TZL 1349 (web)

T R E N D L I N E S J u n e 1 5 , 2 0 2 0 , I s s u e 1 3 4 9 W W W . T H E Z W E I G L E T T E R . C O M

Current ratio

Prioritize the tasks on your to-do list in order of importance and how long they will take to maximize efficiency. Two-minute drill

In Zweig Group’s 2020 Financial Performance Survey of AEC Firms , current ratio was calculated by dividing a firm’s current assets by its current liabilities. An increase in this liquidity ratio improves a firm’s ability to cover its short-term obligations if necessary. While it’s common within the industry to see an inverse relationship between current ratio and staff size, there are variables like work in process turnover and backlog that suggest larger firms are more focused on long-term goals.

O ne thing I have noticed working directly with AEC leadership is that they have a lot on their to-do list and it continues to fill up throughout the day. Many tasks have a set deadline, and we know we won’t have a problem delivering great results. Then there are the little things, the easy wins, the tone setters, and the things that demand our immediate attention. How do you prioritize which comes first? Some of the larger tasks can seem to rise to the top of importance, but tackling those first isn’t always what is best for those you are working with every day. My personal preference is to divide tasks into three categories. Deadline, end of the day/evening, and two- minute drill items. If I can accomplish it in two minutes or less, it gets moved to the top of the list. In order to execute on these different tasks each day you have to master the items below. ❚ ❚ To-do list. Start at the top and work your way to the bottom. It’s that simple. Don’t be afraid to move something to the top if it’s an easy win. Making the bed each morning is always my first easy win for the day. The momentum for the day builds up from there. ❚ ❚ Journal/reflect. This can be done in a traditional pen and paper way or in the form of a blog or a consistently themed social media post. Reflecting back on your daily takeaways can be a powerful tool for yourself as well as others who are following along. ❚ ❚ Learn from others. See what your peers and leaders are doing to stay organized and productive. Engaging in these types of conversations will build trust and empathy between you and the rest of the staff. ❚ ❚ Find the minutes. If you know me well you know that I am often on the brink of exhaustion but still very much enthused by the challenges in front of me. It takes effort to push yourself those extra few minutes each day, but I promise they are the most rewarding. ❚ ❚ Reward yourself. Treat yourself to something nice and don’t be afraid to get selfish while doing so. Watch a movie on the plane instead of catching up on work, take a class related to your favorite hobby, volunteer in your community, retail therapy, book a trip, whatever it is just make sure you are being intentional about your self-care. In all honesty, I spent a couple of hours writing this article, but you should have been able to read it in about two minutes! CHAD COLDIRON is director of executive search at Zweig Group. Contact him at

Chad Coldiron

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F I R M I N D E X Core Construction...................................4 CWE.......................................................6 Fleis & VandenBrink. .............................12 JQ.........................................................10 OZ Architecture.......................................4 Senior by Design.....................................4 SVA Architects........................................2 Ware Malcomb................................10, 12 MO R E A R T I C L E S xz MARK ZWEIG: Keep your focus Page 3 xz Seeking excellence: Jason Pereira Page 6 xz STEPHEN LUCY: Generational leadership transition Page 9 xz MAX GEORGE: Support constant growth Page 11




2020 POLICIES, PROCEDURES & BENEFITS SURVEY REPORT Zweig Group surveyed AEC Industry firms on their workplace policies, benefits, HR staff composition, HR operating expenses, and other important workplace issues and challenges. Data was collected from firms of every size, type, and region of the country completed the questionnaire. A separate survey focusing on travel reimbursement collected responses from firms as well. The results of both these surveys were tabulated and analyzed for this publication. This publication also includes a collection of articles and interviews from successful AEC firm leaders on what workplace policies, procedures, and benefits have helped their firms run smoothly. The results of this study will help you benchmark your AEC firm in all areas related to benefits and compensation. The 2020 Policies, Procedures & Benefits Survey Report of AEC Firms provides you with industry statistics on policies and procedures, so you can support your policy decisions with hard data.

Use the 2020 Policies, Procedures & Benefits Survey Report to: ❚ ❚ Ensure your firm’s benefits and policies are competitive with industry norms, to help you recruit and retain employees. ❚ ❚ Identify HR operating expenses that you can – or can’t – afford to cut ❚ ❚ Benchmark your firm’s medical, dental, and life insurance packages. ❚ ❚ Support your firm’s paid-time-off and other policies with hard data on industry norms ❚ ❚ Find out if firms are projecting benefits increases and make sure your budget aligns with the industry ❚ ❚ Get data on HR directors’ typical backgrounds, education, roles, and compensation.

