w w w . t h e z w e i g l e t t e r . c o m

Positivity Sometimes negative thoughts can creep in; here’s why leaders should always try to maintain a positive outlook.

A u g u s t 3 , 2 0 1 5 , I s s u e 111 4

Software installation prohibitions T R E N D L I N E S

B eing positive – surrounding yourself with other positive people and believing you CAN do something – is essential to your success as a leader in this or any other business. But it’s not easy. It’s something we all have to work on periodically – some of us more than others. Things go wrong. People disappoint us or, in some cases, actually betray us. Not all problems are “opportunities.” Some of them are just plain old problems! Let me tell you something, Folks. I am 100 percent certain that no one would ever start a company if they weren’t fundamentally an optimist. Too many things can, and probably will, go wrong. That said, I have, at various times in my life, let negative thinking creep in, and, when it does, it’s harmful. Here are some more thoughts on being positive: 1)If you aren’t positive, you’ll scare your people. When I have sounded the alarm about the status of our bank account, I have had people panic and think our demise was inevitable, even though that was not remotely possible. I even had a fairly senior guy in my employ actually tell a client – or clients; I don’t know – that we were going broke! How harmful is that to your reputation and image?!


“I am 100 percent certain that no one would ever start a company if they weren’t fundamentally an optimist. Too many things can, and probably






Mark Zweig


Any/all software

Certain software


Zweig Group’s 2015 I nformation Technology Survey of A/E/P and Environmental Consulting Firms finds that 41 percent of firms surveyed have a policy prohibiting end users from installing any and all software on their workstations, while 9 percent of respondents say certain software is allowed. The remaining half of firms surveyed do allow employees to install software on their workstations. — Leah Santos, research analyst assistant F I R M I N D E X Bentley Systems .................................................. 8 GATE Inc. .............................................................. 5 InnovationLabs LLC .............................................. 8 LJA Engineering Inc. ............................................ 9 NELSON Worldwide Inc. . .................................... 8 O’Neal Inc. ......................................................... 11 P. JOSEPH LEHMAN Inc. Consulting Engineers ..................................... 2, 10 Thornton Tomasetti .............................................. 2 WD ....................................................................... 8 Widseth Smith Nolting ........................................ 2 WPP ..................................................................... 8

will, go wrong.”



See MARK ZWEIG , page 2

Top 3 Hot Firm company profiles Page 5-12

T H E V O I C E O F R E A S O N F O R A / E / P & E N V I R O N M E N TA L C O N S U LT I N G F I R M S


ON THE MOVE THORNTON TOMASETTI WELCOMES NEW VP TO FORT LAUDERDALE OFFICE Thornton Tomasetti (New York, NY), an international engineering firm, an- nounced that DerekWassink has joined its Fort Lauderdale, Fla., office as a vice president in the Structural Engineering practice. Wassink has more than 25 years of experience in structural design, project management and coordination, and business development. Having spent the majority of his career in Florida, Wassink will use his local knowledge to showcase the Fort Lauderdale office’s capabilities and strengths. WSN ANNOUNCES ADDITION TO LAND SURVEYING TEAM Ty Haverland has joined the land surveying department of the Alexandria, Va., office of Widseth Smith Nolting (Alexandria, VA), a multi-disciplined architecture, land surveying, and environmental services firm with more than 180 employ- ees. As a land survey technician at WSN, Haverland’s responsibilities in- clude drafting land survey certificates, legal descriptions, FEMA Elevation Forms, and right-of-way and subdivision plats, in addition to using Autocad Civil 3D. He is also responsible for performing GPS surveys and Total Sta- tion surveys, public ditch records research, project inspection, construc- tion staking, streamgage maintenance, and data collection platform instal- lation and maintenance. LEHMAN ENGINEERS’ ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTIST EARNS CERTIFICATION P. JOSEPH LEHMAN Inc., Consulting Engineers (Hollidaysburg, PA), a full-service civil engineering and environmental, announced that Thomas Bilko , environ- mental scientist II, has earned his Sewage Enforcement Officer Certifica- tion through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. This certification allows Bilko to perform septic-system testing, inspec- tions, and design. He has been with Lehman Engineers for six years.

A LOOK AHEAD Zweig Group is finalizing preparations for its 2015 Hot Firm and A/E Industry Awards Conference, September 3-4 in Boston . In fact, we’re so excited about the conference, that we’re devoting the next three issues of THE ZWEIG LETTER to highlighting the event and award recipients. Upcoming TZLs will focus on:

August 10: 2015 Best Firms to Work For

August 17: 2015 Marketing Excellence Remember, attendees should register for the conference by August 21 . We look forward to seeing you there!


