TZL 1390 (web)

T R E N D L I N E S M a y 3 , 2 0 2 1 , I s s u e 1 3 9 0 W W W . T H E Z W E I G L E T T E R . C O M

PPP funding

To be successful, firms must find their “blue ocean” of uncontested market space. A blue ocean strategy

A lot of us have probably read or heard of the celebrated leadership book Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne. The tagline reads: “How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant.” A bold statement. If you haven’t read it, the basic premise is that those who succeed will not be the ones battling each other in “red oceans,” but those who find their “blue ocean” of uncontested market space. I was given this book years ago. At the time, I was skeptical; it was incredibly challenging to even conceive of a market or service that had not already been completely overtaken by competitors, and commoditized. The first time I heard a true blue ocean strategy was at a dinner during a leadership academy: “When I started here, we only had a couple dozen people and we had to go look for our own work. Well, I read about a new law that required testing of underground storage tanks to detect leaks, which would contaminate soil and groundwater. So, I figured out how to do this testing, and I went and found a list of people who had tanks. And I called them. The first week I called four tank owners and asked if they needed their tank tested. So, I came to the next weekly meeting with four jobs. Then I came to the next weekly meeting with eight jobs, then 16, and it continued exponentially from there. Go do that.” I have never forgotten it. The guy who told this story is now the CEO of a large firm, responsible for thousands of people. There was a problem, he looked objectively at possible solutions, and said, “Who cares if no one’s done this before? This is the solution.” Here’s our collective problem: We in the AEC industry have more work than we can handle and recruitment and retention is our No. 1 problem. We are competing head to head for the best employees. We are in a red ocean, there’s no doubt about it. But what does it really mean to be the “best”? Best client service? Most potential longevity? The highest level of innovation? A good head for strategy and planning? I think all of us would say “all of the above.” And many of us would agree that challenges abound in finding the total package. Jamie Claire Kiser, Zweig Group’s Managing Principal and Director of Advisory Services, wrote about the challenges of recruitment and retention in a recent issue of The Zweig Letter , so I won’t belabor those excellent points. In the struggle for differentiation in our industry, have we overlooked the obvious solution? That uniform thought and perspective throughout our organizations will ultimately result

F I R M I N D E X BranchPattern.........................................6 Dewberry..............................................10 ENGEO.................................................12 SCS Engineers......................................12 Skiles Group. ..........................................4 Ware Malcomb........................................2 Westwood Professional Services.............8 MO R E A R T I C L E S xz KEYAN ZANDY: Mental health matters Page 3 xz Managing change: Rick Maniktala Page 6 xz MARK ZWEIG: Imparting knowledge Page 9 xz EDUARDO SMITH: Maintaining culture in a growth environment Page 11 Zweig Group’s active 2021 AEC Industry Outlook and Response to COVID-19 Survey asks firms if they received any Paycheck Protection Program funding in 2020. Out of the sample, 68 percent of firms secured PPP funds. The chart above shows the median amount received based on Zweig Group’s staff size categories. Breaking this down a step further, firms claimed an average PPP loan amount of about $18,000 per full-time employee. Participate in a short questionnaire to receive a free report of this survey’s findings.

Stephanie Warino




ON THE MOVE WARE MALCOMB PROMOTES RADWAN MADANI TO VICE PRESIDENT, OPERATIONS Ware Malcomb , an award-winning international design firm, announced Radwan Madani has been promoted to vice president, operations. In this new role, Madani will be responsible for firmwide operations, mentorship and coaching of regional operations leaders, oversight of Ware Malcomb’s production studios and will be a member of the executive team. Madani joined Ware Malcomb in July 2001 in the firm’s Irvine, California-based headquarters. In 2007, he relocated to the firm’s Los Angeles office focusing on operations and business development and was promoted to Studio Manager. Madani has been responsible for managing and growing the Los Angeles office since 2008, with promotions to regional manager in 2010, regional director in 2012, and principal in 2015. As vice president, operations, Madani oversees the Los Angeles office, growth of building measurement services, and is a member of Ware Malcomb’s national architectural leadership group. Leveraging more than 20 years of architectural design expertise, Madani has helped position Ware Malcomb as a thought leader in creative office design. While overseeing all projects for the Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley markets, his team has been instrumental in the transformation and revitalization of the El Segundo market and Downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District, with many notable projects completed. Under Madani’s leadership, the Los Angeles office has been recognized with multiple project awards by the LA Business Council, Los Angeles Business Journal and the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.

