TZL 1419 (web)

T R E N D L I N E S D e c e m b e r 6 , 2 0 2 1 , I s s u e 1 4 1 9 W W W . T H E Z W E I G L E T T E R . C O M

Effective remote work

We’re all busy – but take a few minutes to value the time of your partner organizations. Email empathy

Zweig Group combined responses from this year’s AEC Workplace of the Future Survey and last year’s AEC Industry Outlook and Response to COVID-19 Survey to analyze remote work trends and policies in the industry. When asked what percentage of their workforce could effectively work from home, the industry average was 71 percent. When analyzing this question by firm type and condensing the groups to our three main areas, the expected gap between the percentage reported by architecture firms (76 percent) and engineering firms (72 percent) relative to construction firms (38 percent) is clearly displayed. Participate in a survey and save 50 percent on the final or pre- publication price of any Zweig Group research publication. F I R M I N D E X Balfour Beatty......................................... 2 CO Architects . ...................................... 12 KSA ........................................................ 6 Patel, Greene, and Associates, LLC ...... 10 Tangram Interiors . ................................. 12 Ware Malcomb........................................ 4 Westwood Professional Services, Inc. ... 10 WK Dickson............................................ 4 MO R E A R T I C L E S xz KRAIG KERN : Too much business development? Page 3 xz Focus on others: Mitch Fortner Page 6 xz JOSEPH LOSARIA : Building an AEC business line Page 9 xz MARK ZWEIG : There is no magic bullet Page 11

I received the following email one morning last week: I am sharing with you the Request for the [ORGANIZATION REDACTED] collaborative, innovative project proposal. Please provide an offer and your availability for the scope of work. We are excited to partner with you on this project. Upon your review, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about the package. Please confirm your attendance at the mandatory December 10th, 2021 meeting. CLICK HERE TO VIEW REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL How many of you have received spam RFP requests? Here at Zweig Group, we now get a few a day. Often, they are followed up by an apology note from the actual sender, stating their email was hacked and the link sent in the email was a virus, but sometimes we never know. Worse yet, we get another few of these emails a day that are worded almost identically for real projects! For both the real and spam requests, it seems that the adventure to find out what the project is about is long and tedious – after clicking the link it’s often necessary to fill out a form, download some document from a remote server somewhere, and only then, upon careful reading, is it evident what type of work is required. Unfortunately, most of these RFPs involve projects that Zweig Group would have nothing to do with – like designing buildings! How many of you are sending your potential partners on treasure hunts to find out what you need from them? For the love of your neighbors, please stop. Everyone in the AEC industry is busy, inundated with emails and work requests, overwhelmed by spam, and (understandably) skeptical of viruses. All of this can be prevented with clean and clear communication on the front end! Here are a few more communication tips that don’t just apply to RFQs/RFPs: 1) Include a subject in the subject of the email. It can be as simple as, “RFP for Transportation Project.” For firms that have multiple service areas, this information allows the recipient to make sure this request is sent immediately to the proper department. This information also makes the email less likely to be deleted, less likely to end up in spam, and confirms legitimacy of the sender and content. This doesn’t just apply to RFPs – it’s any kind of communication. Include the project name and a relevant detail.

Christina Zweig Niehues




BUSINESS NEWS BALFOUR BEATTY DELIVERS ADDITIONS & RENOVATIONS TO ATLANTA PUBLIC SCHOOL’S WEST MANOR ELEMENTARY NINE WEEKS EARLY Balfour Beatty has completed construction on Atlanta Public School’s West Manor Elementary School, located in the Lynhurst community of Atlanta, nine weeks ahead of schedule. The $11 million additions and renovations project began in June 2020 to improve functionality and the overall appearance of the school’s interior and exterior structures, further enhancing the learning experience for district students and staff. In just 10 months, Balfour Beatty successfully completed 52,106 square feet of additions and renovations while maintaining West Manor Elementary School’s robust architectural character. The project included the addition of a brand new gymnasium and performance platform, new administrative space for staff, additional art, music, and language classrooms, new outdoor learning spaces to support the school’s International Baccalaureate (IB) program, support and meeting space, the addition of a secure lobby space, new roof replacement, complete replacement of the HVAC and electric systems, installation of a sprinkler system, as well as additional parking, storage, site and circulation improvements, and other various interior upgrades and renovations. “We are honored to have the opportunity to refresh this learning space for the dedicated students and staff of West Manor Elementary School,” said Mike Macon, Balfour Beatty senior vice president in Georgia. “Throughout the lifecycle of the project, our team leveraged our industry experience in K-12 construction while remaining agile and consistently collaborating with Atlanta Public Schools to complete this project nine weeks ahead of schedule and just in time for the new school year.” Balfour Beatty leveraged lean construction methods such as pull planning to expedite

