TZL 1373 (web)

T R E N D L I N E S Incentive compensation plans J a n u a r y 4 , 2 0 2 1 , I s s u e 1 3 7 3 W W W . T H E Z W E I G L E T T E R . C O M

2021 is looking to be a year of increasing freedom, control, and opportunity. A year of higher expectations

F I R M I N D E X BSA LifeStructures..................................4 Dewberry..........................................4, 10 HEAPY Engineering. ...............................6 Neel-Schaffer, Inc..................................12 Pennoni. ...............................................12 Stambaugh Ness..................................12 T. Wayne Owens & Associates, PC. ......12 TWO CPAs & Consultants, Inc.. ............12 Ware Malcomb........................................2 MO R E A R T I C L E S xz KEVIN TOKEN: Leadership transition as a way of life Page 3 xz Real collaboration: Mark Brumfield Page 6 xz MARK ZWEIG: Be smart in how you run your business Page 9 xz ROBERT MCGEE: Back to relationship basics Page 11 Survey data regarding bonus plans from Zweig Group’s very own Best Firms To Work For is presented in the 2020 Incentive Compensation Report of AEC Firms . The chart above shows the top five bonus plans that Best Firms offer to their employees. The highest-selected option was referral compensation, which was offered by 81 percent of these firms. Performance bonuses are the next highest selection at 71 percent, followed by signing bonuses. Participate in a survey and save 50 percent on the final or pre- publication price of any Zweig Group research publication.

T his article will not be another opine of 2020. Instead of looking back, let’s kick off the new year by looking ahead to what should be a year of more opportunity. Although most are glad to see 2020 in the rear-view mirror, we have some decisions in the trunk that we must carry into 2021 and be prepared to handle in the months ahead. Many of the deferred decisions, opportunities, and experiences of 2020, we will get to live in this next year. Here are a few things to consider as you envision your 2021: ❚ ❚ A return of control. 2021 should provide us more control to make some important decisions. The disruption in the “way we work” was profound, and continues to affect many firms as we start the new year. Because the COVID vaccine is finally in distribution, it is safe to assume we are on a clearer path to eradicating the virus and the restrictions it brought. This will allow you more control over what your workplace looks like. Push the buzzwords like “new normal” out of your head. That term invokes something that we have to accept. Instead, AEC firm leaders need to think very hard about what the future of work looks like in their firms and be intentional to make it a reality. The return of this control should not be taken lightly, nor should the control default to “getting things back to the way they were.” The disruption we’ve all experienced has allowed us as an industry to make some much-needed advances together. I referenced some of these advancements in my “Quantum Evolution” article. Consider those and other things your firm will harness to get a competitive edge in the future. 2021 will be the year where you have to decide what you leave behind and what you take with you in the future. ❚ ❚ Evolving the culture. How AEC firms worked post-COVID lockdowns was all over the board. Talking with AEC firm leaders, some had 0 percent of their workforce in the office, and others had 100 percent. Firms with multiple office locations had a great deal of variability across offices. On the surface, the variability might appear to be dictated by state and local restrictions and virus trends, and that was true. But the way offices or groups of people worked in response to the virus was a reflection of their micro culture as much as it was a reaction to how the virus was trending. In other words, I saw groups of people reacting to the conditions and making work adjustments based on what they wanted to do, versus what they were forced to do. So while many firms have been worried that their cultures have been negatively impacted by the lack of company picnics and water cooler talk, I’ll submit that their cultures are very much intact and that the COVID disruption has allowed firm and individual office cultures to express who they are and who they want to be in a new way. The employee experience is evolving in AEC firms. The evolution in 2020 was driven by many elements out of our control. In 2021, it will be up to us to take the incrementally increasing control and design an employee experience that keeps the best of what we’ve adapted to,

Chad Clinehens




ON THE MOVE WARE MALCOMB ANNOUNCES JAMIE CASE HAS JOINED AS DIRECTOR, INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN IN ATLANTA OFFICE Ware Malcomb , an award-winning international design firm, announced Jamie Case has joined as Director, Interior Architecture and Design in the Atlanta office. In this role, Case will manage the Atlanta Interior Architecture & Design Studio and oversee all interior projects. Case joins Ware Malcomb with 24 years of in-depth experience in project, design and personnel management, and business development. With a wide variety of interior architecture and design experience, Case brings expertise in office, renovation, education, hospitality, multifamily and worship projects. She has a strong concentration in corporate workplace projects and is well versed working with corporate end users, brokers, landlords, developers and public institutions. “Jamie is a dynamic leader and accomplished design professional with an extensive background in interior architecture and design,” said Jason Dooley, principal of the Atlanta and Miami offices. “We are so excited to have

Jamie join our Atlanta team and help grow Ware Malcomb’s interiors practice across the Southeast.” Case holds a bachelor’s degree in Design from the University of Cincinnati. She is a Registered Interior Designer, National Council of Interior Design Qualifications (NCIDQ) certified, and a member of CoreNet Global’s Atlanta chapter. Established in 1972, Ware Malcomb is a contemporary and expanding full service design firm providing professional architecture, planning, interior design, civil engineering, branding and building measurement services to corporate, commercial/residential developer and public/institutional clients throughout the world. With office locations throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico, the firm specializes in the design of commercial office, corporate, industrial, science and technology, healthcare, retail, auto, public/institutional facilities and renovation projects. Ware Malcomb is recognized as an Inc. 5000 fastest-growing private company and a Hot Firm by Zweig Group.

