REAL COLLABORATION, from page 7
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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THE ZWEIG LETTER JANUARY 4, 2021, ISSUE 1373
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