Attendees of the 2015 Hot Firm and A/E Industry Awards Conference are eligible for 15 continuing education credits!


What are you most looking forward to at #HotFirm2015 ? Tweet us @ZweigLetter and/or @ZweigGroup , and come to the conference ready to live tweet along with us!


EDITOR’S NOTE Longtime readers will likely notice that this week’s TZL looks a little different. That’s because this special edition celebrates – and has been taken over by – all things HOT FIRM ! THE ZWEIG LETTER will return to its normal appearance on August 24.

MARK ZWEIG , from page 1

negative person will suddenly sound more positive. Don’t underestimate your own power to change things. 4)Positivity is more fun. And fun is im- portant at work. People who are hav- ing fun are more creative, work longer, and get along with each other better. Anything you can do to make it more fun at the office is good. If you want to get a serious jolt of positivity, come to the 2015 Hot Firm Conference and A/E Industry Awards in Boston this September. You don’t need to be a winner to attend. Everyone is welcome! I will be there with my entire family, and I can assure you that you won’t find a more positive group of inspirational people anywhere.

2)Don’t confuse being positive with being delusional. I have run into plenty of people who were the latter in this business over the years – people who absolutely B.S. themselves into thinking everything is great when it is not. So, they don’t do anything they need to do to change course, and it gets worse! I resigned from a board once because the architectural firm absolutely would not make any real effort to cut its costs. They even had their secretaries peeling their fruit. The situation was bad and their delu- sional thinking – not to be mistaken for positive thinking – was killing them! Be positive, but take action. 3)You can influence negative people! The next time you are dealing with someone who is negative, start mak- ing positive, hopeful statements and watch what happens. It’s very interest- ing: About 80 percent of the time the

38West Trenton Blvd., Suite 101 Fayetteville, AR 72701 Mark Zweig | Publisher mzweig@zweiggroup.com Andrea Bennett | Managing Editor abennett@zweiggroup.com Christina Zweig | Contributing Editor christinaz@zweiggroup.com Liisa Andreassen | Correspondent lsullivan@zweiggroup.com Richard Massey | Correspondent rmassey@zweiggroup.com

Tel: 800-466-6275 Fax: 508-653-6522 E-mail: info@zweiggroup.com

Online: www.thezweigletter.com Twitter: twitter.com/zweigletter Blog: blog.zweiggroup.com Published continuously since 1992 by Zweig Group, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA. ISSN 1068-1310. Issued weekly (48 issues/yr.). $475 for one-year subscription, $775 for two-year subscription. Article reprints: For high-quality reprints, including Eprints and NXTprints, please contact The YGS Group at 717-399-1900, ext. 139, or e-mail TheZweigLetter@TheYGSGroup.com . © Copyright 2015, Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

Mark Zweig is founder and CEO of Zweig Group. Contact him at mzweig@zweiggroup.com .

ZWEIG GROUP NEEDS YOUR HELP! Zweig Group is working to update its AE Job Descriptions and AE Organizational Charts publications, originally published in 2003. To help us provide readers with the most comprehensive information, please email your jobs and charts to abennett@zweiggroup.com .

© Copyright 2015. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




The history of Hot Firm Nearly two-decades-old event came about after founders attended Inc . 500 conference and wanted to extend its fun, informative culture to A/E industry.

But the main reason attendees return each year, in addition to the camaraderie and professional devel- opment: It’s fun. “People who come to the Hot Firm and A/E Indus- try Awards Conference can tell that we care about this event,” Zweig says. “We hold the event in a great hotel, we have great food, and we feature great speakers. And everyone always has fun at the conference and the awards dinner. There are many fond memories from events past: One year we gave an award to my now 9-year-old daughter, Olive, for being the Best 4-year-old in the World. That was a hoot! The most excitement I’ve had at an event was the year Kathryn Sprankle’s husband, Eduardo De Caceres, lent me his BMW sport bike, and we did about 100 miles around the San Francisco Bay Area before the day’s activities began. This culmi- nated in high-speed lane-splitting on the Bay Area freeway so that I could get back to the conference “We had such a great time at the Inc. 500 Conference ... We thought, ‘we should do this someday for the A/E industry.’ And so, a few years later, we did!”

