Polk Stanley Yeary Architects Ltd.*

City: Little Rock
Category: Category I (1-25 Employees)
Year: 2001

Tommy Polk and Joe Stanley didn't have a client or project lined up when they left a well-established Memphis architectural firm to start their own practice in 1977.

"It was quite a gamble," said Stanley, who along with Polk returned to their home state of Arkansas to establish a firm that provides building and interior design services.

The first year looked bleak. They and another partner only made $3,000.

But it didn't take long before the Little Rock architectural firm was airborne.

The company now posts about $3 million in revenue. It added another partner five years ago, Jim Yeary, and has grown to 20 employees. A Fayetteville branch office opened in 2000.

For the past five years, PSY has averaged $133,000-$147,000 in gross revenue per employee. For firms PSY's size nationwide, the average is $85,000-$100,000.

The project that launched the firm was the design of a new First National Bank of Fayetteville. Not only did the unknown firm beat out 30 other companies for the approximately $8 million project in 1978, but the finished project brought them design awards and statewide recognition, Stanley said.

Since that project, the firm has done work for Alltel Corp., Stephens Inc., Acxiom Corp. and the Central Arkansas Library System's Main Library. It also has designed high-end custom houses for Warren and Harriet Stephens and Joe and Jo Ellen Ford.

Some PSY projects in the works are Heifer Project International, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Arkansas Biosciences Institute and the Clinton Presidential Library.

"We can see a pretty good year or two ahead of us," Stanley said.

The firm also is donating its services to design the House for the Cure for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

The secret for the company's success: "We are focused on servicing these clients and taking care of them," Stanley said. "And we tried to build lifetime relationships."

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