the additions and renovations at West Manor Elementary, which was initially scheduled for delivery in September 2021. The team also worked with Atlanta Public Schools and trade partners in utilizing value engineering that reallocated $296,000 of the project scope without comprising the district’s vision and anticipated budget. Value engineering was used to adjust skin systems and structural components, replace HVAC systems, and provide a new roof for the existing building. “Balfour Beatty continues to be an outstanding partner of Atlanta Public Schools,” said Theondrae Reid, project manager for Atlanta Public Schools. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Balfour Beatty on three consecutive school projects and their proactive approach in providing creative construction solutions has exceed our district’s goals and expectations to create dynamic learning environments for the Lynhurst community and beyond. With the project complete nine weeks early, we can ensure that students, teachers and staff have adequate time to transition to the new school year.” Located at 570 Lynhurst Drive SW, West Manor Elementary School welcomed students and teachers this month for in-person instruction for the 2021-2022 school year. Balfour Beatty is an industry-leading provider of general contracting, at-risk construction management, and design-build services for public and private sector clients across the United States. Performing heavy civil and vertical construction, the company is part of Balfour Beatty plc, a leading international infrastructure group that provides innovative and efficient infrastructure that underpins our daily lives, supports communities and enables economic growth. Balfour Beatty is ranked among the top domestic building contractors in the United States by Engineering News-Record .

Interested in learning more

about the projects and ideas driving the AEC industry forward? Learn more with Civil+Structural Engineer Media.

PO Box 1528 Fayetteville, AR 72702

Chad Clinehens | Publisher Sara Parkman | Senior Editor & Designer Christina Zweig | Contributing Editor Liisa Andreassen | Correspondent

CHRISTINA ZWEIG NIEHUES, from page 1 2) Reiterate in the body of the email a few short details about any attachment or download request that is included. 3) Keep things simple – don’t use multiple layers of logins and downloading unless absolutely necessary to protect the privacy of your document. 4) Keep language simple; say what you you’re looking for without lots of adjectives. Do you think any firm has not applied for a project because they’ve self-assessed and decided they just aren’t “collaborative” or “innovative” enough? 5) When bulk emailing – make sure you curate a list of targeted individuals and/or organizations before sending. Don’t send emails to every person you’ve ever contacted, if you’re only looking for a firm to work on an HVAC system! All of us working in the AEC industry are feeling a little overwhelmed right now, so help each other out by being clear in your communications and doing what it takes to make sure your email doesn’t end up in the spam box! CHRISTINA ZWEIG NIEHUES is Zweig Group’s director of research and e-commerce. She can be reached at

Tel: 800-466-6275 Fax: 800-842-1560

Email: Online: Twitter: Facebook: Group-1030428053722402

Published continuously since 1992 by Zweig Group, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA. ISSN 1068-1310. Issued weekly (48 issues/year) $250 for one-year print subscription; free electronic subscription at © Copyright 2021, Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




Too much of a good thing can lead to a crisis for you and your staff and dissatisfaction for your clients. Too much business development?

M arketing and business development are fickle things. The rules say you’re supposed to be doing them all the time, especially when your firm is at its busiest, because you need to continue to fill the pipeline, right? But when does it get to be just too much? When does delivering projects, engaging your staff, meeting new prospects, recruiting new team members, and selling more work turn into a crisis?

Kraig Kern

I just returned from my first vacation in more than two years. As an avid traveler, my wife and I usually take at least one epic vacation every year, sometimes two. But I hadn’t left my own city (except for work) since September 2019. Unknown to pretty much everyone, before departure, I had been experiencing severe neck pain, debilitating headaches, and general malaise for more than three months. I was worried that something was seriously wrong, but I’m notoriously stubborn about going to the doctor. Then something wonderful happened. By the third morning of my time out west, sitting on the balcony of our Airbnb drinking coffee

and overlooking a valley near Arches National Park in Utah, all of those issues disappeared. I felt better than I had in months. It was then I realized that all of the negative news, the fear of COVID, the apps on my phone, and the fact I had been running at 150 percent capacity at work since 2019 contributed to how I was feeling. In short, as someone who usually is healthy, I was experiencing classic symptoms of extreme stress and burnout, and it was affecting me mentally and physically. The PTO couldn’t have come at a better time. One could argue it might have saved my life.

