TZL 1381 (web)

Mechanical engineers – project level T R E N D L I N E S M a r c h 1 , 2 0 2 1 , I s s u e 1 3 8 1 W W W . T H E Z W E I G L E T T E R . C O M

This will inform your strategy development and ultimately allow you to build a legacy. Purpose driven leadership

T o solve the problem of soul-destroying traffic, roads must go 3D, which means either flying cars or tunnels are needed. It is December 2016, and a new company emerges that constructs safe, fast-to-dig and low-cost transportation, utility, and freight tunnels – The Boring Company created by Elon Musk. Love him, hate him, agree with him, or not, Elon Musk has accomplished some incredible things, including adding $165.5 billion in wealth in the past year, which means we should at least learn something from him. He clearly isn’t driven by the money. According to the man himself, the thing that drives him is his vision. “I think it’s important to have a future that is inspiring and appealing. There has to be reasons you get up in the morning and want to live. Why do you want to live? What’s the point? What inspires you? What do you love about the future?” — Elon Musk What is incredible to me, personally, is that when he cares about something, he goes out and finds a solution and does it. This is clearly evident on the climate front and Tesla being recognized as a purpose driven innovator breaking records in sustainable transportation, technology, and more. Musk clearly has missions with associated companies rather than companies with associated missions. He builds movements, elevates the brand, and democratizes the impact. His organizations break down barriers and demolishes silos with flat organizations, ensures everything they do is aligned with the mission, and focuses on continuous improvement. This is incredibly important for anyone to understand. You need to have purpose driven leadership throughout the organization which informs your strategy development and ultimately allows you to build a legacy. It is hard to overstate the impact of following this advice and I’ll share some numbers with you on why that is the case. I will not sugarcoat it, though, this is a much more difficult task to authentically implement than it is to state here. Purpose and profits are not fundamentally opposed to each other. This has been demonstrated empirically by research conducted through the Wharton School of Business, Harvard University, and The Great Places to Work Institute. They used more than 1.5 million employee-level observations across thousands of companies and quantified purpose as the aggregate sense of meaning and impact felt by employees of a corporation. If a company has a strong corporate purpose, its employees will feel greater meaning and impact in their jobs. In the data, companies with a high level of purpose outperform the market by 5 percent to 7 percent per year, on par with companies with best-in-class

Zweig Group’s 2021 Total Compensation Benchmarking Tool gives employee profiles for over a hundred job titles in AEC firms across the country. This scatter plot comes directly from the tool, showing total compensation for Project Level Mechanical Engineers by years of experience. Exactly half of the engineers in this data set were between the age of 26 and 35. 82 percent of these workers received a bonus and 35 percent collected overtime pay. 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 Blackstone Environmental, Inc.. ............12 Dewberry................................................4 HOK. ......................................................2 SCS Engineers........................................4 Shive-Hattery..........................................6 Ware Malcomb......................................10 MO R E A R T I C L E S xz EDUARDO SMITH: Develop your strategic thinking Page 3 xz Leading change: Jennifer Bennett Page 6 xz MARK ZWEIG: We all want to make an impact Page 9 xz ANNE MELIA & NICOLLE SCHELLER: Dedicated marketing staff Page 11

Phil Keil

See PHIL KEIL, page 2



BUSINESS NEWS HOK LAUNCHES HOK TAPESTRY, AN ONLINE PORTAL FOR ASSEMBLING DIVERSE PROJECT TEAMS HOK is furthering its leadership role in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry with the creation of HOK Tapestry. The online portal allows businesses seeking to collaborate with HOK to upload their profile and qualifications into the database HOK uses to assemble project teams. Information entered in HOK Tapestry will enable HOK project managers to curate the best partnering firms based on the client’s specific project goals. With HOK Tapestry, HOK seeks to expand its list of potential partners and bring greater equity to its project teams. “The HOK Tapestry platform allows us to accomplish many goals,” said Kimberly Dowdell, director of business development for HOK’s Chicago studio. “It will improve our productivity, strengthen our project teams, fulfill clients’ needs and advance diversity within the profession.” HOK Tapestry is for all project collaborators – from small businesses andminority- and women- owned enterprises to large organizations that HOK has partnered with in the past. Businesses

registered with HOK Tapestry will also be invited to participate in programming designed to help HOK’s partner firms build capacity and expand future business opportunities. “HOK Tapestry continues our firm’s history of being a smart and supportive partner for our clients and project collaborators,” said HOK Chairman and CEO Bill Hellmuth. “We look forward to seeing how the tool will continue our legacy of pushing the industry forward.” HOK Tapestry is now open for registration at Tapestry partnership discussions and educational programming will begin later this spring. HOK is a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm. The firm’s 1,600 people collaborate across a network of 23 offices on three continents. HOK designs buildings and spaces that respond to the needs of people and the environment. The firm’s designers are rooted in technical excellence, driven by imagination and focused on a solitary goal: to deliver solutions that inspire clients and communities.