“Radwan has consistently achieved strong business metrics for the LA office each year and has been key to supporting other Ware Malcomb offices in their operational strategies and results,” said Kenneth Wink, CEO of Ware Malcomb. “His hard work, dedication to the firm and strategic leadership will position him for success in this well-deserved promotion.” Madani graduated from the University of Aleppo in Syria with a bachelor’s degree in architecture, and received his U.S. citizenship in 2011. He is a Licensed Architect in the State of California, a LEED Accredited Professional in Building Design and Construction, AIA member, and a 2009- 2010 graduate of the NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Association’s Young Professional 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 United States, Canada and Mexico, Dewberry 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 an Inc. 5000 fastest-growing private company and a Hot Firm by Zweig Group. The firm is also ranked among the top 15 architecture/engineering firms in Engineering News-Record ’s Top 500 Design Firms and the top 25 interior design firms in Interior Design magazine’s Top 100 Giants.

This four week program provides AEC professionals with the skills to become more competent leaders and helps attendees develop and affirm the leadership skills, strategies, and techniques necessary to grow personally and profes- sionally. Zweig Group’s team of management experts deliver practical solutions that tech- nical professionals can put to work immediately to lead their firms to success. Leadership Skills for AEC Professionals Virtual Seminar 6 PDH/LU



PO Box 1528 Fayetteville, AR 72702

Chad Clinehens | Publisher Sara Parkman | Senior Editor & Designer Christina Zweig | Contributing Editor Liisa Andreassen | Correspondent

STEPHANIE WARINO, from page 1 in flattened growth curves for our firm, as well as limitations in our markets, disciplines, and geographies. Are we in a red ocean because we are possibly limiting ourselves based on our criteria – what we define as non-negotiables to our industry? There is a blue ocean of talent out there that may not quite fit the mold we have established. We aren’t tapping into it. Don’t fix the talent – fix the mold. Or better yet, get rid of the mold. You don’t need it. Creating this blue ocean for recruitment and retention – again, the No. 1 problem most firms have in the AEC industry – is what Zweig Group’s ElevateHer is bringing awareness to – elevating the industry, by elevating the employee experience. This is a fundamental paradigm shift in the way we view recruitment and retention, and how we not only shape the employee experience, but how we will shape something equally and critically important – our client experience. All it takes is a little creativity, a willingness to look at a different perspective, and, objectively, very little risk. It starts by reimagining hiring practices, and it may require modification to human resources practices, creativity and a little leap of faith with regard to benefits packages for nontraditional employees, modification to the way we evaluate our financial performance, and many other implications. But for the bold, the decisive, the pioneers, it ends in a blue ocean. STEPHANIE WARINO is a strategic planning advisor with Zweig Group. Contact her at swarino@

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Published continuously since 1992 by Zweig Group, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA. ISSN 1068-1310. Issued weekly (48 issues/year) $250 for one-year print subscription; free electronic subscription at © Copyright 2021, Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

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Mental health matters

Many firms have been slow to engage in conversations with their employees about mental health. It’s time to make a change.

T he construction industry has the highest suicide rate across all industries. In fact, the suicide rate in construction is about four times greater than the national average, and five times greater than that of all other construction fatalities combined. This sobering information, provided by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, is hard to believe.

Keyan Zandy

But why does construction have the highest suicide rate? Going back to the statistics, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention shares the rate of suicide is highest in middle-aged white men. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 97 percent of the U.S. construction workforce is male, and 57 percent is Caucasian. Also, more than 63 percent of construction workers are between the ages of 35 and 64. But is there something more at play here than demographics? Could our industry’s culture be contributing to this crisis? I believe that it is. When you think about construction workers in the field, you’re probably not envisioning these as people who easily share their feelings, and there’s a reason for that. The construction industry is traditionally perceived as hypermasculine – tough, manly, competitive. It also consistently ranks at the top of all sectors for heavy alcohol and substance use or abuse. For some, drinking is just part of the culture. I can

personally attest to being invited to the bar after a bad day in the field – or a good day, when there’s something to celebrate. There are also undeniable factors in our industry that can lead to stress, depression, and substance abuse. Long hours are typical. Sleep disruption or deprivation due to shift work (early morning concrete pours, etc.) is common. Being asked to travel can lead to interpersonal stress and loneliness associated with being separated from family, and a sense of isolation from being on the road. Destabilizing events like seasonal layoffs or furloughs, and the constant pressure to make schedule and budget while maintaining high quality can all lead to or exacerbate anxiety or depression. Finally, many workers experience chronic pain due to injury or strain from the hard labor associated with the job.

