TZL 1454 (web)

The PDF edition of The Zweig Letter.

August 22, 2022, Issue 1454 WWW.ZWEIGGROUP.COM


Training for principals

Explore uncharted territory for the opportunity to access a more resilient future. Preparing for the future

FIRM INDEX AECOM....................................................................... 10 Ardurra Group, Inc.............................................10 Commercial Construction Consulting...4 Edison Engineering Group.............................2 Method Architecture..........................................6 MKN.................................................................................4 Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc.....................4 Wilson & Company Inc...................................12 W.K. Dickson & Co., Inc......................................2 MORE ARTICLES n MIKE NUNLEY: Growing the next generation of engineers Page 3 n Translator: Keith Holley Page 6 n ERNESTO AGUILAR: A dynamic growth strategy Page 9 n MARK ZWEIG: Recession? Not so fast! Page 11 In Zweig Group’s yet to be released 2022 Principals, Partners, & Owners Report , AEC firm principals responded to the question, “Do you feel your firm provided you with enough training/ experience before making you a principal?” Forty-five percent said “yes,” 25 percent said “no,” and the remaining 30 percent were hired as a principal. Participate in a survey and save 50 percent on the final or pre- publication price of any Zweig Group research publication.

A s we approach Zweig Group’s ElevateAEC Conference & Awards Gala, we’re looking forward to celebrating our industry’s wins. We have so much to be proud of, but amid these celebrations some in our industry are still faced with uncertainty and challenges. Whether it’s the great resignation, recruitment and retention, or an increase in operational efficiency necessary to remain competitive in the face of record-high inflation levels, the coming months are laden with opportunity for those organizations that can set themselves apart during periods of uncertainty. Despite these challenges and many others, people continue to succeed, and I found myself asking: “What sets people and organizations apart?” So, I investigated the research to determine what it generally says about the topic. Studies indicate that leadership, strong communication, innovation, change orientation, and conflict management all contribute to project and organizational success. But how does that translate to us and the work we do every day – and how do we implement these constructs to drive organizational success? ■ ■ Know and understand your organization. What are your values and what drives leadership and employees to perform at an elite level? How do your processes embody these values? The organizations that link everyday pursuits and activities to the overarching values of the organization demonstrate increased overall effectiveness. It is not enough to communicate your values on websites or in an employee handbook. The day-to-day work and the processes and tools that you use to deliver value to your stakeholders and clients must be linked to the overall reason why the organization exists. ■ ■ Be willing to learn, train, and grow, perhaps in unconventional ways. Continue to develop skill sets and have a platform for this. Many industry leaders are looking for training opportunities to ensure they are practicing cutting edge skills, both technical and non-technical, and the organizations that thrive are those that recognize the need for training in the skills that are linked to organizational success. ■ ■ Message and position. Once you have a strong identity and a way to share this within your organization, share it with others. Having innovative offerings and training can be instrumental in recruiting

Justin Smith, P.E.

See JUSTIN SMITH, page 2



TRANSACTIONS WK DICKSON ACQUIRES EDISON ENGINEERING; STRENGTHENS WATER & WASTEWATER INFRASTRUCTURE CONSULTING IN GEORGIA W.K. Dickson & Co., Inc., a leading community infrastructure consulting firm, announced they have acquired Edison Engineering Group, a civil and environmental engineering firm based in Dallas, Georgia. This new partnership will allow WK Dickson to better serve existing and future clients’ critical infrastructure needs throughout the state. “Our partnership with Edison represents a natural outgrowth of the strong client and partner base we already have in Georgia,” said David Pond, President and CEO. “WK Dickson is well positioned to increase our impact in the region by supporting our clients’ capital improvement plans and helping them obtain the funding they need to upgrade their infrastructure.” Edison’s former principal, Mike Jones, PE, will assume the role of regional manager for both the Dallas and Atlanta offices, leading their growth and business development, while his partner Chuck Rann, PE, will

continue to lead the technical operations. “We’re excited to join with WK Dickson. Their reputation is impeccable, and their service diversity and depth of resources is a major win for our clients,” said Mike Jones. The new Dallas operation will primarily provide planning, design, and engineering consulting services for water, wastewater, and land development projects. Future office expansion includes adding aviation, energy, and watershed services within the next six months. WK Dickson has rapidly increased its presence in middle Georgia while serving area clients from the firm’s Atlanta and Augusta offices. The new location in Dallas is a logical extension of the company’s footprint in the western part of the state. WK Dickson is an ENR Top 500 multi- disciplined consulting firm specializing in community infrastructure solutions, including airport planning and design, environmental and water resources engineering, land planning and development, and energy support services.

