TZL 1366 (web)


recognized that once kids were sent home from school due to the virus outbreak, many kids from low-income families would not be able to continue their education due to a lack of computer access. We contacted a local school district and provided 32 computers with software to support these kids. “Successful ownership transition has always been a goal of EPS Group. Having this as a focus from the inception of the firm allowed us to put in place well-defined protocols that have facilitated this transition.” TZL: How far into the future are you able to reliably predict your workload and cashflow? EW: Although we develop our workload projections for up to a year, we can reliably predict our workload out to about six months. Beyond that, the crystal ball gets hazier. Cashflow has been a focus of ours over the last couple of years and we have developed a variety of approaches to ensure better and more timely receipts. This has reduced our day’s sales outstanding and led to a more predictable cashflow. TZL: What role does your family play in your career? Are work and family separate, or is there overlap? EW: My family is more important than my career. If my career began to negatively impact my family, then I would adjust my career approach. I do try to keep career and family separate and be home when I’m home and at work when I’m at work, but that can be difficult at times. TZL: You recently acquired Azimi. How did the acquisition go? What was main reason for acquisition and what, if any, were the main challenges in incorporating this new firm into existing culture? How many people were added? EW: We are excited to welcome Azimi! The acquisition is going well and we look forward to the future. We acquired Azimi (five staff) to bolster the engineering resources of our recently opened Southern California office. As a local firm, Azimi had the experience we were looking for. To help with the cultural transition, we had the firm principal, Ali Azimi, come to our primary office in Mesa and work

with us for several weeks. This allowed him the opportunity to get to know us, our processes, procedures, and company culture. TZL: Trust is crucial. How do you earn the trust of your clients? EW: We bring great expertise and ideas to the table and then do what we say we will do. TZL: How has COVID affected your business on a daily basis? EW: Like most firms, the COVID-19 pandemic has substantially altered how we do our business. Nearly all of our design staff now work remotely. Our field survey crews must follow new safety protocols. Despite these and many other disruptions, and to the credit of our associates and teams, our utilization has actually increased during the pandemic. We have had many projects put on hold or canceled due to the economic impacts of the virus. Thankfully, however, we have thus far been able to secure other work to sustain our staffing. TZL: Are you using the R&D tax credit? If so, how is it working for your firm? If not, why not? EW: We have been using this credit for several years. Its value varies from year to year based on the varying nature of our work. “We’ve always embraced the idea that our staff is our greatest asset. I know this concept is so repeated these days and that it now sounds trite, but it really is our approach.” TZL: Does your firm work closely with any higher education institutions to gain access to the latest technology, experience, and innovation and/or recruiting to find qualified resources? EW: We have worked with our local universities for several years in helping us identify new talent. We have often provided a firm partner to sponsor senior design projects so that we get to know the new graduates more personally and professionally. This gives us better insight into each candidate’s technical ability and See QUALITY, page 8


❚ ❚ Tucson, AZ ❚ ❚ Flagstaff, AZ ❚ ❚ Tustin, CA ❚ ❚ North Phoenix, AZ SERVICES: ❚ ❚ Transportation ❚ ❚ Survey/geospatial ❚ ❚ Land development ❚ ❚ Planning

❚ ❚ Landscape architecture ❚ ❚ Municipal engineering ❚ ❚ Water resources/drainage ❚ ❚ Construction management MARKET SECTORS: ❚ ❚ Civic ❚ ❚ Commercial ❚ ❚ Education ❚ ❚ Federal ❚ ❚ Healthcare/senior living

❚ ❚ Multi-family ❚ ❚ Mixed-use ❚ ❚ Native American ❚ ❚ Presidential ❚ ❚ Sports/recreation ❚ ❚ Worship ❚ ❚ Public infrastructure VALUES: ❚ ❚ Reliability ❚ ❚ Quality ❚ ❚ Integrity ❚ ❚ Vision ❚ ❚ Mission

© Copyright 2020. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

EMBER 2, 2020, ISSUE 1366

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