See KEYAN ZANDY, page 4



KEYAN ZANDY, from page 3

RESOURCES Toolkits for Employers: ❚ ❚ NAMI: Mental Health Awareness Month ❚ ❚ NAMI: Say It Out Loud ❚ ❚ NAMI: Stigma Free Company ❚ ❚ CIASP: Implement a Suicide Prevention Program ❚ ❚ EARN: Mental Health Toolkit ❚ ❚ CPWR: Mental Health & Addiction ❚ ❚ Depression Center: Toolkit ❚ ❚ Mind Share Partners: Toolkits ❚ ❚ MHA: Self-Help Tools Facilitated Workshops and Presentations: ❚ ❚ LivingWorks: Suicide Prevention Training ❚ ❚ NAMI: Workplace Training ❚ ❚ Work to Wellness: Mental Health Workshop ❚ ❚ MHA: Workshops & Training Fact Sheets, Brochures, Wallet Cards, and Posters: ❚ ❚ NAMI: Infographics & Fact Sheets ❚ ❚ SAMHSA: Wallet Cards ❚ ❚ EMM: Suicide Prevention Posters ❚ ❚ NIMH: Brochures & Fact Sheets ❚ ❚ SAMHSA: Mental Health Flyer ❚ ❚ ADAA: Brochures Self-Assessment Tools ❚ ❚ ADM Board: Addiction and Mental Health Self Screening ❚ ❚ Psycom: Tests, Quizzes, Self- Assessments & Screening Tools ❚ ❚ Magellan Healthcare: Mental Health Self- Screening Tools

But even with all these stressors, many construction firms have been slow to engage in conversations with their employees about mental health. Beyond this, the historical stigma associated with mental health struggles likely makes it difficult for many people to feel comfortable with opening up about issues they may be facing, regardless of the industry where they work – but the truth is, they are far from alone. Approximately 970 million people worldwide have a mental health or substance abuse disorder. Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the world, affecting 284 million people, and depression is not far behind, affecting 264 million. There’s no reason for anyone to suffer in silence. So, if you are looking to make a shift on the topic of mental health in your company/office or with your team and want to normalize these discussions to help people to feel safer and better able to ask for support, here are a few things you can do. For construction employers: ❚ ❚ Get to know your team. It’s more than just asking, “How are things going?” I’m talking about taking a sincere and engaged interest in your employees’ lives and creating an awareness of/ empathy for what they may be going through. You can do this by making time for conversation unrelated to work and finding ways that you can help; for example, taking some things off their plate, or pointing them toward resources the company has to offer. Let your people know that you hear them, you care, and you want to help. ❚ ❚ Provide resources. If your company has an EAP, make sure all your staff know it exists, what it can do for them, and how they can access it – and do this often, both as a reminder and to include new staff in receiving the information. Distributing materials such as wallet cards, self-assessment tools, flyers and brochures, books, and videos are great ways to encourage staff to think about their mental health needs and consider treatment options. Also, offering health insurance with no or low out-of-pocket costs for mental health counseling services shows that mental health is a priority. Publicly displaying some of these resources, such as posters with helplines, around the office or jobsite helps keep these topics continually present and readily available. ❚ ❚ Promote awareness. Start your quarterly/annual meetings with a “safety moment” and discuss mental health topics as part of these. Morning huddles, all-hands meetings, lunch and learns, and workshops that discuss topics such as stress, anxiety, depression, and suicide help to foster conversation. Providing training on stress management techniques, a healthy diet, adequate sleep benefits, and exercise may help employees reduce anxiety and stress and improve focus and motivation. Hosting facilitated workshops or presentations for your workplace, such as those offered by various local NAMI chapters, shows your commitment to protecting your staff’s mental health, reduces stigma on related topics, and provides critical information that could make a real difference for some on your team. Doing these regularly, as opposed to once in a blue moon, furthers these efforts. For office/field workers: ❚ ❚ Involve yourself. Encourage your employer to offer mental health education and programs if they do not already do so – and if they do, then look for ways to get involved and support their efforts by participating. Consider volunteering to create or champion a program. For example, at my firm we have a volunteer group called “Wellness Warriors” who are responsible for bringing a variety of health and wellness opportunities to our staff. We even have a volunteer led COVID-19 committee that meets weekly to discuss all issues related to the pandemic’s impact on employee health. There’s no better time to start than May, which is NAMI’s “Mental Health Awareness Month.” See the list of resources in the sidebar for a link to this initiative. ❚ ❚ Share yourself. If you have a relevant personal experience, sharing it with others can have a powerful impact. We’ve had people in our company, employees and members of the leadership team, who have candidly shared things that they or their family members have faced. Also, when one person feels brave and opens up, it helps others to feel and do the same. It is comforting for us to hear what others have gone through, and to know we are not alone because we work with people who have been there and can understand. ❚ ❚ Have empathy. You never know what is causing someone’s bad day, impatience, or rudeness. We all experience stress both at work and at home for a variety of reasons: social, economic, personal health, family. Staying conscious to and mindful of what others may be going through is essential for empathy, so practice focusing on your connections with people and trying to imagine what another person might be experiencing. What do you think might be causing them stress or anxiety? What could be weighing on them? Then show them patience and kindness – and, if you can, take it a step further and think about what you might be able to do to help. But even if you can’t “do something,” you can always offer grace and provide some room to be human. We all need it. KEYAN ZANDY is chief operating officer for Skiles Group. Find him on LinkedIn.