By Andrea Bennett Managing Editor M ark Zweig, founder and CEO of Zweig Group, attended the Inc. 500 conferences in 1995 and 1996 because Zweig White (the firm that has become Zweig Group) was named to Inc .’s list of the 500 fastest-growing private businesses in the U.S. for those years. The experience of Inc .’s event, Zweig says, led him and his team to develop the Hot Firm and A/E Industry Awards Conference, which will be held in Boston this year on Septem- ber 3 and 4. “We had such a great time at the Inc. 500 Confer- ence,” he says. “It was fun, we met some really cool people – some of which are still friends of mine to- day, such as Norm Brodsky and Bob Juniper – and it had a great energy. We thought, ‘we should do this someday for the A/E industry.’ And so, a few years later, we did!” Though the industry and the conference have evolved over the nearly two decades since its incep- tion, the basic format of the event has stayed the same. “The conference has always been a couple of days of educational and inspirational break-outs with a black-tie dinner at the end,” Zweig says, “and it’s al- ways been a family-friendly event.”

See HISTORY , page 4



HISTORY , from page 3


on time: Pretty exciting stuff, but I don’t want to repeat!” Though several attendees have been to multiple Hot Firm confer- ences, Zweig says that first-timers shouldn’t be intimidated. “People coming to the conference for the first time will love it,” he says. “They’ll be inspired. They will feel good. They will meet some fun – and different – people, who will give them inspiration and ideas that they can use in their business. They’ll be energized!” Though there are no plans for high- speed motorcycles in Boston, Zweig says that the 2015 conference is still surrounded in excitement. “This year is exciting because the in- dustry is doing really well,” he says. “Some of the attendees and speakers are really successful, and it’s a great chance to meet and talk with those people in a fun atmosphere.” Though Zweig says all of the ses- sions will be enjoyable and informa- tive for attendees, a few are not to be missed. “Chris Doerschlag has done an amazing job of taking a 25-person architectural firm and turning it into a $100 million-plus integrated organization, with half of its reve- nue coming from sources other than A/E services: That’s cool! Ozzie Nel- son did four acquisitions in 120 days last year. And my big brother will be a speaker,” Zweig says. “He is the chairman of one piece of the largest owner of ad agencies and market- ing companies in the world. He isn’t wired like everyone else and is a clev- er and funny guy: That will be fun!” “The main thing to remember,” Zweig says, “is that you don’t need to be a Hot Firmwinner or Best Firm winner or Marketing Excellence win- ner to attend the conference. Every- one is welcome! If you want to be more successful – or you want your people to be more successful – come to the event, and bring your best people with you!” To learn more or to register for the 2015 Hot Firm and A/E Industry Award Conference, visit zweiggroup. com/conference .

© Copyright 2015. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.



# 1: GATE Inc.

Investing in people Top high-growth organization has been climbing Zweig Group’s lists for past few years; leaders attribute success to culture that’s been in place since its founding.

comparable compensation, empowerment, and a path toward meaningful ownership. These are the values and belief-system on which GATE is based. WHAT MAKES GATE HOT? Gibson founded the company with the vision of a respectful work environment where staff were heavily invested in with train- ing and development opportunities, mentorship, above-board compensation, and a chance for mean- ingful ownership in the company. He believed that this servant-leadership-based environment would drive the success of both individuals within the company and the firm as a whole. “GATE was set up from day one to be a Best Firm to Work For,” Lee Jordan, operations manager, says. “This means that we are able to attract and keep motivated, dedicated, and enthusiastic staff in an industry that is otherwise famed for its high staff turnover and mobility. By maintaining this cul- ture, we have developed a reputation for being an “Winning Hot Firm, as well as placing in the Best Firm to Work For yearly, proves that you can run a high-performance organization and create a best-firm culture.”

By Liisa Andreassen Correspondent

A fter progressing up the Hot Firm List for the past few years (63rd, 47th, 37th, 29th, 19th, and then third), GATE Inc. (Houston, TX), a 250-per- son, oil and gas engineering consulting firm, has fi- nally earned the top spot. “Being the No. 1 Hot Firm has been a goal of GATE for more than five years. This represents the com- mitment of our staff to our clients and the value our clients place on our work,” Grant Gibson, founder and CEO, says. “Winning Hot Firm, as well as plac- ing in the Best Firm to Work For yearly, proves that you can run a high-performance organization and create a best-firm culture.” GATE’S MISSION. Most consulting firms have the same mission – engaged employees, trust-based relation- ships with clients, growth, and profitability. But Gibson felt that in order for GATE to succeed, the focus should be on how to best implement these goals, versus focusing on a mission statement that no one can remember. He says that the bottom line is that “it starts with the people.” Investing in them via training and de- velopment; creating a culture of success; and pro- viding a respectful place to work, interesting/chal- lenging responsibilities, mentoring by senior staff,

