. In fact, our values (Respect, Integrity, Service, and Excellence) show how the professional obligations outlined above are interwoven with our company values.

Respect/Advancement of the Profession. At Merrick, we encourage our employee owners to be actively involved in professional organizations. Doing so, lets us help define and improve the profession, while taking on a leadership role.

Integrity/Ethical Values. Integrity and ethics live in the small decisions we make every day in our work. By constantly holding true to our values, we develop and maintain our integrity as individuals and as a company. It is not only “being good” but also “doing good.”

Service/Client Service. Strong relationships with our clients are what drive Merrick’s success, bringing repeat business and challenging projects. We foster these relationships by maintaining a professional demeanor, upholding contractual obligation, and providing a quality experience and services.

Excellence/Technical Knowledge. We strive to stay at the forefront of our profession, adapting to the fluid nature of changes in design, construction, products, and technology. We do this by constantly learning in our profession and beyond to keep Merrick’s position as a leader in technical knowledge and professional excellence.

Merrick’s values provide a solid foundation and guidance as we balance our obligations as a professional architect or engineer. In fact, the acronym associated with our values, RISE, is a great motto to own as we each navigate our professional careers individually and as a company.

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