See KRAIG KERN, page 4



ON THE MOVE WARE MALCOMB ANNOUNCES LEADERSHIP PROMOTIONS IN PHOENIX OFFICE Ware Malcomb , an award-winning international design firm, today announced Matt Kuehn has been promoted to director, Civil Engineering and Braden Blake, AIA has been promoted to studio manager, Architecture, both in the firm’s Phoenix, Arizona office. In his role as Director, Civil Engineering, Kuehn leads the growth and management of civil engineering services for the Phoenix office. Kuehn joined Ware Malcomb in 2019 to launch the firm’s civil engineering practice in the Arizona market, and he successfully built the team, exceeding growth and business goals. He has 19 years of experience in civil engineering and land development, including surveying, feasibility studies, and design for commercial developments, residential subdivisions and infrastructure. Kuehn holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and Masters in Business Administration, both from Lawrence Technological University. He is a registered Professional Engineer in 18 states including Arizona and an active member of NAIOP Arizona and Urban Land Institute.

In Blake’s role as studio manager, Architecture, he helps lead the Phoenix team and manage select projects. Blake joined Ware Malcomb in 2014 and returned in 2018 as a Project Architect, directly managing some of the most complex projects in the Phoenix region. He has more than 11 years of architectural design expertise and excels in leading projects from design through construction. Blake has diverse project experience including corporate office, industrial, restaurant, retail, mixed-use, cultural and performing arts. A licensed architect in the state of Arizona, Blake holds a bachelor’s degree in design and a master’s degree in architecture from Arizona State University. He is a member of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, American Institute of Architects Arizona chapter and the NAIOP Arizona Developing Leaders program. “Matt and Braden have both demonstrated outstanding leadership and a strong commitment to our clients,” said Kevin Evernham, Principal of Ware Malcomb’s Phoenix office. “Matt has successfully grown our civil practice, and Braden has become an invaluable leader in our architecture studio.”

“Since joining the firm a few years ago, Matt has built a strong team to deliver civil engineering services across the Phoenix region. We look forward to his continued leadership and mentorship supporting the growth of Ware Malcomb’s civil engineering services,” said Tom Jansen, Principal. Established in 1972, Ware Malcomb is a contemporary and expanding full service design firm providing professional architecture, planning, interior design, civil engineering, branding and building measurement services to corporate, commercial/residential developer and public/institutional clients throughout the world. 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/institutional facilities and renovation projects. Ware Malcomb is recognized as an Inc. 5000 fastest-growing private company and a Hot Firm by Zweig Group. The firm is also ranked among the top 15 architecture/engineering firms in Engineering News-Record’s Top 500 Design Firms.

KRAIG KERN, from page 3

clients. Of course, most of that success has been due to excellent pre-positioning and relationship building. But I would argue some of it comes from the clients’ need to move projects forward, but their usual consultant has been too busy, understaffed, or underperforming. In the consumer world, experts call that “forced trial.” In a LifePoints U.S. consumer survey during 2020, for instance, diaper buyers told researchers they were forced to try a different brand because of product shortages – and only 43 percent said they would return to their regular brand when available. So keeping clients (and staff) happy and loyal will continue to be a challenge in this “new normal” world we live in. Our competitors are moving in on our client base and vice versa, and once the infrastructure bill is passed, who knows what kind of workload and staff shortages firms will find themselves in. Short-term gains are not worth your long-term relationships. You must continue to take care of yourself and recognize signs of stress and burnout. Being proactive and communicating with your team about the need to pause occasionally to ensure that needs are being met is the best way to make sure that clients (and staff) stay with you. When you run at 150 percent or more, that’s when mistakes start happening that can affect your relationships. If you are on the edge like I was, talk it out with someone, especially your boss and other trusted team members, because chances are they are feeling the same way, and there’s no better feeling than when people listen, understand, and empathize. KRAIG C. KERN, CPSM is vice president and director of marketing at WK Dickson. Contact him at

What does my story have to do with marketing? Simple. I know I’m not alone. If you are reading this, my guess is you can relate to what I was feeling because 99 percent of the population is likely feeling the same way. And the result is tension, impatience, a short temper, missed deadlines, and feeling overwhelmed. All of that translates into performance issues that could affect your relationships with your team members and how well you deliver the client experience. “The result is tension, impatience, a short temper, missed deadlines, and feelings of being overwhelmed. All of that translates into performance issues that could affect your relationships with your team members and how well you deliver the client experience.” Creating the best client experience is critical to reinforce brand loyalty. But, unfortunately, the past two years’ business closures, worker shortages, construction material scarcities, supply chain disruptions, and other economic constraints have often resulted in clients’ inability to work with their first choice of consultant. In my company’s case, that can be a blessing and a curse because being busy is great for business, but it can also lead to unintended issues down the road. In 2021, we have been fortunate to capture dozens of new

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.


2022 Learning Opportunities

Learning is your competitive advantage. Zweig Group is your life-long learning provider of choice.