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An enriching thought leadership experience focusing on executive level issues, this Summit is ideal for those who are ready to travel again and gather with fellow leaders of the AEC industry.


beginning SEPTEMBER 30, 2020 WITH COHORT PRESENTATIONS EACH WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 3-5, 2021 Denver, CO Focus for C-Suite & AEC Executives



Zweig Group is ready to see you in-person again! Recognizing the slow return of in-person events, Zweig Group is proud to announce a special concept for 2021, the Elevate Leadership Summit - a meticulously curated in-person event of limited capacity in Denver this Winter. This Summit will focus on the networking and learning pillars of our traditional Elevate AEC Conference. Attendees can expect an enriching thought leadership experience that focus on executive-level issues. This experience will be ideal for those who are ready to travel again and gather with fellow leaders of the AEC industry. The Elevate Leadership Summit will be the industry’s top conference of 2021 with new networking and learning opportunities for leaders across the country. Trust us, you will not want to miss this! Register now to guarantee your spot.


QUESTIONS? For group discounts or any other inquiries, please contact events@, call 800.466.6275 or visit

Everything we do is in pursuit of elevating the AEC industry, bringing awareness of the incredible impact that engineers, architects, environmental professionals, survey- ors, planners, landscape architects and related professional service providers have on the world. Empowering organizations with the resources they need to perform better, grow and add jobs, pay better wages and to expand their impact on the community, Zweig Group exists to advance the profession.



Managing change: Rick Maniktala President of BranchPattern (Overland Park, KS), a building consultancy dedicated to creating better built environments through its many interwoven specialties.


M ore than 20 years ago, Maniktala first started his work at BranchPattern as an intern. He did everything from working in the CAD department to running the blue-print machine. He quickly moved into project management and ran a small branch before taking on a principal role in the early 2000s. It’s working as a team to solve complex problems for the company’s clients that he finds to be the most fun and rewarding. “We are one firm with many interwoven specialties, with the purpose of improving life through better built environments,” Maniktala says. “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 than MEP engineers. We’ve assembled a talented group of building scientists, enclosure consultants, and net-zero integrated design specialists.”

A CONVERSATION WITH RICK MANIKTALA. The Zweig Letter: Your website reads: “Improving life through better built environments® is our purpose.” Can you provide a recent example of a project that the company has worked on that speaks to this phrase? Rick Maniktala: There are many examples, as we seek better built solutions for all our projects using our human- centered design approach, the D.I.V.E. Project Framework®. A recent example that has received a lot of attention is the Pikes Peak Summit Complex. Our engineers and scientists leveraged research and first principles thinking to engineer unique solutions for the Pikes Peak Summit Complex Project, located 14,115 feet above sea level. Its impact on people’s lives is going to be the best part, with 600,000 people visiting the summit each year. TZL: How far into the future are you able to reliably predict your workload and cashflow?



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.”


© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

MAY 3, 2021, ISSUE 1390


ON THE MOVE WESTWOOD ZEROS IN ON STRATEGY AND OPERATIONS WITH NEW C-SUITE As Westwood Professional Services prepares to achieve its next plateau, the national, award-winning architecture and engineering firm keys in on strategy and operations. Westwood recently announced it has established two new positions within its executive leadership team. On April 5, 2021 Aaron Tippie, PE, transitioned from his role leading the firm’s Power Division to chief strategy officer. Bryan Powell, PE, transitioned from his role leading the firm’s Land Division to chief operations officer. The Power and Land Divisions are now led by Dan Beckmann, PE, and Rob Copouls, PE, respectively. CEO, Paul Greenhagen, and his team at Westwood have grown the firm’s revenues seven-fold during Greenhagen’s 10-year tenure, and they show no signs of letting up. “The enhancements we made to our business and organizational structure over the past decade were vital to our success,” Greenhagen says. “We strengthened our leadership, affirmed our core values, and our team became aligned with our vision. All of which has prepared us for continued growth. We are excited to enter this next phase for Westwood with strategy and operations at the forefront.” As CSO, Tippie will be responsible for identifying and developing strategic initiatives, leading a comprehensive strategic planning process, and pursuing acquisitions and new business opportunities throughout the organization. Tippie’s work will be instrumental in helping the firm achieve greater strategic alignment across business units in the coming years. Tippie joinedWestwood in 2005. In his previous role as senior vice president overseeing the Power Division, his work was instrumental in

growing Westwood’s presence in the power industry. Under Tippie’s leadership, Westwood evolved from supporting wind energy with surveying services to serving wind, solar, and power delivery markets with a full range of solutions, supporting clients and their projects nationwide. He has led the expansion of Westwood’s Power Division to more than 400 team members. Tippie looks forward to his strategy role and believes growth is imperative to support clients and ongoing business success. He says, “Being future-oriented, pushing the boundaries of our own thinking, and finding better ways to respond to the changing world; I can’t wait to get started!” In his new role as COO, Powell will be responsible for the company’s operations and serving as an advocate for our divisions, corporate service teams, and other business units. This includes leading the acquisition integration process, oversight of the day- to-day administrative and operational functions of the company, and execution of Westwood’s business operations and strategic plans. Prior to his role as COO, Powell served as senior vice president leading Westwood’s Land Division. During that tenure, the division experienced a fivefold increase in revenue growth, added a new market (public infrastructure), successfully integrated nine acquisitions, expanded our geographic presence to four new office locations, and added multiple new service offerings. Powell says, “Our industry is constantly changing, which requires operational flexibility and scalability. At the same time, we have to maintain consistency and high performance within our organization so we can respond quickly for our clients. Westwood’s fresh

concentration on operations will empower us to achieve greater success as a business, employer, and consultant as we add new divisions and other business units as part of our growth strategy.” Over the past 10 years, Westwood has expanded across the country while continuing to invest in maintaining and building a strong culture, attracting and retaining top talent, and providing a great workplace. All, which are the ingredients for delivering the best results to its clients. “We have so much opportunity moving forward, and we will advance as one very strong team. Better people. Better results.” says Greenhagen. Westwood is a multi-disciplined national surveying and engineering services provider for wind energy, solar energy, electric transmission, private development, and public infrastructure projects. As a full-service firm, Westwood’s clients are able to easily tap into the extra knowledge it sometimes takes to keep projects moving forward. Westwood’s multi-disciplinary services frequently provide all that is needed in one consultant. Westwood was established in 1972 in Minneapolis, Minnesota and has grown to serve clients across the nation from multiple U.S. offices. View more Westwood facts. In 2020, Westwood placed No. 4 and No. 9 respectively on Zweig Group’s national Hot Firms’ and Best Firms to Work for Lists. Westwood also ranked consistently higher three years in a row on the Engineering News Record list as a leading design firm in the country. The firm consistently ranks on industry top 25 lists and receives recognition for its involvement on award-winning projects nationwide.

to our vision, purpose, and core values. We complete these in-house. TZL: They say failure is a great teacher. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve had to learn the hard way? RM: Not emphasizing project management enough. Effective project management is the difference between a successful project and an unsuccessful one. “We are very thorough in our evaluation of future principals. That’s most important. A low-performing principal or department head who is negatively impacting culture would need to be coached up or out, relatively quickly.”