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CHAD CLINEHENS, from page 1

brings back what needs to be brought back, and introduces new elements to make your firm more resilient and competitive in the next decade. ❚ ❚ Balance consistency and uniformity. Consistency and uniformity were turned on their heads over the past year. Fortunately, we’ve all been on a level playing field, including our clients. As firm leaders consider how to design the future of work in a COVID-free world, they are going to have to direct control that balances consistency and uniformity. Consistency is conformity in the application of something, typically that which is necessary for the sake of logic, accuracy, or fairness. It is more about local coherence. Leaders will need to design a work environment and policy that is free of contradiction, while being flexible to varying ways their people want to work and can work best. We’ve learned a lot about flexibility in 2020, and leaders need to examine what flexibility was – and needs to be – at both the macro and micro level. This is not going to be easy. The need to be uniform further complicates it. Uniformity is the state of being uniform, alike and lacking diversity. The brand promise and client experience needs uniformity across your market sectors and geographies. Your employee experience design will need consistency and uniformity. To get that, you must have clarity around what that looks like and do an excellent job of communicating it. After all, the employees define the brand and the client experience. 2021 brings the challenge of defining a new work model that considers how employees want to work and how your firm can sustainably deliver the brand promise to your clients. 2021 will bring higher expectations of a proactive design of the employee experience in a post-COVID world. As a leader, this is not where you want to be reactive. The days of us being held hostage to uncertainty and constantly increasing and relaxing restrictions will diminish in the months ahead. Be prepared to be very proactive in defining a new work model for your firm that will affect every area of the business. What that work model looks like will affect office space design, property leases, IT investments, recruiting and retention tactics, marketing, business development, project management, and the list goes on. 2021 is looking to be a year of increasing freedom, control, and opportunity. 2020 happened to us. Let’s make 2021 happen for us. CHAD CLINEHENS is Zweig Group’s president and CEO. Contact him at

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A singular leader, in place for all time, might not be the best model for your firm. Consider a different way, one that plans for transitions and accommodates change. Leadership transition as a way of life

I once worked at a firm where the namesake was the president and CEO. Let’s call him John. John was “the guy.” He made all the decisions. He was the driver of the firm from beginning to end. The advantage to this arrangement was that clients knew that when they were talking to John, they were talking to the person who could make things happen, had the most experience, and would make sure the firm performed for them.

Kevin Token

Of course, this is a familiar scenario in the AEC world, which has a long history of firms led by founders. The tradition continues to this day, as we see many firms started in the last few decades that still have founders in charge. The problem is, this approach has its limitations – including some that have become glaringly obvious during the current era of acquisitions that has some leaders looking for a way out. I’d like to share an alternative approach – one that I know from experience can work. Before I do, though, let’s look at some of the disadvantages to the traditional founder-leader approach. First, John might not be the best leader. John might be a visionary, or a great seller, but he can’t

possibly be the best at everything. No one is. So if John isn’t delegating his or her weaknesses to someone who has those strengths, the firm is suffering. Also, John can only do so much. If he wins some work, for example, he might turn his attention to doing the work and not pay attention to winning more work. So the firm doesn’t grow. This is a common malady in small firms. Most important perhaps, having John sit in the same seat for maybe 30 years limits others’ opportunity for growth. If the firm hires “superstars” or people with potential but doesn’t provide a path for growth, those people will learn

See KEVIN TOKEN, page 4



ON THE MOVE DEWBERRY ANNOUNCES THE PROMOTION OF RICH BRITTINGHAM Dewberry , a privately held professional services firm, has announced the promotion of Rich Brittingham, RLA, to business unit manager in its Leesburg, Virginia, office. Brittingham is a landscape architect and associate vice president with expertise in conceptual design, master planning, design development, and legislative entitlements. He has more than 17 years of experience and has spent his entire career with Dewberry. Brittingham is managing a 20-person business unit, which operates primarily in the state and

local government market segment with a focus on land planning and development. “We are thrilled to promote Rich to business unit manager. His leadership in the Leesburg office and his strong track record of client success have been proven over his years at Dewberry,” said Dewberry mid-Atlantic Operating Unit Manager Robert Victor, PE. “We are looking forward to a great future with Rich at the helm.” Brittingham earned his bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from Virginia Tech and is a registered landscape architect in Maryland,

and Virginia. He serves on the Loudoun County Zoning Ordinance Committee, is currently vice president of the Loudoun Chapter of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association, and is a board member of the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance. Dewberry is a leading, market-facing firm with a proven history of providing professional services to a wide variety of public- and private-sector clients. Established in 1956, Dewberry is headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, with more than 50 locations and more than 2,000 professionals nationwide.

