RM: This is always a challenge. We’ve always discounted our 90-day projections by about 10 percent and 18-day by 25 percent to account for delays and uncertainty. We’re planning for significant growth over the next five years, but it’s increasingly challenging to reliably predict beyond about six months at this time. “Family is a very big part of the work culture at BranchPattern. We are one big extended family; I see everyone cheering for and supporting one another within and outside of work.” TZL: What role does your family play in your career? Are work and family separate, or is there overlap? RM: I seek a work-life harmony. Harmony is achieved when the two are overlapped and add to one another. They are certainly not in opposition to one another as might be implied by a balanced scale. Family is a very big part of the work culture at BranchPattern. We are one big extended family; I see everyone cheering for and supporting one another within and outside of work. 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? RM: We emphasize one-on-ones, feedback, and coaching to provide the resources necessary to grow our talent. Everyone has a regularly scheduled one- on-one where anything can be discussed. Culturally, we seek improvements through regular feedback using the tactics described in Radical Candor by Kim Scott. Coaching works when we set measurable time-bound goals for a skill or behavioral improvement. This happens throughout the year and during annual professional development planning meetings in January. TZL: How are you balancing investment in the next generation – which is at an all-time high – with rewards for tenured staff? This has always been a challenge, but seems heightened as investments in development have increased. RM: We seek equity in all its forms, including between generations. We are reporting our status to ILFI’s Just program. Just is a nutrition label for socially just and equitable organizations.
Per the Just website, “it is a transparency platform for organizations to disclose their operations, including how they treat their employees and where they make financial and community investments.” We use the reported data to plan year-over-year improvements and are committed to this transparent reporting and to being even more socially just over time. TZL: How did the name BranchPattern evolve out of ME Group and Forte Building? What message are you working to communicate? RM: We are one firm with many interwoven specialties, with the purpose of improving life through better built environments. Our intense focus on purpose is what has evolved the firm from its humble MEP engineering beginnings. The home-grown service expansion has led us to a new defining brand: BranchPattern. It better reflects that we are much more that MEP engineers. We’ve assembled a talented group of building scientists, enclosure consultants, and net- zero integrated design specialists. Every BranchPattern employee-owner seeks to achieve the same purpose and vision for Better Built Environments®. “We’ve assembled a talented group of building scientists, enclosure consultants, and net-zero integrated design specialists. Every BranchPattern employee- owner seeks to achieve the same purpose and vision.” TZL: Is change management a topic regularly addressed by the leadership at your firm? If so, elaborate. RM: Yes, change is the only constant. Managing change is the responsibility of leadership. Change can be very difficult for people, as was evident when many had to shift to working from home. For some, working from home is now the new normal. So, it’s going to be important to help manage the change of working from the office again. TZL: How do you handle a long-term principal who is resting on his or her laurels? What effect does a low-
HEADQUARTERS: Overland Park, KS NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 90 YEAR FOUNDED: 1991 NUMBER OF OFFICE LOCATIONS: ❚ ❚ Chicago, IL ❚ ❚ Dallas, TX ❚ ❚ Denver, CO ❚ ❚ Kansas City, KS ❚ ❚ Omaha, NE ❚ ❚ Lincoln, NE ❚ ❚ Pittsburgh, PA SERVICES: ❚ ❚ Acoustics ❚ ❚ AV ❚ ❚ Security and telecom ❚ ❚ Building performance modeling ❚ ❚ Commissioning ❚ ❚ Enclosures ❚ ❚ Green building certification ❚ ❚ MEPT engineering ❚ ❚ Net-zero and sustainability ❚ ❚ Smart buildings SECTORS: ❚ ❚ Civic ❚ ❚ Commercial real estate ❚ ❚ Government ❚ ❚ Healthcare ❚ ❚ Higher education ❚ ❚ K-12 PROCESS: “Allow innovation to be a purpose of discovery.”
See MANAGING CHANGE, page 8
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MAY 3, 2021, ISSUE 1390
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