See GATE , page 8



1. GATE, Inc. 2. LJA Engineering, Inc. 3. O’Neal, Inc. 4. Landpoint 5. JLG Architects 6. The Vertex Companies, Inc. 7. EN Engineering, LLC 8. Hargrove Engineers + Constructors 9. Westwood Professional Services 10. The Thrasher Group, Inc. 11. Bowman Consulting Group, Ltd. 12. Maser Consulting P.A. 13. IPS-Integrated Project Services, Inc. 14. TerraTherm, Inc. 15. Humphreys & Partners Architects, L.P. 16. WSB & Associates, Inc. 17. I+S Group, Inc 18. Langan Engineering & Environmental Services 19. BSB Design, Inc. 20. Apex Companies, LLC

21. CRB 22. Cobb, Fendley & Associates, Inc. 23. Slater Hanifan Group, Inc. 24. BSI ENGINEERING INC 25. Anderson Engineering Company INC. 26. BIG RED DOG Engineering | Consulting 27. Matrix Technologies, Inc. 28. Jones and Carter, Inc. 29. Marine Solutions 30. EHS Support LLC 31. Perkins Eastman Architects DPC 32. Fullerton Engineering Consultants, Inc. 33. ESP Associates, P.A. 34. BRPH 35. RTM Engineering Consultants, LLC 36. Baseline Engineering Corporation 37. Ware Malcomb 38. HGA 39. Wantman Group, Inc. 40. Braun Intertec

Zweig Group’s Hot Firm List recognizes the 100 fastest- growing architecture, engineering, planning and environmental consulting firms in the United States and Canada. These are the firms that have outperformed the economy and competitors to become leaders in their fields.




41. Bartlett & West, Inc. 42. SEPI Engineering & Construction, Inc. 43. JBA Consulting Engineers 44. BL Companies, Inc. 45. Kapur & Associates, Inc. 46. Harley Ellis Devereaux 47. WestLAND Group. Inc. 48. Olsson Associates 49. Alta Vista Solutions 50. GARVER 51. Cardno 52. Trigon Associates, LLC 53. LandDesign, Inc. 54. Arrow Engineering Inc. 55. Woodard & Curran 56. BCC Engineering,Inc. 57. McAdams 58. Fehr Graham 59. Dawson Van Orden 60. Milhouse Engineering and Construction, Inc. 61. Nova Consulting Group, Inc. 62. Martinez Couch and Associates LLC

facebook.com/ ZweigGroup 63. G2 Consulting Group, LLC 64. A. Morton Thomas and Associates, Inc. 65. Huckabee 66. Hill International, Inc. 67. YU & Associates 68. Long Engineering, Inc . 69. HDR 70. NELSON 71. Mulhern & Kulp Structural Engineering 72. BrightFields, Inc. 73. BKF Engineers 74. Integral Consulting Inc. 75. HMT Engineering & Surveying 76. W&M Environmental 77. Xpera Group 78. Tectonic

Zweig Group is social and posting every day! C O N N E C T W I T H U S

twitter.com/ ZweigGroup 84. ECS 85. MOA

linkedin.com/company / ZweigWhite

vimeo.com/ ZweigGroup “Being the No. 1 Hot Firm has been a goal of GATE for more than five years.

blog. ZweigGroup.com

ARCHITECTURE 86. Arora Engineers, Inc. 87. Advantage Engineers 88. Pennoni 89. Burns Engineering, Inc. 90. Dekker/ Perich/ Sabatini 91. Mead & Hunt, Inc. 92. PM Environmental, Inc. 93. Halff Associates 94. Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd. 95. Architects Hawaii Ltd. 96. MacKay Sposito 97. Hastings Architecture Associates, LLC 98. FRCH Design Worldwide 99. SEARCH 100. Testengeer, Inc.

This represents the commitment of our staff to our clients and the value our clients place on our work. Winning Hot Firm, as well as placing in the Best Firm to Work

For yearly, proves that you can run a high-performance organization and create a best-firm culture.” —Grant Gibson, founder & CEO

Engineering & Surveying Consultants P.C.

79. Novus 80. Rincon

Consultants, Inc. 81. T&M Associates 82. Simpson Gumpertz & Heger 83. LHB

© Copyright 2015. Zweig Group. All rights reserved. © Copyright 2015. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

ULY 27, 2015, ISSUE 1113 gust 3, 2015, ISSUE 1114


#HOTFIRM2015 Keynote speakers at Zweig Group’s 2015 Hot Firm and A/E Awards Conference include: MARK ZWEIG Best known as the leading expert in management for the architecture, engineering, planning, and environmental industry, Zweig has more than three decades of experience as a student of the industry and knows architecture, engineering, and environmental consulting firms inside-and-out. NOAH ECKHOUSE The vice president of portfolio development for Bentley Systems has more than 25 years of experience in emerging technology. Eckhouse has worked on projects ranging from GPS-guided golf carts to America’s Cup sailboats to e-commerce optimization. LANGDON MORRIS Since 2001, Morris has led the innovation consulting practice of InnovationLabs LLC , where is a senior partner and co-founder. He is recognized as one of the world’s leading thinkers and consultants on innovation, and his original ground-breaking work has been adopted by corporations and universities on every continent.