Interested in learning more

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

JUSTIN SMITH, from page 1

and retention of strong employees and these solid practices combined with skilled employees will lead to better projects with desired clients. ■ ■ Evolve as needed. Be resilient, open, forward-thinking, and responsive. Often, especially during times of uncertainty, the organization’s ability to adapt to the evolving marketplace is more important than the organization’s ability to “get it right” out of the gate. As we look ahead to the rest of this year, let’s celebrate the opportunity to head into uncharted territory. It’s not an easy task to work though the above-mentioned areas, but it will be transformational, contribute to ongoing success, and create more resilient organizations and an overall more resilient AEC landscape. Increased resilience will create new opportunities for people to contribute to the industry and will provide renewed confidence to organizational leaders that they can not only weather difficult times but that they can thrive on the challenges they bring. Investing in yourself and your teams to build on your strengths and expand skills will serve as a way to set yourself apart for clients, potential employees, current employees, and other stakeholders, and we welcome the opportunity to support you in your journeys. Justin Smith, P.E., is an advisor at Zweig Group, specializing in project management and leadership development. He can be reached at

PO Box 1528 Fayetteville, AR 72702

Chad Clinehens | Publisher Sara Parkman | Senior Editor & Designer Shirley Che | Contributing Editor Liisa Andreassen | Correspondent 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). Free electronic subscription at © Copyright 2022, Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

2022 ELEVATEAEC CONFERENCE & AWARDS GALA Registration is open for the annual in-person conference in Las Vegas, September 14-16. The 2022 winners of the Hot Firm list, Best Firms To Work For, Marketing Excellence, Excellence in Client Experience, Rising Stars, Top New Ventures, and the Jerry Allen Courage In Leadership Awards will be celebrated at the iconic black-tie awards gala. Register now for the AEC industry’s top learning and networking event of the year!

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




We have a responsibility to take the lessons we learned from older generations and refine them to prepare a new generation for success. Growing the next generation of engineers

A s CEO of a consulting firm, son of baby boomers, and father of an 18-year-old starting her post-high school education, I have been thinking about how we prepare our own next generation of leaders. Specifically, what type of relationship do we need to foster between my generation, Generation X, and the next generations (millennials and Generation Z)? How should that differ from the expectations our seniors had for us?

Mike Nunley

In my work experience, the baby boomers who were my mentors had a strong work ethic, tended to stay with the same employer for a very long time, and felt strong loyalty to their bosses, clients, and colleagues. Work-life balance and personal satisfaction seemed to take a backseat to a “team mentality” and to job stability for this generation. They spent a lot of time teaching and mentoring, but they also expected us to work a lot of overtime and do “whatever it took” to deliver a great product and meet budget and schedule. We were encouraged to ask questions, but were taught to come into their office with an organized list of questions, get answers, then perform our own independent research to get to the next stage of a report or design. Most of our training was through detailed markups of our reports and plans

by our supervisors, or field visits during construction, with less emphasis on organized internal or external training classes – this was a real “on the job” education. So, how should we use the lessons from our training to build the next generation of engineering leaders? What can we learn from our mentors, our own generation, and these new generations? Here are the key areas we need to focus our efforts: 1. Delivering on work-life balance. Our generation is more focused on keeping our personal time sacred than our predecessors, and our junior staff have the same mindset. For example, we have

