ON THE MOVE MEP ENGINEER TROY HUNTER PROMOTED IN DEWBERRY’S RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, OFFICE Dewberry , a privately held professional services firm, has announced the promotion of nearly 50 employees nationwide, including one in Richmond, Virginia. Troy Hunter, PE, LEED AP BD+C, has been promoted to associate. With more than 22 years of experience, Hunter’s background includes the design of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems for base building, tenant interior, and renovation projects for secured government facilities, office buildings, critical power
facilities, high-rise residential projects, hotels, food service facilities, auditoriums, conference centers, childcare facilities, educational facilities, fitness centers, healthcare facilities, and retail spaces. As a project engineer, he has been responsible for load calculations, equipment selections, site utility coordination, construction administration, and design and layout of heating, ventilation, and air- conditioning, domestic water, sanitary, fire suppression, lighting, power, and fire alarm systems. Hunter earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech
(1998) and is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics 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. 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.
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to BST-10. As project manager for this effort, I gained great insight into the functioning of our accounting system and developed greater understanding of department and service area needs; this has been a great benefit with my transition to president. Also, it gave me the opportunity to help train and educate our staff on the intricacies of our new system. It was a significant change within the firm, and everything went very well. TZL: Diversity and inclusion are lacking. What steps are you taking to address the issue? JS: The fact that there are few minorities represented in our industry is evidence of a systemic problem. We’re working with area programs to introduce careers in technology to high school students in underserved communities. Additionally, one of our core values is “concern and respect for people and their personal and professional growth.” True to that core value, we continue to look for ways to ensure all staff members feel respected, heard, and understood. We have stepped up our efforts recently by engaging in an assessment to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion at Fishbeck, in our industry and in our community. TZL: What type of leader do you consider yourself to be? JS: I’ve been in this role for a relatively short period of time, but it’s been long enough that I’ve learned an important lesson: to be myself. Fishbeck has a great, long history because of strong leadership. Stepping into the shoes of very successful predecessors added pressure to lead like they did and do what they did. However, leadership must be authentic. It must come from the heart. Only you can lead like you, and I believe that builds trust and respect with those you work with. I make it a point to be available for everyone, reassuring, honest, encouraging, responsive, and a delegator. TZL: How much time do you spend working “in the business” rather than “on the business?” JS: In my new role, I’m unable to devote much time to project work. I loved working with clients, discovering their needs, and providing a solution, as well as guiding teams to a final outcome. Now, I work for the Fishbeck staff and provide the support they need to serve our clients and help fulfill their professional goals.
1) We’re exploring how clients are beginning to embrace new technologies, including AI, in their environments. The institutions that we’ve surveyed said they foresee an increase in AI technology use over the next two to five years. Of this group, most indicated the projected increase will have some impact, with others indicating it may be substantial. As designers, we need to thoroughly understand how AI is being utilized, and the space and infrastructure necessary for this new technology, in order to provide better services and solutions. 2) While AI implementation is in the early stages for AEC firms, we foresee AI having multiple benefits within the firm, such as automating redundant tasks, providing predictive analysis, data mining, and trend and pattern recognition. To realize these potential benefits, we’re exploring how to optimize database interfaces with analytical software. As AI technology evolves, the connectivity to large amounts of data will be crucial to its success. “Together, we challenge the status quo, generating new ideas that lead to better outcomes for our clients and end users. Our work must also stand the test of time. The facilities and infrastructure we design have lifespans counted not in years, but in decades.” TZL: Are you using the R&D tax credit? If so, how is it working for your firm? If not, why not? JS: Fishbeck has used the R&D tax credits as well as the 179D credits since 2010 with the help of a professional service provider. It worked out well for us, but even though we took a conservative approach, a recent audit reduced our credit amount. TZL: Can you describe a recent project that you’re particularly proud of and tell me why? JS: I have transitioned away from design and project management as our growth and corporate needs pulled me into firm leadership. Recently, however, we moved our business enterprise system from one that was home-grown
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THE ZWEIG LETTER FEBRUARY 15, 2021, ISSUE 1379
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