As an architect, Gerrod Winston designed buildings for clients for more than 20 years. Now, with his own business, Winston Design + Development, he combines his experience and passion for design with his knack for recognizing the potential of under-appreciated buildings.
With a unique, two-fold approach, Winston Design + Development does both: “design” for many different clients and project types, and “development” projects in underserved communities. In its first year of business, Gerrod’s company has undertaken six design projects for the City of Pittsburgh, mostly to renovate and rebuild old firehouses, plus one local high school. Rather than confine development projects to a specific geographic area, Winston Design + Development seeks projects in areas with the most need and greatest potential for transformation. In the neighborhoods of Wilkinsburg and Homewood, Winston Design + Development has found great housing stock and opportunities for new housing and commercial spaces that would enrich the community.
“My wife hates me for that because we can’t drive in the car anywhere without me saying, ‘Look at that building,’ or ‘What could that be?’…I see so much potential in Wilkinsburg, where I also live, and I want to make it better. But it’s difficult because if it was easy, it would’ve been fixed already.”Gerrod Winston, owner of Winston Design + Development
No matter the neighborhood, Winston Design + Development strives to keep the spirit of the community in its plans. Gerrod believes that small scale neighborhood developers can improve residents’ everyday lives by making renovations that meld into the fabric of the community. Other priorities for Gerrod’s business include sustainability and efficiency, so that families of all income levels have healthy, sustainable environments to live in.
Gerrod was already familiar with the eforever program because of his wife, Ivette Mongalo-Winston, who is also an eforever member and the founder of Mongalo-Winston Consulting. After starting his business at the end of 2018, Gerrod joined his eforever group in Wilkinsburg in August 2019, and quickly experienced the value of being in a group of like-minded entrepreneurs.
“I’m able to hear about my peers’ experiences and share practical business information, like how someone does their bookkeeping and marketing. It’s good to get entrepreneurs with similar challenges and successes sharing that information, and it forces me to pay attention to my business. I could work every day and not necessarily have any business efficiency, but the meetings make me consider how healthy my business is or if I’m doing something effectively. It forces me to look at things that I might not focus on if I didn’t have a peer group.”Gerrod Winston
As Winston Design + Development takes on new projects that improve Pittsburgh’s urban landscape, Gerrod seeks to maintain focus on the architectural, development, and business sides of his projects. After a year as an entrepreneur, Gerrod observes that even though the architectural and development industries are traditionally separate, his personal desire to revive or develop life-affirming buildings improves his design process for clients, too. In an evolving process, Winston Design + Development creates buildings that look pleasing, work well, and uplift communities.
To contact Winston Design + Development, email Gerrod at email@example.com.