The key to growing your firm and reaching your strategic goals often rests with the quality of your employees, and the quality of your firm’s policies, procedures, and benefits is critical to hiring and retaining a top-notch workforce. The data presented in the 2020 Policies, Procedures & Benefits Survey Report is broken down by firm type, size, region, and other important factors, so you can make accurate comparisons between your firm and others.

BUSINESS NEWS SVA ARCHITECTS’ DESIGN FOR SACRAMENTO’S MIRASOLVILLAGE FULLY ENTITLED The Sacramento Planning Commission has approved SVA Architects ’ site plan and design reviews for the last two primary blocks of the Mirasol Village redevelopment. Formerly known as Twin Rivers, the Sacramento public housing community and the surrounding River District neighborhood will be transformed into a fully connected, vibrant community with new transit, employment centers, services, retail, and recreational amenities. The Mirasol Village redevelopment joins SVA Architects’ extensive portfolio of public housing developments, cultural institutions, and vibrant urban communities. Ernesto Vasquez, FAIA, CEO of SVA Architects, states, “Along with McCormack Baron Salazar, we hosted many community meetings with the local residents to develop the vision for Mirasol Village. We’re very proud of the master plan, incorporating the best of urban design and the goals of the community.” Poised for redevelopment, Twin Rivers was one of the first public housing developments built in the County of Sacramento, and has become isolated from the rest of the city by railroad tracks, levees and rivers, and limited roads and sidewalks. Built in the 1940s, the deteriorated buildings had also reached the end of their usable life. The redevelopment includes replacing the previous 218 units with 427 new mixed-income homes, adding multi-modal connections to the

heart of Sacramento including a newSacramento Regional Transit Light Rail Blue Line Station, providing comprehensive supportive services to residents, and revitalizing the neighborhood with new amenities and recreation. Community spaces include a 1.2-acre community park, 2/3-acre community garden, fruit tree orchard, garden learning center, pool, playgrounds, and walking paths. Construction will commence this summer. The project is a collaboration of the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency and McCormack Baron Salazar. The recently entitled parcels, known as Blocks C and D, include 200 housing units and an early childhood education center. Nathan Herrero, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, principal at SVA Architects, states, “We are thrilled to be a part of the work that SHRA and McCormack Baron Salazar are doing to breathe new life this region. Like its Spanish ‘sunflower’ namesake, Mirasol Village will blossom into a bright, vibrant neighborhood full of vitality, hope, and new beginnings.” Founded in 2003, SVA Architects has become one of the Country’s most innovative and respected design and planning organizations. The award-winning firm specializes in urban planning, architecture, and interior design of public, private, and mixed-use projects. Among the firm’s portfolio are civic, educational, residential, commercial and mixed-use developments.

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Keep your focus

S o many distractions. Just seems like it’s one thing after another that can be upsetting. What’s next? Who knows. Are you doing what you really should be for your business right now? Or are you just floating along on a sea of uncertainty, afraid to move or you’ll turn over your raft?

One thing is for sure, though. Your business needs you. Your clients need you. Your employees need you. Let’s try to keep our attention on that reality as we move ahead. As a business school professor, management consultant, and business owner myself, if there is one thing I know for sure that leads to reduced business performance, or, in the worst cases, complete failure, it’s having an owner or owners who aren’t paying attention to it. I’m a simple guy so I will keep things simple for our readers. Here are my thoughts on how to keep yourself focused on that machine that feeds you and most everyone else in your world: 1)Reduce the amount of time you spend watching or listening to the news or social media. I live in a house with nine televisions. Odds are that at any time from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. or so one or more of those TVs is playing the news. Then we have all the

social media channels we use for work but inevitably other stuff creeps into your feed. Believe me, I’m really well-informed. Maybe too informed. Not to say ignorance is bliss but I don’t think it’s healthy for your business to keep yourself in a constant state of agitation. 2)Increase the amount of time you spend talking to or working with clients. Clients are the reason your business exists. Period. Without them you don’t have a business. So they are important. Really important. You have got to keep your eye on the ball and constantly be assessing what their real needs are and how you and your business can help them. You are more likely to be able to do that if you spend more time talking to them and working with them. 3)Increase the amount of time you spend working on projects. See point No. 2 above. Working on jobs makes you more in tune with your clients’ needs. It also helps your relationships with your employees