This webinar was specifically developed to help design and technical professionals in archi- tecture, engineering, planning, and environmental firms become more comfortable managing cli- ents and promoting the firm and its services. Led by two retired and current CEOs with extensive experience from the design desk to the board room, this one-of-a- kind webinar presents business development techniques proven to drive real growth and value in your AEC firm. Elevating Doer- Sellers Virtual Seminar 6 PDH/LU



PHIL KEIL, from page 1

governance and innovation capabilities. They also grow faster and have a higher profitability. This, however, is only successful if senior level management can successfully infuse that purpose throughout the organization and especially the middle management. This outcome is also supported by the performance of the winners of Zweig Group’s Best Firms To Work For Award. While a higher purpose does not guarantee economic benefits, the Gartenberg study – which included 500,000 people across 429 firms and involved 917 firm-year observations from 2006 to 2011 – suggests a positive impact on both operating financial performance (return on assets) and forward-looking measures of performance (Tobin’s Q and stock returns). Therefore, we are not simply discussing a lofty ideal, but one that has practical implications for your firm’s financial health and competitiveness. This can be transformational for your organization. Below, you will find an eight-step framework that can help you overcome the “transactional” view of employee motivation (i.e., compensation and pay). 1) Envision an inspired and motivated workforce 2) Uncover your purpose 3) Make sure you are authentic 4) Communicate the message constantly 5) Stimulate individual learning 6) Turn mid-level management into purpose-driven leaders 7) Connect your people and behaviors to the purpose 8) Unleash the positive power of the entire firm through typically unrecognized change agents As always, we enjoy hearing from you. Tell us what you think and get in contact with us if you’d like our help in putting these ideas into practice. PHIL KEIL is director of strategy services at Zweig Group. Contact him at

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Strategic thinking enables us to enlarge the value and impact of our work, connecting it much more than a technical solution. Develop your strategic thinking

A s the landscape of the AEC industry changes to adapt to the “next normal,” we are having less direct contact with our clients and are in some cases seeing tightening budgets and increasing competition. In the past, we may have been able to retain clients primarily because of personal relationships, but delivering business value will increasingly be the key to strengthening client relationships and maintaining loyalty.

Eduardo Smith

To consistently deliver business value, we will need to develop our strategic thinking ability. When planning a project, most of us are inclined to see a technical problem in need of a technical solution. Yet the client is more likely to see a technical problem that creates business impacts, thus requiring a technical solution that delivers business results. That’s not a natural perspective for many technical practitioners. We’re generally more comfortable describing technical scopes of work and solutions. Our brains tend to be hardwired for focused analytical problem solving. Thus our strategic thinking muscles can atrophy from underuse. I read a lot about leadership, culture, the client experience, and the like, much of it specific to

the AEC industry. When strategic thinking is discussed, it’s usually related to corporate or marketplace strategy. Rarely do I read about strategic thinking in the context of project delivery, especially as it relates to our profession. That would explain why many clients these days see our services as a commodity and see us as order-takers rather than consultants. Perhaps it also explains why industry multipliers on labor have come down over the years while the cost of living continues to increase. Well, perhaps I’ll dive into that another day. Suffice it to say, if we are going to focus on delivering business value, we have to use our strategic thinking muscles to develop strategic, valuable solutions.




BUSINESS NEWS NORTH CAROLINA STATE PORTS AUTHORITY SELECTS DEWBERRY FOR LIMITED SERVICES CONTRACT Dewberry , a privately held professional service firm, has announced that it has been awarded an on-call contract by the North Carolina State Ports Authority for professional services, valued at approximately $750,000. Under the contract, Dewberry may provide port engineering services, including structural investigations or analyses of wharf, mooring, and breasting structures; design of repairs and modifications to existing wharf structures, mooring systems, and on-dock rails; design of security and surveillance infrastructure; federal and state level grants; electrical infrastructure, including high-mast lighting systems; condition assessments; and more.