KEVIN TOKEN, from page 3

and circumstances. Challenges, opportunities, vision, and strategies change over time. Why not change leadership to match the conditions? ❚ ❚ We get the benefit of fresh ideas and new energy. ❚ ❚ We create opportunity. For example, our new president vacated the key role of healthcare practice leader. Now we are searching for someone to fill that role, and we have multiple candidates from within the firm. Without the change in president, those people would not have the opportunity to compete for that role. If that role is indeed filled by someone internal, another person will have the opportunity to step into a new role, and the cycle can continue. Now, some of you might be thinking, “Wait a minute … what does the old president or chairman do after leading the company?” We have addressed that issue very purposefully, ensuring that past leaders continue to contribute in meaningful ways. And it works. We currently have four past presidents or chairmen working in the firm, and each of them is thriving in a new role. Some made the transition more easily than others, but all have found a way to be happy and contribute to our business. Meanwhile, those of us currently leading the firm often turn to our predecessors for mentorship and advice. I should note that BSA LifeStructures has one key factor working to its advantage in this scenario: ownership structure. At firms where one person is a majority owner, this person naturally wants a bigger voice in how the business moves forward. At BSA LifeStructures, we set up this system when ownership was spread out, so no one insisted on centralized leadership. Then, three years ago, we transitioned to a 100 percent ESOP, which allows us to disconnect ownership and leadership even more completely. Over the years, I think we’ve all seen firms that have been held back by entrenched leadership, or that were undone by mishandled attempts at leadership transitions. Maybe you’re at one now, or you are worried that, with the passage of time, your firm could face that challenge. If so, I suggest you consider a different way, one that plans for transitions and accommodates change. You just might find that both the firm and “John” are happier and stronger as a result. KEVIN TOKEN is the chairman and CEO at BSA LifeStructures. He can be reached at

what they can and then go somewhere with more growth potential. The business becomes mired in a constant cycle of “bring them in, train them, and watch them leave.” So let’s look at a different model, one that is unique in the AEC world, and one that was purposefully developed many years ago at BSA LifeStructures. Our 45-year-old firm has two key roles at the top: a chairman of the board, who is also our CEO, and a president. The chairman (the role I currently fill) is the visionary. With a high-level focus, they work with the board to set big-picture vision, identify strategies for meeting that vision, drive activities that result in growth and set the internal “tone” of the firm. The president is the integrator. They make sure strategies are carried out, the culture of the firm is set and maintained, the right people are in the right seats, and obstacles and barriers to success are removed. And, of course, the president is accountable for operating results. So far, you probably don’t see anything unusual in what I’ve described. However, there is one thing that is different at BSA LifeStructures: The people chosen to be president and chairman fill those roles for a finite period of time. They might have those titles for anywhere between four and eight years, and then they move out of their roles and do something else, clearing the way for new leadership. This approach allows us to stay fresh and respond to circumstances. For example, a few years ago, we recognized that we needed a president who could really get our culture fired up. So, in in 2016 we brought in a new president who did that and more. This year, we decided we needed a different set of leadership skills, so, once again, we selected a new president. There was nothing wrong with the previous president; she accomplished everything we wanted. But with a new vision and some new strategies, the board felt we needed someone with more of an operational view at the helm. This kind of change could sound scary to some firms, but, to us, it’s healthy and natural, and it carries with it some important benefits: ❚ ❚ We can put the right person in the right seat for the times

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Project Management for AEC Professionals Virtual Seminar


ABOUT THIS VIRTUAL SEMINAR PROJECT MANAGEMENT FOR AEC PROFESSIONALS - VIRTUAL SEMINAR PRICE: $699 THIS VIRTUAL SEMINAR WILL BEGIN ON JANUARY 6, 2021 A new training for project managers led by a panel of three experts backed by a ton of research on how to best train project managers to be more effective and efficient. Each team member brings their own unique experiences and skillset to project teams. Effectively leveraging the talents of your team can optimize team effectiveness. Project Management for AEC Professionals provides people-focused, science-driven practical skills to help project leaders harness the power of their team. By addressing the most important aspects of any project – the people – this course will provide practical tech- niques that can be immediately implemented for a positive impact on any AEC team or business. AEC Professionals are extensively trained on technical skills and less so on how to manage a team. However, with rapidly evolving technology, increasing fee pressure, multi-generational teams, and many other challenges, effective team leadership in project environments has proven to be the key to thriving in the high-pressure AEC environment. These challenges, coupled with the fact that project managers are often left to learn on the job, leaves new and seasoned leaders left to use a trial and error style team leadership that is prone to missteps. Each decision made can impact profit, risk, and client-relationships. This course will take the guesswork out of leading your team and develop project leaders who are equipped with practical, science-backed skills to empower their teams to achieve and surpass their goals. This virtual seminar has SOLD OUT for the last three sessions, so REGISTER NOW! LEARN MORE