See MIKE NUNLEY, page 4





them an excellent addition to Rimkus,” said Curtis Brown, chairman and executive director, Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc. “Boston has always been a growing market for us, particularly for façade inspections, and having a stronger presence in the area with C3 allows us to expand our service offerings to even more clients. Additionally, their expertise in areas such as vertical transportation will help us expand a growing area for Rimkus. We look forward to having their new perspective and working together to deliver top-level outcomes for our clients,” said Robert Kocher, president and CEO, Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc. C3 combines expertise in areas such as real estate investment, development advisory, engineering, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing energy and sustainability and technical services. C3’s professionals have expertise in the latest technologies and techniques and provide

actionable insight that cuts through the complexity and helps answer customers’ most crucial development questions. Their team serves real estate investors and companies, institutions, and public sector agencies globally. “The opportunity to join a global firm with a terrific reputation such as Rimkus is something we have been considering for quite some time; we believe we found the perfect fit with Rimkus. As we integrate the C3 brand into Rimkus, we will expand to offer even greater technical services across a broader geographical reach. We look forward to unifying our teams and collaborating towards a single, shared vision for the built environment,” said James Kirby, president and CEO, Commercial Construction Consulting, Inc. Since 2020, Rimkus has completed 11 acquisitions worldwide, growing its network to more than 1,300 employees and more than 110 offices.

INC. COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION CONSULTING Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc., a worldwide provider of engineering and technical consulting services, announced the acquisition of Commercial Construction Consulting, Inc., an international ACQUIRES development advisory and engineering consulting company. The acquisition continues to expand Rimkus’ robust building sciences practice area, focusing on real estate, development advisory services, vertical transportation services, energy audits, and more. “As our clients continue to grow, we are always looking for opportunities to better serve them. At Rimkus, we want our clients to contact us when they need answers to their most complex technical questions. We see that same philosophy at Commercial Construction Consulting as well. They have built an impressive company that understands every aspect of the building lifecycle, which makes

necessary for training staff. However, this level of “on the job” training takes a lot of time. Our senior leadership team is continually challenged to invest this time to train junior staff, knowing this generation is more likely to move around and the effort will be repeated each year or two with new recruits. By bringing our project teams into online collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams or Bluebeam, we can share virtual workspaces and create new training partners in corporate development and team building. We have had success including junior staff on our technical teams and our Continuous Improvement Teams (CITs), where they get to take part in developing new programs and policies. For example, we have tasked our employee engagement team with identifying benefits, fun activities, training ideas, and other new ways to attract, motivate, and retain staff. Some of those ideas included a fitness stipend for employees, and educational reimbursement. We benefited from new ideas, and our staff were able to take advantage of new programs. opportunities while minimizing impact on senior staff. 4. Finding new ways to engage and inspire. We need to continue to find ways to involve new generations as In closing, as both a parent of an adult and a CEO actively recruiting younger staff, I feel I’m in the same position as many of my peers the same age. We learned a lot from the baby boomer generation – they made us who we are as engineers and prepared us for success professionally. Now we have the responsibility to take those lessons and refine them for a new generation, with the same need to make them successful professionally. Mike Nunley is CEO and president at MKN. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

MIKE NUNLEY, from page 3

the option for junior staff to work a half-day on Fridays. As managers, if our staff opt for this schedule, we need to make sure we plan work accordingly and respect their work schedule. This shift in mindset of converting overtime from a “rite of passage” to a “necessary evil” pushes our focus as managers to better managing project schedules and approaching overtime as a collaborative decision as opposed to a mandate or expectation. “We learned a lot from the baby boomer generation – they made us who we are as engineers and prepared us for success professionally. Now we have the responsibility to take those lessons and refine them for a new generation.” 2. Expect and plan for turnover. While we need to build an environment where staff want to stay for their entire career, a majority will come and go – specifically the junior or entry-level staff. We need to design our employee benefits (such as retirement plans), training tools, and work teams to allow us to attract, retain, and engage staff who may not be here long-term. 3. Keeping the traditions that worked, while taking advantage of new technology. Detailed markups, field visits with senior staff, and encouraging independent research and organized pursuit of information are still

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Translator: Keith Holley Partner at Method Architecture (Houston, TX), a full-service architecture firm that is uniquely ego-free in its commitment to a systematic, client-focused creative process.


