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Encompass have a reputation for designing and executing inspiration spaces in the natural wonder of the Cayman Islands, L-J Andrew spoke to Senior Project Manager, Eric Kline about enhancing the island lifestyle.

Tell us more about Encompass

At it’s heart, Encompass is a full-scale design-build company. We are as passionate about design as we are about construction and the integration of design process with the execution of the construction. We have sought some of the best professionals across our industry. We are on a small island, but we’ve been able to attract some amazing talent from Dubai, UK, Canada, Poland, Ireland. This has allowed us to cultivate a diverse group of people that bring their unique/individual set of skills to come work in concert with the rest of the team.

How do you approach each new project

Our first step is also one of the most critical, interviewing the client. We try to find out specifically to find their ultimate goal; why is the property even being considered for development, what the building will be used for, what’s its purpose as a vessel and what kind of memories are going to be creating inside.

This helps us guide the client through the design process to achieve, not just an actual building or construction, but and to make sure we can deliver their dream design.

It allows us to go further than client just telling us what they want, it gives us a chance to listen, to what they say and understand the feelings they are trying to evoke and for what purpose. We then challenge the client to have a more open mind and be broader and open to more possibilities. This allows us to surprise the client and often, take the project way beyond what they thought was possible.

How important are people in your process?

People at the core of what we do. At a team meeting recently, after we had bought some new employees on board, I asked the question ‘What is it we build?’. One project manager replied, ‘We build beautiful houses’, another said ‘We do renovations too’, a third added ‘We do these beautiful commercial boutiques.’ Although they were all correct, I said ‘We build one thing, the thing we build is relationships. Everything else is the result.’ It’s an ethos we build the company around.

Tell us more about your commitment to the wider community 

The Caymans are such a magical place to live, between the climate and natural beauty, but what really makes it special is the community. That’s why it’s such a pleasure for us to give back and be involved in the community in many ways. Over the years we have provided training for young Caymanians that has enabled them to grow and then start their own companies. We actively encourage this and usually end up subcontracting work back to them after they leave Encompass.  We also look to how we can grow and support the local Caymanian population alongside bringing in expat employees who are able to bring in international experience, skills and education that can be leveraged to train local Caymanians as well.

A personal pleasure is our work in baseball. When I grew up, I couldn’t play baseball, I wanted to play baseball, but my parents couldn’t afford it. The baseball field was just down the street from my house, so I watched from the fences while other kids got dressed up and went to plat baseball. Coming to the Cayman Islands, I was inspired, because every child in the Cayman Island can play baseball for free as it’s corporations that set up the teams: providing uniform, equipment and coaches. As soon as I realised this as a company, we sponsored a baseball team and I’ve coached the team for the last ten years.

It’s been a great thing for our family, and it’s been a great way to connect to the community here and help bring it together. Children don’t have a lot of chances to meet and through baseball, we bring together children from all over the island. We have ex-patriot kids, local kids and sometimes is the only way they would all be able to get together and meet and I think it’s fantastic to bring these diverse groups together and focus on baseball and create a commonality.

What is it that makes the Caymans unique

What I appreciate is, we are extremely diverse here. Just within my small company we have 12 nationalities, with people from all over the world, and what’s interesting is that all these people do have something in common. They all have enough adventuresome spirit to leave wherever they were and are seeking a new and difference experience. These types of people, all leaving their comfort zone, must come with an open mind and a level of flexibility. I feel there’s a work ethic involved to make all of that happen. So, the Caymans is very special because we get people from all over the world but bring the same core values, from all walks of life and they come here harmoniously, and I’ve never been to a place that is more diverse yet united.

How do you tie this into your work?

We get great ideas from everywhere, sometimes the guy that’s cleaning the floor, comes up and points out something or asks a question. What we’ve found was that when you are willing to listen to everybody, you can get an idea from anybody. When you are listening, it opens up that creative channel. Having people that have travelled the world, they bring back things, not just pictures and experiences, but new mindsets and outlooks. It’s amazing being able to harness this creativity and imagination.

What does the future hold?

We are working more towards the development side of our business. My background was development before I started Encompass, and we’ve been in the market now for over ten years, now we are channelling our honed building and management techniques and looking, not just building someone else plan or being a consultant on designs but creating our own footprint here in Cayman. The next ten years of Encompass are going to be focused on creating our own projects and using all the knowledge that we’ve learnt over all this time and apply it to be great custodians of this amazing island that we have and create great developments to highlight and enhance it.


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