For his company's 10th anniversary this January, Michael Anschel gave it two new counterparts. Verified Green, a brand-new company, is a response to burgeoning demand for green consulting services. Small Spaces, a division of Otogawa-Anschel, aims to satisfy growing interest in well-designed small projects. Both are carefully planned business ventures, but “they're not really profit centers,” Anschel (center, wearing tie) says. “I'm trying to help my industry.”
Verified Green, in particular, epitomizes this spirit. A partnership with others involved in sustainable design and construction, it is “almost a clearinghouse of green training and expertise,” Anschel says. Clients pay for Verified Green consulting services, but Anschel spends far more time — an estimated 16 hours a week —volunteering on green issues, including spearheading the effort to develop green guidelines for the state of Minnesota.
With Small Spaces, Anschel hopes to introduce the hallmarks of his company's work — stylish, energy-efficient urban remodels — to jobs that are less meeting- and design-intensive than his company's increasingly large remodeling projects. “Good design should be accessible to everyone,” he says.
Education drives progress at Otogawa-Anschel, and employees are encouraged to take classes and attend trade shows each year. Deeply interested in the world outside his own, Anschel gets out quite a bit himself. He takes a major trip lasting eight to nine weeks every other year, most recently to China and Peru, Bolivia, and Chile.