Business alumna Jesse Hufft is co-founder and CEO of Hufft, a design firm based in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo courtesy of Hufft)

Alumna’s role as CEO of design firm started with KU business education

Jesse Hufft describes her position as co-founder and CEO of Hufft as the job she never knew she always wanted.

Hufft earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the KU School of Business, with minors in marketing and information systems.

She and her husband, Matthew Hufft — a KU architecture graduate — started the architecture firm, which is based in Kansas City, Missouri, in 2005. He serves as the firm’s creative director.

The staff of Hufft is composed of architects, artists, designers and craftsman.

“I didn’t know exactly the route I wanted to go when I very first started in the business school,” Jesse said. “It’s not like I took this class on how to start a design firm with your husband.”

However, Jesse says her classes at the KU business school prepared her with the skills to manage the day-to-day operations of the firm.

“It’s a design firm at its core, and I’m not an designer,” she said. “So knowing how to market and run a business as the second layer of the design firm is really I think what gave us our solid foundation.”

That solid foundation has led to steady growth for the firm, including the September 2016 announcement that Hufft would be expanding to Bentonville, Arkansas.

One of the many projects the firm has completed is the interior design of the Port Fonda restaurant in downtown Lawrence in 2015. Hufft has received numerous awards and national recognition, and Jesse said it remains committed to its culture of collaboration and its emphasis on client interaction.

“Matthew’s true core passion is design, and my true core passion is people,” she said. “Our culture and our team right now is so wonderfully rooted in both of those things.”


Take a look around the Hufft’s fabrication shop in Kansas City as Jesse describes more about the firm:

Learn more about Hufft Projects on its website.