Mark Zweig

See MARK ZWEIG, page 4



BUSINESS NEWS CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON NEW EXPERIENCE SENIOR LIVING DEVELOPMENT AND CIVITAS SENIOR LIVING COMMUNITY IN NORTH PORT, FLORIDA Construction has begun on Civitas Senior Living and Experience Senior Living Development’s latest collaboration and joint project, The Gallery at North Port. The new senior living community is being built at 1322 N Main St. in North Port, Florida. “This is our fourth collaboration with Experience Senior Living Development, and the beautiful end products are a result of the passion both of our companies have for the senior living experience,” said Wayne Powell, founder and CEO of Civitas Senior Living. “North Port is a vibrant community, and we’re excited to be a part of it.” The Gallery at North Port will be conveniently located across the street from City Center, providing residents easy access to George Mullen Activity Center and City Hall as well numerous shopping and dining options. The Gallery is also just minutes away from popular attractions such as Heron Creek Golf and Country Club, the North Port Symphony, and Tamiami Trail. The three-story community will feature 79 independent living, 66 assisted living, and 24 memory care apartments combined with 28 independent living cottages, all on one campus. The Gallery at North Port will boast spacious, well-appointed residences featuring stainless steel appliances, walk-in closets, and designer touches throughout. Upscale amenities and

services unique to The Gallery include a swimming pool, bocce ball court, outdoor grilling area, community garden, creative arts studio, fitness center, wine bar, personalized care plans, restaurant-style dining options, and The Gallery’s outdoor “Florida Room,” highlighted by a beautiful water feature and dining/lounge area. In keeping with its name, The Gallery at North Port will commission a local artist to create thoughtful pieces for the community. “Experience Senior Living Development wants our residents to not only enjoy a carefree lifestyle at The Gallery at North Port, but we also want them to live inspired lives,” said James Parker, executive vice president of Senior Living Operations. “There’s no better way to accomplish this than to create a community where they are greeted each day by beauty and art.” Residents and their loved ones will also benefit from Civitas Senior Living’s signature Passion Program. This revolutionary program will provide residents of The Gallery at North Port rich, full lives brimming with social engagements, fun activities, and personalized experiences propelled by attentive caregivers, overall wellness, and delicious food. “We believe that life is best when days are filled with passion and lived with purpose,” said Powell. Civitas’s revolutionary Passion Program keeps residents active and involved by enjoying memorable moments and celebratory events. Civitas’ Passion Program is the cornerstone of the 41 senior

living communities it manages across the U.S. The Gallery at North Port is the fourth collaboration between Civitas and Experience Senior Living Development. Other projects include The Springs of Parc Hill in Orange City, Florida, The Waters of Cape Coral, and The Azure of Palm Coast. The Gallery at North Port is projected for an August 2021 opening. The architect for the project is OZ Architecture out of Denver, Colorado. The contractor is Core Construction . The designer is Senior by Design . With roots dating to 1964, OZ Architecture is named for two founders Tom Obermeier and Alan Zeigel, who believed that collaboration sparks creativity. Today, OZ Architecture is comprised of 170 architects, interior designers, brand strategists, and support staff. The firm works in multiple practice areas that include cultural projects, such as libraries and museums, municipal and education facilities, urban living, workplace and hospitality projects. OZ Architecture has a large interior design group that works across practice areas and has extensive experience as well. The firm’s diversity of expertise in multiple project types allows them to harness broad perspectives and share knowledge across our practice areas to drive innovative and sustainable design solutions.

MARK ZWEIG, from page 3

and selling. Now is the time to do it. Companies in the A/E business (and others) seem to be falling into two camps. Those who are increasing their marketing and selling activities to fight back against any backlog erosion, and then those who are doing LESS marketing and selling than they used to. I don’t need to tell you who is going to do better. I do not understand cutting back on marketing and selling at a time like this. Makes no sense, other than management must be paralyzed with fear. Get back on your marketing job! 6)Increase the amount of time you spend in the office. Yes, we have a lot of telecommuting today and to a great extent it has probably worked better than many of us expected. That said, now that things are opening up, maybe it would be easier for you to keep your focus if you went back into the office more often. Less non-work distractions. And you are setting an example for everyone else. There is something to be said for “working visibility” when it comes to owners and managers in an A/E firm. All successful people can get themselves to focus. Are you doing what you really should be for your business right now? Or are you just floating along on a sea of uncertainty, afraid to move or you’ll turn over your raft? MARK ZWEIG is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at

who see you there working alongside them. They love that. And you get to see who is really good and who needs your training and mentoring when you work with your people on projects. That is invaluable information, too. “As a business school professor, management consultant, and business owner myself, if there is one thing I know for sure that leads to reduced business performance, or, in the worst cases, complete failure, it’s having an owner or owners who aren’t paying attention to it.” 4)Increase the frequency of distribution of your business metrics. Keep your eye on the ball. Daily cash collection reports. Weekly cash flow projections. Weekly marketing reports. Other weekly performance metric reports. Keep the information on how the business is performing flowing and flowing quickly, and you will be more likely to stay focused on the company versus being distracted by other stuff. 5)Increase the amount of time you spend on marketing