IN-PERSON SEMINARS FEB 17-18 Leadership Skills for AEC Professionals New Orleans, LA MAR 10-11 Project Management & Advanced PM for AEC Professionals Tampa, FL


Project Management Time TBD

FEB 1, 8, 15, 22

Elevating Doer-Sellers 11am-1pmCT

FEB 22, 24, + MAR 1, 3, 8, 10

MAR 30-31 Elevating Doer-Sellers Scottsdale, AZ

The Principals Academy Time TBD

APR 7-8

ElevateHER Kickoff Dallas, TX

JUL 12, 19, 26 + AUG 2

Leadership Skills for AEC Professionals 11am-12:30pmCT

APR 21-22 CEO Roundtable Napa Valley, CA


APR 28-29 M&A Next

Charleston, SC

Survey Report Webinar Time TBD

MAY 19-20 CFO Roundtable TBD

JUN 23-24 The Principals Academy Miami, FL SEP 14-16 ElevateAEC Conference & ElevateHER Symposium Las Vegas, NV

Register TODAY!

Have questions? Want more information? Interested in a discounted group rate? Interested in In-House Training? Contact

*All events subject to change

Zweig Group is an approved provider by the AIA & SHRM



Focus on others: Mitch Fortner President of KSA (Longview, TX), an industry leader that provides a broad range of engineering, architecture, planning, surveying, and construction management services.


F ortner is dedicated to fostering growth and improving KSA’s ability to provide quality consulting services to the clients in each of its service groups. He’s also working to find ways to channel employee ambition into areas that are mutually productive for the company and satisfying for the employee. “Focus on others is a huge part of what it looks like to be a successful leader in any endeavor,” Fortner says. “It can take many forms, but helping others around us to do their very best is a great way to multiply your contribution to the organization.” A CONVERSATION WITH MITCH FORTNER. The Zweig Letter: You started with KSA in 1984 and became president in 2016. What’s the key to your longevity with the firm and what do you feel are some of the most valuable on-the-job skills you’ve learned along the way? Why?

Mitch Fortner: My father worked for one company for 42 years as a surveyor, so I’m still short of that family record. I think one of the keys to longevity with a firm is a willingness to look beyond short-term internal conflict and to recognize the value of teamwork. One of the benefits of staying with one firm for a long time can be increased career opportunities. Frankly, you can become very valuable if you understand the history of what has worked and what hasn’t worked within your company and if you thoroughly understand the culture of your organization and what makes it great. Firm stability creates resilience. Organizations learn from experience, and as you navigate issues together, you can become better at navigating similar issues moving forward, creating a stronger company. TZL: Trust is essential. How do you earn the trust of your clients?



MF: Trust is earned by demonstrating consistent integrity and respect. As it relates to client relationships, trust is built by honoring our word, taking our work seriously, managing expectations, and proactively communicating. Assuming a leadership posture during a project rather than being reactive is also key. “Trust is earned by demonstrating consistent integrity and respect. As it relates to client relationships, trust is built by honoring our word, taking our work seriously, TZL: What role does your family play in your career? Are work and family separate, or is there overlap? MF: My wife has played a huge role in my career. First, she has always understood that client work doesn’t necessarily stop at 5 p.m. Throughout my career, she’s been extremely understanding and accommodating when I need to travel and when I need to work after normal business hours to meet deadlines and keep our team moving forward. In addition, she has a degree in marketing and her “people skills” are far superior to mine. There have been many times when she’s helped me to understand someone else’s perspective. That’s helped me to make better business decisions. She enjoys knowing what’s going on with my work, so there is some overlap there. But I do work hard to create margin and shut work down and enjoy my family time as well. TZL: What skills are required to run a successful practice? What do you wish you knew starting out that you know now? MF: For the first half of my career, I think I overvalued my contributions to the organization and undervalued the contributions of others. Time has a way of dealing with that type of arrogance, but honestly, I wish I could take a mulligan on those early years. I now know that I would have been far more successful if I had been more encouraging and looked harder for ways to promote others and to help others around me to succeed. Focus on others is a huge part of what it looks like to be a successful leader in any endeavor. It can take many forms, but helping others around us to do their very best is a great managing expectations, and proactively communicating.”

