THE HUMAN FACTOR, from page 7
like to offer an opinion, or just sit in and listen, they’re welcome to. We provide as much interactions on projects as they can handle and pride ourselves on forming strong teams. We want them to see the great designs that come out of working together well as a team. It provides ownership of the work they do. TZL: Does your firm work closely with any higher education institutions to gain access to the latest technology, experience, and innovation and/or recruiting to find qualified resources? MD: Our recruitment is mostly based on referrals. We tend to get many people who are first-job changers. They tend to resonate with us well. Quite often, they go to work for a firm that they think is what they want and then they realize they want something different. Here, we don’t have a studio system. We combine client relationships with project skills and work to make a proactive building team. The teams change for projects and we have cross training too. It keeps things interesting. "We’re starting a new office in Denver. We’re slowly working our way out west and have projects in Phoenix right now. We’re growing into a national design firm with a great deal of diversity." TZL: The firm has a more than 100 year history. Impressive! What are you doing to ensure the firm continues to lead the way into the future while keeping an eye on its past? MD: We have big shoes to fill. We’ve always had a hand in multi-family housing which is going to become more and more interesting post-COVID. It’s not just about creating housing. It’s about creating sustainable architecture and design too. We’re actively pursuing work in Washington, D.C. which has helped to bolster our commercial building development and we’re starting a new office in Denver. We’re slowly working our way out west and have projects in Phoenix right now. We’re growing into a national design firm with a great deal of diversity. TZL: Have you had a particular mentor who has guided you – in school, in your career, or in general? Who were they and how did they help? MD: Pat FitzGerald, the firm’s founder. He hired me as
FitzGerald's 727 West Madison project in Chicago, a 45-story, 492-unit luxury rental tower with more than 10,000 square feet of retail space.
an intern and gave me more opportunities than I could have ever asked for. I try to do the same for others today. He was insightful and inspirational and a true agent of change. TZL: They say failure is a great teacher. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve had to learn the hard way? MD: We celebrate lessons learned every week with what we call “gold bricks.” This helps everyone to share and learn from mistakes. It’s the greatest mistake not to share mistakes. Mistakes largely happen in isolation so the more checks and balances you have in a group, the better off you are – safety in numbers as they say.
ZWEIG GROUP'S MID-YEAR UPDATE 2021 SALARY REPORT OF AEC FIRMS The Mid-Year Update 2021 Salary Report of AEC Firms contains data gathered after January 2021 and is designed to help firms evaluate how salaries have changed during the first half of 2021. This publication includes salary information on nearly every job role at engineering, architecture, and environmental firms. Statistics are broken down by firm staff size and region of office for more accurate benchmarking and comparisons. Job descriptions and average years of experience are included for all titles in the survey. Unlike Zweig Group's traditional Salary Reports , all regions of the U.S. are included in this publication. Click here to learn more.
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THE ZWEIG LETTER AUGUST 2, 2021, ISSUE 1402
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