I understand that by looking just at the title of this article, you might read it with a hint of irony given what happened to everyone in 2020.
COVID-19 impacted our company too. We had plans to expand Nadi Group even further into North America, we looked forward to a getaway to Riding Mountain for our 10th Anniversary, and we aimed to travel—a lot—to industry conferences across the United States, making new partnerships and signing new clients along the way.
Of course, some of that still happened, maybe not in the way we expected it, but we didn’t fall short. We persevered like many of you did this year. One thing that COVID-19 has illuminated is how critical it is that we support one another.
This article represents hope in many ways. Even at the darkest hours of the pandemic, there was poignancy in knowing we were all in this together. I want this article to remind you that light still burns in the darkness, even if it’s only embers.
So, let’s start the holidays off with some hope and a reminder that resiliency in the face of adversity is how we’ve managed so far. Whether that’s finding different ways to access new business, holding remote happy hours to keep our staff close together or celebrating ten years with a beautiful video to remind us that this pandemic will get better.
1. Nadi Group celebrates 10 Years
Ten years is a significant amount of time for any company. What we anticipated was a year of celebration, but instead, we navigated a pandemic. In the grand scheme of things, we did still celebrate, albeit a little differently than we had initially planned.
The staff wrote articles to commemorate their time at Nadi Group, we ate a lovely dinner at Pizzeria Gusto with meatballs, bruschetta and pasta, and we filmed a video to introduce our new name and branding to our friends, family and clients.
We even rebranded from Nadi Design and Westphal Associates to the Nadi Group—with a brand-new website debuting in 2021! We’re very excited about the future of the Nadi Group, and we’ve been very fortunate that we can look forward to more milestones.
At the same time, we’re aware many companies have had to lay off staff or shut their doors. So, please do what you can to support local and small businesses. As you can see from our video (thank you Handcraft Creative!), it’s not just a business, it’s a dream.
2. New brand, new attitude
While the video remains our introduction to the new brand, our logo and branding also deserve a spot of their own. Our fearless leader Emeka Nnadi had designed the original logo with small variations throughout the last ten years.
I feel our new logo is one of the most significant changes at Nadi Group this year—we have an icon now! In all seriousness, if you’re unfamiliar with why we updated our company name, it’s because we acquired a company in 2019 and we wanted a new, fresh amalgamation of these two brands and their histories.
We’re a local business, but we have global aspirations. Our acquisition of the 50-year legacy firm Donald C. Westphal Associates helped move those aspirations along. We also partnered with AxisIMA, a highly regard environmental engineering firm in Mexico, to begin our expansion into Latin America—but more on that later.
With these developments, we felt it was time to hire a professional graphic designer to create a logo that would feel personable, evoke sophistication and leave an imprint on those who see it.
It’s certainly a tall order, but Arthur Paguio, our Winnipeg-based graphic designer, succeeded.
What’s more, he created a brand identity book, templates and myriad of other branded wishes. Consistency remains a battle in companies large and small. We feel lucky that Arthur produced such a uniformed array of materials for our team!
Check them out:
3. Did your favourite article make the top ten?
Our thought-leadership blog remains one of my favourite ongoing initiatives at the Nadi Group. The staff work hard to produce compelling content based on the issues that you feel are relevant to your industry.
You might have noticed we reorganized and re-designed our newsletter to deliver even more clarity and focus to news, events, and projects that relate to your business interests and provide value for your time.
So, without further ado! Here are the top ten articles from 2020:
1. What can we learn from the humble trailer parks?
2. How to create a design framework for attractive, memorable streetscapes
3. Designing urban neighbourhoods for tiny living
4. Is artificial intelligence the future of design reviews?
5. How to reinvent public spaces after COVID-19
6. How to prevent your ‘affordable’ community from becoming ‘cheap’
7. How can suburban land developers ensure food security in a pandemic?
8. Why should you hire a landscape architect for your property?
9. How landscape architects can bridge the gap between in and outdoor spaces
10. An urban design approach to creating a manufactured housing community
4. Hola Nadi Group & AxisIMA Alliance
After working together on a proposal back in 2018, the Nadi Group and AxisIMA formed a bond that would, in a few years, culminate in a strategic partnership.
As you know, the Nadi Group has always had global ambitions, and right now in our efforts to expand across North and Latin America, we knew that we needed a kindred firm to help us succeed.
AxisIMA is a consulting firm specializing in providing public and private sectors with integral and innovative solutions in ports and coastal engineering, environmental management and renewable energy consulting. With our vision to design for a better world, it made complete sense to partner with a firm that value the environment as much as we do.
In late 2019, we started to look seriously at an alliance between our two firms that would combine our expertise in creating responsible communities, commercial and industrial real estate development and their technical evaluation of the natural environment. Together, both companies would support, grow and expand our international business development interests.
Our selected team has worked through this year (despite the pandemic) to bring our alliance to life. We launched our website, that includes a blog with genuine thoughts and opinions on our practice areas and engaged important supporters from different countries through our bi-monthly newsletter. Our newsletter combines original articles, project highlights and curated content for our readership.
Emeka Nnadi, Enrique Alvarez, Mónica Febles, Ricardo Rodriguez Dives, Diana Garcia, Malvin Soh and Jorge Moguel Ley will continue in 2021 to keep this dream alive.
Click here to visit the website.
Don’t forget to check out our website for further details on our work, team. If you want to sign up for the Mexico newsletter, click here.
5. Bokeh gets the video treatment
Before any lockdowns, face masks and social distancing, we filmed a video at Kildonan Park Duck Pond to show how the lights worked on the ice. Handcraft Creative helped us make this project a reality.
Even though it snowed, hindering our ability to clearly show the magical effect of Bokeh on ice, it still conjured memories of a winter wonderland broken up by blurred polychromatic light on the ground from Bokeh’s lighting sculptures.
We designed Bokeh with Takashi Iwasaki, a prolific Winnipeg artist, in 2017. The Winnipeg Arts Council used a competitive selection process to determine which artist would create the lighting art installation around the duck pond.
Given that we expected park-goers to experience our installation during Winnipeg’s dark winter months, we used bright colours in our design to disrupt the park’s white winter canvas, creating a vibrant and animated environment for people to skate and feel ‘happy’ within.
Check out the video to see it realized:
If you read our wrap-up article last year, you will know our acquisition of Westphal Associates was one of the five cool things that happened at Nadi Group in 2019. I’m giving it an honourable mention here as it has been integral to many of the cool things that have transpired in 2020.
Even though acquiring a business and then going right into a pandemic was not ideal, we managed. We expected tremendous growth this year, and while we feel busier than ever, like many of you, we’ve also felt the strings tighten around us. I feel that is the reality of 2020. It challenged us in new ways, and we had to figure out how to survive within limited options.
Still, despite a tighter budget, Westphal Associates brought us new opportunities and ways to grow the Nadi Group and strengthen our company morale. It also brought us new faces and talents, including Don Westphal, Jennifer Blankenship, Emily Sinclair, Ben Gaudes and Anthony Castagnoli. We feel elated to have them on board. It brought us more clarity on our different practice areas (which include manufactured housing communities, RV resorts and campgrounds, outdoor hospitality and amenities, mixed-use development, residential township planning, and special commissions. See, I did tell you I would leave you with hope
Hope remains critical in times like these. So, I thank you for reading this article (and letting us brag a little). This year has been difficult, lonely and unpredictable, and going into the holiday season (whether you're in lockdown or not) will be rough. However, I know, every one of us can keep moving forward. Remember, we did it all 365 days of 2020, and we will keep it up in the new year.
See you on the flip side!