Learning from the best mentors

A young and lovely architect is currently making waves with projects left and right because of her passion for designing properties and developing subdivisions. Kaydee Marie Velasco is the CEO and principal architect of KMV Asia Development Corporation.

KMV Asia Development Corporation CEO Arch. Kaydee Marie Velasco

She is also the project management head and Green Architect consultant of Barons Group of Companies — a Singapore-based international developer engaged in ongoing deve­lopments in the USA, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Ever since she can remember, Kaydee has been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug.

“When I was young, I was already doing business, making money out of small things like selling my drawings, selling whatever it is I can make mo­ney on to buy in tindahans. Business was around me, I just didn’t know that I was already doing it. I wanted to be an engineer like my dad, but as per his advice, I became an architect and loved it.”

It also didn’t hurt that her mentors included some of the very best in the profession. She did her on-the-job training at the Arch. Jun Palafox’s prestigious Palafox Associates in 2010 where she learned professional-level presentation, image, and  planning. Palafox, the Philippines’ most loved urban planner, eventually hired her as one of his designers.

When she finally decided to start her own company, Kaydee started with only two employees. Now KMVAsia currently has 23 personnel, not including the project-based manpower.

“I am always in a rush; it’s as if I always have boosted adrenaline. I love design and planning, as well as learning from my clients on how they deal with real estate developments, but for some reason, when there were too many parties involved in a project, there are several decision making from partners and investors, the project takes time,” she recalled in explaining why she decided to strike on her own.

“Being an independent woman and always wanting to gain for the future, I utilized my knowledge and structured my company to be ready to take on development projects since being a developer gives me a birds eye view on the timelines and financials, not waiting anymore for decisions which are out of my control, but putting an action to fast track a project and decide on the feasibility of it. That is why I created KMVAsia.”

Wanting to learn more about the business side of things, Arch. Kaydee eventually met Singapore Barons group CEO Danny Lim, who she now considers as another one of her mentors.

According to her, “Because of my passion in numbers and wanting to learn more in business and finance, last 2016 when I was mentored by Singaporean Barons group CEO, Danny Lim, I trained in real estate business and finance in Singapore, since I was their technical partner for Barons’ Projects. Danny Lim had the biggest role in my business career and influenced me in the financial aspect and financial structuring.”

And of course, there’s Kaydee’s own parents, who have been mentoring her in all facets of life and business for all of her 28 years.

“My dad inspires me to handle situations with integrity, always be fair and honest in my dealings. This is I think one major factor that my clients and colleagues admire, aside from the dedication I have with my company and work. If my dad inspires me, my mom is my support, always giving me 100 percent “Yes” in the business and believed in me first among others that I can grow the company.” She added.

In such a short span, the emerging young company has established an impressive portfolio of projects that include Vanessa’s Heights, Matrade Manila, Lifekit, Canva Manila, Virac Mall, Gregorian Mall, Sly Café, and UST Alumni office, among others.

Setting her sights on the future, Kaydee sees KMVAsia go “nationwide and diversify into different fields.”

“Since I am starting pocket and sustainable developments, I will continue to have this mindset—to be an architect with passion, dignity, and uniqueness. To achieve more than what you want by learning more. Being an architect is a stepping stone for something greater. It will open new doors to different paths, but choose one path and focus on it to maximize every potential.”

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