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Work From Home & Online Learning Opportunities


VIRTUAL SEMINAR PROJECT MANAGEMENT FOR AEC PROFESSIONALS - VIRTUAL SEMINAR PRICE: $599 OVERVIEW: With the uncertainty of traveling to In-Person events, Zweig Group has created a NEW virtual seminar program perfect for upcoming and current project managers. This is a 6 week program of 1 hour each week live zoom meetings with our seminar instructors. These meetings will be a mix of presentations, discussions, and open ended Q&A sessions, with the ability to continue the discussion via discussion forum from week to week. This will be the same great content that is taught during our in-person Project Management for AEC Professionals seminar. THIS VIRTUAL SEMINAR WILL BEGIN ON JULY 14, 2020 AT 2 PM CST LEARN MORE



OVERVIEW: The way we work, do business, and interact is constantly evolving and changing. Leaders are the first we look to when we need to adopt a change or under- stand how change affects us personally. You and your team must understand how to lead and adapt to an ever-changing environment.


OVERVIEW: Solid financial management is crucial to the success of any company, and firms in the AEC industry are no exception. This short course provides an overview of business financial management – specifically tailored to our industry – to help firm leaders make informed decisions that drive results.


The Zweig Letter Podcast is back! With new episodes weekly, stay up to date with AEC trends in the TZL podcast hosted by Zweig Group’s Randy Wilburn.


Zweig Group is an approved provider by the AIA & SHRM




Seeking excellence: Jason Pereira Co-founder and principal at CWE (Fullerton, CA), a civil engineering, water resources, and environmental engineering firm whose experts pledge to create a better tomorrow, today.


J ason Pereira has more than 20 years of water resources and environmental engineering experience. He’s a recognized authority in stormwater management and surface water quality. As co-founder, Jason says his primary responsibility is to make sure staff eats, lives, and breathes their pledge of “Creating a Better Tomorrow, Today™” in all aspects of their work, decision-making, quality, and serving the clients and communities where they live, work, and play. “At CWE we seek excellence and try to hire well so staff is surrounded by fellow employees that are valued for their behaviors and skills, and want to help each other to be great,” Pereira says. “We believe that a great workplace starts with stunning colleagues in an environment that fosters trust and mutual respect.” A CONVERSATION WITH JASON PEREIRA. The Zweig Letter: What are the three to four key business performance indicators that you watch most

carefully? Do you share that information with your staff? Jason Pereira: There are three key performance indicators that we watch closely and share with staff monthly in a town hall-style meeting so we can be nimble and make quick adjustments. The first indicator is monthly and year-to-date billings in relation to our annual target goal/ projection. This helps us with the bigger picture and lets us know if we need to increase business development efforts and mine existing contracts for additional work. We also closely monitor our accounts receivables for 30, 60, and 90+ days outstanding and remind managers to follow up with clients to keep our A/R turnover below 75 days, which is typical for the A/E industry. CWE managers diligently track our running 12-month backlog and full- time equivalent staffing needs to adjust human resources and increase recruiting efforts to meet our client workload demands. TZL: How much time do you spend working “in the



business” rather than “on the business?” JP: Too much time! With the shortage of qualified professionals in our industry, it has been a challenge to recruit qualified seller- doers. I have a grand vision for working “on the business” and can never find enough time to work on and execute those initiatives because some clients only want to work with me directly or current staff doesn’t have the experience, technical knowledge, and relationships to backfill my “in the business” role. There’s also a huge void in our industry for mid-level professionals as a result of the Great Recession. Many of the professionals that would be in the 10- to 14-year range never came back to our industry and this has created a significant human resource disruption. We have to spend more time working “in the business” mentoring so we can bring up junior level staff quickly with the expectation that they mature, act, and perform like mid-level professionals in a short timeframe. “With the safer-at-home orders implemented, it was either have our teams work remotely or shut down. With our client commitments and much of our work deemed essential, we quickly adapted to the situation.” TZL: How has COVID-19 impacted your firm’s policy on telecommuting/working remotely? JP: Frankly, there wasn’t much of a choice. With the safer-at-home orders implemented, it was either have our teams work remotely or shut down. With our client commitments and much of our work deemed essential, we quickly adapted to the situation. While there have been some challenges and bumps in the road, we’ve learned the good, the bad, and the ugly of working remotely. The good is we can do it with a degree of success! The bad is sometimes IT challenges can hamper productivity and efficiencies. The ugly is the unknown and how long this could drag out. TZL: When you identify a part of your business that is not pulling its weight in terms of profitability or alignment with the firm’s mission, what steps do you take, and what’s the timeline, to address the issue while minimizing impacts to the rest of the company?