CHRIS DOERSCHLAG After taking the leadership role at WD in 1996, Doerschlag focused the company on architecture and engineering services for national multi- unit retail. Over the next decade, he extended WD’s reach by pursuing acquisitions and organic growth, bringing consumer research, branding, digital and operations expertise in-house. JOHN ZWEIG If anyone has an eye for spotting excellence, it’s John Zweig. He’s overseen more than 50 companies for the world’s largest advertising and marketing services organization, WPP ; he’s been pivotal in building, merging, buying, and selling firms; he’s spent 30 years observing what makes organizations great globally. JOHN ‘OZZIE’ NELSON JR. An accomplished global business leader with demonstrated commitment to the design industry, the chairman and CEO of NELSON Worldwide Inc. has guided the firm to unprecedented growth to become the No. 9 largest overall design firm and No. 5 largest provider of design and design-related services to corporate America.

GATE , from page 5

recruitment and staff development, be- lieves that this new accolade will enable GATE to attract new clients and maintain current relationships and will shine a new spotlight on all the hard work and dedi- cation GATE has accomplished over the years. “The camaraderie and team spirit that GATE has makes me want to come to work in the morning. Everyone is willing to help each other and share information.” He adds that staff not only dem- onstrates excellence, but they practice what they preach by delivering high-quality work at all times. The new Hot Firm award will assist them with attracting new clients and cultivate current relationships. “Receiving this award has most definitely been an encouragement that we are doing something right and making some valu- able strides where it counts. We recognize that we will never truly ‘arrive,’ but this award allows us to celebrate a remarkable milestone in the GATE journey. In the fu- ture, this will help us to continue to cel- ebrate our progress and improve on our achievements as a team. It’s a dream be- coming reality,” Gibson says.

easy company to work with that is high- ly responsive to the needs of our indus- try and one which is recognized as a tech- nical leader in supporting upstream proj- ects from design through to commission- ing and operation.” Lindsay Anderson, a former engineer at GATE who is now its marketing director, says that she has been with the firm for a little more than five years. She says that the first things that keeps her there is the family atmosphere, but that’s not all. “The camaraderie and team spirit that GATE has makes me want to come to work in the morning,” she says. “Every- one is willing to help each other and share information.” Another important aspect for Anderson is the ability for cross training. “This allows you to become a better engi- neer and less likely to get stuck in a silo or niche discipline, where you only know one thing or you are only good at one thing. Cross-training allows you to expe- rience other facets of the industry that you would not normally get to experience. In turn, you become a well-rounded engi- neer,” she says. GATE also affords employ- ees the opportunity to explore different career paths so that we can grow into new roles within the company as it expands.” WHAT’S NEXT FOR GATE? Michael Valenzuela,

GATE, AT A GLANCE Founded in 2000, GATE focuses on the provision of engineering and project management services, concentrating on deepwater upstream oil and gas. Over the past 15 years, GATE has expanded to 250 employees and has acquired Viking Engineering L.C. and GPS Inc., formerly known as Champlain Group. ❚ ❚ 2013: No. 1 – Cardno USA Inc., No. 2 – Surveying and Mapping Inc., No. 3 – SfL+a Architects ❚ ❚ 2014: No. 1 – WSP Global Inc., No. 2 – Surveying and Mapping LLC, No. 3 (tie) – Landpoint and GATE Inc. Since 2009, firms topping the Zweig Group Hot Firm List have included: ❚ ❚ 2009: No. 1 – Hill International Inc., No. 2 – Stantec Consulting Inc., No. 3 – WSP Group (USA) ❚ ❚ 2010: No. 1 – Fentress Architects, No. 2 – GENIVAR, No. 3 – Trow Global ❚ ❚ 2011: No. 1 – Cardno USA Inc., No. 2 – exp Global Inc., No. 3 – HAKS Engineers, Architects and Land Surveyors P.C. ❚ ❚ 2012: No. 1 – Cardno USA Inc., No. 2 – exp Global Inc., No. 3 – Surveying and Mapping Inc.

© Copyright 2015. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.



