In architectural firms, you would expect everyone to talk about the talented architect. But architect Todd Marolf says the person who is tracking invoices, preparing contracts, following up with subcontractors and running the office should be praised. In Marolf’s case, that person is his wife, Kelli.
Their firm, Headwaters Architecture, has been in business for 17 years and it keeps both Marolfs hopping.
“Kelli has excellent instincts to work with people and make sure nothing falls through the cracks. She expands our market in that she is involved in multiple civic groups I would not have time to be involved in. That is, she provides an extra presence and help for people, which is what Headwaters is all about. She fills the gaps.”
Kelli scoffs at the notion that she is the wind beneath his wings, but she does play a major role in the business. She has learned that if she takes care of the paperwork, it frees Todd to be an architect. The company does residential and commercial jobs. It also remodels and renovates the old homes and buildings in Prescott.
“That is what Todd loves,” she said.
The most important part of Kelli’s job is finances. “I make sure the money I bill for comes in and goes back out to anyone we hired to do a project,” she said. And, she follows up to make sure the subcontractors are doing the work.
Kelli divides her time between the office, day-to-day home life and her new grandbaby.
“I try not to spend too many hours at the office. It’s important to have a balance and not take business home,” she said. “I enjoy being a home body. I like my life.”
Kelli says the business has suffered its share of ups and downs; for example, during the 2008 recession, “we survived by the skin of our teeth.”
During that time she took a break from the company and took another job as vice president of a non-emergency medical transport for three years until business picked up.
“Too much was happening, he was trying to do paperwork and trying to get billable hours. He just couldn’t handle it all,” she said.
Builder John Nanke of Nanke Luxury Homes said he enjoys his relationship with Headwaters.
“We have worked with Todd and Kelli for a number of years now. I couldn’t say enough nice things say about them. Kelli and Todd are wonderful people. They are a joy to work with on every project and do excellent work,” Nanke said.
The couple has a new goal this year of creating tiny homes, under 1,000 total square feet, as an option for people in the Prescott area. “The tiny houses would be offered for a variety of reasons such as being able to live on a piece of property, or on a home for aging parents or as rentals,” she said. “Some people are empty nesters and don’t need a big house. They would rather be cash rich than house rich. They would rather travel and do other things rather than paying for a home.
They would likely cost about $60,000 or less. And the design style would be up to the homeowner.
Kelli was born and raised in Denver. In 1989, she moved to Phoenix and then to Prescott where she met and married Todd.
“We like it,” she said of Prescott. “We feel this is where we are supposed to be right now. We don’t know where God will take us from one day to the next.”
The couple has four children between them and have been married 13 years. All are grown and on their own.
“I don’t have a creative bone in my body. Todd does not like the numbers. We work well together. We are very blessed,” she said.
“Our tagline is ‘Building great relationships builds great projects.’”
Kelli says one of the great relationships they have is with Mountain View Media.
“We built her website and do her monthly maintenance,” said Jane desGrosseilliers, one of the owners. “She is just good people. She does what she says she is going to do. She has been such a good friend on so many levels. We started in a work relationship and moved into friendship.”
Where do you find inspiration?
“Probably on a spiritual level more than anything else. We are old-fashioned, Bible believing and God fearing people.
What is your favorite restaurant?
“Any Mexican food.”
When was the last time you danced?
“We have a new grandbaby. I probably held her and danced with her.”
What do you do to unwind?
“It probably involves pajamas and just sitting back and watching stupid television, just dumb-stuff-that-makes-me-laugh television. It
probably involves a glass of wine, too.”
When they make the movie about your life, who would play you?
Probably Leah Remini because I can be feisty, just like her, but super passionate. If I get really into something, I can get on a soapbox and get really passionate. QCBN
By Patty McCormac, QCBN
Headwaters Architecture is at 212 S. Montezuma in downtown Prescott. For more information, call 928-776-7180 or visit email@example.com.