JP: We do not have profit centers or unnecessary competition between services lines. However, if an individual or business group is not pulling their weight, it’s the expectation that anyone within our company live up to our core values, which includes courage. That means the courage to question actions inconsistent with our company’s core values and pledge. The timeline for rectifying the shortcoming depends on the gravity of the situation and will vary accordingly. 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? JP: To keep a general pulse on our firm’s valuation we typically keep tabs on recent M&A activity and look for comparable firms to gauge our valuation estimates. Another tool we use is Zweig Group’s Valuation Survey data and Z-Formulas. TZL: What financial metrics do you monitor to gauge the health of your firm? JP: Financial metrics that are reviewed on a weekly basis are project budget versus work completed. On a monthly basis, we review work billed versus unbilled. Certain client contracts require monthly billing and others are based on completed tasks. This needs to be looked at carefully so that we can take certain actions to complete tasks ahead of scheduled dates (by end of prior month) if they are scheduled to be completed at the beginning of the month, as that part can be billed. The overall work backlog is also reviewed on a monthly basis to evaluate how much work is anticipated for the next 12 months versus our capacity and available resources for that timeframe. Above all, the overall profitability of the projects and the firm are continually reviewed and evaluated. TZL: What unique or innovative pricing strategies have you developed, or are you developing, to combat the commoditization of engineering services? JP: The public agency clients we work with are supposed to make professional services consultant selection based on qualifications; however, we’re finding many of them are looking at the bottom line dollar and handling selection more like a construction bid process. To avoid the commoditization of engineering services, we make a strong effort to demonstrate our value proposition and provide a compellingly better solution to solve their engineering challenge. In several instances, this has involved turning things upside down, approaching the project from See SEEKING EXCELLENCE, page 8


❚ ❚ Pasadena, CA ❚ ❚ San Diego, CA ❚ ❚ Utah County, UT SERVICES:

❚ ❚ Civil engineering ❚ ❚ Water resources ❚ ❚ Stormwater ❚ ❚ Environmental ❚ ❚ Project and construction management MARKETS: ❚ ❚ Government ❚ ❚ Water ❚ ❚ Energy ❚ ❚ Transportation ❚ ❚ Environment ❚ ❚ Land development CERTIFICATIONS: ❚ ❚ Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) ❚ ❚ Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) ❚ ❚ California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) MBE ❚ ❚ California Small Business (SB) ❚ ❚ Small Business Enterprise (SBE) ❚ ❚ Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB) ❚ ❚ And various other local certifications

© Copyright 2020. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

NE 15, 2020, ISSUE 1349



a different perspective, finding creative ways to reduce the project’s capital and long-term operation and maintenance costs, and identifying and securing alternative project funding sources. TZL: How has COVID-19 affected your business on a daily basis? JP: COVID-19 has created a complete disruption of the daily workflow process. We’re finding that many of the things we did in the office and face-to-face are taking much longer to complete and we’re having to reinvent how we do certain things. Some of the limitations and inconveniences have included small laptop screens at home compared to the large dual monitors in the office, having quick access to team members and office resources, general collaboration, new employee onboarding and reduced business development opportunities. Fortunately, we haven’t noticed much of a slowdown in our market sectors, but some property tax funding shortfalls are expected to cause impacts over the next several years. “CWE strives to maintain balance and be representative of the communities we work for and serve. We are a certified minority and disadvantaged business enterprise and have successfully maintained a diverse workforce and client composition that emulates those communities we’re located in.” TZL: They say failure is a great teacher. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve had to learn the hard way? JP: There was a three-month stretch where the workload was light and the backlog was strong, but we were waiting on numerous Notices to Proceed. We had secured an executed contract with an existing client city to prepare drainage improvement plans, but had not been issued the NTP. Being that the work was for a city we had previously completed work for and had an executed contract in hand; we estimated the risk of starting work without the NTP was very low. We immediately got our subconsultants (environmental surveys) to start work so we could gather the information needed to keep our staff busy. Five years later, the city still has not issued the NTP and we needed to pay our subconsultants for their efforts. This was an expensive lesson to never start work without a written authorization from the client, even if you have worked for them previously. TZL: How many years of experience – or large enough book of business – is enough to become a principal in your firm? Are you naming principals in their 20s or 30s? JP: We are ready to name principals in their 20s or 30s if

CWE staff volunteering in their local community.