PAST ATTENDEE FEEDBACK: • 94% of attendees would recommend this course to other Project Managers. • 97% of attendees state that the skills learned in this course will help them to better lead their team. • 96% of attendees state that the course helped them develop skills to be a more effective Project Manager. • “Probably the best project management course I’ve taken.” • “The single best PM course I’ve taken (and I’ve taken many). It was focused, on-topic, and applicable.”


Zweig Group is an approved provider by the American Institute of Architects (AIA).




Real collaboration: Mark Brumfield CEO of HEAPY Engineering (Dayton, OH), a leader in sustainability, engineering, and commissioning solutions with a vision to build a more resilient and sustainable society.


M ark Brumfield has been with HEAPY for more than 30 years. In 2020, he took the reins as CEO and now provides guidance to the firm’s engineering staff on matters regarding the latest innovations in design and the development of design tools, codes, and overall industry insight. “Long after the construction equipment rolls off the site and the ribbon is cut, the building must continue to perform to our clients’ expectations,” Brumfield says. “We offer real collaboration, provide real performance and real inspiration. Trust means being vulnerable, transparent, and consistent. Do what you say you are going to do.” A CONVERSATION WITH MARK BRUMFIELD. The Zweig Letter: Your bio says you are particularly experienced in “mission critical” projects. What’s one of the most memorable and why? Mark Brumfield: Working on a more than 1 million- square-foot mission critical facility in Chicago was, in

many ways, both challenging and rewarding. The project consisted of replacing the entire mechanical and electrical systems in a more than 60-story equivalent building (due to the more than 20-foot floor-to-floor heights mandated by the equipment). All of this was completed while the facility stayed fully functional. We also designed the adjacent 12-megawatt back-up power plant (18 stories). This plant provided the equipment facility 2N redundancy. Working with the client and the contractors to orchestrate the construction of this very complex and critical facility over a three-year timespan, while the client never lost any service to its customers, is one I am most proud of. One of the top indirect benefits resulting from this project was the personal development of many who are now in HEAPY leadership positions. Their project participation created a keen sense of camaraderie. Having to function under enormous pressure (due to the critical nature of the facility), dramatically and positively influenced our culture of “real collaboration.”



TZL: How has COVID-19 impacted your firm’s policy on telecommuting/working remotely? MB: HEAPY had already been utilizing work-from-home strategies for colleagues prior to the pandemic. We were immersed in developing companywide use of MS Teams and VPN capacity. So, when March came, it was a seamless transition. In the future, as we grow and expand, we’ll continue to leverage this work-from-home capability. TZL: Trust is crucial. How do you earn the trust of your clients? MB: First, read The Five Dysfunctions of a Team . In the pyramid of the five dysfunctions, trust is the foundational layer. For our clients, we understand and recognize that from day one to year 50 and beyond is our responsibility. At HEAPY, this is our purpose. Long after the construction equipment rolls off the site and the ribbon is cut, the building must continue to perform to our clients’ expectations. We offer real collaboration, provide real performance and real inspiration. Trust means being vulnerable, transparent, and consistent. Do what you say you are going to do. TZL: Artificial intelligence and machine learning are potential disruptors across all industries. Is your firm exploring how to incorporate these technologies into providing improved services for clients? MB: Client budgets are being reduced, and in the process essential internal project management and technical facilities personnel are being cut. We are working with clients to enhance the (remaining) staff’s ability to maintain systems through AI/building analytics. Using the right data and interpreting it correctly can optimize beleaguered staff so they can focus on more

doing to ensure that your line leadership are great people managers? MB: HEAPY has a remarkable historical longevity (40- and 50-year plaques) because our managers can customize experiences for their colleagues in several ways: empowering them to do work they enjoy, accentuating their strengths, and co- creating (versus stipulating) their path for career development. Delegating decision making to all levels throughout our firm allows our colleagues to have the ability to adapt to situations as they arise. They then have the responsibility to make the decisions, thus breaking the typical bureaucratic top down hierarchy that tends to stymie growth and innovation at many other firms. We purposely continue to invest heavily in improving our culture and in our current and future leaders. HEAPY senior leadership and our up-and-coming colleagues participate in a leadership training program that teaches self- awareness, how to respond with intention – digging deeper into “the why.” It teaches how to empower others, how to understand their actions, how to be purposeful, and how to influence others. These are all life lessons they will carry with them throughout their careers and their life outside of HEAPY. We have found real value in this program. TZL: What’s next? I read the blog on your site about “Planning for the New Normal.” Have you gotten many inquiries regarding this subject? If yes, what are clients most concerned about? MB: Many clients, and others, have contacted us for the guidance contained in the “New Normal” document. As more is discovered about COVID-19, we continue to research and update the document. As our economy tries to “open up” and our clients deal with back-to-work challenges, we want to provide guidance and clarity so they can do it safely. These strategies address improving building MEP systems, for example with air handing systems (bi-polar ionization and UVGI help with virus mitigation). We’ve worked with our healthcare clients regarding long-term pandemic planning where their concern is how to maintain “normal” business operations while still serving the community through this and future pandemics. For example, we’re See REAL COLLABORATION, page 8