# 2: LJA Engineering

Encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit Employee-owners oversee firm’s volunteerism, R&R activities, and establishing culture of success; leaders say awards will help organization in recruitment efforts.

Additionally, a series of acquisitions has allowed it to diversify its services while expanding its geo- graphic reach. For example, in 2012, LJA acquired LEAP Engi- neering LLC and incorporated coastal engineer- ing, midstream infrastructure, and environmental services, with additional offices in Galveston and Beaumont. LJA also added rail engineering to its list of services that year. CLIENTS + EMPLOYEES = SUCCESS. Calvin Ladner, presi- dent, believes that LJA is at the top of the Hot Firm List because of its clients and employees. “Our employee-owners attract the best clients, some who have been with us since our founding. We encourage an entrepreneurial spirit and believe that our unique approach to employee ownership and involvement has helped us grow by 30 percent in the last three years.”

By LIISA ANDREASSEN Correspondent W ith a mission is to establish itself in its cho- sen disciplines, as the premier engineering firm in Texas by providing high quality, innovative and cost effective services to clients, LJA Engineering Inc. (Houston, TX), a 550-person, employee-owned, multi-discipline, consulting engineering firm, is closing in on that mission. Coming in at No. 2 on the Hot Firm List and placing as a Best Firm to Work For just serves to illustrate its desire to be the best, for not only its clients, but also for its employees. ROOTS YIELD GROWTH. LJA traces its roots back to 1972, when John “Dutch” Lichliter founded the firm in response to a lack of land development engineering support in the greater Houston area. Since then, the firm has enjoyed phenom- enal growth: The number of employees has grown from 47 to 550; in addition to its headquarters in Houston, it has expanded its Texas presence with offices in East Houston, The Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Deer Park, Beaumont, Galveston, Austin, Cedar Park, Dallas, Corpus Christi, and San Antonio. It also recently opened up offices in Omaha, Nebraska, and Jacksonville, Florida. From the beginning, LJA has kept pace with the times, recognizing the importance of innovative engineering solutions and visionary leadership.

See LJA , page 10



BUSINESS NEWS LEHMAN ENGINEERS PRESENTS CHECK TO DREAMS GO ON On July 15, P. Joseph Lehman, Inc., Consulting Engineers (Hollidaysburg, PA), presented a check for $1,250 to Dreams Go On, a nonprofit organization that provides therapeutic horseback riding sessions to adults and children who are physically challenged and/or receive mental or behavioral health or family therapy services, for the title sponsorship of the Lehman Engineers Horse Trail Ride &Trail Walk. “This is the 9th consecutive year that Lehman Engineers has not only stepped up as the original title sponsor of the event,” said Deb Kelly, program manager for Dreams Go On. “They have also contributed much time and talent over the years from their staff to conceptualize, plan and organize the Trail Ride and Trail Walk. This fund raiser is very important to Dreams Go On, as it has consistently been the largest annual fund raiser for our organization.”

LJA , from page 9

phenomenal growth, but played a di- rect role in it.” Charles Hager, a graduate engineer, adds that LJA does an outstanding job of providing employees with the re- sources needed to succeed and the au- tonomy needed for professional devel- opment. “I enjoy being part of a family that is genuinely committed to taking care of each other, our communities, and our clients,” he says. “LJA is a company that provides opportunities for all employees to take on meaningful roles and responsibilities that directly contribute to the success of the company.” AWARD REAPS RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION BENEFITS. Irene Gaddis, director of hu- man resources, says that recruiting for top talent in this industry is a very competitive market. “LJA wants to hire the best and brightest in each of our disciplines, and awards like these help us to com- municate and reinforce our brand as a high performing company that is fun to work for,” she says. In the long run, Ladner says that con- firmation that LJA is a Hot Firm and a Best Place to Work helps in recruiting and retention of top talent which ulti- mately helps in the company’s future success. “It also validates to future employ- ees and clients that the LJA process works,” Ladner says.

