By Bobby Bordelon\r\n\r\nAs development continues in downtown Ronceverte, one hidden business offers a model for the city\u2019s possibilities - Architectural Wood, LLC. Located on Edgar Avenue, the ten-year-old business tackles million-dollar woodworking projects and employs over 40 people.\r\n\r\nTwo of the business's guiding partners, Carol Oosterbeek and Patrick Driscoll, reflected on what it took to build the downtown business over the last ten years and how the only way to improve the city is to take it step by step.\r\n\r\n\u201cThis is not an overnight thing for us where we came in here and the next day it looked like this,\u201d said Driscoll. \u201cYou have to believe in what your future can be, then it takes time for it to become a realization. It\u2019s how much effort you can put into it. \u2026 The same thing can happen for the town.\u201d\r\n\r\nOosterbeck is originally from South Africa, and just recently earned her citizenship in the United States. She moved to West Virginia from New Jersey over ten years ago with her husband, Tony Oosterbeek. Shortly after, both joined Driscool, who was excited to remain in-state for the outdoor activity possibilities and opportunities for his then five-year-old daughter.\r\n\r\nOosterbeek has an obvious love of design - when entering their conference room, the smallest question had her jumping into an explanation of how their conference table was designed. The table\u2019s corners were replaced by another edge, turning the rectangle into a hexagon. Oosterbeek explained this allows people to see each other easier, allows for more of the table to be used, and provides more comfort.\r\n\r\n\u201cIf you have [someone] who\u2019s very large, they don\u2019t feel confined,\u201d Oosterbeek said. \u201cThey can relax. \u2026 [They] don\u2019t feel crowded and it allows you to use all the corners this way. That\u2019s why I do that. \u2026 When you\u2019re having a meeting you don\u2019t want people to feel uncomfortable, you want people to feel relaxed, so that was my whole purpose. \u2026 It mimics the black metal on all our stand up desks, plus the walnut. Patrick and I chose these veneers. I think it was really worth it.\u201d\r\n\r\nGetting to this point has been a ten-year process for the partners - one that began with a walk through by the West Virginia Manufacturing Extension, which provided them with a list of improvements to make to the building.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe nice part about it is [the employees and partners] got to see all the changes on a gradual basis,\u201d Oosterbeek said. \u201c\u2026 We had this assessment and we took it seriously. We checked a box off, we went to the next on, we checked a box off, we went to the next one.\u201d\r\n\r\nThis includes upgrades for the warehouse, lighting, machining, break room, and the office.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe couldn\u2019t do everything overnight, but they saw these little things happening,\u201d Oosterbeek said. \u201cIt could be funny, [many employees] were so accustomed to older equipment, older technology. \u2026 And now, if you were going to go back, [they would say] \u2018what do you mean, we can\u2019t go back!\u2019\u201d\r\n\r\nThe striking office also serves to inform potential clients of the company\u2019s abilities.\r\n\r\n\u201cIf we want to bring clients in here and we have the old oak and the green carpeting, it\u2019s very difficult to explain [that] we can design anything and make anything,\u201d Oosterbeek said. \u201cBut when you walk someone in here and they see this, you don\u2019t have to explain yourself too much. You\u2019ve already got their attention. \u2026 We need it to be [impressive] when we bring architects and [general contractors] in here. We want them to feel \u2018Wow!\u2019\u201d\r\n\r\nMany of the improvements were made in-house.\r\n\r\n<img class=" wp-image-60995 alignleft" src="https:\/\/mountainmessenger.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/13\/2021\/03\/IMG_9337-300x225.jpg" alt="" width="543" height="407" \/>\u201cMy millwork guys, everybody touched everything in this building,\u201d Oosterbeek said. \u201cThere is nobody in this company that didn\u2019t touch something here and that was the nice part of that. When everyone walks through here, they feel some ownership. \u2026 Whether they painted, spackled, cleaned, everybody has touched it.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe office is just one job the crews have tackled - Driscoll explained the company focuses on custom mill work, which can vary in size and scope, and case work, such as custom cabinets.