❚ ❚ Columbus, OH ❚ ❚ Cleveland, OH ❚ ❚ Indianapolis, IN ❚ ❚ Raleigh, NC MARKETS: ❚ ❚ Healthcare ❚ ❚ Higher education ❚ ❚ Corporate/industrial

❚ ❚ Culture/arts ❚ ❚ Government ❚ ❚ Commissioning ❚ ❚ Sustainability and energy ❚ ❚ UAS (drone) services SERVICES: ❚ ❚ Mechanical ❚ ❚ Electrical ❚ ❚ Plumbing ❚ ❚ Fire protection ❚ ❚ Technology ❚ ❚ Energy ❚ ❚ Commissioning ❚ ❚ Planning ❚ ❚ Digital design/BIM ❚ ❚ Lighting HASHTAG: #HEAPYHelps

pertinent and/or demanding issues. The “designer” concept will soon be

completely changed. This evolution can be envisioned as more of an Alexa aided by the guidance provided by a brilliant (former) design engineer. The engineer will be more of a trusted advisor to the client, “feeding” (programming) the client’s needs/desires into the continuously learning platform. This allows for identifying multiple solutions quickly, and gives us the ability and time to consult with clients instead of being bogged down with trying to produce results. TZL: It is often said that people leave managers, not companies. What are you

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UARY 4, 2021, ISSUE 1373



we look beyond just the engineering and provide total solutions. Some measures of our sustainability success is our involvement in the Living Building Challenge and more than 400 LEED projects (200 certified to date). Nearly 100 HEAPY colleagues are LEED professionals and we were chosen to be among the first LEED proven providers. Our sustainability director has been recognized as one of only 300 LEED Fellows worldwide. Just recently, we were awarded a solar and battery microgrid project for a critical infrastructure city building in central Ohio. This project will provide considerable resilient and sustainable benefits to the community at large, especially in times of natural and man-made disasters. TZL: Research shows that PMs are overworked, understaffed, and that many firms do not have formal training programs for PMs. What is your firm doing to support its PMs? MB: HEAPY has a healthy mentor/protégé program that our potential future leaders are invited to participate in. They are paired up with a principal of our firm where they work together to help with training/development and to really coach the PMs through more than just the business. As we know, engineers aren’t noted for being personal, but we all have a heart. We work with our colleagues to help them find better versions of themselves. This is not a program where we simply put everyone on an assembly line and they come out at the end as a personable person. We focus on their strengths. Everyone can be successful. We look at the whole person, and not just their technical side. We encourage the use of the “Wheel of Satisfaction” tool used to reflect on the many different focus areas in life. We strive to help our colleagues visually identify areas where there is balance and imbalance. The “Wheel” addresses emotional intelligence, time management, health/ wellness, productivity, problem solving, inspiring others, relationships, and communication. TZL: A firm’s longevity is valuable. What are you doing to encourage your staff to stick around? MB: As our new CEO, I implemented a “Chat with the CEO” series. Prior to the pandemic, I visited each of our offices to have an informal discussion with our colleagues with a goal of complete transparency. Since working from home, we have continued the series through a virtual platform where our colleagues feel empowered to respond with impactful and oftentimes very candid questions. Our colleagues are coming away from these chats knowing that our leadership team has their best interests at the top of mind. We have also implemented a “HEAPY at Home” series to foster collaboration among our colleagues. During this unique time of not being able to be together in the same physical location, our primary focus is for all colleagues to feel connected and engaged.