Additionally, provide environmental services, including mapping of plant and animal communities throughout NCSPA properties; development of national and state analysis and regulatory compliance documents; erosion and sediment control plans; spatial acquisitions of natural and social features; analysis of existing NCSPA water distribution systems and sanitary sewer collection systems; and more. the firm may “In accordance with NCSPA’s 21st century strategic vision and targeted investments, the organization is on track to become the fastest- growing U.S. container port complex by the end of the decade,” says Dewberry Project Manager Matthew Payne, PE, PMP. “Our team of port and intermodal experts is excited to have the opportunity to work with NCSPA

to expand and improve its infrastructure in an effort to help them achieve these goals.” Dewberry is a leading, market-facing firm with a proven history of providing professional services to a wide variety of public- and private-sector clients. Recognized for combining unsurpassed commitment to client service with deep subject matter expertise, Dewberry is dedicated to solving clients’ most complex challenges and transforming their communities. Established in 1956, Dewberry is headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, with more than 50 locations and more than 2,000 professionals nationwide.

EDUARDO SMITH, from page 3

overall success. People needs relate to impacts to the client’s staff, their customers, constituents, neighbors, or society at large. Technical needs are, of course, our specialty. But we want to guard against blind spots in our technical assessment where problems extend beyond our areas of expertise. We’ll seek outside help if necessary. ❚ ❚ Outcomes before strategy. Project success is realized by achieving specific outcomes, which need to be defined before shaping project strategy. In our profession, we have a tendency to define project success as a sound technical solution delivered on time and within budget. At SCS, we’re pushing our staff to connect their work (and definition of success) to the client’s ultimate return on investment. Thus, we can’t outline a sufficient strategy until we clearly understand what the project needs to achieve. ❚ ❚ Strategy before scope. Experienced technical professionals can produce a detailed scope of work rather quickly. And that’s part of the problem. Without a project strategy that weaves our technical approach and solution together with client goals and ROI, we tend to revert to simply doing what we’ve done before – often without understanding what it is we’re really supposed to accomplish. No wonder clients often treat us as a commodity. Strategy defines the larger project narrative that positions us to deliver distinctive value to clients. ❚ ❚ Clients before projects. Like most every other firm in this business, SCS could be described as a project-delivery company. That’s what we do. But it’s important to recognize that projects are not really the focus of what we do. They are merely the means to an end – satisfying our client’s needs and aspirations. Strategic thinking in the context of projects unavoidably puts the client at the center. By contrast, when we become consumed with the details of executing the project, we can easily lose sight of why we’re doing the project in the first place. Strategic thinking enables us to enlarge the value and impact of our work, connecting it much more than a technical solution. That’s why developing more of it in our firm has become a priority for me. EDUARDO SMITH, P.E. is senior vice president of client success at SCS Engineers. Contact him at

Let me clarify what I mean by strategic thinking. You can find a wide variety of definitions on the internet, but a couple of recurrent themes are apparent: 1) Seeing the big picture, and 2) focusing on desired results. Strategic thinking involves a broad examination of factors, inevitably extending beyond narrow realms of expertise. Critically, it must be viewed through the lens of the client, to the extent possible, since they define success. Strategic thinking is also necessarily driven by desired outcomes. Neither of these major themes are routinely integrated into the typical AEC project, particularly on the engineering and scientific side of the business. “When planning a project, most of us are inclined to see a technical problem in need of a technical solution. Yet the client is more likely to see a technical problem that creates business impacts, thus requiring a technical solution that delivers business results.” At SCS Engineers, we are endeavoring to strengthen our strategic thinking through a results-oriented project planning framework and in-project coaching for our project teams. We try to involve as many team members as practical, because we want to encourage strategic thinking at all levels. And we want to identify those individuals, particularly younger professionals, who show an innate ability to think strategically, so we can help them develop those skills further. The project planning framework that we’ve introduced is based on a few core principles that help promote strategic thinking. These can be summarized as follows: ❚ ❚ Problem definition at three levels. We break down client needs at the strategic, technical, and people levels, with the intent of better aligning our perspective with that of the client. Strategic needs are those that impact the client’s

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.





Elevating Doer-Sellers: Business Development for AEC Professionals – VIRTUAL SEMINAR DATE: April 6, 2021 PRICE: $699 PDH/LU: 6 Credit Hours OVERVIEW: This will be the same great content that is taught during our in-person The Principals Academy seminar that has trained over 900 attendees in the last five years. The Principals Academy is Zweig Group’s flagship training program encom- passing all aspects of managing a professional AEC service firm. Elevate your ability to lead and grow your firm with this program designed to inspire and inform existing and emerging AEC firm leaders in key areas of firm management leadership, financial management, recruiting, marketing, business development, and project management. LEARN MORE

Project Management for AEC Professionals – VIRTUAL SEMINAR DATE: April 7, 2021 PRICE: $699 PDH/LU: 6 Credit Hours LEARN MORE

OVERVIEW: Each team member brings their own unique experiences and skillset to project teams. Effectively leveraging the talents of your team can optimize team effec- tiveness. This course provides people-focused, science-driven practical skills to help project leaders harness the power of their team. By addressing the most important aspects of any project – the people – this course will provide practical techniques that can be immediately implemented for a positive impact on any AEC team or business.

