November's Employee Spotlight shines on Hand & Stone's Project Architect, Robert Palladino! Rob takes our franchisees through the process of building their new spas, from conceptual designs to acquiring permits. In his spotlight, Rob talks about his unique position on the corporate team, some of the responsibilities of his role, and how working for a franchise has inspired him in his own small business endeavors.
How long have you been with Hand & Stone?
Only since June of this year, so not very long!
What industry were you in before joining us?
I started in construction, but I’ve been in the architecture industry for 14 years, and I’ve been a registered architect for eight of those years. Before this, I was at a firm in South Philadelphia. We worked on larger residential buildings, commercial buildings, restaurants – there was an array of project types.
What pushed you to switch from being at a firm full of architects to be the only one for an entire company?
Growth. It seemed like there was a lot of potential at Hand & Stone, being that it’s a relatively young franchise. I have a growing family, so I was looking for a job where I could grow professionally and this just made sense for me.
What are some of the main responsibilities you take on with your role?
I design the spaces for new franchisees or returning franchisees who are opening new spas. I take them from concept all the way to building permits, which at that point the director of construction takes over. I come in right between real estate and construction.
How do you directly benefit our franchisees?
My position, and the HS Design team as a whole, allows Hand & Stone to get new locations open for our franchisees faster than other franchises can. We have a large backlog of spas and specific knowledge of the company, whereas others might have to hire an architect who may not have the same level of experience. Typically, companies will send over design specifications, and it’s up to the individual to hire an architect or acquire permits. The HS Design team has five years of exclusively building new spas, and even though I’ve only been with the team a few months, there is an expansive backlog of information I can pull from.
What is your favorite part about working for Hand & Stone?
My coworkers are great, and the environment feels really structured. Everyone knows their role and does their jobs well, and everyone is so supportive of one another. Things seem to flow really nicely here, which in turn takes a lot of weight off my shoulders. It’s a very comfortable work environment which I’m thankful for, and I attribute that to the way the company runs as a whole.
What motivates you to get to work each day?
I really enjoy the pace of the work here; it's a fast-paced environment and new projects are always coming in. I always feel motivated and engaged by my work because I never work on the same thing for too long.
Is there anything else you’d like to share that you feel is important to telling your story?
I own a few small businesses, and when I started them I found this book that was really helpful to me called The E Myth. It talks about how franchising should be viewed as the model for how all businesses run because there is a system in place for everything. I built my own businesses off of that model, and it’s nice to work for an actual franchise and see how true it is, and to watch Hand & Stone succeed in real time based on the model that they have.
Last but not least, what’s your favorite service to get at Hand & Stone?
I actually go every month! I usually go with the Swedish Massage. I always try to take advantage of it when I can, and I’ve even gotten my girlfriend into going as well!