A s a partner at Method Architecture, Holley says it’s his primary job to support and foster meaningful connections for anyone who wants to work for or with Method. He’s committed to cultivating a culture that has an ego-free philosophy at its core and to keep the company moving forward into the future. “The idea of ego-free architecture came from us understanding that our clients know what their needs are better than we do, so our responsibility is to be facilitators and translators for the built environment,” Holley says. “To clarify, it’s not meant to say that we don’t or can’t have ego. We are all human. It’s more about being intentional about putting our ego aside and focusing on our clients’ needs ahead of our own.” A CONVERSATION WITH KEITH HOLLEY. The Zweig Letter: You recently added two new partners and also joined forces with GSC Architects. There seems to be some synchronized momentum happening. What do you attribute this to and how do you see these two moves changing the face of the firm?

Keith Holley: Method Architecture’s story is one of creating positive disruption through constant change. Our firm has to be about more than any one person and the belief that adding more voices and perspectives only makes us stronger. So, inviting key staff like Jackie Rye, our Houston market principal, and Melissa Pasche, our CFO, to the ownership group was the obvious next step because, aside from the tremendous value they bring to the firm, it ensures Method never becomes complacent or stuck in a single way of thinking. The GSC acquisition allowed Method to further bolster its Central Texas presence by joining forces with a firm with a strong regional brand and legacy of doing high tech, sustainability-focused and high-end design projects. But on an even more rewarding level, it allowed us to add some extremely talented and experienced staff onto the Method team, further enhancing our sector expertise and rounding out some of our project, design support, and operations teams. TZL: Moving forward, what are some of the top challenges you see for the industry as a whole? How do you plan to work to meet them?



KH: Where to start? Inflation, material costs and availability, ongoing supply chain disruption, threat of global conflict, and an inevitable market correction (the “R” word) have probably gotten the most attention. However, I like to think that we do a good job with identifying potential blind spots by staying engaged with our clients, contractors, and consultants and openly talking about this internally. One of the more recent and less obvious challenges was how much of a hit the professional labor pool took coming out of the COVID years. There was a noticeable drop off in available talent, just to keep up with normal levels of attrition, let alone impacts from the “great resignation.” Our marketing and HR teams have done amazing work to help us differentiate Method, innovate our approach to hiring experienced talent, and find new ways to engage with universities across the state to attract up and coming talent. “Our marketing and HR teams have done amazing work to help us differentiate Method, innovate our approach to hiring experienced talent, and find new ways to engage with universities across the state to attract up and coming talent.” TZL: I like the concept of “ego-free architecture.” Tell me about how this tagline came about. KH: It’s more than a tagline. “Ego-free” isn’t one of the firm’s core values by accident. It’s our commitment to make the profession better. It’s also somewhat of a reaction against a longstanding perception and stereotype that “star-chitects” and “black-cape” architects are the profession. The idea of ego-free architecture came from us understanding that our clients know what their needs are better than we do, so our responsibility is to be facilitators and translators for the built environment. To clarify, it’s not meant to say that we don’t or can’t have ego. We are all human. It’s more about being intentional about putting our ego aside and focusing on our clients’ needs ahead of our own. 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? KH: I’m fortunate to have many. My parents and family created an environment based on sound morals and a solid work ethic, but still made room for play and surprise. Additionally, I’ve had coaches, teachers, and professors who have guided me at critical times to push me beyond what I thought was possible for myself. Early in my career, I can point to a few people in commercial real estate, specifically Brent Wood (EastGroup Properties), as the greatest influence on the importance of a really great team and how to use humor/levity in business situations. It makes it much easier to go through the imperfect parts of the design and construction process armed with both. TZL: How much time do you spend working “in the business” rather than “on the business?” KH: I am 99.9 percent working “on” the business and my role continues to be refined to better support our teams and firm goals. This was a hard transition, coming from an owner/doer model, but it was something that I think all the partners recognize is essential if we want to continue to evolve Method into what we think it can become. TZL: As a Native-American owned firm, is it important to you to pay homage to traditions or the overall culture within the world of architecture? If yes, can you please illustrate with a specific example? KH: Absolutely. This idea of cultural inclusion is key to any piece of architecture, native or not. As architects, we must be in tune with the local community and its needs to create culturally- responsive and useful buildings. Our teams work with several tribes across the country and one of the first steps when starting a new project is to meet with the local community members and tribal leadership to understand their goals and challenges, and to learn more about their traditions, symbology, and history. Each tribe is unique so each design decision must be as well. Respect and listening are the foundation of our strategy when working with tribal communities. TZL: Trust is essential. How do you earn the trust of your clients? KH: Demonstrating accountability and effective communications are important, but I think that authenticity is essential to the early foundation of any successful relationship. Experience certainly doesn’t hurt, but I’m a believer that you need to start on some common ground See TRANSLATOR, page 8