The Principals Academy – VIRTUAL SEMINAR DATE: May 4, 2021 PRICE: $999 PDH/LU: 12 Credit Hours LEARN MORE

OVERVIEW: This will be the same great content that is taught during our in-person The Principals Academy seminar that has trained over 900 attendees in the last five years. The Principals Academy is Zweig Group’s flagship training program encom- passing all aspects of managing a professional AEC service firm. Elevate your ability to lead and grow your firm with this program designed to inspire and inform existing and emerging AEC firm leaders in key areas of firm management leadership, financial management, recruiting, marketing, business development, and project management.


Zweig Group is an approved provider by the American Institute of Architects (AIA).




Leading change: Jennifer Bennett President of Shive-Hattery (Cedar Rapids, IA), a multi-disciplinary architecture and engineering firm that recognizes the power of design in transforming the human experience.

By SARA PARKMAN Senior Editor

I n November, Shive-Hattery announced the election of Bennett as president of the firm. Bennett joined the design firm in 2003 and has 25 years of experience in client service, talent development, and market growth. She has a structural engineering background and previously served as the vice president and office director of Shive- Hattery’s Quad Cities location. As president, Bennett is responsible for the overall leadership, strategic planning, culture, vision, and direction of current and future operations of Shive-Hattery. “In my view, leading change is the biggest challenge for all leaders, especially within our industry where so much change is occurring,” Bennett says. “Anticipating what impacts our firm while leading change within it is something I find challenging yet also fun. I derive a lot of energy from it.” A CONVERSATION WITH JENNIFER BENNETT. The Zweig Letter: Shive-Hattery announced you as

the firm’s new president last fall. What do you most attribute to this advancement? Jennifer Bennett: Strong relationships have been an important part of my personal and professional growth. Throughout my career, I’ve had great mentors who have encouraged me to take risks, challenged me to see things differently, and supported me when things get tough. My relationship-first value aligned strongly here at Shive- Hattery. Our culture is dedicated to building relationships which is why this firm has been a good fit for me to thrive. TZL: How has COVID-19 impacted your firm’s policy on telecommuting/working remotely? JB: We had successful remote workers and supported flexible schedules prior to COVID-19, and I’m sure we’ll continue to see that trend. Our challenge post-COVID-19 will be managing the right balance for our employees and our clients:



inconvenient or outside of conventional hours. We earn being honest upfront, even when we are delivering bad news. When we are not perfect or can’t deliver on a promise, we address it head-on and work out a solution with them. This straightforward communication builds credibility which is critical to trust. TZL: What do you see as the biggest challenge in your new role? How do you anticipate easing into the transition? JB: In my view, leading change is the biggest challenge for all leaders, especially within our industry where so much change is occurring. For example, being able to go from research and development of a new technology to process to full implementation of and anchoring of that technology and process in the culture is something we need to be able to do quickly. Anticipating what impacts our firm while leading change within it is something I find challenging yet also fun. I derive a lot of energy from it. I was selected for president a year in advance of our former President Jim Lee’s departure. This allowed me more than six months to transition my previous roles and begin building the relationships I would need to be successful as president of Shive-Hattery. At roughly the six-month mark, I relocated to our corporate office and became president of Shive-Hattery with Jim remaining as chairman of the board until spring of 2021. Jim and I have six months working together before his retirement. He’s been a great mentor for me, and it’s been a smooth transition. TZL: Diversity and inclusion are lacking. What steps are you taking to address the issue? JB: We have long recognized that equity, diversity, inclusion, and engagement are drivers of innovation and so important as we strive to create the best client experience and the best experience for our people. The lack of racial/ethnic or even gender diversity in our industry can be frustrating at times when we serve such a diverse client base. We recognize that diversity is more than just racial/ ethnic or gender diversity, but also about communication styles, leadership styles, our perspectives, and the way we approach a problem. As we are creating our project teams,

