Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hardlines Design Company President on Women’s Radio Network

(originally posted by Andy Sewell on October 2, 2014)

Women’s Radio Network ( is an online broadcasting company dedicated to giving female professionals a voice online. Women’s Radio Network provides women with an avenue for communicating their professional knowledge to a wider audience and with a forum for networking with other professionals. On September 23, Hardlines Design Company owner and President, Charissa Durst, was interviewed by Lisa Singer for Ms. Singer’s program Open Forum. In this eight minute interview, Charissa discusses how her interest in both history and architecture led to the creation of HDC, how she blends the two disciplines in her work, and what it takes to become an architect.

Click here for Charissa Durst Interview on Open Forum

The 2012 American Cultural Resources Association Conference: Takeaways

(by Anne Lee, originally posted October 11, 2012)

I recently attended the American Cultural Resources Association’s (ACRA) annual conference in Seattle, held September 6-8 – three days packed with educational sessions full of useful information. I learned that I can take a lot of notes very quickly – which is good since my brain has a limited capacity for remembering all the facts and tips I learned during the conference! If you are in the field of cultural resources management, attending an ACRA conference is a must.

Workshops and sessions fell into one of three topical groups: the Business of Business, Developments in the Technical Aspects of Cultural Resources Management, and Trade Association topics. For a technical specialist like myself, the topics covered in the business of business sessions were those most outside my comfort zone, and the ones I found the most thought provoking. Here are some of the highlights of the business sessions I attended, as well as a few of the useful tips and reminders I came away with:

  • Workshop: What Wins and Why? – The Art and Science of Winning Proposals. Presented by Joanmarie Eggert, LG, CPSM, Pacific Northwest Marketing Manager, Kennedy/Jenks
    • Highlight: Being introduced to how the concept of “bug dust” can be applied to proposals. While the term “bug dust” refers to the very fine dust created from the boring of a mining machine, the concept as applied to your proposal efforts refers to those proposal elements that have little influence on the award selection committee, which are ones that you should pay as much attention to as miners do to “bug dust” – very little, in comparison to the big things that matter.
    • Useful tips and reminders:
      • Do internal proposal debriefings to improve the process on future endeavors.
      • Do quality control reviews of proposals – for content and appearance.
      • Clients care about their project, not what we as consultants do, so focus your proposal content on the project you are going after.
      • Questions to keep in mind as you develop proposal content: Why do you want THIS project? What value do you bring to the project?
      • Don’t “we we” on the client – Emphasize the client and the project, not your firm ( “You,” not “We”).
      • Debriefings for winning proposals may be more useful than debriefings for losing proposals in identifying what to focus on in future proposals.
  • Workshop: Business Development – Uncovered/Proven Methods and Tools for Successful Client Development. Presented by Jon Davies, Vice President and Director of Client Services at BHC Consultants, LLC, and Traci Nolan, CPSM, Business Development Manager at GeoDesign, Inc.
    • Highlights: Recommendation to look up Ford Harding’s Rainmaking series.
    • Useful tips and reminders:
      • Learning the difference between marketing and business development
      • Assign people to business development that WANT to do it; your business development efforts will fail if the people assigned to carry them out have no interest in them.
      • Tailor business development efforts to a person’s style
      • Every employee plays a part in the business development cycle – you just have to figure out what someone is good at and utilize them in that aspect of your business development strategy.
      • Remember – business development is a numbers game – if you want more clients, make more contacts.
      • Clients are people just like you.
      • In a face-to-face meeting, your job is to listen.
      • Social media is good for recruiting employees and getting your name out there, but is unlikely to land you a job. Relationships win you jobs.
  • Marketing: Business Development Live! – 3, 2, 1 and ACTION – are you ready?Presentation consisted of three real life marketing professionals meeting with Scott Williams, Manager of the Cultural Resources Program at the Washington Department of Transportation, feedback from the potential client, and a Q&A session.
    • Highlight:
      • Seeing Kenda Salisbury’s brilliant portrayal of a really bad business development professional acting inappropriately during the first meeting with a potential client.
      • Useful tips and reminders:
        • Client relationships drive the professional service industry.
        • Don’t worry about bothering a potential client – pick up the phone and call. The person on the other end can choose not to take the call.
        • Make sure multiple people in a firm have contact with a client so you don’t lose contact with the client if a staff member leaves your firm. Vice versa, make sure you have contact with multiple people in a client’s firm so you don’t lose the client if your only contact gets a job elsewhere.
        •  Do not send literature to private clients. Instead, identify common clients and meet with the private firm to discuss how your company can help the private client win a project with mutual clients.
    • Marketing: It’s What You Don’t Say That Counts – How to Project Your Best Non-Verbal Self. Presented by Kenda Salisbury, CPSM, Director of Marketing at Historical Research Associates, Inc.
      • Highlight: Experiencing the limp handshake…
      • Useful tips and reminders:
        • Humans communicate in all kinds of ways that are unspoken and being aware of what those non-verbal cues mean will help you be more successful at business development.
    • Management: Strategies to Address Critical Leadership and Ownership Challenges. Presented by Ed Edelstein
      • Highlight: Definition of a leader as the person who is most contagious, whether positive or negative.
      • Useful tips and reminders:
        • There is a difference between explicit and implicit drivers in a company.
        • Company culture is heavily influenced by the implicit drivers of the leaders within a company.
        • You can become a “positive contagion” – your attitude is your choice.
    • Finance and Accounting: Key Financial Indicators – Building a Performance Dashboard. Presented by David James, CPA, CMA, Clark Nuber P.S.
      • Useful tips and reminders:
        • There is more to understanding a company’s financial health than accounts payable, accounts receivable, and the dollar amount of contracts awarded.
        • Hire a professional to calculate the benchmarks and interpret them for you.