helping them to employ strategies such as isolation floors to allow for safe treatment for all patients. TZL: Is change management a topic regularly addressed by the leadership at your firm? If so, elaborate. MB: Change management is very important. As technology continues to affect our industry, change is a permanent part of business. The pandemic is a prime example of unanticipated change. To temper the stress that change can create for colleagues, our change management process strives for more transparency and communication as its key components. Speaking of change, we’ve developed a new firm leadership structure with new roles and responsibilities. We’re focused on improving the client experience, colleague engagement/development, and improving the sustainability and resiliency of our communities, along with the financial depth necessary to support these initiatives. With this multifaceted focus, we had a need to create new strategic programs. We’re now using an outsourced robust client feedback program. We request frequent feedback from our clients about how we are performing to understand how well we are addressing their priorities and where we need to improve. To address colleague engagement, we’ve revamped our review system with an emphasis on empowerment and professional development. The key to implementing change is to not do too many changes at one time. It’s also important to work with our colleagues to help them develop and implement their own performance “scoreboards.” This self-realized process provides for responsible buy-in from all colleagues. TZL: How often do you valuate your firm and what key metrics do you use in the process? Do you valuate using in-house staff or is it outsourced? MB: Having a clear picture of our financial health allows us to make more informed decisions about our direction and how we allocate resources. We utilize a third-party auditor to provide a firm valuation. We feel this provides an unbiased opinion. Key metrics for HEAPY are: revenue per FTE, direct labor hours, retained earnings, cash flow and revenue growth. By analyzing the information in our financial statements, we have a clear vision of our fiscal health and can turn insights garnered from the data into actions that benefit HEAPY and our colleagues. TZL: Your website states HEAPY is dedicated to “Building a more Resilient and Sustainable Society.” Can you give me two examples of what you have done toward that vision lately? MB: HEAPY has added “planning services” to assist clients to achieve their vision and mission. Instead of just jumping directly into designing a proposed new building, we first holistically review needs. We can assess their carbon goals, the impact of deferred and ongoing maintenance, their sustainability goals, energy efficiency/renewables strategies and with growing climate change concerns, alternatives for greatly improved resiliency. Essentially,

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A s an owner or leader of an A/E firm, you have a tough job. You have the responsibility of making good decisions in a very unpredictable and unstable environment. It’s hard to predict exactly what is going to happen so you can prepare your business and people for it. Know your purpose, intent, and philosophy of business, but be willing to change if it becomes prudent to do so. Be smart in how you run your business

Mark Zweig

2)Knowing what is going on with the clients you want to work with is also important. You can’t just focus on current clients even if they are the most important to you. Some of your current clients may drop off. That means you will need new clients to replace some of that lost business. And there could be better, more profitable clients to serve. So see my questions above. Add to them a question or two on who these potential clients are working with and what they like or don’t like about them, and what, if anything, would motivate them to change horses. You never know, you may pick up a new client in the process! 3)Knowing what is happening in your client industries is essential, too! This is one of the (many) reasons we have been so fond of market

You have to tune into what is happening in the organizations (clients) you serve, along with what is happening with the overall economic environment. Here are more of my thoughts: 1)Knowing what is happening with your current clients is most important! In uncertain times, you have to know what is happening with your clients. That means you have to get on the phone or Zoom or whatever you and your clients prefer to talk to them about their business. What problems are they having? What do they have coming up? What services are they buying and what do they think their future needs will be? Are they needing something you don’t currently provide, but could if you wanted to? Can you get any commitments from them that will solidify your relationship now, such as an annual service agreement, open-end contract, or contracts for specific projects?

See MARK ZWEIG, page 10



BUSINESS NEWS SIDNEY O. DEWBERRY RECEIVES NVTA’S HAZEL TRANSPORTATION LEADERSHIP AWARD The Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance announced during its 16th annual “What You Need to Know About Transportation” meeting that Dewberry ’s Sidney O. Dewberry, PE, LS, has been named the recipient of the Hazel Transportation Leadership Award. The award is given annually to an NVTA member who is instrumental in the growth and expansion across northern Virginia. Dewberry founded the firm in 1956 as a land development company. Now, Dewberry serves as the chairman emeritus of the more than 2,200 person firm, which has more than 50 offices nationwide. Some of the firm’s most notable northern Virginia projects include the Dulles Greenway, key design team member on both the Dulles Corridor Metrorail and the Springfield Interchange projects, Route 28 public-private construction improvements, and the I-95 at Route 630 (Courthouse Road) diverging diamond interchange. “Virginia has been my home for my entire life,” says Dewberry. “To watch its transformation is incredible, but to play a role in that transformation and represent a company that will facilitate expansion for years to come is a great privilege. I am honored to receive this award and am proud of the economic growth Virginia has seen over the last seven decades.” After attending two years at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Dewberry transferred to George Washington University (GWU), where he earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He was presented with