■ ■ Austin, TX

■ ■ Dallas, TX

■ ■ Houston, TX

■ ■ San Antonio, TX


■ ■ Industrial

■ ■ Office

■ ■ Mixed-use

■ ■ Brewery

■ ■ Public

■ ■ Tribal


■ ■ Commercial architecture

■ ■ Interior design

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

GUST 22, 2022, ISSUE 1454


TRANSLATOR, from page 7

and the fastest way to do that is to cut past formalities and be willing to share personal experience. It ultimately humanizes the process, and makes it easier to discuss the technical things and to navigate through future issues. TZL: What role does your family play in your career? Are work and family separate, or is there overlap? KH: The lines between work and home life are definitely blurry – Jake Donaldson and Eric Hudson (the other founding partners of Method Architecture) are two of my oldest friends and we’ve all transitioned from college life to work life to family life on similar paths. We all have young families and some of our kids go to school together. I don’t think I’m here if not for my family. They are my motivation and the welcomed distraction that keeps me grounded. My wife, Lindsay, is incredibly supportive and has an uncanny ability to know how to lift me up or carry us through challenging times. We have four beautiful children who are all wonderful and unique, so it lends itself to being a very full life. Our youngest child was born with some genetic challenges that we were certainly not expecting, but he has brought us all a new perspective and helped us grow as individuals and as a family. He helped me learn to be more open about sharing this part of my story with colleagues, and I continue to be overjoyed by how receptive people are and how willing they are to share their own stories and challenges. Those challenges have reinforced that I want to make meaningful connections and offer support wherever I’m needed. 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? KH: We ask a lot of our managers, but one of the central challenges is their ability and willingness to grow into a role that bridges the gap of being in projects versus working on team management and learning to support firmwide goals. We invest heavily in training, mentorship, and educational opportunities for current and future managers, to build skills and confidence. Aside from providing external opportunities, we have created an internal mentorship program, which is intended to create a safe place for rising stars to connect with current Method leaders and find or create their path to growth at Method. TZL: Personally, what types of projects do you enjoy working on most and why? KH: Spec industrial and brewery projects are some of the first “‘Ego-free’ isn’t one of the firm’s core values by accident. It’s our commitment to make the profession better. It’s also somewhat of a reaction against a longstanding perception and stereotype that ‘star- chitects’ and ‘black-cape’ architects are the profession.”

Keith Holley with Method’s rising leaders group during a recent leadership coaching session.

that come to mind. I like industrial because those buildings can be deceptively hard to do right. The main challenges are working within site constraints that are dictated by circulation, market demand, and the marketability of the finished product. So, we try with each of them to make a facility or business park that maximizes efficiency and leasable square footage, but also suits our client’s portfolio and creates an identity for that development. Breweries are fun for similar reasons, but with the added layer of the types and variety of people who are immersed in beer culture. Ultimately, I like any project where we can assemble a team, identify the goals that would make it successful, execute, and then do it again. Profitable ones aren’t too bad either! 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? KH: Communication is an obvious choice, because it’s the only way to test whether it can work or not, but I think that empathy is probably equally important to keep front of mind. Empathy is really the grounding element. It helps to look beyond just the financial benefits or new market sector opportunities, and to stay grounded in the people this impacts and what this change means to them. 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? KH: This is a funny one – it really would be much simpler if we boiled down formula or if it was just tied to tenure. The truth is that age is possibly the least relevant factor in becoming a principal at Method. Experience certainly comes with time, but instincts, attitude, and approach also play significant roles. We’re a relatively young company (in average age and in business terms), but we use that as an asset because we aren’t really bound by the expectations of working within “normal” or “corporate” rules. It’s mostly tied to need, opportunity, ability, and timing.