❚ ❚ A balance that will allow us to continue our culture of flexibility while also supporting our strong learning, teaching, and mentoring culture which is much more effective when done face-to-face. ❚ ❚ A balance that allows the best collaboration for our teams while providing a great experience for our clients. TZL: What role does your family play in your career? Are work and family separate, or is there overlap? JB: I have a supportive family and a network of people who have supported me throughout my career. Work and family life have always been blended for me. This was especially true when our kids were young where it was about integrating one into and around the other. I rarely missed one of the kid’s baseball games or school activities regardless of time or day, but I also had times where my family sacrificed so I could deliver on a promise to a client or colleague. During the busiest and most exhausting time of my life, I had a flexible and supportive family and flexible and supportive leaders and teams in Shive- Hattery. That made all the difference for me. “During the busiest and most exhausting time of my life, I had a flexible and supportive family and flexible and supportive leaders and teams in Shive- Hattery. That made all the difference for me.” TZL: Trust is essential. How do you earn the trust of your clients? JB: Trust is at the center of our client experience. So many people struggle to build trust because they focus on themselves instead of the client. We earn the trust of our clients by focusing on them. We listen, we ask open-ended questions, we let them tell their story, and we don’t rush to a solution. To quote David Maister, “There is no greater source of distrust than advisors who appear to be more interested in themselves than in trying to be of service to the client.” We earn the trust of our clients by doing what we say we are going to do and genuinely caring about them. We are responsive and they come to rely on that because we are available to them during the times when they need us, even if it is

HEADQUARTERS: Cedar Rapids, IA NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 425 YEAR FOUNDED: 1895 NUMBER OF OFFICE LOCATIONS: 11 MARKETS: ❚ ❚ Civic & justice ❚ ❚ Commercial development ❚ ❚ Government ❚ ❚ Healthcare ❚ ❚ Higher education ❚ ❚ Hospitality & entertainment ❚ ❚ Industrial ❚ ❚ K-12 ❚ ❚ Senior living ❚ ❚ Sports ❚ ❚ Workplace SERVICES: ❚ ❚ 3D visualization ❚ ❚ Architecture ❚ ❚ Building information modeling ❚ ❚ Branded environments

❚ ❚ Building envelope ❚ ❚ Civil engineering

❚ ❚ Construction services ❚ ❚ District energy systems ❚ ❚ Electrical engineering ❚ ❚ Environmental services ❚ ❚ Interior design ❚ ❚ Landscape architecture ❚ ❚ Mechanical engineering ❚ ❚ Structural engineering ❚ ❚ Land surveying ❚ ❚ Traffic & transportation ❚ ❚ Water & wastewater ❚ ❚ Water resources


© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

RCH 1, 2021, ISSUE 1381


LEADING CHANGE, from page 7

program (LDP). Led by the president, an LDP class has about eight to 10 of our leaders or future leaders and meets six to eight times for two days over approximately an 18-month period. It’s an intense learning experience with a lot of required reading and group discussions. Our graduates learn how to serve, lead, and create lasting change in a professional service organization. We strive to make our LDP groups diverse and from all around the company. Not only do our graduates leave with common language and knowledge, but with strong relationships with each other. These bonds can remain long beyond “graduation day” and provide a network of connections for those future leadership challenges. Our employee engagement survey consistently shows our “people leaders” excel at coaching, have great people skills, listen and communicate, train and develop, and create an environment that is comfortable for expressing views and opinions and concerns. As a result, our employee retention is consistently well below industry average. TZL: Ownership transition can be tricky, to say the least. What’s the key to ensuring a smooth passing of the baton? What’s the biggest pitfall to avoid? JB: Approximately 15 percent of our employees are owners, with mandatory age-related redemptions. Ownership transitions happen every year with some stockholders selling and others becoming owners for the first time. This has created decades of smooth ownership transition. We avoid the common pitfall of a handful of principals approaching the end of their career with most of the client relationships and all the ownership. That makes a smooth and successful transition very difficult and risky whether the buyer(s) is/are internal or external. TZL: Research shows that PMs are overworked, understaffed, and that many firms do not have formal training programs for PMs. What is your firm doing to support its PMs? JB: Often I think PMs have the most challenging job in our industry. We put our book of business on their shoulders – from planning, to writing a great contract, leading the team, delivering great financial results, and do this all while delivering an exceptional client experience! Our PMs have a strong Community of Practice where they (virtually) meet monthly to discuss lessons learned, best practices, a learning topic and support each other. We have a director of project delivery at the corporate level who leads a project delivery team that supports our PMs. 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? JB: There are many things we consider when inviting new owners. We look for an ownership group with good diversity – in generation or years of experience, age, gender, and/or discipline of practice. We strongly consider market or client leaders and top-notch technical professionals. We look for people who exemplify our people and business values. As a result, our owners are a good, balanced cross section of our employees including people in their 20s and 30s.