GWU’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1991 and was inducted into the university’s School of Engineering Hall of Fame in 2009. Additionally, Dewberry has spent many years involved with George Mason University (GMU), where the department of civil, environmental, and infrastructure engineering is now named after him and his wife, Reva Dewberry. GMU also recently renamed the School of Music to the Reva and Sid Dewberry Family School of Music. In addition to Dewberry’s involvement in NVTA, he is a member of the American Public Works Association; American Society of Civil Engineers; Community College Baccalaureate Association; Engineers & Surveyors Institute; National Association of Home Builders, Professional Women in Building Council; National Society of Professional Engineers; Surveyors Historical Society; Virginia Association of Surveyors; Virginia Chamber of Commerce; and the Virginia Society of Professional Engineers. Dewberry is a leading, market-facing firm with a proven history of providing professional services to a wide variety of public- and private-sector clients. KELLY POLLARD JOINS DEWBERRY’S BLOOMFIELD, NEW JERSEY, OFFICE Dewberry , a privately held professional services firm, has announced that Kelly Pollard, PE, has joined the firm as a senior project manager in the firm’s Bloomfield, New Jersey, office. Pollard, who has more than 30 years of experience, has spent his career with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the last two years as the manager of technical services for the Port Authority Trans Hudson

(PATH) Railroad. He brings with him expertise in program management, and rail and transit engineering design. “We are very excited to have Kelly join Dewberry in our Bloomfield office,” says Dewberry Senior Vice President Ali Vaezi, PE. “Kelly brings extensive management and design experience from his highway, rail, and civil design projects at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. With Kelly on board, we also look forward to strengthening our rail, intermodal, and port capabilities.” Pollard earned both his master’s degree in civil engineering/transportation engineering (1991) and bachelor’s degree in civil engineering (1987) from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is a licensed professional engineer in New York, and New Jersey. Pollard is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA). Dewberry is a leading, market-facing firm with a proven history of providing professional services to a wide variety of public- and private-sector clients. Recognized for combining unsurpassed commitment to client service with deep subject matter expertise, Dewberry is dedicated to solving clients’ most complex challenges and transforming their communities. Established in 1956, Dewberry is headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, with more than 50 locations and more than 2,000 professionals nationwide.

MARK ZWEIG, from page 9

valuable), instead of just someone who does tasks for them as you are told to do (where you are least valuable). 5)Deciding what your response as a firm is going to be and then implementing all that needs to be done is your responsibility! Someone has to process all of these inputs and make decisions on how the firm will respond. Will you pour on the gas and go full speed ahead with new key hires and expansion of capacity and additional investments in your business? Or will you slam on the brakes and hunker down with reduced overhead? Fundamental strategy and action is the role of top management, so do your job. 6)Monitoring what is happening and adjusting accordingly is also your job. Just because you set a course doesn’t mean it can’t be adjusted. Be smart. Be flexible. Know your purpose, intent, and philosophy of business, but be willing to change if the information you are getting indicates that it may be smart to do so. So, there – I summed it all up in my last sentence. Be smart; your survival and prosperity – and that of your employees – depends on it! MARK ZWEIG is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at

sector-based organization structures for A/E firms for years – so there is a person or place in which to concentrate knowledge about an industry. You may be able to educate your clients/potential clients on industry developments even they weren’t aware of, which makes you more valuable to them. “You have the responsibility of making good decisions in a very unpredictable and unstable environment. It’s hard to predict exactly what is going to happen so you can prepare your business and people for it.” 4)Tuning in to local, regional, and national events is also critical. Read and watch the news from multiple sources. Stay informed. The market landscape is shaped by current events. Everything that happens is either an opportunity or threat. Figure out which it is and act accordingly. Only a fool is blissfully ignorant. Not a good place to be if you want to be a trusted partner/advisor to your clients (where you are most

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




Back to relationship basics

We don’t know what this year will bring, but by focusing on existing relationships and building stronger relationships, we can ensure long-term success.

A s we reflect on 2020, it has become abundantly clear that in our industry, there’s nothing more important than the power of our relationships with our clients. Without tradeshows and conferences, networking events, and in person meetings, we’ve all had to adjust the way we are communicating and catching up with our clients and teaming partners.

Robert McGee

the open rate of an email or the registrations of an upcoming webinar if given that personal touch. Another more strategic way that you can capitalize on these existing relationships is through the use communicating and catching up with our clients and teaming partners.” “Without tradeshows and conferences, networking events, and in person meetings, we’ve all had to adjust the way we are

We at Pennoni, like other firms, have looked at our marketing efforts to figure out virtual ways to connect with our clients. We’ve expanded our email marketing efforts and introduced webinars on a variety of topics. While we’ve seen success, one thing our reporting has shown is that we can’t rely on these efforts alone. We have used email blasts in the past for general content, but our clients aren’t expecting new and pertinent information to be communicated solely through emails. We’ve realized that it’s important to encourage our staff to bring these efforts to their contacts’ attention and lean on the relationships that already exist. Even something as simple as a reference to a recent communication that was sent out by the marketing team can have an impact on