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




A dynamic growth strategy

Achieving rapid expansion through both organic and inorganic growth while maintaining a strong, employee-centric culture.

I n 2017, a group of like-minded professionals set out to build a forward-thinking, culture- focused firm with a driving philosophy centered upon providing opportunities for its employees and exceptional service to its clients. Since then, Ardurra has grown by 900 percent, from 100 employees to more than 950 today.

Ernesto Aguilar, P.E.

This impressive expansion was achieved through intentional implementation of a dynamic strategy plan that incorporates both acquisitive and organic growth. The plan was borne out of leadership’s experience guiding other fast-growing organizations through the challenges of rapid growth, incorporating lessons learned and best practices, while integrating Ardurra’s unique goals for maintaining our strong employee- centric culture. Some of the plan’s highlights include: ■ ■ Identification, vetting, and integrations of acquisitions. Since 2017, Ardurra has acquired 20 firms ranging in size from fewer than 10 to more than 100 professionals. Potential acquisitions are identified through two key avenues: † † Relationships. Leveraging our internal networks. † † Brokers. The typical competitive process. Both have led to successful transactions. We

have experienced favorable outcomes by identifying firms with an entrepreneurial spirit that are eager to grow, but that lack the resources and capital to do so. Our vetting process centers around ensuring that the firm’s culture, strategy, and opportunities for employee and company growth align with our own. Once acquired, Ardurra’s proactive integration process has proven critical for building a unified team, rather than just “bolting” organizations together as franchises. Quickly integrating each acquisition has yielded synergies in sales, operations, and project delivery, leading to more opportunities for our employees and our clients. Additionally, accelerating the branding of each firm to the Ardurra name helps further promote the concept of being one firm. ■ ■ Market strategy. Ardurra’s growth strategy also




BUSINESS NEWS AECOM TO COMPLETE DESIGN OF NEW NORTH SHORE WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT AECOM, the world’s trusted infrastructure consulting firm, announced it has been selected by Metro Vancouver to design the North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant, a new tertiary treatment facility that will serve approximately 250,000 residents in the Districts of West and North Vancouver, the City of North Vancouver, and the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. In this role, AECOM will provide design completion and construction management services to assist in the transition of the project to the new construction contractor. “We’re honored to partner with Metro Vancouver to complete the design of the North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant, working alongside the project’s contractor, PCL Construction,” said Beverley Stinson, chief executive of AECOM’s global Water business. “The plant is critical to bolstering the resiliency of the community’s wastewater

infrastructure while safeguarding its surrounding natural ecosystems. We’re proud to partner with our clients across the globe to help solve their multifaceted water challenges and set new standards for treatment.” AECOM is uniquely positioned to transition into the role of design engineer and support the timely delivery of the project, having served as Metro Vancouver’s owner’s engineer since project initiation. The firm will also assist with procurement and project controls systems, lead construction monitoring, assist with commissioning, and provide select operations support to aid Metro Vancouver with the transition to operating the new facility, which is being constructed to LEED Gold and Envision Gold certification standards. “As Vancouver’s North Shore continues to grow, this new wastewater treatment plant is a vital necessity to continue protecting the human and marine health of the area and will play an imperative

role in educating the public on key sustainability initiatives,” said Marc Devlin, chief executive of AECOM’s Canada region. “We’re excited to be part of the team delivering this facility with the best interests of the region at the forefront of our project execution plan and look forward to providing services focused on quality, safety, and efficiency.” The plant features an enclosed, urban, modern design, including a public plaza, educational, and community meeting spaces. It plans to deliver tertiary treatment, exceeding federal regulatory requirements for treatment technology and improving the quality of treated wastewater released into the marine environment. The facility is expected to recover heat from treated effluent for use internally and externally by the Lonsdale Energy Corporation as an alternative thermal energy source and conserve water resources through the harvest of rainwater and reclamation of treated effluent water for use within operations and other non-potable purposes.