MANAGING CHANGE, from page 7

performing, entitled principal or department head have on firm morale? RM: Through feedback and goal setting. We are very thorough in our evaluation of future principals. That’s most important. A low-performing principal or department head who is negatively impacting culture would need to be coached up or out, relatively quickly. TZL: How often do you valuate your firm and what key metrics do you use in the process? Do you valuate using in-house staff or is it outsourced? RM: We conduct customer surveys once per year and employee engagement twice per year. Reviews and professional development planning are completed once per year. The behaviors and KPIs for performance are tied

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Imparting knowledge

A s design professionals and business managers, one of the things we all have to do if we want to train competent people who can do things without our constant involvement is impart any knowledge or wisdom we have to them. As design professionals and business managers, this is your only real path to business sustainability and personal freedom.

theirs. This is a great training technique if you are willing to do it. Move someone in with you. That way you can see and hear everything they do and you can provide that same opportunity for them. The consulting firm I worked for fresh out of grad school did this as a part of their training process. We all had to office with a VP or higher level person for the first six months or so. That gave them a lot of time to train us in all aspects of the business. Compare this to how most A/E firms do it. Most principals wouldn’t consider letting someone move in with them, nor consider moving in with someone else. But it is a great way to really train people. 3)Invite them to listen in on critical calls. You can always bring someone else into the room when you are on an important call so they can listen in. Just tell them to be silent. If necessary, tell whomever you are on the line with that “so-and-so” is going to listen in as a training exercise.

You won’t feel comfortable delegating anything to anyone if you don’t have confidence in their ability to do the job to your standard of excellence. Some people never develop that confidence in their people and as a result are trapped. It takes a conscious effort if you really want to do this. Here are some of the best methods I have observed professionals use to impart their wisdom on the people who work for them: 1)Take them with you to meetings. This is always one of the best ways to train people. My old bosses – Don Smith and Irving Weiss – in the first A/E firm I worked at – Pickering in Memphis – used to take me everywhere with them. I went to client meetings, meetings to sell work, professional society meetings, and more with these guys. Then you always had the conversation in the car on the way there and back to go over what happened. It was invaluable for me. 2)Move them into your office or you move into

Mark Zweig

See MARK ZWEIG, page 11



BUSINESS NEWS TWO DEWBERRY PROJECTS RECOGNIZED BY ACEC VIRGINIA Dewberry , a privately held professional services firm, recently received two awards from ACEC of Virginia during the 2021 Engineering Excellence Awards virtual ceremony. The firm’s I-95/Route 630 Interchange Reconstruction and Widening project in Stafford County, Virginia, received the ACEC Pinnacle Award, which is the organization’s highest honor of engineering excellence. It is presented to the firm that has demonstrated innovation, commitment to improving the community, and dedication to the engineering profession’s principles. Dewberry served as the lead engineer on this design-build project providing transportation and engineering services, field surveying and environmental permitting services, as well as quality control inspection during construction. The project consisted of widening and realigning Route 630 (Courthouse Road) west of I-95 for approximately two miles, realigning nearly one mile of Courthouse Road/Hospital Center Boulevard east of I-95 to intersect with Route 1 at the existing Hospital Center Boulevard intersection, reconfiguring the interchange at I-95 to a diverging diamond interchange (DDI) and locating it approximately 800 feet south of the existing interchange, and the implementation of two new park-and-ride facilities with a capacity of nearly 1,100 parking spaces. Shared use path and sidewalk facilities were also incorporated along Courthouse Road. “We are appreciative of ACEC’s recognition

of this exciting project and are very honored to receive this award,” says Dewberry Vice President and Business Unit Manager Steve Kuntz, PE, DBIA. “It has been exciting to see the transformation along the Route 630 corridor, which these improvements accommodated, as well as the operational and safety benefits, which have made traveling easier for the public and surrounding communities.” Additionally, the Elmont Water Storage Tank and Booster Pump Station project earned a merit award. Dewberry provided evaluation, design, and construction administration services for the development of the new one- million-gallon water storage tank and booster station. “The project was identified by Hanover County as being important to support expansion in a new economic growth area,” says Dewberry Associate Vice President and Business Unit Manager Dan Villhauer, PE, LEED AP. “A new water storage tank and pump station allowed the county to provide reliable water service and fire protection to the entire area. The team worked closely with the county to plan, design, and construct a facility that included redundancy, flexibility, ease of operations, and room for expansion, which met the needs of the stakeholders.” 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. DEWBERRY SELECTED TO PROVIDE SUPERVISION OF CONSTRUCTION SERVICES FOR NEW JERSEY TURNPIKE CONTRACT Dewberry, a privately held professional services firm, has announced that it has been selected by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to provide supervision of construction services to complete bridge repairs and resurfacing on the Garden State Parkway. The project will take place between mileposts 126 and 172 in Bergen, Essex, Middlesex, Passaic, and Union counties and will require the installation of concrete construction barriers and other incidental work on the GSP. “We are excited to be given the opportunity to continue providing support to the NJTA,” says Dewberry Senior Vice President and Business Unit Manager Anthony Pecci, PE. Dewberry’s services will include supervision of construction services for the implementation of lane shifts, selective replacement of complete deck panels, partial depth concrete spalls, deck joint reconstruction, repairs to structural steel, removal and replacement of existing asphalt wearing surface, painting, and substructure waterproofing and repairs to prestressed concrete beams.