STRATEGIC GROWTH LJA’s growth has included several strategic acquisitions, such as: ❚ ❚ 2012: LEAP Engineering LLC, which diversified LJA’s services to include coastal engineering, midstream infrastructure, and environmental. ❚ ❚ April 2013: Grounds Anderson LLC, a Houston-based firm that specializes in storm water management, analysis and design of water resource systems, and geographic information systems technology. ❚ ❚ September 2013: Land Surveying Inc., a professional surveying services firm. ❚ ❚ July 2014: Northwest Technical Solutions LLC and Northwest Technical Services LLC. NWTS is a leader in innovation and consulting for the oil and gas sector in areas of deep-water high specification drilling equipment and support systems. NWTS assists companies with staffing, engineering assistance, and consultation. ❚ ❚ July 2014: SeaTech Offshore LLC, the industry leader in offshore inspections with a focus on multidimensional protocols and methods to increase compliance, safety, and reliability. ❚ ❚ December 2014: Frank J. Dillard & Associates Inc. and its partner firm Design Support Solutions Inc. (DSSI), which enhanced LJA’s client and project support capabilities and added service offerings in the areas of planning, design, and construction phase supervision of electrical, instrumentation, and control related projects. ❚ ❚ May 2015: RVE Inc., a Corpus Christi- based engineering firm, bringing subsurface utility engineering, structural engineering and bridge condition assessments, windstorm design and inspections, and security systems to the menu of LJA’s full- service offerings.

“We largest, employee-owned civil engineering firm in Houston, with 500-plus highly committed and motivated ‘owners,’” he says. “Our employee-owners attract the best clients, some who have been with us since our founding. We en- courage an entrepreneurial spirit and believe that our unique approach to employee ownership and involvement has helped us grow by 30 percent in the last three years. We continue to have low employee turnover in a very tight market, and a large percentage of our employees have been with LJA for more than five years.” Employee-owners are involved in vari- ous groups that: ❚ ❚ Help the community through a volun- teer employee committee called LJA Cares are the ❚ ❚ Provide R&R activities for employees and their families in the Fun Commit- tee; and ❚ ❚ Contribute to shaping the culture of the company through its Employee Relations Committee. “We also have annual family-type get- togethers, including a company picnic and holiday party, and we celebrate our growth at our annual anniversary luncheon,” Ladner says. The bottom line is that employees are happy and feel valued. And, they stick around. “LJA is a company that provides op- portunities for all employees to take on meaningful roles and responsibil- ities that directly contribute to the success of the company,” James Ross, vice president says. “Having been with the company for more than 17 years, I have not just witnessed its

© Copyright 2015. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.



# 3: O’Neal Inc.

Relevance and employee ownership Organization sees award as confirmation of the importance of its emphasis on attracting, developing, retaining talented professionals.


T he size of the company and the culture makes each employee important. There is a feeling of teamwork because almost everyone knows each other and has ownership. O’Neal Inc. (Greenville, SC), a 280-person integrated engineering and construc- tion firm is in the business of project delivery – in- tegrating overall project planning, design, procure- ment and construction to create cost-effective capi- tal solutions, has always placed an emphasis on at- tracting, developing and retaining talented profes- sionals. This award shows that they are on the right track. Specializing in complicated projects with complex processes and intricate design, O’Neal’s profession- als excel in solving the most challenging concepts in project delivery. “With all of our design and construction profes- sionals in-house, our clients benefit from a true collaboration of disciplines, and we deliver capital projects in a variety of industries, including auto- motive, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, process chemical, manufacturing, energy, and pulp and pa- per,” Brian Gallagher, marketing director, says. Some large industrial clients include Michelin, Bosch, Milliken, BASF, Huntsman Chemical, Coca- Cola, Mitsubishi, and others.

Founded in Paul O’Neal’s basement in 1975, the company was originally a two-person structur- al engineering firm. Today, O’Neal serves a roster of Fortune 500 clients across multiple disciplines. Though Paul retired 10 years ago, he remains chair- man of the firm’s board. THE THREE RS: RECRUITING, RETENTION AND RECOGNITION. Gallagher says the firm strives to provide a posi- tive, family-oriented work atmosphere and chal- lenging work. It also has a great combination of seasoned, long-term employees and younger team members. “We have a number of events that are focused on

See O’NEAL , page 12



#HOTFIRM2015 Zweig Group’s 2015 Hot Firm and A/E Industry Awards Conference is Sep- tember 3 and 4 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston. Events include: THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 3 ❚ ❚ 8 a.m.: Breakfast ❚ ❚ 9 a.m.: Opening remarks – Mark Zweig ❚ ❚ 9:45 a.m.: Summary data on Hot Firms and Best Firms – Christina Zweig ❚ ❚ 10:45 a.m. - noon: Agile Innovation and the Workplace – Langdon Morris, Innovation Labs; voting on People’s Choice for marketing ❚ ❚ Noon: Courage in Leadership Luncheon ❚ ❚ 1 - 4:30 p.m.: HowWe Made a Small Company into a Large Di- versified One with Less Than 50% of Revenue Coming fromTra- ditional Design Services – Chris Doerschlag, WD Partners; M&A – George Christodoulo; The Virtual Office: Making it Work – Kenny Ogilvie; Bentley Systems Breakout Session; 5 Things We Do that Make Us Successful – Panel of Hot Firm/Best FirmWinning CEOs, moderated by Mark Zweig ❚ ❚ 5:30 p.m.: Cocktail party

