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Exclusive Q&A: EBS Founder On Rebranding, Company Growth

Matt Macko of Stok, formerly Environmental Building Strategies, EBS

As of today, San Francisco sustainable building consulting firm Environmental Building Strategies is taking on a new name and a new focus: meet stok.

Changes at the firm go beyond a new name and logo. Stok is changing how it operates as well, using self-managed teams to empower employees and keep the company nimble and innovative as it grows. Bisnow caught up with company founder Matt Macko to learn more about the rebranding and the company's new direction.

Logo for stok, formerly Environmental Building Strategies, EBS

Bisnow: What will the rebranding allow you to do as a company?

Matt Macko: We started the company in 2008 as Environmental Building Strategies and over time we evolved, as most companies do. We helped bring environmental practices and awareness into many projects, and we realized we wanted to focus more heavily on positively impacting the world and the lives we lead. We are a closely knit group, and we challenged ourselves to answer some deep and fundamental questions. We needed a brand that spoke more to our future and didn’t limit our ability to create positive impact. We expect that the brand will allow us to explore new services while maintaining our position as a thought leader and expert in high performance real estate.

Holiday photo from stok, previously Environmental Building Strategies, EBS

Bisnow: Why is it important for the company to operate through self-managed teams?

Matt Macko: We designed our structure similar to how nature would design an organization. Think of overlapping concentric circles that move away from traditional hierarchy to efficient, self-organized teams of peers. There are no bosses, and instead of being motivated by money and status, we’re motivated by autonomy, mastery and a shared purpose. Autonomy allows us to have mastery over whatever we’re passionate about, and a shared purpose helps us not only maximize our human potential, but also our social and environmental impact. It’s the rare company that has a truly happy and engaged workplace—a lot of people just aren’t happy at work. We see self-management as a way to radically affect attrition, happiness and engagement in the workplace, which will yield significant benefits to our customers/partners and ourselves.

Bisnow: What are the teams?

Matt Macko: There are six ways in which we currently service the world: Strategy; Brokerage; Performance Design; Certifications & Branding; High Performance Management; and Quality Assurance.

Bisnow: What does this change mean for clients?

Matt Macko: Don’t worry, we promise to make any change for our partners easy. While we have registered stok as an LLC (and recently became a Certified B Corp), in the short-term we will operate under a DBA in order to ensure limited disruption to our partners. We will slowly roll out new contracts under our new corporate legal structure. In the end, however, our partners will continue to be met with complete boldness and utter joy while we co-create a better future—our true reason for being in business.