By Times Caribbean Writer
BASSETERRE; St. Kitts: Popularly known for her design of the Black Rocks Deck, Kerissa Roberts owner and lead designer of Kerissa Roberts Architectural Services (KRAS), is a young entrepreneur, meticulous about setting goals and achieving them while still providing quality service to clients. At the age of 21, she officially launched her company and six years later she has seen rewarding growth. Times Caribbean (TC) chatted with Ms. Roberts recently, in our first installment of “Get To Know A Kittitian…”
Times Caribbean (TC): How has your company grown from 2015 compared to now?
Kerissa Roberts (KR): KRAS officially started on May 30 2015 with a laptop and ambition and has grown into a household name. Our growth over the past six years includes multiple approved drawings, solid social media presence, private and public partnerships, virtual reality initiatives, annual expansion of services, rebranding in 2020 and a physical office space
TC: When did you realize that you wanted to pursue a career in architecture?
KR: As early as age 14, I realised that I wanted to pursue a career in the Built Environment. I didn’t want to zoom in on Architecture because I believe in being a diverse individual.
TC: But your company is called Kerissa Roberts Architectural Services…
KR: In terms of getting into architecture I meant that I didn’t want to pursue a degree to become an Architect. So I did an undergraduate degree in management studies and I did post grad in project management. Architectural services include design and construction drawings. However, I want to push it further by offering project management, construction management and property management in the future.
TC: Thanks for the breakdown. So what has been your favorite project to date?
KR: It is very difficult to choose a favourite project as each of them represents a milestone for KRAS. However, I would choose the Brotherson Estate signs. Brotherson Estate is located in the Newton Ground area and these signs form the gateway to a beautiful village with smart homes and spectacular views of St. Eustatius and Saba. The housing development is being done by White Gate Development Corporation.
TC: Your design of the Black Rocks Deck, literally went viral. What was that like for you? Did you expect all of the attention? How did you handle it?
KR: Having worked on that concept in 2016, I honestly forget about it lol. I was pleased that most people genuinely liked and appreciated the initiative. I would like to take the opportunity to commend all of the talented individuals/companies who were involved in bringing the concept to life. The attention was ironically not expected but I guess as long as it is on social media there will be publicity. I think I handled it fairly well. I was definitely grateful for all of the encouragement received.
TC: How would your friends describe you as oppose to how you would describe yourself?
KR: My friends description would include the traits of outgoing, love to laugh, adventurous and dedicated. My description would include the same but I would also add serious to the list.
TC: Which world architecture design is your favorite?
KR: The favourite on a global scale would have to be The Eiffel Tower.
TC: Where would you love to travel to and why?
KR: I would love to visit all of the Caribbean Islands that I haven’t seen. The Caribbean is blessed beyond explanation. The blessings include view, vibes, history and the people.
TC: What do you like to do in your downtime?
KR: In my downtime I definitely love to go site seeing and explore St. Kitts. I find beauty in the natural and built environment of St. Kitts.
TC: Where is your favorite place to dine in St. Kitts?
KR: My favourite place to dine in St. Kitts is Boozies. Boozies has great food, drinks and a very welcoming atmosphere.
TC: Favorite quote you live by?
KR: My favourite quote is “Stay Hungry”. This means always be eager to acquire new positive things in life whether it be non-traditional knowledge, soft skills, traditional education or just simply being a better person in life.
TC: What motivates you to work harder?
KR: Success motivates me to work harder. I believe that the death of elevation lives in complacency. There is always room for improvement so as you achieve something in life you should go back to the drawing board and find ways to be better.
TC: What do you do to celebrate an achievement?
KR: Achievements are celebrated by socializing and strategizing.
TC: With two of our athletes showing at the recently held Olympic Games in Tokyo, what do you think should be done to give our athletes more support when competing overseas?
KR: Invest in a track and field program where athletes are compensated for training.
TC: What are your views on the many unused/abandoned land or dilapidated/abandoned houses around St. Kitts?
KR: The legislation should be modified to include a clause that allows for the sale of these properties after x number of years of “abandonment”. Thereafter they should be sold for a reduced price considering that the new owner will have to engage in demolition which is expensive.
TC: You launched your architectural business at age 21, which seemed very ambitious, what was that like?
KR: Based on my timeline on events, KRAS was scheduled to start at age 30. However, I started university in 2013 and considering that it was personally funded, I needed an additional source of income. The day KRAS was launched was a memorable one in Warner Park. I was very proud of making that important start and looking back six years later, it was definitely the right choice starting at 21 instead of waiting until 30.
TC: When it comes to choosing a partner, what three attributes do you look for?
KR: Sense of humor, trust, integrity
TC: What are your Pet Peeves?
KR: A. People who have no respect for time, B. People who don’t strive for excellence
C. Strictly subjective reasoning
TC: What are some of the clubs/organizations you were a member of growing up and are you a member of any today?
KR: I joined SKNYPA (St. Kitts National Youth Parliamentary Association) in 2011 and I am still apart of the organization today.
TC: What was your upbringing like?
KR: My upbringing was great. It largely shaped who I am today as an individual.
TC: What is a lesson that you learnt as a child that now as an adult you wouldn’t forget?
KR: One lesson I have learnt that is still present is to work hard for what you want in order to be the best you can be.