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 4 ❚ ❚ 8 a.m.: Breakfast ❚ ❚ 9 a.m. - noon: General Sessions – John Zweig, WPP; Ozzie Nel-

son, NELSONWorldwide Inc.; Company Culture ❚ ❚ noon: Marketing Excellence Awards Luncheon

❚ ❚ 10:45 a.m. - noon: Agile Innovation and the Workplace – Langdon Morris, Innovation Labs; voting on People’s Choice for marketing ❚ ❚ 1:30 - 4:15 p.m.: Nontraditional Sources of Capital for A/E Firms – Scott Chappel, BDCA Advisers LLC; The Challenges of Integrating Multiple Cultures into One – Tony Mirchandani, RTM; Holding Em- ployees Accountable to Increase Profitability – June Jewell, AEC Business Solutions; The Real Secrets Recruiters Use to Find and Hire the Best People – Randy Wilburn, Zweig Group ❚ ❚ 4:15: Closing remarks – Mark Zweig ❚ ❚ 6 p.m.: Cocktails and red carpet photo ops ❚ ❚ 7 p.m.: Hot Firm and A/E Industry Awards black-tie ceremony – announcements of Hot Firm and Best Firms to Work For awards

O’NEAL , from page 11

grades to construction sites, among oth- ers. I enjoy working at this company be- cause the atmosphere is inviting, I am ac- knowledged for my work and contribu- tions, and ,above all else, I ammade to feel like more than a cog in the wheel. Working here, I feel appreciated and respected,” El- lis Bellew, electrical engineer, says. Judy Castleberry, CFO, says that what re- ally speaks volumes about the company is the years of employee retention and satis- faction the employees demonstrate. “Nearly 80 percent of our employees own stock in this company, an incentive-based practice that is proven to increase client and employee satisfaction,” she says. Internally, 2015 is a landmark year for O’Neal as it celebrates 40 years of busi- ness. Making it even more exciting is the fact that the firm continues to grow. In April, the company announced a $5 mil- lion expansion in Greenville, South Car- olina, that has direct ties to the nation’s increase in chemical production. It also announced a new partnership with Beck Group to expand their services in Mexico. Kevin Bean, president and CEO, has been with O’Neal since 1994. He says that, “Identifying new opportunities, rath- er than becoming a niche service provid- er, has, I believe, allowed our company to stay relevant and competitive in this ever-changing market. We are honored to be selected by Zweig as a 2015 Hot Firm winner and are committed to continuing this 40-year legacy of innovation moving forward.”

A CULTURE OF SUCCESS O’Neal offers professional development opportunities to employees, including: ❚ ❚ O’Neal EPC Certification: O’Neal provides in-house certification programs to continually expand its qualified, experienced team of engineering/procurement/ construction professionals. ❚ ❚ SafetyTraining: In addition to mandatory safety awareness training, employees have the LEEDTraining: O’Neal’s employees may take courses on sustainable design and construction principles. It also offers LEED-AP and LEED-GA programs. ❚ ❚ Lunch and Learns: Internal training on technical issues, design approaches, project opportunity to take OSHA 10- and 30-hour training. ❚ ❚ Sustainability and technologies, sustainability, and general EPC information. ❚ ❚ RedVector: Self-directed, online training courses. ❚ ❚ Tuition Reimbursement : O’Neal encourages and supports team members to continue their education while working with the firm. management, business communications, new

employees and perks, such as training programs, technology investments and a compressed work week – four full days and a half day on Friday.” This Hot Firm award is valued by O’Neal because it is a great measure of how the firm compares to other design organiza- tions throughout the country. The firm believes this will help with recruiting and retention. O’Neal is an employee-owned company. Ten years after Paul started the compa- ny, he began selling stock to his employ- ees. This practice helped him to attract and retain quality workers, many of whom are still with the company today. “We find that the employee-ownership provides a higher level of accountability and commitment for our team members,” Gallagher says. “And, our employee-own- ers take pride in recognition such as the Hot Firm award.” Rob Evans, recruiting manager, says that the Hot Firm award helps the firm within the industry to spread the word to prospec- tive employee-owners as O’Neal strength- ens its team of designers and builders. “I have worked at O’Neal for three years and was made to feel like family from Day 1. O’Neal strives for perfection in project delivery and makes efforts to stay at the forefront of technology in the form of software advancements, training oppor- tunities for employees, and paperless up-

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