way to multiply your contribution to the organization. I’ve also come to believe that there’s much more room for workplace flexibility today. I’m proud that KSA has adopted a workplace flexibility program that provides the opportunity for employees and supervisors to develop custom flexible work plans. TZL: It is often said that people leave managers, not companies. What are you doing to ensure that your line leadership are great people managers? MF: We’re in a hyper-competitive market for talent today. Recruiting and retention is critical for every firm leader I know. It’s important that the people we select as supervisors understand that they need to work with their direct reports in full alignment with our core values which include mutual respect, consistent integrity, collaborative teamwork, commitment to excellence, and future focus. When we live those values out, we’re much more likely to be the kind of supervisor who someone wants to work with. But more specifically, we provide leadership development training through KSA University that targets this issue directly. One of the areas that we consider in annual performance reviews is how well our supervisors are leading their teams. “Firm stability creates resilience. Organizations learn from experience, and as you navigate issues together, you can become better at navigating similar issues moving forward, creating a stronger company.” TZL: How are you balancing investment in the next generation – which is at an all-time high – with rewards for tenured staff? This has always been a challenge, but seems heightened as investments in development have increased. MF: I don’t think the two are necessarily mutually exclusive. It’s important that all employees relate the profitability and financial health of the company to their profit-sharing rewards. That’s one of the benefits of a monthly, open-book management meeting and a quarterly profit-sharing program. All generations benefit from that type of program.

HEADQUARTERS: Longview, TX NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 151 YEAR FOUNDED: 1978 OFFICE LOCATIONS: ❚ ❚ Amarillo, TX ❚ ❚ Austin, TX ❚ ❚ Longview, TX ❚ ❚ Lufkin, TX

❚ ❚ McKinney, TX ❚ ❚ Norman, OK

❚ ❚ San Angelo, TX ❚ ❚ Shreveport, LA ❚ ❚ Sugar Land, TX ❚ ❚ Tyler, TX SERVICES: ❚ ❚ Municipal services ❚ ❚ Aviation ❚ ❚ Architecture ❚ ❚ Federal services ❚ ❚ Surveying ❚ ❚ UAS services ❚ ❚ Land development

❚ ❚ Projects ❚ ❚ Airports ❚ ❚ Architecture

❚ ❚ Municipal ❚ ❚ Surveying ❚ ❚ Land development


© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

EMBER 6, 2021, ISSUE 1419


FOCUS ON OTHERS, from page 7

Also, we’re investing heavily in career development and education at KSA, but I believe our program benefits all the participants, including our internal instructors. If you look at the organization as a whole, the idea of investing in career development of the next generation benefits everyone. Those of us in the boomer generation cannot do this on our own. We need one another to be successful. TZL: Since you’ve been president, what’s the one thing you are most proud of implementing or changing within the firm? Why? MF: I’m not solely responsible for any of the changes that we’ve implemented at KSA over the last six years, but rather we’ve made some major changes as a unified team. I really cannot limit it to just one change. The first is our company mission: “We Build People Who Build the Future.” I love that focus and I think it directly addresses one of the greatest challenges in our industry today – recruiting and retention. Another change that our employees have welcomed is the move to become an open- book management firm. We embrace transparency and this paradigm really fits our company culture. Third, we migrated from a geography-based, organizational structure to a matrix structure that creates a stronger internal focus on our clients. This change really helped us to overcome a problem with organizational silos and made KSA more competitive in the marketplace. And finally, I’m very proud of our career development program, KSA University. It’s a robust and unique program that I believe demonstrates our commitment to our company’s mission. “It’s a mistake to try to model a company around what other companies are doing. The key is to create a competitive advantage in the marketplace and have the right people in place to sell and provide the service.” TZL: Who are you admiring right now in the AEC industry? Where do you see thought leadership and excellence? MF: I’m in my second year of being part of an AEC CEO mastermind program. A few of us from around the country meet once a month via Zoom. The meeting starts with a hot industry topic presentation by our facilitator and then each of us has an allocated amount of time to bring up topics for group discussion. I’ve come to admire and respect each of those leaders. On a broader basis, if you look at our industry overall, I have a tremendous admiration for everyone who does project and client management well. If you think about it, that is where the magic happens in our business. Our projects are incredibly consequential and typically very visible. Delivering high quality projects that exceed the expectations of our clients and the public requires an extraordinary amount of effort, skill, leadership, and dedication. And finally, I would encourage everyone to listen to Ellen

Construction of a new wastewater treatment plant designed by KSA in Bastrop, Texas.