they demonstrate the exceptional ability and execution necessary to grow and maintain a book of business that contributes to the overall growth of the firm. We currently have a young manager who has exhibited exponential growth as a technical professional and is displaying business acumen beyond her years. She has successfully demonstrated the qualities necessary to be a future leader in our industry and is likely to be named a principal soon. TZL: Diversity and inclusion are lacking. What steps are you taking to address the issue? JP: CWE strives to maintain balance and be representative of the communities we work for and serve. We are a certified minority and disadvantaged business enterprise and have successfully maintained a diverse workforce and client composition that emulates those communities we’re located in. Our firm is composed of 38 percent females and 57 percent minorities, which mirrors Southern California. Our clients also represent similar demographics with affluent cities like Beverly Hills and Santa Monica and disadvantaged communities like San Bernardino and Long Beach. CWE hasn’t made a conscious effort to hire this way; it’s been a function of hiring the best people given the local pool of candidates. TZL: A firm’s longevity is valuable. What are you doing to encourage your staff to stick around? JP: With so many choices it’s easy to be tempted to go elsewhere because the grass is always greener on the other side, right? At CWE we seek excellence and try to hire well so staff is surrounded by fellow employees that are valued for their behaviors and skills, and want to help each other to be great. We believe that a great workplace starts with stunning colleagues in an environment that fosters trust and mutual respect. CWE plans and hosts fun activities throughout the year to engage people across service lines so staff get to know each other on a more personal level. Activities include picnics, weekly breakfast gathering, potlucks, holiday parties, river clean-up events, food drives, etc. CWE also offers attractive financial and benefit perks such as performance-related bonuses for all employees, profit sharing, defined benefit plan, 401(k) match, generous vacation and sick leave packages, and medical and dental coverage for employees and their family.

ELEVATEHER Jason Pereira is a member of the ElevateHER 2020 cohort; join him at the ElevateHER Symposium on September 30th in Denver. Click here to learn more!

© Copyright 2020. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




A ccording to the United States Census Bureau, by 2030, all baby boomers will be 65 years of age or older. With an estimated 73 million, this generation has been dubbed the “gray tsunami,” and most should be retiring over the next five to 10 years. As a proud boomer, I hope to eventually join my peers in retirement. Baby boomers and millennials may use different leadership styles and cope differently in business and in life, but the interaction of both can deliver some key benefits. Generational leadership transition

Stephen Lucy

At the same time, more than one-in-three American labor force participants (35 percent) are millennials, making them the largest generation in the U.S. labor force according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. They are a much maligned group, yet we cannot ignore the tidal wave that they represent in the work force. As leadership teams transition and as my retirement looms over the horizon, I often reflect on the finish line and what that will look like for me. Lately, too, I have been checking off ambitious and adventuresome “must do’s” on my bucket list which begs the question: Am I watching my youth slip away into old age or am I ready for a big change in the current course I am on? How about you?

Most of my peers have been work-centric, often deferring important and meaningful personal events and activities to continue climbing that seemingly endless ladder of success. It seems that, as leaders, we are always “on,” sending and replying to work issues no matter what time of day or night. While we boomers might have bulldozed our way to the top, millennials choose how they want to carve out their path, and it is often based on achieving workplace balance. Millennials try to establish personal and professional lives concurrently. They bring fresh energy to the workplace that includes a greater range of technology know-how, a focus on achieving career balance, and greater inclusivity

See STEPHEN LUCY, page 10



ON THE MOVE WARE MALCOMB ANNOUNCES ED MAYER PROMOTEDTOPRINCIPAL INNEWARKOFFICE Ware Malcomb , an award-winning international design firm, announced Edward Mayer has been promoted to principal, architecture in the New York and Newark offices. In this position, Mayer is responsible for the overall leadership and growth of the Architecture Studios for the Northeast region. “Ed’s more than 25 years of architectural experience and strong management skills have been a tremendous asset to Ware Malcomb’s Northeast regional operations,” said Kenneth Wink, CEO of Ware Malcomb. “His leadership has led to the continued expansion of our services in multiple states throughout the region. We congratulate Ed on his success and well-deserved promotion to principal.” A licensed architect in New York and New

Jersey, Mayer joined Ware Malcomb in 2016 as Studio Manager, Architecture for the firm’s New Jersey office. As a result of his success in growing the architecture practice, in 2018 he was promoted to director, architecture for the New Jersey and New York offices. Mayer has worked across the region on significant projects in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York, and Maryland, including several multistory distribution buildings as well as large land planning assignments. Mayer holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Notre Dame. He is an active member of NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, and represents Ware Malcomb at industry events throughout the region. Mayer was one of three people recently elevated to the position of principal within Ware

Malcomb’s offices across North America. Ware Malcomb also announced the promotion of Mary Cheval to principal, interior architecture and design in the firm’s Irvine, California, office and Jason Dooley to principal in the Atlanta, Georgia, office. Established in 1972, Ware Malcomb is an international design firm providing planning, architecture, interior design, branding, civil engineering and building measurement services to commercial real estate and corporate clients. With office locations throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, the firm specializes in the design of commercial office, corporate, industrial, science and technology, healthcare, retail, auto, public/ educational facilities and renovation projects. Ware Malcomb is recognized as a Hot Firm and Best Firm To Work For by Zweig Group.

