Knickerbocker Group, the award-winning design, construction, and property management firm based in Boothbay and Portland, is delighted to announce that Danielle Betts, after 14 years with the company, has been promoted to president. Knickerbocker Group is renowned for designing and building finely crafted private residences and commercial spaces throughout Maine using a thoughtful, client-centered approach.
Betts takes over for founder Stephen Malcom, who has run the firm since 1978 and will continue as CEO, concentrating on strategic company goals and community outreach.
“Over her time here, Danielle has celebrated people and their individual and collective passions to create a culture of inclusiveness and integrity that is so evident in our work,” Malcom said. “Most important, she has proven herself to be a strong, creative, and principle-driven leader with savvy business acumen who has helped build Knickerbocker Group into the successful, respected firm it is today.”
Betts, a licensed professional engineer with a specialty in residential land use and commercial development, first met Malcom at a design-build meeting for a local non-profit, where he served on the board for 16 years.
“From the beginning, I admired the way Steve ran the company and inspired employees and clients alike,” Betts said. “He promoted family engagement, volunteered in his community, and tirelessly fostered cultural and economic development in Maine all while ensuring that Knickerbocker Group’s work is driven by quality craftsmanship and a dedication to great design.”
Betts collaboratively leads a team of more than 80 employee-owners, making Knickerbocker Group one of Maine’s largest woman-led design-build firms. Yet she is quick to point out that she is not leading alone.
“Within each practice area and on every job site, we have exceptional leaders who independently guide their teams every single day,” Betts said.
In her role, Betts will remain focused on business development, strategic planning, and cultivating and maintaining relationships with clients, while continuing to shape the culture of the company, which has repeatedly been recognized as a Best Place to Work in Maine and as both best builder and best architect by Down East magazine.
Several years ago, the company’s board of directors began studying the best path to transition the company from a sole proprietorship to an ownership culture. That research led to the firm’s 2017 transition to an employee stock ownership plan and to the implementation of the practice leadership model, which supports the ownership culture by providing a structure and resources for seasoned employee-owners to grow and lead their own teams.
Betts also expanded the company’s turn-key services for design, construction, and property management to include land planning and real estate analysis to support clients through the property acquisition phase. Recently, Betts and her team broadened the firm’s successful market offerings with Cove by Knickerbocker Group, which includes a collection of thoughtful, predesigned homes and an exclusive line of New England-inspired furnishings and decor.
With its wide range of services, Knickerbocker Group seamlessly works with clients on projects that vary in style, scope, and scale, whether it’s a healthy, sustainable home on an island or a multi-year community economic development partnership.
“What sets Knickerbocker Group apart is our talented employees and their dedication to continually fine-tuning a process we have been improving upon for over 40 years,” Betts said. “That process results from the collaboration between our design team and those on the jobsite. Our architects suggest a new building system, our site managers test it in the field, and our carpenters recommend how to build it efficiently — and what results is innovation. I’m proud that Knickerbocker Group is people-driven and community-focused, and that our culture shows through in the work we do. It’s what ultimately serves our clients as we create inspiring spaces that reflect our passion for architecture, design, and construction.”