Bensky with Turner Fleischer Architects in Toronto. I believe she has a revolutionary understanding of how to help the next generation of employees in the AEC industry to thrive. The academy that they created within their firm helped to inspire KSA University. 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? MF: When I graduated from Texas A&M in 1984, I was fortunate to have multiple role models at KSA. But, if I had to name just one, it would be Joncie Young, P.E., who was KSA’s president for 20 years before I became president. I’ve learned more about business, life, and people in general from him than just about anyone. It didn’t happen through a formal mentorship program, but by just working alongside each other over a long period of time. TZL: They say failure is a great teacher. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve had to learn the hard way? MF: When I first became president, my vision was to increase the diversity of our services and the markets that we work in. I pushed to make that happen too quickly, and we invested corporate resources in some areas where we couldn’t seem to gain traction. We lost a good bit of money trying to do things that we couldn’t sell. Lesson learned? It’s a mistake to try to model a company around what other companies are doing. The key is to create a competitive advantage in the marketplace and have the right people in place to sell and provide the service. Just because there’s a lot of work in a certain market doesn’t mean that your firm can be positioned to win it or do it. Develop and exploit your own company’s competitive advantages in the marketplace. If you are very successful in a few markets, market saturation can be easier and more profitable than market diversification. We’ve proven that over the last three to four years. Another lesson learned through that experience is the value of strategic planning and involving as many people as you can in the process. We developed a very good strategic plan about three years ago, and we’re seeing much fruit from those efforts.

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




To succeed in building a new business line, you need to set your ego aside, believe in yourself, and trust your team with your vision. Building an AEC business line

I t was the fall of 2014 when one of the founders of Patel, Greene, and Associates, LLC called me out of the blue and offered me a simple proposition: Start a new structures group for PGA. Sounds simple, but it meant leaving one of the oldest and most stable AEC firms in the country that was providing me a career path with future growth, albeit at a slow and steady pace.

Joseph Losaria

After discussions with my wife, family, and friends, I decided to take the risk and try the challenge. Why? I wanted to build something that I ultimately believed in and loved, a structures group with a future and vision that I had direct influence on. Looking back seven years later, I think the simple fact that I believed and loved the business line I was tasked with building countered all the risks and challenges that came with it. To succeed in building an AEC business line, ignore the ego that can come with the challenge and ask yourself, is this something I believe in and love? Believing is two-fold, it means believing in yourself and believing in what you are about to do. Believing in what you are about to do means defining your mission right up front. My mission

early on was understanding that good engineering doesn’t come from one person alone. I knew intuitively for our group to be successful, I needed to bring colleagues who shared the same culture and vision. Recruiting talent is not enough; you have to bring people who believe and share your vision. We also made sure we didn’t grow nor hire too fast. We actually recruited some younger staff from other existing business lines within the company rather than hiring external staff initially. A cohesive group is really important in starting any AEC business line. Remember, sharing the same vision is the key for successful teamwork. Also, the initial core of our structures group were past colleagues from previous companies I had worked at. Eventually you do have to go outside




BUSINESS NEWS WESTWOOD ANNOUNCES NEW CHARITABLE FOUNDATION, WESTWOOD GIVES Westwood Professional Services, Inc. is pleased to announce the creation of the Westwood GIVES, a 501c3 charitable foundation. Westwood GIVES represents the heart of Westwood’s employees and serves as a platform for extending additional resources to causes and needs most important to the team. The mission of Westwood GIVES is to enrich, engage, and impact the world through three pillars of giving: ❚ ❚ Health and Wellbeing (Enrich). Enrich the lives of children, veterans, and the elderly through financial support for effective therapies and cures for chronic illness and disease, as well as sustenance, clothing, and shelter for those in need. ❚ ❚ Professional Industry Support (Engage). Engage students and fund scholarships for a variety of relevant professional and technical fields. Support high school

level STEM programming with the goal of exposing students to Westwood’s variety of professions and potential career paths that could enhance their future. ❚ ❚ Building and Infrastructure (Impact). Positively impact disadvantaged communities and families by providing

Westwood is a leading multi-disciplined AEC industry professional services provider for national wind energy, solar energy, power delivery, private development, and public infrastructure projects. Westwood was established in 1972 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Through a focus on its people, culture, and clients, Westwood has quickly expanded to serve clients across the nation from multiple U.S. offices. View more Westwood facts. In 2021, Westwood placed No. 4 and No. 21 respectively on Zweig Group’s national Hot Firms’ and Best Firms To Work For Lists, and received two 2nd place awards for Zweig Group’s Marketing Excellence. Westwood also ranked consistently higher four years in a row on the Engineering News Record list as a leading design firm in the country. The firm consistently ranks on industry top 25 lists and receives recognition for its involvement on award-winning projects nationwide.

financial support for organizations that build homes, schools, and the infrastructure to support safe and sustainable living.

Paul Greenhagen, Westwood’s CEO/ President, and Westwood GIVES’ Chairman of the Board sees this as the firm’s logical next phase of giving, “As Westwood has grown, we’ve empowered our people to take a proactive role in giving back at the local level. This has resulted in even more inspiring stories of our team’s ability to touch and improve lives throughout the country, and internationally. And yet, as a team, we continually desire to do more. Westwood GIVES will help us achieve that.”