STEPHEN LUCY, from page 9

activities in the workforce that involve diverse teams and teamwork, and millennials embrace both. For those leaders who are aware of their agreed-upon exit strategy, now is the time to reflect and neither panic nor regret that we are “aging out.” We must become comfortable with transitioning our roles and responsibilities while another generation assumes them. That is part of the challenge and growth in the long run. And, part of the excitement about the future of our firms and our industry. In an article entitled “A Radical New Way to Work with your Millennial Employees,” author Kasey Hickey comments that millennials “are extraordinary multi- taskers, community-oriented, entrepreneurial, highly educated, and connected with their families. And they are optimistic, too, despite the troubling times they have witnessed.” He goes on to add that, “A commitment to coaching is one of the best ways you can lead a millennial- strong workforce.” Type A leaders are not always good about letting go, especially knowing that they no longer control the future of a firm. That is probably why encore coaching and mentoring has become so popular. Relinquishing control seems a little bit easier when we can still offer our “two cents” worth of wisdom and advice. As Hickey admits, “You might not be ready to change your title from CEO to ‘coach’ but internalizing the differences between these two leadership approaches could make a huge difference.” Whether or not future generations accept our advice or insights really does not matter. As long as both generations understand the give-and-take that comes with making leadership transitions, baby boomers will succeed in passing the baton, and millennials will succeed in carrying and valuing their new roles and responsibilities. The potential for a win-win for everyone is there if we just embrace the beneficial attributes of each generation. STEPHEN LUCY is CEO of JQ with offices in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Lubbock and San Antonio, Texas. Contact him at slucy@

and teamwork. They also seek more frequent feedback and conversations with the leadership team. Let’s face it – two generations may involve different leadership styles, motivational opportunities and tech savvy, but the interaction of both can deliver some key benefits. In his article entitled “Why Baby Boomers and Millennials Make Great Teams,” Nathaniel Koloc explains the different energy that both generations bring to the workplace. “Millennial energy is about potential,” says Koloc. They are digital natives, intensely focused across a range of tasks, seek mentors at work, and want the world to become a better place for themselves and their families. On the other hand, the core of boomer energy, according to Koloc, is experience. They bring decades of knowledge about building and maintaining client relationships, evaluating and delivering complex projects, and hiring and retaining good talent, among other key business tasks. “As long as both generations understand the give-and-take that comes with making leadership transitions, baby boomers will succeed in passing the baton, and millennials will succeed in carrying and valuing their new roles and responsibilities.” Will we cope differently in business and in life? No doubt about it. Each generation differs in how it copes with the competition, changes in the marketplace, leadership styles, client relationships, teambuilding, and growing and diversifying their business prospects and projects. However, understanding and embracing these generational differences offers some great learning experiences for us all. Learning how to achieve greater balance in our lives can enable us to collaborate more powerfully. In the past, much of what we accomplished professionally was based on individual effort. Today, there are interdisciplinary

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Support constant growth

Staff training fuels a culture of continuous education, enabling your firm to stay competitive, relevant, and profitable for the long run.

F inding a balance between providing training that individuals need and want is always a challenge when it comes to topics, locations, and times. When making training decisions, I often find myself reflecting on Henry Ford’s quote, “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave, is not training them and having them stay.”

Max George

Henry Ford’s insight changed my perspective on training staff, especially when someone laments that they couldn’t participate in a professional development opportunity. There is no doubt that projects must be completed on budget, on time, and correctly to allow a firm to pay for professional development either directly (paying for a seminar and paying someone to attend) or indirectly (giving someone unpaid time off), but I struggle to understand why many firms and government agencies simply don’t recognize or acknowledge that training is an investment that will pay for itself by efficiencies and capabilities. As a manager, I recognize that training is one of my most important responsibilities. Staff training is a critical part of my strategic and short-term plans. It is what fuels a culture of continuous

education, helping my group be competitive, relevant, and profitable for the long run. For example, the same tools that allow us to take advantage of unexpected opportunities quickly and communicate a large amount of information over long distances have also brought about the need for staff education on the power and potential pitfalls of social media, interacting with the public, and, in some cases, simply how to have conversations and build real personal relationships (being friends on Facebook may not meet this criteria). These outside influences/interactions can ruin a project and destroy a client relationship. Yet they are all too often overlooked. They are examples of

