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WNC Business

AsheBUILT – A new networking resource for commercial construction

Mar 22, 2023 01:43PM ● By Randee Brown

Claire Counts, Owner, Designer, and Project Manager at Rhythm Interiors & Installation, a commercial interiors business, has a larger goal in mind for the construction community in the Asheville area. 

“Construction is a hand-off game,” Counts said. “We are constantly ‘passing the baton’ and things can get missed.” She said this is why she prefers a team approach to a commercial project, assembling a team at the beginning of a project and using a team approach throughout.

“This is how AsheBUILT came into being,” Counts said. “Commercial construction professionals need to be able to get together in the same room. We need to be able to get to know each other and find others in alignment with our business goals. This will provide opportunities to create teams and use a community approach to get ideas together from everyone – plumbers, architects, interior designers, etc, which could help eliminate problems later in projects.”

Residential builders have the Home Builders’ Associations, but Counts said that there were not any resources like this for commercial builders. She started AsheBUILT before the pandemic began, and is currently working to reignite the networking group. As she is ramping it up again, she said that she is considering and planning educational resources and programming in addition to networking opportunities.

“Together we can learn how to make processes easier and more efficient,” Counts said. “With all types of people from across the industry, working together can help mom and pop shops and is better for the community in general.” She said that though her meetups are mostly commercial-driven, anyone who is interested is welcome to join.

Counts said that she tries to pick interesting places for these meetups. She said her goal is to keep it casual as well as visit locations with a story and a connection to Asheville, though if someone wants to host a meeting, the group can meet anywhere. “We are also looking for volunteers and are working on creating a committee. Anyone that is dedicated to and loves the Asheville community would be a welcome addition,” Counts said. “The committee will have somewhat of a time commitment of coming to each monthly event, helping with an annual holiday party, and perhaps start a Lunch and Learn program.”

The healthy and creative growth of Asheville is a priority, according to Counts. “We need to have the conversations about maintaining the integrity and personality of Asheville, and by having a diverse pool of people and ideas, we can come together and do a little bit to help,” Counts said. “We can get everyone in the same room and figure it out, help the industry to go and grow, and keep Asheville Asheville.”