JOSEPH LOSARIA, from page 9

often turned out to be even better projects. Heck, maybe you should partner with the firm that beat you to actually enhance your next pursuit! Leadership is also important in starting a new AEC business line. Your decisions and approach as a leader either work or they don’t. The one key leadership approach that has helped me in starting a structures group is a simple one: Empathy. Leaders need to inspire, and you cannot inspire others without empathy. Look to your staff, ask them questions, and, above all, listen! You’d be surprised at the ideas that your own staff generate. When you think you know the solution, ask others, and get feedback. Not only could you find a better approach, but the morale boost to your group brought about by empathy is invaluable. The last lesson in starting a new AEC business line is humility. We never let the success we did eventually have, outgrow the vision that got us there. There is always a better way to do things and there will always be someone better than you. Never let success overshadow your humble beginnings. PGA will continue to grow, but early on, we realized the importance of culture and how humility has made us successful. It will be a challenge as companies grow to keep that culture, but I think humility within company leadership is key. Never forget, the asset of an AEC firm lies within the people that make that firm. So here we are seven years later, continuing to take risks, but never forgetting to believe in ourselves and keeping that vision that has brought us here today. So, if you’re faced with the same scenario in your career at some point, take the risk, believe in yourself, love what you do, and you’ll do just fine. JOSEPH LOSARIA is structures group manager and a principal/VP at Patel, Greene, and Associates, LLC. Contact him at joseph.losaria@

your network of contacts, but even though hiring talent with the right skills is important, they need to have a similar vision for the task at hand. Our vision was to engineer solutions based on integrity, commitment, and excellence, while maintaining a cohesive internal culture. Believing in yourself is equally important. Within days of starting at PGA, I had to find skills within myself well beyond engineering numbers and designing bridges. I had to learn about marketing, networking, sales, business financials, and a whole slew of things that were not taught in engineering school. But that faith in myself that I would emerge a better and stronger person led to personal discoveries that exceeded my wildest expectations. “Looking back seven years later, I think the simple fact that I believed and loved the business line I was tasked with building countered all the risks and challenges that came with it.” The journey to get to where our structures group is now, a staff of thirteen professionals, was no bed of roses. Failures, (many failures) happened along the way. Lost proposals, sleepless nights, and just getting beat by other AEC firms that have been doing this a lot longer was common. In the end, failures don’t define us. Wear your failures like a badge of honor. Every time we lost a proposal, we debriefed and listened to the winning team. What better way to rise than to learn from your mistakes? Again, set your ego aside and use failure to learn. Some of those lost pursuits were actually blessings in disguise since it prepared us for the next winning pursuit, which

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




There is no magic bullet

T hese days, if you follow or participate in any business social media like I do – and I’m speaking particularly about LinkedIn and Twitter – you will be constantly barraged with content from a wide variety of business and leadership “experts.” Lord knows, I put out a lot of it myself. If you’re running a business, you have to pick and choose carefully what information you consume and how you process and employ it in your own business.

Mark Zweig

It wasn’t always like this. We used to have to really search for this kind of stuff pre-internet. You could subscribe to certain magazines or hear about a book from a friend, or go to the library and physically search through the obscure management journals if there was something specific you were looking for information on. Today, all you have to do is get on the right social media platform and quickly be overwhelmed. There is just so much out there. While it’s great that there is so much free information, too much of it in my opinion offers up what I would call a magic bullet for whatever problems or issues you are facing. It sounds so simple. “Do these eight things,” or “Do these five things” and everything will be perfect.

But the truth is, it rarely works like that. Things just aren’t that simple. The people involved and their relationships with each other and their individual histories – and the company, and how it started and grew and what its history is of successes and failures – all greatly affect what you need to do and how you need to do it to solve whatever problem the organization is facing or capitalize on whatever opportunity the company has in front of it. This oversimplification is tempting to embrace. Who doesn’t want a simple set of steps and a plan to follow? We all could be tempted by that. The fact is, it’s easy to be seduced by the people and the ideas they espouse.

