FROM THE FOUNDER
Persistence pays off
H iring key people still seems to be top of mind for everyone I talk to in the AEC business. But like anything else worth doing, it often takes time and a real commitment to get the people you want. Persistence pays off. Hiring often takes a lot of time and a real commitment to get the key people you want.
I experienced that firsthand early in my professional career. When I joined Carter & Burgess in their headquarters in Fort Worth back in 1985, it was the result of a recruitment process that had started 10 months earlier. Russell Laird, who had joined Carter & Burgess in their Houston office in 1983 or 1984, formerly worked for an AEC firm called 3D International. 3D International was a consulting client of mine going back to late 1980. They were best known for their high rise design work for clients in the Middle East. Russell was a senior vice president there in charge of engineering. That’s where he and I became acquainted with each other and became friends. I had left the firm I worked for in St. Louis and moved to Memphis in 1983, when I went to work for a company that at that time was called, Pickering Wooten Smith & Weiss (today it’s known just as the Pickering Firm after a name change in 1984). They,
too, were a client of mine at my former firm, and I had been recruited to work there as director of project development and human resources for Memphis and Little Rock by one of their named partners, Irving Weiss, who was at that time their COO. About four months after I landed at the Pickering Firm, I was promoted to director of project development and human resources for the entire company. Things were going well. Shortly after my promotion, I, along with a half dozen other younger and middle aged people, had a chance to buy stock in the firm because they had lost so much money due to their purchase of Intergraph CADD a few years earlier. I will never forget how we used it to design aluminum siding renovations of brick buildings for the Huntsville Division Corps of Engineers ($100 hammers, anyone?). I jumped at the chance, even though I had no idea about whether it would be a
See MARK ZWEIG, page 12
THE ZWEIG LETTER SEPTEMBER 12, 2022, ISSUE 1456
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