ON THE MOVE TAMARA CLARKE JOINS DEWBERRY’S ARCHITECTURE PRACTICE Dewberry , a privately held professional services firm, announced that Tamara Clarke, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP, joined the firm’s Sacramento, California, office as a principal and market segment leader for the justice architecture group. With more than 30 years’ experience, Clarke brings expertise in various project types, including adult and juvenile detention and correctional facilities, courthouses, customs and border protection facilities, emergency operations centers, forensic laboratories, and public safety centers. In her role as a market segment leader, Clarke will be responsible for overseeing projects and clients across the state/local and federal markets. Prior to joining the firm, she worked with HOK in San Francisco. A few of her notable projects include the LEED® Gold San Mateo County Maple Street Correctional Center in Redwood City, California; and San Francisco Police
Department Traffic Company and Forensic Services Division Facility in San Francisco. “We are thrilled to welcome Tamara to our growing California practice,” says Dewberry Associate Principal Erica Nelles, AIA. “Our justice clients require unique subject matter expertise and commitment to creating environments that support both rehabilitation of inmates and retention and the health of officers and staff. Tamara is the right person to lead these efforts.” “I am very excited to join Dewberry’s architecture practice,” says Clarke. “My design philosophy of creating beautiful civic buildings that enhance the environment while producing restorative, healing spaces that serve the humanity of our communities complements Dewberry’s mission of creating responsible and innovative solutions.” Clarke earned her bachelor’s degree in design, architectural studies from Arizona
State University. She is an active member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Institute of Architects, American Jail Association, American Correctional Association, and the California State Sheriff’s Association. Clarke has been featured in multiple publications, including Correctional News, Arizona Woman, and The Arizona Republic. 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.
BRIAN RICE, from page 11
financial performance. Minimally, this performance is shared annually with the announcement of changes in ESOP value. However, employee-owners can better impact the bottom line if there is a culture of openly sharing key financial information. This includes understanding what financial metrics they directly influence and how those metrics are currently doing. At F&V, core financial information is shared with all employees at least quarterly and a more in-depth analysis is shared annually at an all-staff breakfast. ❚ ❚ Your firm organizes as a subchapter S-corporation. The power of an ESOP shines in S-corporation firms. “S-corps” do not pay federal income taxes. Instead, the individual owners of an S-corp pay the companies federal income tax with each owner paying tax on their percentage of ownership. However, federal income tax is not paid on company stock held in an S-corp ESOP. This is significant when an ESOP owns 100 percent of the S-corp. ❚ ❚ Your firm is sized to properly administer the ESOP. Attorney Justin Stemple, who specializes in ESOPs at Warner Norcross + Judd, LLP (Grand Rapids, Michigan), says successful ESOP ownership typically happens with at least 25 employees. It is possible to have an ESOP with fewer than 25 employees, but smaller companies may struggle with certain IRS compliance tests, particularly those seeking to be 100 percent ESOP owned S-corporations. According to Stemple, if you are below this number, you may find the administrative costs of the ESOP (e.g., annual valuation, administrative, and legal fees) are too burdensome to generate enough profit to cover day-to-day company needs and fund growth opportunities. For firms that have the right culture, staff, and motivations, the time and resources needed to design and sustain an ESOP are dwarfed by increased engagement and creation of wealth for employee-owners. If you think an ESOP is right for your firm, do your research and work with experienced professionals to design one to fit the culture and vision of your firm. BRIAN RICE is a principal and manager of the Environmental Services Group at Fleis & VandenBrink. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
on your situation. In my experience, the more a firm holds true the following characteristics, the more likely an ESOP is a good and viable option. ❚ ❚ Your firm has a track record of profitability. Nothing increases the likelihood of a successful ownership transition like solid profits. They are essential for a company to provide enough working capital to reward staff, maintain quality work environments and keep up to date with training and equipment. However, when a transition of ownership is added into the equation, enough profits must also be generated to accumulate cash for a future transaction, or to service debt to fund a current transaction. While profitability is key for most transactions, it is magnified when an ESOP is involved because employees have a direct ownership stake. “For firms that have the right culture, staff, and motivations, the time and resources needed to design and sustain an ESOP are dwarfed by increased engagement and creation of wealth for employee-owners.” ❚ ❚ Your firm commits to ESOP education. It is important that participants in an ESOP understand their role in creating a successful employee-owned firm. Ali Jamshidi, CFO of CTL Engineering, Inc. based in Columbus, Ohio, reports that employee-owner ESOP education at his firm has been ongoing for nearly two decades. This includes annual ESOP education and discussions at the 12 CTL offices located in five states. Annual ESOP education details the rights and responsibilities of CTL’s nearly 300 employee-owners. The firm finds this education helps employees identify methods to cut costs and increase revenue while keeping client satisfaction high. ❚ ❚ Your firm shares key financial information. While most employees at an ESOP company are not involved in the day- to-day management, all are directly impacted by company’s
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THE ZWEIG LETTER OCTOBER 26, 2020, ISSUE 1365
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