\r\n\r\n\u201cIn our industry, most people will concentrate on one thing and one thing only,\u201d Driscoll said. \u201cWe chose to go a little outside the box and we [decided our] package would include glass, fabric, counters, quartz, it didn\u2019t matter. If it integrated will our mill work or our case work, we took it on. Problem with that is you have to pay deposits up front.\u201d\r\n\r\nOosterbeek and Driscoll both emphasized the role of a number of governmental and developmental organizations as the business began.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe had the EDC, the EDA, [they] were huge to the success of this company, not only from a monetary sense, but just their guidance, their support,\u201d Oosterbeek said. \u201c\u2026 They were always checking up and making sure \u2018You guys need anything?\u2019 The support we got from the state of West Virginia, I can\u2019t even express how enormous it was. Because of that, we fought hard to be a success. \u2026 We came in and I really wanted to fly under the radar for a lot of different reasons. We wanted to establish ourselves. \u2026 That\u2019s very difficult. You\u2019ve got money coming in, sometimes, you can\u2019t bank on it, but money going out? It\u2019s gotta go. In the early years, that was extremely hard.\u201d\r\n\r\nThis support helped the company expand to over 40 employees and move up from $10,000 jobs to over $1 million contracts. One job featured on the website is the Earl and Darielle Linehan Concert Hall is located in UMBC's Performing Arts and Humanities Building.\r\n\r\n\u201c[The building] is the designated concert hall for the university's symphony orchestra and other performing ensembles,\u201d reads the website. \u201cIn addition to the engineering and fabrication of the woodwork in the concert hall, other project work includes maple paneling seen throughout the concourse, the corridors and ensemble practice rooms, as well as casework, display cases, wood benches and wood rail caps.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe goal of the development organizations is to facilitate local job creation - Oosterbeek said that is just what they allowed Architectural Wood to do.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe people here didn\u2019t want to leave,\u201d Oosterbeek said. \u201cWhy would they? We have clients that come down here and they say \u2018we didn\u2019t realize this [was here].\u2019 They love Lewisburg, they love that quaint town, \u2026 as opposed to the hustle and bustle of D.C. It has so many pluses.\u201d\r\n\r\nThis includes speaking with teachers and counselors at Greenbrier County schools, working with engineering teachers, and providing internships for jobs all over the company.\r\n\r\n\u201cThere was an intern we had, who came in every year for three years,\u201d Oosterbeek said. \u201cGreat kid, everybody loved him. Went off to college, WVU, went to work for a couple of different people, then showed up at my office one day and said \u2018I just can\u2019t work for anyone else but you.\u2019 \u2026 I hired him on the spot, he joined us about a week later and we\u2019re very happy about that.\u201d\r\n\r\nIn sponsoring local sports teams in Ronceverte and Quinwood, creating internships, and communicating with schools, Driscoll hopes the business will allow more Greenbrier County youth to stay in the area.\r\n\r\n\u201cI know we\u2019re missing the boat on a lot of opportunities as far as having skilled employees for the future because they don\u2019t know what\u2019s in this building [and many leave the state],\u201d Driscoll said. \u201cIt really takes the right person to come in here, and the counselors are the kind of person that doesn\u2019t change from year to year. \u2026 The potential people have here - if you give people a chance to prove themselves, they really just want to have stability in their lives and a future to look forward to.\u201d\r\n\r\nOosterbeek agreed.\r\n\r\n\u201cYou can\u2019t do it alone. That\u2019s really what it\u2019s all about. We were very up front with our staff. We explained we were gonna check a box off at a time and they knew exactly who helped us get here. Patrick and I are not wealthy, it\u2019s not like we have deep pockets, but we weren\u2019t afraid of hard work.\u201d\r\n\r\nTo reach Architectural Wood, call 304.647.3300 or email <a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com<\/a>. They can also be found online at <a href="http:\/\/www.arcwoodwv.com">www.arcwoodwv.com<\/a>.