Novus Celebrates 30 Years

September 19, 2022

Tommy: I’m Tommy Smith, the CEO and founder of Novus Architects. 

Josh: and I’m Joshua Allison, Managing Principal of Novus Architects. 

Tommy: 

So, I founded the firm right at 30 years ago. I had the opportunity to do several different things, I was sort of at a crossroads in life. 

One was to stay at where I was, another was to take a position with a hospital system here in Charleston, and the third was to go into practice and open a shop. 

So, I had been cultivating North American Biologicals (NABI) for some time, and they alluded to the fact that they wanted to work with me, which sort of surprised me. So, that helped to push it in the direction of opening my own shop. It had always been a dream of mine, and for whatever reason thirty years ago the timing just seemed right, and I was able to get some work from that company and we’re still doing work with them today. 

Josh: 

So, I started with Novus, which was SGM at the time, 22 years ago. I got my masters degree from Clemson University back in 2000. Clemson does a career fair and SGM had a booth set up there, and Michael Janaskie, who is a principal here at Novus, was one of the interviewers. I just really liked SGM and what they had to offer, and was really excited to do further interviews with them. After going to Charleston and going through the interview process, I got to meet Tommy and really fell in love with the place and the rest, as they say, is history. I really have been afforded a lot of opportunities, and I’m really excited for where this company is going to go in the next 20-30 years. 

What Makes Novus Unique? 

Josh: 

I think that’s an easy question, it’s our staff. From our accounting department, to our architects, to our designers, and to everyone who works here. I’ve always said that Novus is a big family and I really believe that. I think we can hold each other accountable, have the tough conversations, and we can also have a lot of fun. I really truly believe that we’re made up of, at this point, over 80 different pieces and each one of those pieces brings a lot of expertise to the table that makes us who we are. We wouldn’t be able to exist without all of those people and without the great staff that we have. 

What do you say makes up a Novus employee?  

Josh: 

Being “Always New” and being fun to be around is what makes up a Novus employee. 

Tommy: 

Well as far as “always new” goes, that’s the tagline for the company. Previously, we were known as Smith-Gerber-McClure, SGM, and in 2008 we came up with the name Novus and the reason we liked that so much is Novus means “new” in Latin. And with some of our clients and just my desire to be a nimble company that can change as necessary, as our staff changes, as our growth happens, and things like that; change is a constant. And so, we came up with the tag line “always new” and we realized that that is something we really are looking for in our staff. This ability to not get stagnant, to be looking for new opportunities, whether they’re with exiting clients or other clients that might be in different parts of our company, to grow as an individual and professionally. So that is what always new is to us. 

About Novus Architects
Novus Architects was founded in 1992 by one architect working for one client. It didn’t take long to grow as the demand also grew for our creative process and commitment to exceptional customer service. Today, with offices in Atlanta, Asheville, Charleston, Charlotte, Jacksonville and St. Thomas USVI, Novus has a mission to create highly functional, beautiful spaces that are more than brick and mortar, or fixtures and furniture – spaces that foster human interaction, discovery and deep connection.
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