Q&A with Mitch Kidd
President and Co-founder of Wellbuilt Company
Graduation year: 2005
Q. What is your current role and could you provide a brief outline of your career history/professional experience?
I am the President and Co-founder of Wellbuilt Company, a luxury design build firm specializing in high-end residential and commercial projects. The company was founded in 2009 and now predominately focuses on projects in New York City, Boston and Connecticut.
I started my career in the construction industry as a kid growing up in Orange, New South Wales, working for a family friend’s residential building business in during my school holidays. When I enrolled at UNSW in 2001, I studied Building Construction Management whilst doing a cadetship and part-time employment with Sydney construction development firm St Hillier’s.
In 2008, I went to Aspen where I did a 12-month stint with a luxury home builder before losing my job at the height of the GFC. This prompted my move to New York City for what originally was supposed to be a short project with a private client. Almost immediately I saw an opportunity for a company that offered a high-end, sophisticated design-build services with superior quality marksmanship. Compared to my experiences in Australia, I was surprised how much of New York’s construction industry seemed to lack proper business management and professionalism.
Q. Are there career achievements/highlights that you are especially proud of?
As someone with who had never worked in New York before, I had very few local business connections. Deciding to launch a company during the height of the GFC was probably a little bold. There have been obstacles I never dreamed I’d have to tackle, but I’ve never wavered from my vision for Wellbuilt. Every project completed helped build our reputation and clientele, and every challenge taught me something about myself and the industry.
In the spring 2010, we were invited to appear on Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice for a home renovation challenge. The celebrity team we were assigned to ended up losing in the board room, but our involvement with the show gave me a lot of confidence Wellbuilt was moving in the right direction.
Slowly, our client based evolved from young professionals and newlyweds to Wall Street executives and Fortune 500 CEOs. As the economy has come back, so has people’s desire to buy, sell or renovate their homes. The demand for quality, professional service led us to expand beyond New York City and set up Wellbuilt offices in Boston and Stamford, Connecticut.
Today, we work regularly with well-known figures in art, fashion, sports and media. The VIP clientele has definitely upped the ante, but I’m proud of the quality and level of detail we bring to each project. In the past two years, our work has been featured in Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Regardless of press, the most important thing to me is customer satisfaction. What makes Wellbuilt different from other contractors is our relentless focus on customer service. We pride ourselves on providing world class, custom solutions to every job.
Q. How has your Built Environment (BE) undergraduate/postgraduate/research degree contributed to achieving your professional goals?
BE really taught me the importance of education — you're never done learning in this industry. With that in mind, in 2012 I decided to apply to a 16-week business management program offered by Goldman Sachs. The program was created in the wake of the GFC with the goal of helping small business owners grow their companies to create more jobs.
Q. What was the major factor(s) contributing to your decision to study at UNSW?
I’ve always had a passion for building and construction, and I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the industry at a very high level. I researched a number of schools that offered extended build programs, but after a visit to the UNSW campus and hearing the opinions of professionals in the industry, I knew UNSW was the right choice for me.
Q. What advice would you give to someone considering enrolling at UNSW or in your degree?
Living on campus at Baxter College was an amazing experience. I also loved the guest lecturers. I have a vivid memory of watching Richard Branson talk about entrepreneurship and risk taking. I was also fortunate enough to have an academic/ Sports scholarship with Randwick Rugby and St Hilliers.
Take full advantage of the resources at your fingertips. The knowledge, contacts, and experiences you will gain during your time at UNSW will be valuable tools in your future career.