MARK ZWEIG, from page 9

and famous firm CRS in Houston – published a book of his “TIBS” years ago. TIBs were little bits of wisdom from him – statements of “this I believe.” 6)Practice open-book management. I know I have been pounding this drum relentlessly for some time, but the reason I am doing so is because open-book really works as such a great training method to get a wider range of employees understanding the financial dynamics of a firm in this business. It works – and it costs so little to implement. Do some Google research on it yourself if you don’t believe me. Maybe it’s time to throw away your Good to Great book and instead start reading about open-book management and how it can work for you! 7)Establish a real mentoring program. Mentoring works. It is hard to formalize it, but there are things you can do. I say it is difficult to formalize, because both mentors and mentees need to select each other. But you can always insist that it happen – and have your people name their specific mentors and mentees – and then get those people to share some of what they are each getting from the process. To conclude – imparting knowledge on others is your only real path to business sustainability and personal freedom that I know of. So what are you waiting for? MARK ZWEIG is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at

4)Hold design review meetings. Nothing novel here, but how many firms do it on a consistent basis and how many invite people who have nothing to do with the project to the meeting as a learning exercise? Not many in my experience. These are such great opportunities for people to learn, so as many people as possible need to be able to benefit from these reviews. “You won’t feel comfortable delegating anything to anyone if you don’t have confidence in their ability to do the job to your standard of excellence. Some people never develop that confidence in their people and as a result are trapped.” 5)Write articles and blogposts. Your writing is a great opportunity to impart knowledge on others in your own business! Get into the habit of regular writing to your employees. Blog and send your blogposts out to all. Don’t underestimate the value of this practice if you do it consistently and relentlessly. Some people even write books of their stuff. Bill Caudill – one of the founders of the old

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




Your core values are the foundation of your culture, so it’s critically important that existing staff live the core values you expect others to emulate. Maintaining culture in a growth environment

I am an ardent believer that a company’s culture is the ultimate predictor of its success. In 2015, I assumed leadership of the Southeast Business Unit of SCS Engineers. When I started in that role, my primary focus was to work on culture, as we had two recent acquisitions join the firm within this business unit. I wrote about this in a prior article for The Zweig Letter .

Eduardo Smith

Since 2015, we have added two offices, our leadership has changed substantially, with several of us taking other positions in the company, and we’ve doubled the number of staff in the business unit. So it’s not surprising that a colleague reached out to me a short time ago, wondering how we maintain the culture we had worked so hard to create. Should we have webinars to highlight aspects of our culture? Should we send out monthly communications or visibly celebrate when we see the culture being lived? While I think those things are fine, what kept coming back to me was that our culture should be obvious. Our core values are the foundation of our culture, and those shouldn’t change, no matter how many people we hire. Those values are a testament of who we are, what we believe, and how we behave toward each other, our clients, and other stakeholders. New staff should see it and

sense it as soon as they walk in the door – or in today’s world, as soon as they log on to their first Teams call. Our core values, and the culture and vision and goals that sprout from them, should be discussed not just in webinars and monthly communications, they should be part of our everyday speech because they should drive all of our important decisions. When discussing this with a colleague (she’s at least part Italian), she pointed out that she didn’t come out of the womb eating pasta. She was taught her cultural heritage – including her love of pasta – by her parents. So she reasoned that we also need to teach new staff about our firm’s culture. But I think we learn more about our cultural heritage by observing and just hanging out with our parents, than by being instructed. And I think it’s the same at work. Our culture

See EDUARDO SMITH, page 12



TRANSACT IONS ENGEO AND TERRACOSTA JOIN FORCES Two leading geotechnical and environmental engineering firms have come together to form a team that is unrivaled in technical excellence and client service. ENGEO Incorporated and TerraCosta Consulting Group , a long-time San Diego firm, have combined to create California’s most comprehensive geoscience company, with more than 90 registered geotechnical, geologic, and environmental professionals and a total staff of more than 350 professionals located in California, Nevada, Washington, Guam, New Zealand, and Australia. Uri Eliahu, ENGEO’s president and CEO, says “This merger is all about our clients. We’re eager to extend our absolute dedication and exceptional service to TerraCosta’s clients; likewise, TerraCosta’s expertise will bring a new level of service to ENGEO’s clients. Combining the companies will result in a powerhouse of talent equipped to tackle any project. This is a great step in advancing ENGEO’s vision to be the most admired and trusted service firm in the world.” Walt Crampton of TerraCosta, says “We’re excited to join ENGEO’s deep bench of talent and bring their unique, client-focused technical capabilities to our clients. In addition, combining ENGEO’s and TerraCosta’s intimate familiarity with California’s geotechnical, coastal, and seismic setting will significantly enhance the value that we bring to our clients.”