See MAX GEORGE, page 12



BUSINESS NEWS WARE MALCOMB ANNOUNCES CONSTRUCTION IS COMPLETE ON TWO NEW BUILDINGS AT MISSISSAUGAGATEWAYCENTRE WareMalcomb , an award-winning international design firm, announced construction is complete on two new buildings at Mississauga Gateway Centre, a Class A office complex offering both retail and office leasing opportunities in Mississauga, Ontario in Canada. Ware Malcomb provided architecture and interior design services and Triovest Realty Advisors was the development manager for the project. Built on a 9.43-acre site, the two new five and four-storey buildings are located at 2 and 8 Prologis Boulevard and total 21,048 square meters. The project was designed for Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan and the complex offers leasable build-to-suit space for office tenants. The buildings are conjoined by a two-storey entrance plaza that provides common areas and a coffee kiosk for tenants. The coffee

kiosk was designed by Ware Malcomb’s interior architecture and design team. The entrance plaza also features a green roof and green wall, adding to its sustainability features. Curtain wall and aluminum composite panels were used on the exterior. The buildings have achieved LEED CS Gold Certification. In 2014, Ware Malcomb provided architectural design services for the first buildings at Mississauga Gateway Centre: a five-storey, 13,935 square meter office building and a separate single-storey, 4,181 square meter office building. Since then the complex has grown into a premier business park with seven buildings totaling approximately 59,458 square meters of Class A office space. “Ware Malcomb has a long history with Mississauga Gateway Centre, and it is exciting to see it continue to grow as a premier destination for office and retail tenants alike,” said Frank Di Roma, Principal of Ware Malcomb’s Canada operations, including offices in Vaughan and Toronto. “This latest

addition provides a striking new environment for a range of businesses.” The general contractor for the project was Ledcor Construction Limited. Established in 1972, Ware Malcomb is an international design firm providing planning, architecture, interior design, branding, civil engineeringandbuildingmeasurement services to commercial real estate and corporate clients. 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/educational facilities and renovation projects. Ware Malcomb is recognized as an Inc. 5000 fastest-growing private company and a Hot Firm and Best Firm to Work For by Zweig Group. The firm is also ranked among the top 15 architecture/engineering firms in Engineering News-Record ’s Top 500 Design Firms and the top 25 interior design firms in Interior Design magazine’s Top 100 Giants.

MAX GEORGE, from page 11

As a profession today, success goes to firms that understand client needs, know how to connect the myriad of resources available, and create solutions in the most efficient way for the highest value. Knowing how to connect the dots is simply not possible without having the right combination of specialists with a significant understanding and appreciation for the other professions they work alongside of (both directly and indirectly). Neither of those is possible by staying within the traditional bounds of a single profession or by only interacting with like professions in your firm. An overlooked great example is the non-technically educated staff who often have amazing backgrounds that can be leveraged to great advantage and whose skill sets can fill critical gaps. Think of that assistant who so easily interacts with strangers. Why isn’t he/she helping with public presentations? There is limited success in trying to be a jack-of-all-trades, as it is with being such a specialist that you are oblivious to the world around you. A new mindset is needed to address this challenge. Training shouldn’t simply address a specific goal. The mindset today must be continuous, never-ending learning and growth in specific technical skills for a profession as well as related and “soft” skills. Staff do what leaders check and value as important. As leaders, we need to be at the front of this shift and support constant growth across the board, for professional staff and “overhead” staff alike. Otherwise, you will have unengaged employees producing mediocre work and looking for a better opportunity elsewhere. MAX GEORGE, PS, CFM, is survey group manager and associate at Fleis & VandenBrink. Contact him at

what I call non-traditional training – things that they don’t teach in school and aren’t required for any professional license, but are critical for survival and growth. Advancements in technology have also profoundly impacted design professions by dramatically affecting how we create project plans and specifications. While I have no hard numbers to substantiate this claim, I’m betting that most individuals who are using CAD software (Revit, Civil 3D, InRoads, etc.) are only utilizing about 25 percent of the software’s capabilities. “Staff do what leaders check and value as important. As leaders, we need to be at the front of this shift and support constant growth across the board, for professional staff and ‘overhead’ staff alike. Otherwise, you will have unengaged employees producing mediocre work and looking for a better opportunity elsewhere.” We never seem to get beyond that 25 percent due in part to the constant upgrades and planned obsolescence. Yet we need to stay current with the software or the pain and disruption caused by having to get “current” can cripple a firm. The software is to our industry what laser cutters, drill presses, and milling machines are to the manufacturing industry. Having skilled operators means constantly training them. But how many design professionals have a program in place to try and get beyond that 25 percent, or to even train new hires in how to use the software?

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