Bill Faciane: 15 years of Service at Hardlines Design Company

(by Charissa Durst, originally posted on October 3, 2012)

When facilities planner and architectural engineer Bill Faciane first started work at Hardlines Design Company in 1997, he assured me he would work on anything we needed, except he would not pick out any colors. Bill came to us with a pretty impressive range of experience (Navy builder, construction superintendant, cost estimator, and facilities planner), so we found plenty of things for him to work on, including construction management, roof repair and replacement, interior renovations, and work on exterior building envelopes (To date, we’ve never had to ask him to pick out colors). A few years later, Bill told me he went to boot camp at Naval Station Great Lakes and swore he’d never go back. Well, that’s one promise I had to make him break multiple times, since we’ve had several projects there since 1998.

Bill Faciane, doing his thing

Bill also told me that when he worked at the City of Hampton as a facilities planner, he and his coworkers would pass around a Mr. Potato Head figure to whoever was the most ornery employee that month; Bill was proud to be its guardian numerous times. In honor of Bill’s 15th anniversary with HDC, we presented him with a gilded version of the legendary figure in honor of 15 ornery years and the hope of many more to come!

Congratulations to the 2012 Recchie Award Winners!

(by Andy Sewell, originally posted October 1, 2012 )

Hardlines Design Company would like to congratulate our friends at Schooley Caldwell Associates and Burgess & Niple, who were on the teams that jointly won the 2012 James B. Recchie Award on Thursday, September 27th. “A River Runs Through It” could easily describe the projects that won this year: the Scioto Mile project (project team member: Schooley Caldwell Associates), and the Scioto River Bridges project (project team member: Burgess & Niple).

The James B. Recchie Award plaque (2011 Award for Lincoln Theatre shown)

A full list of Columbus Landmarks award winners for 2012 can be found here.

Columbus Landmarks’ 2012 Annual Design & Preservation Awards Tonight!

(by Andy Sewell, originally posted September 27, 2012)

It’s that time of year again, when Columbus Landmarks presents the annual Design & Preservation Awards. Our friends at Schooley Caldwell Associates and at Burgess & Niple are nominees for the James B. Recchie Design Award honoring excellence in urban design this year.

The event is being held at the historic Lincoln Theatre in downtown Columbus, one of our landmark projects and coincidentally (or not), the project for which we won the 2011 Recchie Design Award. Come and rub shoulders with Columbus’ best design professionals! (Hey, do you really need an excuse to take in the gorgeous Egyptian Revival restoration?)

Lincoln Theatre interior, as viewed from the stage.

More information can be found at the Columbus Landmarks Foundation blog. Good luck to all the nominees!

Heritage Tourism, Hardlines Design style!

