by Jasmine Walker
In the last eight years DTLA has being going through a resurgence of construction, demolition, and redevelopment. This city and its real estate prospects are up for grabs to the highest bidder but not before developers and leasing agents know what’s what. That’s where Michael Chretien of PrecisionCAD comes in.
“I’ve always been into technology. I used to sell AutoCad software so when I stopped selling it I decided to start using it and created this business of doing As-built.”
PrecisionCAD is growing and has been for the past four years. Although Michael has been in his current headquarters on Spring Street since 2003, he and his late business partner, Jason Neal, began their business selling AutoCad software. The duo started PrecisionCAD in 2009 and became the AutoCAD department for contractors, engineers, property owners and commercial real estate companies.
But Michael wasn’t always interested in computer-aided drafting. He majored in finance at Louisiana’s Southern University and is a licensed stockbroker. But architecture was always on the horizon. Michael’s father, a civil engineer, kept a drafting table and rulers in the house so naturally, Michael became familiar with these tools of the trade and has been involved with “the world of build” since high school in some capacity or another.
Prior to AutoCad, blueprints were created by hand using the tools of the trade, i.e. adjustable triangle, tracing paper, mechanical pencils with leads, and architect’s scale. With the introduction of AutoCad software, drafters were allowed to stretch, twist and move sketches for more accurate measuring of exterior and interior walls, windows and doors.
One aspect of computer-aided drafting that PrecisionCAD implements is As-builts − going in and measuring existing conditions − and then informing the owners or renters or redevelopers as to what the building looks like in its current state with respect to doors, walls and windows. From there, architectural firms do their design work. “We want people to know that we are here and can handle any project,” says Michael.
Michael plans to move PrecisionCAD into more design work in the near future. With the way DTLA is expanding, he should have no problem shifting the company into any direction that he sees fit. PrecisionCAD maintains firms’ CAD departments on a contracted basis for architectural firms. And Michael insists that no job is too small or too large. “We’ve done small homes to university campuses and hospitals,” Michael says.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Michael has witnessed Downtown go from an all but abandoned city to the downtown we now know and love. As the city grew, so did his business and the needs of his customers. Michael plans to fortify PrecisionCAD with more designers and drafters to meet his customers’ needs, not only in LA County but also as far north as Santa Barbara and as far south as San Diego.
Michael chose DTLA as the headquarters for PrecisionCAD because of the vast clientele in and around the city.
His well-rounded background prepared him for the various stages of running his own business from his finance degree to being a father to 10-year-old Lauren. Michael seems to understand that with growth comes the necessity of change. He plans to incorporate staff architects and designers to accommodate his progressing business.
To find out more information, check out Michael at www.PrecisionCAD.net.