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TRANSACTIONS THE HFW COMPANIES AND IOWA- BASED INVISION FORM STRATEGIC GROWTH PARTNERSHIP The HFW Companies, a fast-growing professional services firm with a national focus on the AEC industry, has added another strategic growth partnership to its expanding portfolio, this time with INVISION, an Iowa-based planning, architecture, and interiors design firm that has been serving the Midwest for more than a century. INVISION represents HFW’s fifth strategic partnership in the past year as HFW forges ahead with its plan to develop a network of growth-oriented AE firms that share best practices, economies of scale, and unique areas of expertise, according to Michael Hein, AIA, PMP, chief executive officer of St. Louis-based HFW. “We’re greatly impressed with the legacy of INVISION and its leadership, as well as

its architectural and interior design talent in the education, health and wellness, cultural, and other sectors,” said Hein of HFW’s new strategic partner. “We look forward to working with them to accelerate their growth in the Midwest and leverage the expertise of our other strategic growth partners to achieve their own vision.” HFW’s business model is designed to retain and leverage each partnering firm’s own brand identity, loyal employee base, and the allegiance of its project partners to build a nationwide “house of brands” network of AEC member firms. For INVISION, a design firm founded in 1914 that employs close to 75 professionals from offices in Des Moines and Waterloo, Iowa, this new partnership will support a growth trajectory that is expected to lead to greater opportunities for its staff and resources for our clients

according to Brad Leeper, AIA, a partner with INVISION. “Following significant strategic planning around exploring INVISION 2030, we identified growth and innovation as key drivers for our future, said Leeper. “We’ve been exploring a variety of growth strategies as a meaningful approach to achieve these goals. HFW brought a model to the table that was unique, allowing us to pursue these goals in a way we could not achieve on our own. They are genuine in their approach and have a sophistication to their partnerships that allow us to continue serving communities in more meaningful ways for the next 100 years.” Based in St. Louis, HFW is an AEC industry professional services company investing in architecture and engineering firms that serve metropolitan and infrastructure markets and are open to aligning with partners for growth.

and what needs to be altered. And this plan should be communicated to all and regularly updated. 6. The organizational design and cultural clarity is crucial to your ability to adapt appropriately. Although I already said it once, it bears saying again – an organization designed to serve specific client sectors is much more likely to adapt to necessary changes in the market than one designed around disciplines or geographies. The culture of the company as a whole and the specific line units that serve clients will be more likely to be aligned with clients needs if you do this. It impacts everything. Although more and more companies in our industry have figured this out over time, there are still holdouts. 7. You need gauges and continuous feedback on the performance of the system so you can make good decisions. Tracking the right numbers and sharing those with everyone is important to building a company that is likely to perform well over time. If the wrong indicators are tracked and emphasized, or the firm performance metrics are only known to a small group of owners, it’s easier to go off-course. It should be clear by now that knowing what to change and what to keep is no simple task. It’s part of the art of management. That said, there are clearly steps you can take that will make it more likely the company adapts to change successfully over time. Take them! Mark Zweig is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at

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going on in the industries your firm serves. This aids the firm in its efforts to sensibly adapt over time. 3. Getting honest client input and feedback on you and your performance is essential. Continuous client feedback that is uncensored and is shared with all employees goes a long way to helping a company understand what it does well and what it doesn’t do so great – this is essential to know what should change and what should not! “Not only can necessary change be difficult to deal with, the fact is, not all change is good. Sometimes there are core strategies that are enduring and that make the company successful.” 4. It takes a real understanding of current events in the world and what is happening locally and regionally. We are all part of a local community, nation, and world as a whole, and managers who are curious and want to know what is going on is essential to the firm’s knowledge of what needs to change and what needs to remain the same. 5. The strategic/business planning process is crucial to your ability to synthesize all of this information. Having a business planning process that involves all employees’, clients’, and potential clients’ input will help management determine what strategies are crucial to its success

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