(by Charissa Durst, originally posted on September 7, 2012)

In the past two months, my husband Don and I managed to take a couple of weekend days off and explore the sites at the Dayton Aviation National Historical Park. Don has a National Park Service passport book and is obsessed with getting as many stamps as possible. Dayton is an easy day trip and good for five passport stamps.

On a Saturday in late June, we drove to Dayton and stopped at the Wright Brother’s Memorial near Area B of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. HDC actually worked on a project here in 2008-2009 to stabilize the archaeological mounds that ring the edge of the memorial site The memorial features a visitor center, memorial obelisk, and an overlook to Huffman Dam and the edge of Huffman Prairie Flying Field, where the Wilbur and Orville Wright perfected their flying machine in the early 1900s.

While at the visitor center, we picked up brochures for other area attractions and learned that if you visited seven of twelve aviation-related sites, you receive a free “Wilbear Wright” teddy bear, complete with goggles, scarf, and leather jacket. The bear looked really cute, so I was determined to get one!

The Wright Brothers Memorial provided one of the seven stamps. Next, we drove through downtown Dayton to the Wright Cycle Company complex, which consists of the shop operated by the Wright Brother and the Hoover Block, out of which the Wright Brothers operated a printing company. We received our second stamp at this location.

Next, we drove a few blocks further for our third stamp and a quick look at the Paul Dunbar House, jointly operated with the Ohio Historical Society. Paul Dunbar was a nationally-acclaimed African American poet who was also a friend and colleague of the Wright Brothers and their printing company. HDC did a study of Dunbar’s namesake theatre in Wichita, Kansas.

Paul Dunbar House in Dayton, Ohio

Our fourth stop was Carillon Historical Park, home of the 1905 Wright Flyer III. This was originally intended to be a quick stop to see the flyer and get a stamp, but on that particular Saturday the park was hosting a model train show. If there’s one thing my husband likes to do besides look at airplanes, it’s look at trains. So, we ended up staying at Carillon for the rest of the day, leaving me three stamps short of bringing the Wilbear home.

View of a Section of an N scale model railroad

So, on a weekend in early July, Don and I drove back to Dayton and headed south to see a working version of the Wright Model B Flyer and obtain our fifth stamp. Then, we headed back toward the National Museum of the United States Air Force for the sixth and seventh stamps (a separate one was issued for the Aviation Hall of Fame).

View of the Wright Model B Flyer

The Air Force Museum was packed, and trips to the hangars on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base were sold out earlier in the morning. Don and I had visited these once before, but not since they expanded into a third hangar bay. Oh well, maybe next time. Instead, we went to the newest section of the museum that we had not yet visited, which contained missiles and aircraft associated with the Southeast Asia and Cold War missions.

View of Cold War Gallery from the missile balcony

The missiles were displayed in their own two-story silo-like wing, arranged in a circle so the space resembled a columned temple. HDC had recently completed a project on the Nike Missile Battery in Cleveland, so I was actively looking for one. But, the museum did not have one of these missiles on display at this time.

View of missile display

Don and I also remembered with some amusement the advertisements plastering the billboards all over Dayton supporting either Lockheed’s YF-22 or Northrop’s YF-23 prototypes, one of which was due to be selected in April 1991 as the Air Force’s new advanced tactical fighter to replace the aging fleet of F-15 and F-16 aircraft. The YF-22 ultimately won that competition and one of the productions models was on display.

F-22 Raptor

In the Cold War gallery, my eye fell immediately on the slick black shape of the F-117 Stealth Fighter. When Don and I were working on the HAER documentation of Area B in 1992, we got a phone call from the base historian to get out to the old runway to watch a plane landing. We actually witnessed this fighter land on the Area B runway on its way to being curated at the museum. We were able to walk around the plane after it landed, but could not get closer than 10 feet while and armed guard stood on duty because its avionics were still intact. But, it’s pretty cool to be able to point to that plane and know that I saw it fly in and land 20 years ago.

F-117 Stealth Fighter

But what about the Wilbear? Don wasn’t happy about it, but I made him drive all the way back into Dayton to pick one up at the Wright Cycle Company complex rather than send for it by mail. But, the Wilbear is really cute and well worth the effort it took to get the seven stamps!

Wilbear with one of Don’s biplane models.

How Fast Can You Do That Cultural Resources Survey?