our candidate interview teams, our tasks forces, etc., we strive to create a team of people who think differently, who approach the problem differently, and will have a different perspective. And then we make sure they all have an equal voice and are heard. If we create an environment where all can speak, be heard, and are valued contributors to the team, we create an environment and culture that is engaging, and attractive to all. It takes constant work and intent, and it starts with the leadership. As one of my EDEI mentors says, “This is a journey with no end.” TZL: Artificial intelligence and machine learning are potential disruptors across all industries. Is your firm exploring how to incorporate these technologies into providing improved services for clients? JB: Our Design Technology and Innovation group’s mission is to stay focused on what is coming next. They have been working with AI, machine learning, and data driven design for some time now. Working with our project teams, this group researches and tests technology, and develops implementation and training plans for the technology we chose to deploy. This group helps keep us future-focused whether that is on machine learning or the potentially disruptive technology that pops up next. “Strong relationships have been an important part of my personal and professional growth. Throughout my career, I’ve had great mentors who have encouraged me to take risks, challenged me to see things differently, and supported me when things get tough.” TZL: You have more than 25 years of experience in the architecture and engineering industry. What’s the greatest hurdle you’ve had to face in that time and how did you overcome it? JB: This may be more of a life lesson than a hurdle. As I look back on the evolution of my career and my personal experience growing with the firm (from part-time engineer to full-time engineer, structural group leader, industrial sector leader to becoming office director/vice president, to president), it has been so important to constantly train others for these leadership positions. A Shive-Hattery value is to work yourself out of a job. The skills/approach needed is to have the generosity to train someone else and know they will be better than you. You have to be okay with that; it’s important to learn to let go and take on new roles that add value to the organization. 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? JB: We are a very decentralized and entrepreneurial company. This culture works because of great people leaders. And by that, I mean leaders who bring out the best in people. We have an in-house leadership development

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




I don’t think any architect, engineer, or environmental consultant pursues an education in their discipline of choice and then embarks on their post-graduation career not wanting to create a real impact in their field. Yet, as brutal as this truth is, few do. How can we each achieve the lofty and satisfying position of knowing we have made a difference through our work in this business? We all want to make an impact

Mark Zweig

Why is that? It’s sad, if you think about it. Doesn’t there have to be more to life than working at a job, providing for the basic necessities of life for our families and ourselves, and accumulating a bunch of stuff? I believe so. I don’t think people are truly happy and fulfilled unless they DO make an impact. I know it’s not easy. Most of our readers work in organizations with other people. Their success is usually a collective success. That’s both good and bad. While it’s good that we routinely assemble teams to tackle very complex problems and usually succeed in doing so, it’s not so good in that that fact denies the individual their unique success based solely on their efforts. And that is critical to their self-esteem! So here we are. How can we each achieve the lofty

and satisfying position of knowing we have made a difference through our work in this business? Here are my thoughts: 1)Overcome your fear of ridicule or criticism. This is number one on my list for a reason. It paralyzes so many people. I understand that. So many times – even recently – I have poked my head up and said or done something that may run counter to popular opinion and been subject to a rash of public criticism. It’s not fun! It’s normal not to enjoy that when it happens. But you have to accept the fact that if you are trying to do something or change something you will be bound to ruffle some feathers. You cannot be crushed by that. 2)Work for GOOD clients – that means good people – who want you to do something worthwhile because they care about what is

See MARK ZWEIG, page 10



ON THE MOVE WARE MALCOMB ANNOUNCES KEITH MALLOY HAS JOINED THE FIRM AS CIVIL ENGINEERING PROJECT MANAGER IN LOS ANGELES Ware Malcomb , an award-winning international design firm, announced Keith Malloy, PE has joined Ware Malcomb’s civil engineering team as a project manager in the Los Angeles office. In this role, Malloy will oversee civil projects in the LA region. He will work closely with Luke Corsbie, Ware Malcomb director of civil engineering, who has responsibility for the overall growth and management of civil engineering services for the Southern California region. Malloy brings more than 12 years of experience in the civil engineering field to Ware Malcomb. Prior to joining Ware Malcomb, Malloy was a project manager with a local Los Angeles firm, and previously worked in the Boston market. His experience includes a wide variety of land development projects, including retail, mixed- use, multifamily, healthcare, and senior living. “Keith’s technical background, management aptitude and extensive experience make

him a great addition to the team,” said Chris Strawn, Ware Malcomb principal. “He will be working with Luke Corsbie to grow our civil engineering practice in the Los Angeles market, and they will continue to build upon the recent civil project success in the region.” Strawn is responsible for the leadership and expansion of civil engineering services across Ware Malcomb’s offices in North America. Ware Malcomb’s civil engineering team specializes in land development projects, with a focus on efficient design practices to create successful projects for clients. The team has worked on commercial office, industrial, healthcare, public, education, retail/ restaurant, mixed-use, multifamily, residential, and subdivision projects. “We are excited to have Keith join our team to expand civil engineering services in the Los Angeles market,” said Radwan Madani, principal of Ware Malcomb’s Los Angeles office. “His unique skill set, combined with Ware Malcomb’s firm-wide resources elevates

our integrated service offerings to clients in the region.” Malloy holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Connecticut. He is also a registered Professional Engineer in the state of California. He is an active member of the Urban Land Institute Los Angeles chapter and the ULI Los Angeles Young Leaders Group. 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 U.S., 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 a Hot Firm by Zweig Group.

