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VOL. 132 | NO. 123 | Wednesday, June 21, 2017

In Midst of Changes, ArchInc Becomes Woman-Owned Biz

By Kate Simone

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The Memphis-based architecture firm formerly known as Architecture Inc. is in the midst of some major changes. The 23-year-old firm has rebranded as ArchInc; promoted Valentina Puppione Cochran to president and majority shareholder; and added preservation architect and urban designer Charles “Chooch” Pickard as a partner.
Cochran has been with ArchInc for 13 years, and her promotion makes the firm a woman-owned small business, which ArchInc says will boost the firm’s minority participation on projects.

Hometown: Little Rock, Arkansas

Experience: Bachelor of Architecture, University of Tennessee; Fleming Architects, intern architect

What talent do you wish you had? I wish I had the skills and talent to star in a musical on Broadway.

ArchInc is making several big changes right now. In addition to your new role, the firm has rebranded and added Charles “Chooch” Pickard as a partner. What prompted these changes, and why now? Chooch has always been part of the ArchInc family. We began talking about him coming on board as a way to highlight our proven industry leadership in design, preservation and renewal architecture. What sweetened the deal was Chooch’s enthusiasm and new ideas for rebranding and reorganization.

Looking back on the 13 years you’ve been with ArchInc, what changes have you seen in the business and/or the industry during that time? I am happy to say that I have seen a move to more collaboration with contractors and manufacturers during the design phases of a project.

MWBE participation is a hot topic in Memphis right now. As a woman and now the majority shareholder of your company, how important is MWBE certification? It is important as a way to mentor other MWBE businesses, if only through example. Everyone gets career fatigue at some point. Being able to look at other businesses and see diverse leadership is important for keeping talented individuals in a profession.

What’s next for ArchInc? We plan to keep moving forward with enthusiasm in the ever progressing field of architecture while looking back on our strengths of design, preservation and renewal.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? I was diagnosed with breast cancer while 28 weeks pregnant. Making it through the birth of my wonderfully healthy daughter, now 4.5 years old, then 16 weeks of chemo and 6.5 weeks of radiation is my greatest accomplishment!

What do you most enjoy about your work? Drawing and working with clients to take their ideas from thoughts, to paper, to computer, to a built space.

If you could give one piece of advice to young people, what would it be? Keep trying. If there is something you want to do, just keep working until you get it right.


Charles “Chooch” Pickard has joined ArchInc as a partner at the firm specializing in architecture, historic preservation and neighborhood revitalization. Pickard has two decades of experience in planning and preservation, urban design and historic tax credits, including serving as executive architect for City South Ventures’ revitalization of the French Fort neighborhood from January 2013 to this February. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies and a Master of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and worked for ArchInc for two summers as an intern 22 years ago.

Attorney Alicia Triche of Memphis-based Triche Immigration Appeals was awarded the Barry Frager Award at the Federal Bar Association’s Annual Immigration Law Conference in Denver. The national award honors distinguished service and sustained, significant contributions to the Immigration Law Section of the Federal Bar Association. Triche was recognized for teaching numerous continuing legal education panels to private and government attorneys and U.S. immigration judges, and also for her authorship of the national “Immigration Update” column in the Federal Lawyer magazine.


Michael Ellis has been promoted to vice president of southern operations at Lehman-Roberts Co. Ellis joined Lehman-Roberts in 2008 as a project manager/estimator and has served as the director of southern operations since 2011. In his new role, Ellis oversees the southern asphalt plants, paving operations, project management, quality control and trucking.


Morris Marketing Group has added Carissa Child as senior marketing communication specialist and Zack Orsborn as marketing communication specialist. Child comes to Morris Marketing after serving as social media and marketing coordinator at LEDIC Realty Group. Orsborn previously worked at the Northeast Mississippi Business Journal as head writer and creative director.


The Tennessee Wildlife Federation recently honored several Memphis-area residents at its 52nd annual Conservation Achievement Awards. Local honorees include: Dr. Jack Gayden, the J. Clark Akers Award, which recognizes many years of service to TWF; Chris Koch, the Chairman’s Award; Dr. David Sloas, Land Conservationist of the Year; Tennessee Naturalist Program, Conservation Organization of the Year; Bobby Wade Jr., Youth Conservationist of the Year; Boyd Wade, On Target Award.

PROPERTY SALES 51 328 20,960
MORTGAGES 58 387 24,132
BUILDING PERMITS 170 842 43,435
BANKRUPTCIES 50 288 13,468