(originally posted January 27, 2012)

Four things a client can do to speed up a survey before the contract is signed

Quite often, when planning their cultural resources surveys (typically for compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act), our clients ask us, “How soon can you finish your survey?!” We’re always eager to start a project as soon as possible, of course, and the length of time it takes to reach the finish line depends on a number of factors. Some are pretty much fixed (like how long it takes to dig an archaeological test pit or complete a building inventory form), and weather can always help or hinder, but many other factors that affect the schedule are well within human control. With a little foresight and planning, that is.

Clients and consultants should of course choose the correct survey method, or consider alternatives that avoid areas that are likely to have archaeological sites or historic buildings.

But before the contract is even signed, clients can accelerate the process by thinking ahead and following these common-sense tips:

  • Before you ask a consultant to provide a proposal, make sure you have initiated consultation with your State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and know exactly what type of cultural resources services are being requested.
  • At the time you are selecting a consultant, make sure that your contracting department is prepared to initiate and execute a contract.
  • Before the contract is signed, have plans in place to stake the survey area or geo-reference your project footprint, so that as soon as the contract is signed, you can send the information to the consultant.
  • Before the contract is signed, prepare a letter to all of the property owners notifying them that survey crews will be on their land within a specified time period. As soon as the contract is signed, send the letters. Always give your consultants copies of this letter so that the survey crew has something to show the property owners to justify their presence on the property. And…your consultant will love you if your letter reminds the property owners to restrain aggressive pets and livestock (Yes, we’ve been threatened by dogs foaming at the mouth, flocks of nasty geese, at least one menacing ram, and numerous territorial bulls and excitable horses!)
So remember, there’s a lot of things that you can do, both large and small, to help speed up that survey!

Researching Your Property

Part 1, Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

(by Roy Hampton, originally posted January 12, 2012)

If you’re interested in researching the history of an older building, you might be happy to find that quite a few free resources are available to you, both online and at local public libraries and government offices. One important source of information that is often overlooked is the Sanborn Fire Insurance map collection. Based on our extensive use of these maps for our projects, the staff at Hardlines Design Company has prepared a free, downloadable guide on how to use the Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN) to access online Sanborn maps. This guide is the first in a series of free HDC guides or blogs–future entries will explain more about how to research older properties and their occupants using resources like city directories, archival maps, old photographs, deed and tax records, or just how to eyeball your property for physical clues that indicate changes.

First produced in 1867 by the Sanborn Insurance Company to assess the risks of buildings, Sanborn maps provide a snapshot of the overall character of a building or neighborhood. If you’re researching the history of your house or business and are interested in when the property was built, what modifications have been made to it, and when different parts of the building were constructed, then you might find Sanborn maps quite useful. Or, if you’re studying the history and development of a particular city, town, or neighborhood, these maps can provide good evidence about the history of the community and how its buildings evolved (see sample below). The maps have long been useful to surveyors in the cultural resources business, but they are also freely available to individuals who just want to know more about the history of the property or community where they live or work.

Sample: Two Sanborn maps (from 1887 and 1922) are shown below to illustrate the kind of information these maps can yield. Each map is of the east side of High Street at the intersection of Goodale Avenue, in the Short North area of Columbus. By comparing the two maps, you can see that in 1887, High Street was a mix of small commercial buildings, duplexes, and single-family houses, but by 1922, larger commercial buildings dominated the area. More subtle changes are visible on the other east-west streets shown on the maps.

1887 Sanborn map:

1922 Sanborn map:


The Hardlines Design Company Story Part 3 – Architecture, History, and Archaeology

(by Charissa Durst, originally published November 30, 2011)

Why do we offer architecture, history, and archaeology under one roof?

The tripartite structure of Hardlines was a natural outgrowth and evolution of the overlapping talents and interests of Don and myself, shaped over time through opportunity, hard work, and a little bit of serendipity. In the end, it allows us to offer our clients a unique combination of expertise in solving all kinds of issues related to ground-disturbing activities, ranging from roadway work to building construction and renovation.

The story really begins back in Massachusetts, where I grew up with an affinity for American history and the old buildings around me that so vividly expressed it. I thought hard about pursuing a degree in history, but my love of drawing and design led me to choose architecture instead. In the late 1980s, when Don and I were in architecture school at the Ohio State University, we both took preservation design studio and classes with Paul Young and Judy Kitchen, where we trained in preservation law and learned the ins and outs of researching historic properties, preparing Ohio Historic Inventory forms, and designing new buildings on historic sites. Although Don’s architecture thesis had a more graphic design orientation, I found myself opting for a written one that included historical research and technical reports.