staff or candidates to develop and expand our foothold in desired locations and markets. Additionally, our acquisition leadership and growth momentum has driven the pursuit and capture of larger, more diverse projects, broadening the range and depth of Ardurra’s offerings. Providing these types of challenging opportunities for employees to be part of building new operations has been a powerful draw to both new and existing staff. All organic growth aligns with our geographic and market strategies. Ardurra is extremely proud of the unprecedented growth we have experienced in a relatively short time; however, we are most proud of our ability to maintain our culture and adhere to our guiding principles along the way. As we look toward a strong, healthy future, we will continue to annually assess and improve upon our strategies, plans, and goals so that we can best respond to industry changes while applying our uncompromising standards for employee satisfaction and exceptional client service. Ernesto Aguilar, P.E., is president and CEO of Ardurra Group, Inc. Connect with him on LinkedIn. “Ardurra is extremely proud of the unprecedented growth we have experienced in a relatively short time; however, we are most proud of our ability to maintain our culture and adhere to our guiding principles along the way.”

ERNESTO AGUILAR, from page 9

incorporates our plan to strengthen and increase our existing market share, as well as penetrate and expand into new markets. New acquisitions and organic ventures have brought additional resources to support existing services and allowed us to enter into new target markets and geographies. Special focus is given to transferrable markets and services that can be leveraged by Ardurra’s technology group, which focuses on championing and sharing new technologies within the firm. We have also realized an increase in net revenues by developing new services to recapture dollars that may have been previously subcontracted as we continue to build a full- service organization. ■ ■ Geographic strategy. Ardurra’s geographic growth and expansion strategy focuses on the highest opportunity areas that will yield maximum potential for success in our core markets. We require data-supported rationale to enter into new territories, coupled with a clear path for how to leverage the new location’s value and integrate that into Ardurra’s structure. If a particular location satisfies this criteria, we explore acquisitions in that area, as well as opportunities to establish an organic presence. ■ ■ Organic growth strategy. Organic growth is vitally important to round out acquisitions and build a healthy organization. Our organic growth strategy hinges on our internal culture and reputation for being an “Employer of Choice,” providing outstanding client service, as well as our branding campaigns and overall industry recognition. The success of our organic growth has relied heavily on our trust in local managers and their ability to identify

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




Recession? Not so fast!

S o many pundits want to act like we are either already in a recession or will be in one shortly. I don’t agree, and I don’t think we have to talk ourselves into having a bad economy. Try to keep calm, be positive, and don’t listen to pundits’ predictions about the economy.

I’m not an economist. But I try to keep well-informed and I have lived through many recessions over the last 64 years. Let’s talk interest rates. Home mortgage rates are back below 5 percent. Sure, they were below 3 percent for quite a while, which is insanely cheap, but borrowing money is still very affordable and it will still be if it goes up to 6 or even 7 percent. My first house was built in a subdivision where there was only our house and one other occupied. The initial interest rate was 18.88 percent but was brought down by us paying eight points on the front end of the mortgage to get it down to 10.88 percent, and yet we still had negative amortization. That means each month we owed more than we started out owing, if you can believe it. The first car I financed, a 5-year-old used car, I paid 21 percent interest on the loan. THOSE are high rates. There is still a huge housing shortage, with experts

claiming we need at least 4 million more housing units to meet current demand. Yes, prices have fallen in some places. Even here in Northwest Arkansas, where I follow the market very closely, we have had some price reductions. But let’s face it, if a house that cost $350K three years ago went for $650K six months ago after a bidding war, and now the “poor owners” have to reduce the price to $620K to sell it, it’s hard to feel too bad for those sellers. The national unemployment rate is 3.5 percent. That is ridiculously low. In April of 2020 it was 14.7 percent, and it was 10 percent in 2010. Inflation, which has been pretty wild, has gone from a 9 percent annual rate to almost zero. Prices appear to be stabilizing. Gas is about $1 a gallon cheaper than it was as little as 90 days ago. Demand still exceeds supply in so many industries.