MARK ZWEIG, from page 9

5)Learn how to sell. Here’s why – you will never get anyone to try out your idea and build it if you cannot sell them on the benefits of doing so. Your skills of persuasion go way beyond securing a new client or project. They are necessary to get clients to listen to your advice! And that is going to be essential if you want to make an impact. That means getting people to do what you want them to do because it is the best course of action. Contrary to what so many design and technical professionals think, “selling” is not a dirty word! Better learn all you can about it because it is a critical skill! 6)Assume leadership roles every chance you get. Forget your politics in this example, but did you ever see the movie Vice about Dick Cheney’s rise and political career? Many would say he was the most powerful vice president we have ever had. It was clear from the movie that one way he became that influential was because he said “yes” to every single leadership opportunity he ever got. And those that weren’t offered to him directly, he volunteered for. Getting into a leadership position where you have some clout can only be helpful to making an impact in your field. 7)Promote! I’m not suggesting you become a glory hound. But I am suggesting that you do market yourself (and your firm in the process). PR is essential to establishing yourself as an expert and original thinker. And that is how you will secure more opportunities to make an impact in your field. If you are unknown, you won’t make an impact – at least not one anyone else is aware of. 8)Keep learning new stuff and stay on top of your game. If you want to make an impact, you have to be good at what you do. Really good. Outstanding, in fact. So, keep learning. Transferring knowledge from one industry or project type to another is one way to do this. That means you have to stay on top of your game and know what is really happening to advance the knowledge base. And then contribute to that. So, there you have it. It’s now time for us to get back to making an impact in our fields! MARK ZWEIG is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at

right and want to make an impact themselves. You all know what I am talking about here. Good clients are ethical. They don’t want to do anything wrong. The really great clients want to make the world a better place. Your work can directly contribute to that. Seek these clients out and then do what you have to do to keep them doing the right thing and looking good to their constituents and the public at-large. 3)Walk away from bad clients. Bad clients will ruin your reputation and greatly decrease your chances of making a positive impact. Get away from them. If they are unethical and wanting you to do the wrong thing, they can take you down with them. Or, they will do the wrong thing to you. But not all “bad” clients are unethical. Some are just cheap and risk-averse and don’t ever want to try anything new to really break out. You don’t want to work for these people, either. Learn how to say “no” to a bad client and you will clear the runway for making a real impact in your field. 4)Share your thinking continuously, and be a direct communicator! The big buzzterm we have all heard for years is “thought leadership.” But no one will know WHAT you are thinking unless you share it. So, write it down in an article for your company newsletter, for a press release, in a blogpost, or give a talk or do a video or podcast where you share your thinking. And by the way, you will never be a thought leader if all you do is quote other people, or articles, or books, or social media posts that you read. You have to give YOUR unique perspective and ideas on subjects. Not someone else’s. I see a lot of self-proclaimed “thought leaders” who regularly do this. That is thought followership, not leadership. “Keep learning new stuff and stay on top of your game. If you want to make an impact, you have to be good at what you do. Really good. Outstanding, in fact. So, keep learning.”

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




Dedicated marketing staff

This addition allows technical staff to focus on their core functions and allows for a marketing process that is more collaborative, streamlined, and consistent.

B lackstone Environmental was founded on the premise of providing environmental professionals an innovative and entrepreneurial space to practice their scientific and engineering crafts. To support these endeavors and enhance the company’s marketing and business development efforts, three years ago Blackstone added a professional marketing resource to its staff, a role that had not been a dedicated position before.

