Carlos Delgado, Owner
Architect Carlos Delgado came to the Rogue Valley in 1997 while working for a commercial architecture firm in San Francisco. Over time Carlos grew to appreciate the small town qualities of Ashland, and when his tenure was done he decided to stay in Ashland and start his own company. As an architect Carlos was used to working with a very stylistic, urban architectural genre of building design that his former employer showcased. However, Carlos encountered what most new businesses learn when they are starting out.
Carlos’s clients wanted the extravagant homes they saw in magazines, and he had to learn to help his clients work within their means instead of having them waste money on the “bells and whistles” that were just there for show. This became one of the many challenges he faced as a new business owner. He had to learn how to help his clients understand that “what is important to their life will help determine the design” and not let them get carried away by the overly stylized designs they saw in magazines; in short he emphasized quality over quantity.
Challenges like this led Carlos to start looking at looking at the design process with clients differently. He used this opportunity to apply his passion for saving the environment, and he began looking at potential ways to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings to zero. His latest project is the new Buddhist Meditation Center, Kagyu Sukha Choling, in Ashland. Working within a sustainability outline that he helped the client develop; he and associate architect, Joyce Ward, designed the building to eliminate the need for air conditioning by increasing the thermal mass of the building and cycling air in at night. The result is an average temperature inside the building at 82 degrees during the hottest summer weeks without the use of air conditioning, and the development of window and ventilation strategies and other “low tech” strategies encouraged by the Buddhist nature of simplicity. “We have modeled the building and implemented measures that have a target carbon footprint in its energy use for heating and cooling at 50% of typical buildings that comply with code,” Carlos said.
When Carlos came to the Southern Oregon University Small Business Development Center in 2008, he was halfway through the completion of the Buddhist Temple. This was a five-year project, and his business was sinking quickly as he had not planned ahead during the peak years of the economy before the recession.
Carlos had overlooked the business aspect of architecture in college as he regarded it as unnecessary to his education as an architect and instead had fallen for the design aspects of architecture. After starting his own business he now knew better. A friend recommended that he go to the SBDC because they could provide him with was a better understanding about the functions, goals, and the day-to-day operations of running a small business.
Carlos met with Gary Einhorn, a business advisor at the SBDC, and they worked together over the next year to get everything sorted out. “Gary structured his counseling towards my needs and wasn’t trying to make me another cardboard cutout as the books and seminars do,” Carlos said. Together they figured out key elements in Carlos’s business such as pricing strategies and how to read financials. They got a long-term plan in place, and Gary encouraged Carlos to take on more straightforward and simple residential remodeling projects, as it’s those jobs that will pay the bills now.
“ The advising I got at the SBDC reflected my needs. They didn’t try to sell me anything else but the honest truth, which is what I needed the most,” Carlos continued.
As a result of these meetings Carlos now has an accountant, financial planner, and a lawyer helping him guide his business towards the goals that the SDBC helped him establish. Similar to when he first started his business and had the challenge of getting clients to separate their wants from their needs, the SBDC has given Carlos a new way of looking at how he can best separate his needs from his wants. He even admits that, “Sometimes I just go in there to keep things in perspective.”