Mark Zweig

See MARK ZWEIG, page 12



BUSINESS NEWS WILSON & COMPANY CELEBRATES 90 YEARS Wilson & Company Inc., Engineers & Architects, an award- winning architectural, engineering, and construction company, is announcing the 90th Anniversary of its founding in July 1932. For nearly a century, the company has provided engineering, architecture, planning, environmental, survey and mapping, and construction management services to clients across the U.S. and beyond. “Today, we celebrate an incredible milestone,” said Jim Brady, PE, president and CEO of Wilson & Company. “This is a rare and exciting occasion that is made possible by the Higher Relationships built with our employees, clients, and partners over the past 90 years.” In 1932, Bob Paulette and Murray Wilson formed Paulette & Wilson with offices in Salina and Topeka, Kansas. Most of their work included dam and lake designs and public works improvements. As time passed, the firm, now known as Wilson & Company, adapted to the changing demands of the world. This included work for the U.S. military during World War II, engineering in President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society” Improvement Plan, and wastewater treatment design for the Clean Water Act implemented in 1972. During this time, the firm expanded its services around the globe, including infrastructure development in Saudi Arabia and reconstruction of the Panama Canal Railway. Resiliency and adaptability would prove imperative to the survival and success of the company in the modern age. Over the years, Wilson & Company has provided services connecting communities, businesses, and commerce. It’s made transportation and

infrastructure safer, erected facilities that enhanced the function of society, and drawn maps necessary to provide sound engineering solutions. Philanthropic and volunteer work has also been essential to the company culture. Employees at Wilson & Company developed the Donate in my Name program as a way for the organization and its clients to come together and give to causes that impassion employees. Since its inception in 2010, more than $200,000 has been raised for organizations including The American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity International, Homes for Our Troops, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and the Wounded Warrior Project. Employees know success is when they improve the communities in which they live and work. Wilson & Company can attribute its nearly century-long history to its culture of Higher Relationships and its purpose to bring people together to practice their craft, to create value, and to accomplish great things. It is what drives employees of yesterday and today. This drive continues to serve the company well. The growing company continues to expand into new horizons and has experienced consistent growth over recent years. Since 2017, revenue has increased 71%. Employee growth is increasing too, with a 16% increase since early 2020. Today, more than 600 people are employed by Wilson & Company across 15 offices. “Growth and success are measured by more than dollars in the bank,” said Brady. “As a company, we continue to challenge ourselves to achieve excellence, implementing policies to increase diversity and inclusion, which in turn benefit the communities we

serve. We hold ourselves accountable to a higher standard of sustainability and environmental efforts necessary to ensure future opportunities.” A lot has changed since those early days in Kansas. But one thing that has not is the commitment to excellence by engaging in purpose-driven work. It is how Wilson & Company will continue to meet the challenges of a changing world. “For the past 90 years, we have made a positive impact and enhanced the world through service, dedication, and hard work,” said Scott Croshaw, PS, vice president and chairperson of the Board at Wilson & Company. “Our business was built one relationship at a time, and as we continue to grow, we remain focused on creating Higher Relationships. We know if we can do that, everything else will follow.” Wilson & Company Inc., Engineers & Architects, has brought more than 600 people together in 15 offices over nine states to build Higher Relationships through discipline, intensity, collaboration, shared ownership and solutions with our clients, partners and communities. After nine decades of business, professionals continue to hone their craft with us, including civil, mechanical, electrical and structural engineering; architecture; planning; biology; surveying; mapping; GIS specializations; drone piloting; financial analyses; program and construction management; inspecting and a growing number of multi-disciplinary specialties. We seek to create value for a diverse client base, including federal and municipal governments, public transportation agencies, railroad companies, industrial and commercial corporations and private developers.

So let’s try to keep calm and be positive. I think it is a well- accepted fact that as a leader, positivity is going to get you a lot farther than negativity will! Mark Zweig is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at “So many pundits want to act like we are either already in a recession or will be in one shortly. I don’t agree, and I don’t think we have to talk ourselves into having a bad economy.”

MARK ZWEIG, from page 11

Cars are still in short supply and making auto dealers record profits. There are materials shortages everywhere. It just took us 22 weeks to get the windows for a new garage we are building, and some window manufacturers are a year or more behind. In the AEC industry, we are still facing unprecedented demand in just about every market sector firms in this business serve. There is also a corresponding labor shortage. I don’t think I am seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. I just don’t see a recession as imminent.

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