Anne Melia

This addition has allowed scientific, engineering, and technical staff to focus primarily on their core functions and created a collaborative relationship that supports marketing of Blackstone’s services and talent, and development of new business. Before a dedicated marketing professional joined Blackstone’s staff, administrative and project staff would share the work of developing creative proposals, maintaining the company’s website and social media channels, coordinating events, and cultivating business development opportunities – a method that worked but became more difficult as the company and client base grew. The addition of a marketing specialist has created

many benefits for Blackstone and its staff, including: COLLABORATION. ❚ ❚ The marketing specialist and project managers work closely together to support company business goals. This includes teaming up on proposals and responses for new projects, with the marketing specialist bringing creative and editorial expertise that blends with project managers’ technical writing expertise and deep knowledge. ❚ ❚ Client relationships are the cornerstone of Blackstone’s business development strategy, and growing these relationships is essential. Working

Nicolle Scheller




BUSINESS NEWS ZWEIG GROUP ANNOUNCES 2021 ELEVATEHER™ COHORT Zweig Group announced the 2021 ElevateHer™ cohort, a special task force comprised of individuals with a commitment to promote diversity as a means to combat recruiting and retention challenges in the architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. This group will operate as a think tank, developing strategies to help solve the greatest challenge facing the industry, recruiting and retention of the work force. “Despite this program only being in its second year and many new challenges relating to the pandemic, we still saw significant growth and interest in this program. I’m excited to

see how this year’s class can build on the momentum from last year and also bring fresh perspectives and creativity,” said Jamie Claire Kiser, Zweig Group managing principal and program founder. All individuals, regardless of age, experience, gender, background, or job role, were welcome and encouraged to apply. The program kicks off with the ElevateHer™ Class of 2021, a cohort-style annual program designed to define key strategies and provide open-sourced, accessible action plans to tackle diversity and its role in recruiting and retention issues. To provide the group the opportunity to collaborate, a two-day kick

off session will be held virtually. This event is designed to bring all members throughout the country together to share ideas and develop impactful projects, which will be presented at a special ElevateHer™ Symposium virtually in October 2021. Click here for more information. Zweig Group is the leading research, publishing, and advisory services resource for the AEC industry. The firm provides strategy, mergers and acquisitions, business valuation, ownership transition, marketing, financial management, project management, and executive search services.


❚ ❚ Managing the corporate website and social media channels ❚ ❚ Coordinating participation and record keeping of external and internal events, such as trade shows, conferences, recruitment days, and staff events ❚ ❚ Creating efficiencies for marketing-related operational items, such as employee apparel, vendor communication, and marketing assets ❚ ❚ Reviewing and analyzing annual data, specifically for our website and social media usage ❚ ❚ Providing internal communications for Human Resources; Health, Safety and Wellness; and other employee-specific topics CONSISTENCY. Blackstone has had a strong brand and voice since its inception, and hiring a marketing specialist, who is a central source for branding and content, has only strengthened that. Areas of improvement include: ❚ ❚ Cohesive voice and tone in messaging and content ❚ ❚ Consistent branding elements and formats throughout printed and digital materials ❚ ❚ Updated brand usage guide ❚ ❚ Updated look and feel and improved usability of website and social media channels ❚ ❚ Updated digital communication and printed pieces with standard look, feel, and voice ❚ ❚ Updated templates for all mediums and creation of new ones ❚ ❚ Archival of out-of-date pieces THE VALUE. Creating space in our budget for a marketing and business development resource for our staff has had positive outcomes for Blackstone Environmental. The role has been filled full-time and part-time and both scenarios have worked well in improving our corporate identity and internal efficiencies, and most importantly added a collaborative role to our staff that supports the essential scientific, engineering, consulting, and business-related work of our project management team and company leadership. ANNE MELIA, CHMM, is a senior project manager at Blackstone Environmental, Inc. Contact her at NICOLLE SCHELLER is a marketing specialist at Blackstone Environmental, Inc. Contact her at

in tandem with project managers and company leadership, the marketing specialist supports relationship development in various ways. One is creating messaging and an online presence that highlights individual project managers and their involvement in professional, community, and personal activities. Another is supporting project managers as they engage with current clients and cultivating new ones. This includes coordinating presence at trade events, organization of company events, and managing procurement of client gifts. ❚ ❚ Participating in awards and recognition programs is an important part of highlighting who Blackstone is as a company, but it can also be time consuming. The marketing specialist leads the coordination of these types of projects, with the support of Blackstone staff as expert content providers and reviewers. “This new role has worked well in improving our corporate identity and internal efficiencies, and most importantly added a collaborative role to our staff that supports the essential scientific, engineering, consulting, and business- related work of our project management team and company leadership.” STREAMLINING. An important organizational change happened when the marketing specialist position was created. Instead of various marketing and business development functions residing with various project managers and administrators, those areas where combined under the marketing umbrella. This allowed for better marketing and business development processes and a central hub for related information. The marketing specialist is a dedicated point person for: ❚ ❚ Finding and reviewing business development opportunities, supporting monthly business-development meetings, and responding to requests for proposals ❚ ❚ Organizing Blackstone’s creative assets like photo collections and content archives

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.


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