GLMV Architecture’s secret weapon: Barbie

WICHITA — Lots of businesses have mascots of sorts.

Mattress Hub has Cheap Sheep.

The Donut Whole has a giant chicken that graces its roof.

And GLMV Architecture has … Barbie?

The firm’s Facebook page has been touting Barbie’s activities around the office, complete with photos.

“Look at Barbie go! What a multi-tasker, picking laminates, making boards, AND Studying for the big test! Wow…WOW!”

“Working in a construction zone is a little more challenging than Barbie thought it would be!”

“Barbie has been busy, busy, busy studying for her exams! Ken has been so supportive by sending her flowers, coffee and energy drinks!”

So far, there have been 17 updates.

When first contacted, GLMV chairman Bill Livingston said he didn’t know much about Barbie and her Facebook activities.

“I saw one copy of it, but that’s it,” he said. “We old guys with no techie skills, we don’t understand that stuff.”

Then he did some investigating.

“This is cool,” Livingston says.

Mattel has a series of Career of the Year Barbies, and 2011 was Architect Barbie. She showed up at a couple of American Institute of Architects events and inspired some interior designers at GLMV to share some desk space with her and document Barbie’s time there.

This year, Barbie officially is a fashion designer, but at GLMV she’s still an architect in training.

“It’s to inspire young girls to perhaps seek a profession in architecture, which is kind of neat,” Livingston says.

That wasn’t CEO Jeff Van Sickle’s first impression.

“When I first saw it, I was a little bit taken aback by it,” he says.

However, Van Sickle notes, “Our hit rate on Facebook has increased tremendously.”

He adds, “It’s something our generation may not have chosen, but it seems to be popular.”

Livingston and Van Sickle now appear to be entirely on board.

“I’d be interested to find out if Barbie is enjoying her fashion design career,” Van Sickle says.

“I bet she’s not,” Livingston says. In architecture, he says, “She’s building lasting things, not something you wear and throw in the closet.”

Van Sickle notes that GLMV may have helped rebuild Greensburg after a tornado, but it’s Barbie who gets the press.

“Which just shows you the power of Barbie, doesn’t it?”