See MARK ZWEIG, page 12



BUSINESS NEWS UCLA PRITZKER HALL PROJECT WRAPS; TANGRAM DESIGNS NEWLY RENOVATED PSYCHOLOGY TOWER UCLA Pritzker Hall, formerly known as Franz Hall, located in Los Angeles, CA is an eight- story building plus three basement levels that house a large psychiatry complex. The UCLA Psychology department received a $30 million commitment in 2020 from the Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation to fund the renovation and tower upgrades. The building was named Pritzker Hall in recognition of the gift. Pritzker Hall is home to the Psychology Undergraduate program, one of the largest at the university. The tower was originally completed in 1967 by famed architect, Paul Revere Williams and has received minor changes since then. CO Architects enlisted Tangram Interiors to provide attractive research and collaboration spaces and modernized classrooms fitted for learning and research. Along with functional updates desired throughout, an upgraded aesthetic that would attract and retain employees and students was the priority. In addition to classroom upgrades, private offices, updated research labs and active learning classrooms, a variety of collaborative spaces were requested. Tangram worked closely with CO Architects to complete the LEED Platinum Certified two-year project installation. The renovated double-height lobby highlights the original architectural elements exemplified through contemporary finishes and student- oriented furniture choices. The space has multiple study and lounge areas fit for both individual and collaborative needs. A variety of seating options were provided throughout the lobby including, the Steelcase Joel lounge chair, Circa lounge seating and Montara chairs. Steelcase Bassline coffee tables along with Avelina meeting tables by Arcadia were used in various locations. The structural waffle

slab of the second floor and the marble-clad walls within the lobby and mezzanine renew the study and student space with ample light and an open concept. Upgraded research space was designed to achieve both state-of-the-art and functionality features(this sentence feels awkward to me). The dry research areas were customized to fit specialized equipment, modular furnishings, and shared testing rooms. The shareable testing spaces received a sectional approach for small and large research teams to utilize the space. Wet labs were designed to be a shareable space, and were equipped with modular benches to support specialized, hands-on work. Furniture used for these areas were Steelcase Cobi chairs, Universal tables and storage along with Currency mobile pedestals. The clinic research spaces were designed and outfitted to serve students and the community. These areas now have waiting areas and observation corridors along with digital control rooms. Student-oriented elements and active learning classrooms with ample collaboration space were woven into the elemental design of the space. Each classroom can house up to 300 students and required capabilities to support evolving courses and grade levels. Therefore, technology-driven spaces with flexible seating, movable furniture and team-focused learning was best suited for the classrooms. In conjunction with the new research spaces, Pritzker Hall supports faculty research in areas including anxiety and depression; substance abuse and addiction; human relationships; stress, resilience and health; neuroscience; and cognition and consciousness with a need for flexible classrooms. Many upgraded conference rooms throughout the eight-story building were thoughtfully designed to also support collaboration and academic research. The technologically advanced rooms were

fitted with Steelcase FrameOne tables, Potrero tables, and Montara chairs. “UCLA Psychology students and faculty alike are humbled by the thoughtfully designed Pritzker Hall renovation project,” said Victoria Sork, Dean of life sciences. “CO Architects together with Tangram, were able to honor the building’s history while providing the needed cutting-edge facelift. From the collaborative spaces throughout to the newage research labs, the innovative furniture and overall execution of design gives our program renewed confidence as one of the top psychology departments in the United States.” Pritzker Hall was awarded the Westside Urban Forum Merit Award in the public/institutional category. The project was recognized for its emphasis on collaboration between students and faculty, while elevating the program’s candor and highly sought after psychology programs. Los Angeles-based CO Architects is nationally recognized for architectural planning, programming and design in the higher education, science & technology, civic and healthcare sectors, and works with leading institutions from coast to coast. In 35 years of practice, CO Architects has led innovative and successful projects in 29 states and the UK. The firm’s specialized expertise includes transformative projects for schools of medicine and the health professions, advanced research and teaching laboratories, leading- edge museums and civic landmarks, and innovative clinical facilities on higher education, healthcare and urban campuses. Tangram Interiors collaborates with clients as a creative partner to create and manage interior environments that enhance the client’s brand and culture through the expert integration of technology, furniture, flooring, and service solutions.

own business. Not all sources have equal value and not all recipes will work with your particular situation. The “art of management” requires you to be discriminating and thoughtful in terms of how you use all this stuff. If there is a use for it, you need to decide what that is. You also need to be wary of how every change you want to make will be perceived by your people – most of whom won’t have the same perspective that you have. MARK ZWEIG is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at “While it’s great that there is so much free information, too much of it in my opinion offers up what I would call a magic bullet for whatever problems or issues you are facing.”

MARK ZWEIG, from page 11

There are some people out there – some of the largest “consumers” of this kind of information – who are “management junkies,” for lack of a better term. And while I respect their constant quest for how to do things better – because that in itself is admirable – I don’t appreciate the schizophrenia that comes from it. I also know how costly it can be to the leader’s credibility with their people when they go from one trendy initiative to the next. They (the employees) view it as a lack of consistency and a lack of some kind of substantive and comprehensive business philosophy that guides everything the leader does. I guess the point of my treatise here is that if you are running a business – let’s say an AEC business, since that is the bulk of The Zweig Letter ’s readership – you have to pick and choose carefully what information you consume and how you process it and employ it in your

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.


Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12

Made with FlippingBook Annual report