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Building on a solid reputation: A business conversation with Kelvin Haywood

September 2, 2010 by  
Filed under Conversation, Feature

by Kimberly Bailey-Tureaud

Only a year into its existence, KME Architects is already establishing a reputation as one of Las Vegas’ leading minority owned architecture firms. Company president Kelvin Haywood recently sat down with Black Image to discuss the ins and outs of the business, and shared insights on KME’s consulting role on the controversial F Street opening in historic West Las Vegas.

How long has KME Architects been around?

BUILDING on a solid REPUTATION KME was formed in August 2009. There are three partners in our firm: myself, Mel Green and Emanuel Arguelles. Together we have about 30 years of experience in architecture.

What sets your company apart from other architecture firms in Nevada?

We are unique because as owners of the company, we work directly with our clients. Treating our clients as partners in a project involves their personalized interest in the design. We give top-notch service and innovation. Understanding our client’s wants in design sets us apart from the rest. Even in tough economic times, 80-90 percent of our clients are repeat customers. We are LEED (Leadership on Energy and Environmental Design) certified. So we practice sustainability and try to bring “green” materials to every project and design.

What is your company’s involvement with the F Street opening in the historic West Las Vegas area?

KME Architects are consultants to the contractor, PDS&J. We are assisting with the aesthetic design for the opening of F Street, and the entry into and out of the historic Westside. PDS&J was hired by the city of Las Vegas and NDOT (Nevada Department of Transportation) to do the engineering on how F Street will be opened.

How much money is involved in the opening of F Street?

$20 million.

When do you anticipate the opening of F Street to be completed?

It is moving along, and in 2012 it will be completed. Tell us about the process of securing contracts to do big deals on the Strip. It has been up and down. We actually did a project on the Strip. The first balloon ride that took place directly across from Mandalay Bay Hotel was designed by our company. The Art of Music store in the Monte Carlo Hotel was designed by our company as well. But as far as the bigger projects on the Strip, it is still tough to break into.


It is because the bigger firms have more muscle than we do. We are still relatively new as a firm. Nevertheless, our brand is getting out there.

How many black architects are in Nevada?

There are only five.

What motivates KME Architects to offer internships to young people?

Well, Mel Green grew up in the south of Louisiana back in the 1960s. He had a tough time finding role models in the field of architecture. I grew up in the south side of Chicago in the 1980s and I had a similar experience. We had no one we could go to, to ask questions about becoming architects. It is an unspoken word between Mel and I that we would go out and speak to young people, specifically African-Americans and Hispanics, about the field of architecture. We open our doors.

Listen to the Enterprising People radio show with host Kimberly Bailey-Tureaud Tuesdays at 9 a.m. on KCEP-FM88.1 You can also join Kimberly Bailey on Facebook & Enterprising People can now be found on Twitter.


One Response to “Building on a solid reputation: A business conversation with Kelvin Haywood”
  1. We thank you for interviewing such a great firm, we hope to be able to have the same type of access in the future as we continue to grow.

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