Carlisle/Wortman Associates got its start offering civic planning services, such as helping local municipalities figure out zoning issues or plan for community growth. It built a respected brand around that work over the years. Today the Ann Arbor-based firm is increasingly known for more than that.
Carlisle/Wortman Associates is generating more and more of its revenue from offering administrative services for local municipalities. Those typically include running community development departments or building departments. Last year it opened an office in Oakland to help facilitate such work. Today 40 percent of Carlisle/Wortman Associates' staff focuses on providing municipal administrative services, which is up from 30 percent last year.
"It's becoming a much bigger part of the business," says Dick Carlisle, president of Carlisle Wortman Associates
The firm got its start offering municipal administrative services about 10-15 years ago at the specific request of its customers. The side business started out innocently enough but soon turned into something that needed to be paid attention to.
"The more we did it the more we realized this is something we need to purposely try to do," Carlisle says.
Today Carlisle/Wortman Associates employs a staff of 26 employees and an intern. It has hired two people over the last year, including a building inspector and a landscape architect. Carlisle expects those hires to continue as its municipal administrative service continues to grow.
"I think its highly possible (municipal administrative services could equal half of the firm's work in the near future)," Carlisle says. "That part of the company is growing at a much more rapid rate than our core business. But it's only growing because of our core business."
Source: Dick Carlisle, president of Carlisle Wortman Associates
Writer: Jon Zemke
Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.