Walt Crampton will continue his decades-long project service from the firm’s San Diego office. Founded in 1971, ENGEO is celebrating 50 years of excellence. The firm has helped companies and public agencies manage their project development risk, drive down construction costs, and improve schedules. ENGEO is an employee-owned firm of approximately 350 geotechnical and civil engineers, geologists, hydrologists, water resources engineers, environmental scientists, construction management personnel, quality- control field representatives, and laboratory testing specialists. ENGEO serves a diverse range of public and private clients through projects in transportation, infrastructure, water resources, geologic hazard abatement, flood control, disaster recovery, energy, industrial development, manufacturing, critical and civic facilities, residential and mixed-use communities, urban infill, Brownfields, and transit-oriented developments. ENGEO has offices in California, Nevada, Washington, Guam, New Zealand, and Australia. TerraCosta is a geotechnical and coastal engineering firm with professional staff that have varied technical backgrounds covering the majority of the earth science disciplines. The staff includes a coastal engineer, an oceanographer, geotechnical engineers, and geologists, with combined geotechnical and

coastal engineering experience of over 200 years. TerraCosta is a California corporation established in 2001 and maintains one office in San Diego, California. TerraCosta specializes in coastal geomorphology (the evolution of coastal landforms) and the evaluation and mitigation of adverse geotechnical conditions impacted by coastal processes, including sea level rise. The firm’s typical marine projects include coastal bluff properties, piers, marinas, waterfront facilities, sea walls, and other coastal improvements. TerraCosta also provides geotechnical engineering services for site development and the design and construction of foundation systems for structures. Characterization of the existing soils and geologic conditions at sites and appropriate geotechnical design parameters are evaluated for use by project design teams. Geotechnical consulting services include evaluation of potential geologic hazards, such as landslides, faults, liquefaction, ground shaking, and others. TerraCosta is considered unique in the field of geotechnical consulting because it offers full service AEC design services, which are provided by in-house staff, and include permit processing, preparation of plans and specifications, and construction period monitoring.

EDUARDO SMITH, from page 11

It was an interesting discussion to say the least. Suffice it to say, I provided another perspective. Operating as a team requires holding one another accountable. That’s the only way a team can function. When team is first, we look for ways to make everyone better, and sometimes that means we have to tell a teammate what they need to hear, so they can address shortcomings and perhaps seek support from us or other team members. It also means we need to be open for others to hold us accountable. “Our core values are the foundation of our culture, and those shouldn’t change, no matter how many people we hire. Those values are a testament of who we are, what we believe, and how we behave toward each other, our clients, and other stakeholders.” And so it goes for upholding our core values, we must all hold each other accountable, from the top executive to the entry-level hire. If we do that, our culture will thrive as we grow. EDUARDO SMITH, P.E. is senior vice president of client success at SCS Engineers. Contact him at

and our core values are transferred to new staff more by observation and participation, than by taking a crash training course. Make no mistake, this means that it is critically important that existing staff have bought into and live the core values we expect others to emulate. Further, our core values (and culture) should be the focal point in our recruiting process. Hiring for cultural fit is much more important than perceived intelligence or experience. Many of us, in a moment of desperation to fill a position, have made the mistake of hiring someone our gut told us wasn’t a good fit. It doesn’t work; we should never settle. If we’ve made that mistake, we should address it as soon as possible. Hanging on to an employee when it’s clear they are not a fit can do significant damage to the culture and morale. One last thing on core values: It has to do with accountability. I had an exchange with an employee some time ago, relatively soon after he started with us. As he was discovering our culture, he told me he thought that because we valued teamwork so much (one of our core values), he couldn’t, and therefore wasn’t, holding people accountable. He thought that being a team player meant being a pushover – just being nice to everyone. That we were to let poor performance and lack of integrity (doing what we say) persist, without calling it out.

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