The Paul Revere House (above left) in Boston and the Ames Mansion (above right) in Easton, MA, two buildings that made a big impression on me when I was growing up.

When we graduated in 1990, we were not licensed architects, but our knowledge of how to research and document historic properties allowed us to dive into cultural resources projects such as HAER documentation at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, historic building inventories for the Wayne National Forest, and historic preservation plans for the Submarine Base in San Diego and Hill Air Force Base in Utah. I functioned as the company’s architectural historian during the early years. (Don noted that at least I got to put my written thesis to good use!) When I became a licensed architect, my focus changed, and we hired other people to fulfill this role. One part of the company has continued in that vein, and HDC is still well known for high-quality architectural history and preservation planning services.

The architectural division of the company really began operations in the mid-1990s, when Don and I successfully petitioned the Ohio Board of Examiners of Architects to allow us to take the architect licensing exam without completing internships under other architects, citing our relevant experience operating our own company (see previous blog entry). Our request was granted, and Don and I were licensed in 1995 and 1996 respectively. Not surprisingly, the company’s architectural design department specializes in renovating existing (and very often historic) buildings, a satisfying blend of our natural interests and experience.

Several years later, in 1998, one of our engineering clients suggested that we compete for the new ODOT cultural resources Request for Proposal—when we saw that it had a proposal limit of 12 pages (most RFPs were unlimited), we decided it was feasible! We won the first of several two-year cultural resources contracts with ODOT, and at that point hired our first archaeologist, as the ODOT contract required at least one pre-qualified archaeologist to be available. And so began our archaeology department, which has since grown and is now equipped to handle all sizes of projects, from small archaeological disturbance studies to large, complex Phase III data recoveries.

One of the major advantages of having all of these specialties under one roof is our ability to complete interesting projects for a variety of clients. For example, under a series of task order contracts with Naval Facilities Engineering Command, HDC’s cultural resources staff has completed archaeological surveys, historic building inventories, and integrated cultural resources management plans. Our architectural staff has conducted historic building assessments and prepared recommendations and cost estimates for various reuse options. Sometimes, all three departments collaborate on the same project, such as the Data Recovery for the Shaker North Village site, conducted for the Ohio Department of Transportation: HDC’s historians completed literature review, archaeology staff conducted the fieldwork, and the architectural staff helped identify various infrastructure components associated with the building foundations.

Having all these specialties together also makes for more interesting work for our employees. Many of the non-archaeology staff (myself included) have put in hard labor on archaeological data recovery projects, and HDC’s historians continue to conduct literature review for the archaeologists and help with historic building assessments for the architecture department. Most non-architectural staff have clocked some time measuring buildings to be rehabilitated, such as when our archaeologists crawled through and measured old tunnels under the Lincoln Theatre, an award-winning renovation project.


One of our archaeologists maps out the layout of the tunnels under the Lincoln Theatre.

We were able to validate the direction of the company in 1995, when HDC became founding members of the American Cultural Resources Association, a trade organization for companies that provide cultural resources services such as archaeology, history, preservation planning, and historic architecture. There we met other firms from across the country that offered similar combinations of services.

I often help the historians by doing research at the National Archives in Maryland, which is near my parents’ home and gives me an opportunity to visit. And sometimes, while I’m waiting for requested materials in the main reading room, I remember why I almost decided to major in history instead of architecture. As it turns out, I’m very lucky to have a job where I can do both!


(originally posted October 20, 2011)

Welcome to the Hardlines Design Company Blog!

Welcome to our blog! Blogging is a new venture for Hardlines Design Company, part of a new direction we are using to reach out to our clients, our colleagues, and the public at large. We plan to use this space to share news about the company, discuss industry topics and trends, and offer special features you can download, such as instructional guides, white papers, and much more. Topics will include building preservation, cultural resources management, historic architecture, and other relevant subjects. Also be sure and check us out on Facebook for the latest happenings. Stay tuned!

We chose to begin our blog with a series of posts by our company president and founder, Charissa Durst, who will be writing about the history of the company, including the source of our often-asked-about name and the adoptions of our famous office beagles! Please enjoy!