See ROBERT MCGEE, page 12



BUSINESS NEWS STAMBAUGH NESS ANNOUNCES ACQUISITION OF T. WAYNE OWENS & ASSOCIATES, PC AND TWO CPAS & CONSULTANTS, INC. Stambaugh Ness announced that it has acquired T. Wayne Owens & Associates, PC , a certified public accounting firm headquartered in Augusta, Georgia, and TWO CPAs & Consultants, Inc. , a consulting firm headquartered in Dublin, Ohio. Joining Stambaugh Ness as owners are T. Wayne Owens, CPA, CGMA, CDA; Mindy L. Toole, CPA, CGMA, CDA; Brad Wilson, CMA, CDA; and Becky Carlson, CPA, ABV, CDA. In addition to the new owners, 12 employees have joined Stambaugh Ness. This combination strengthens Stambaugh Ness’s position as an architecture and engineering thought leader and the go- to national firm serving the AEC industry. Delivering solutions that are anticipatory, products that are innovative, and approaches that focus on transforming businesses, Stambaugh Ness serves more than 1,000 AEC clients nationally in all 50 states with team members in 19. Stambaugh Ness President and CEO Steven L. Hake states, “We are thrilled to bring together three organizations that are equally dedicated to exceptional client service and laser-focused on serving the AEC industry. TWO is highly respected not only by their clients and colleagues, but as national AEC authorities, particularly for their specialized expertise in government contracting. Wayne Owens, owner of both firms, says, “I am really excited about our future with Stambaugh Ness. As we have grown, we have changed in order to live up to our tagline

‘Built for AEC’. First by adding the expertise of Brad Wilson and Becky Carlson through TWO CPAs & Consultants, Inc. This allowed us to offer an expanded range of services focused on A/E including valuations, ownership transition, and mergers and acquisitions. Stambaugh Ness is the next step in our growth. Their offerings for Deltek, including Ajera, as well as other technical support, focused on the AEC industry fulfills the vision Mindy and I shared when we started 10 years ago.” In conjunction with this acquisition, Stambaugh Ness is launching a new Government Contract Services practice area that will be led by Wayne Owens. This focus area will leverage Wayne and his team’s exceptional knowledge and understanding of government contracting including the Indirect Cost Rate audits under the Federal Acquisition Regulation, as well as their deep relationships with Departments of Transportation, nationally. ​Stambaugh Ness is a multi-discipline, professional services firm serving clients nationally with a strategic focus on the architecture and engineering, professional services, construction and real estate, and manufacturing industries. Through the Stambaugh Ness family of companies, clients have access to a sophisticated menu of services including compliance, business and tax advisory, technology, Microsoft solutions, Deltek ERP software, and NextGen solutions. The firm is an independent member of the BDO Alliance USA. NEEL-SCHAFFER NAMES KELLY TAM DIRECTOR OF MARKETING Neel-Schaffer, Inc. , is pleased

to announce that Kelly Tam has been named director of marketing for the firm. In her new role, she will manage a centralized marketing team focusing on companywide marketing and branding efforts for Neel- Schaffer, which operates 36 offices across nine states. Tam joined Neel-Schaffer in 2019 and has more than 20 years of experience in marketing, public relations, and event planning. She previously oversaw marketing and branding for three engineering and project management firms. “Kelly’s years of industry specific knowledge and proven track record of success will be a great asset to our firm,” said Joey Hudnall, PE, Neel-Schaffer’s Chief Operations Officer. “We are excited to have her take on this new role as we continue to expand our footprint across the Southeast.” In her free time, Tam is a passionate supporter of the arts and serves on the Chapin (SC) Theatre Company Board of Directors. She graduated from the University of South Carolina Upstate where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in History. An active alumna of the University, she has previously served on the school’s Alumni Board of Directors. Neel-Schaffer is a multi-disciplined engineering and planning firm with offices throughout the South. Founded in 1983, the firm was ranked 230th on Engineering News-Record’s list of the nation’s Top 500 Design Firms for 2020.

work is through repeat clients. Due to the very specific knowledge we all understand about them, we know their pain points and they know and trust us to provide quality solutions. We don’t know what 2021 will bring us as we continue to navigate through the lasting effects of the pandemic, but by focusing on existing relationships and building stronger relationships, we can ensure long-term success. ROBERT MCGEE is Pennoni’s director of marketing and corporate communications. He can be reached at “As we reflect on 2020, it has become abundantly clear that in our industry, there’s nothing more important than the power of our relationships with our clients.”

ROBERT MCGEE, from page 11

of account based marketing. This is something that you may have seen used but hasn’t yet been as widespread within our industry. ABM coordinates personalized marketing and sales efforts to open doors and deepen engagements at specific accounts. With ABM, the focus is on specific targets and creating and/or improving upon the relationships we all have with our clients and contacts. It has been proven to deliver the highest ROI of any B2B marketing strategy or tactic. Most ABM efforts involve a marketing campaign with multiple steps that include specific information related to the client. The key to this campaign is that the marketing team is in coordination with account managers and the business development team. However, without accurate data in your CRM system, this coordination can be challenging. At the end of the day, for many of us, the majority of our

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© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.


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