TZL 1429 (web)

Feb r ua r y 2 1 , 2022 , I s sue 1 429 W W W . Z W E I G G R O U P . C O M


Effective remote work

There are a few things you should consider as you expect to receive an offer for your company from a prospective buyer. What a seller should think about

F I R M I N D E X Bowman Consulting Group Ltd...............10 CORE Consultants, Inc.......................................4 FSMY...............................................................................2 Pape-Dawson Engineers................................ 6 Skiles Group...........................................................10 Ware Malcomb....................................................... 8 Winstanley Architects & Planners......... 12 MO R E A R T I C L E S n BLAKE CALVERT: Evolving through change Page 3 n Character: Sam Dawson Page 6 n KEYAN ZANDY: Construction outlook Page 9 n MARK ZWEIG: Break into a new market sector/project type Page 11 Zweig Group combined responses from this year’s AEC Workplace of the Future Survey and last year’s AEC Industry Outlook and Response to COVID-19 Survey to analyze remote work trends and policies in the industry. When asked what percentage of their workforce could effectively work from home, the industry average was 71 percent. When analyzing this question by firm type and condensing the groups to our three main areas, the expected gap between the percentage reported by architecture firms (76 percent) and engineering firms (72 percent) relative to construction firms (38 percent) is clearly displayed. Participate in a survey and save 50 percent on the final or pre- publication price of any Zweig Group research publication.

M ore and more firm leaders in architecture, engineering, and environmental consulting firms are beginning to open their eyes to the benefits that a merger or acquisition could have on their firm. This increased interest is leading to more activity and more transactions that we at Zweig Group expect to continue into the foreseeable future. The new infrastructure bill and the “great resignation” are just a couple of the many factors contributing to this increased M&A activity. (See my 2021 article “Why You Should Be Open to M&A” for more information on other factors contributing to this surge.) As a seller in this accelerated marketplace, it can be nerve-racking when you’re expecting an offer (or multiple offers) for the acquisition of your company. The good news is there are things you can do to prepare yourself. It is critical for sellers to spend time preparing to receive an “offer,” typically delivered in the form of an Indication of Interest (IOI) or a Letter of Intent (LOI), before they actually receive one. The primary reason for this is that you need to be able to respond quickly, ideally within two weeks, to maintain the momentum and goodwill that you’ve built over the course of your preliminary M&A discussions with a given buyer. You’d be surprised how quickly some buyers can lose their patience, especially when they feel like the time and effort that they’ve spent developing their offer isn’t being reciprocated. Many offers will also carry expiration or “reply by” dates of two to three weeks in the future. This may sound like a lot of time, but consider how long it will take for your legal and accounting teams to review and it starts to make more sense why it helps to be prepared. To ensure you are putting your best foot forward during this stage of the M&A process, there are a few things you should be thinking about as you expect to receive an offer for your company from a prospective buyer. This list is certainly not extensive: 1. Price, terms, and conditions. Howwill the deal be structured? How will the buyer be valuing your firm? Do you knowwhat your own value expectations are? Will it be an asset or stock transaction? Are there earn-outs involved? How is working capital being calculated? 2. Profile and background of the buyer. You’ve hopefully spent a good amount of time talking about this with a buyer before you receive an offer from them, but you should make sure you have a firm understanding of who they are as a company and how they

John Bray

See JOHN BRAY, page 2



BUSINESS NEWS BANSI PROPERTIES ANNOUNCES CONSTRUCTION PLANS FOR NEW OFFICE CAMPUS IN SUNRISE, FL Bansi Properties announced its plans for the creation of a new office campus and state- of-the-art office building in Sawgrass International Corporate Park. The facility, which will be one of the newest, leading office spaces in Sunrise, Florida, is scheduled for completion in 2023. Located in Sawgrass International Corporate Park, one of Broward County’s largest office parks, Bansi Properties’ proposed office campus will be situated on 22 acres of land with current plans including two large-scale office facilities available for lease. Comprised of 1500 Concord Terrace – the company’s latest- acquired, 180,000 square-foot property

– the campus will be adding a new four- floor, 140,000 square-foot office facility. Designed by leading South Florida architectural firm, FSMY, the building will feature a modern design with ample glass and natural light; large, efficient floor plates; design-build interiors; Energy Star and LEED-certified materials and designs; and the latest technological innovations. Additionally, the building will be strategically located right off the Sawgrass expressway for quick and easy commuting, as well as near the Sawgrass Mills Mall and other major retail destinations. The office space will be able to accommodate a large variety of clientele, with single tenant potential.

Interested in learning more

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

JOHN BRAY , from page 1

align with what you are looking for, as it is easy to get caught up in negotiations and lose track of what your goals were initially. The buyer’s background includes but is not limited to: history, culture, reputation, past M&A experience, organizational structure, service line and market sector breakdown, and client base. 3. Integration and employees. Howwill your staff be integrated into their organization? What will be the roles of key leadership going forward? Are there expectations that specific people need to stick around for a period of time? Howwill you message this transaction internally to your employees? Howwill your existing offices and leadership be structured? Howwill the new entity be branded going forward? Will there be employment agreements? For whom? 4. Clients. Howwill you message this transaction externally to clients? Will the relationships with key clients need to be transferred in any way? Howwill this process be organized so that the client still receives the same level of service? Will there need to be a consolidation of CRM databases? 5. Due diligence. The buyer will provide a list of due diligence requests for you to provide once you are under exclusivity. This list typically includes but is not limited to: more detailed financial information, standard operating procedures, benefits information, project related documents, insurance, inventory, and many others. It is in your best interest to begin working with your finance and administration departments within your firm to organize this information in a way that will make the due diligence process easier to digest. Having this information organized will generally make you more attractive to any buyer in the market anyways, so it is always a good idea to be thinking about this aspect of the process ahead of time. John Bray , CM&AA is an advisor with Zweig Group’s M&A and executive search teams. Contact him at

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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.

M&A NEXT SYMPOSIUM Reserve your seat at the table as Zweig Group’s M&A thought leaders share insights and provide deep learning through an interactive experience focused on current and “next” practices in the world of M&A. This highly interactive event will be in Charleston, South Carolina April 28-29. Click here to learn more!

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




Evolving through change

Listen to employees, communicate strategically, embrace a growth mindset, and eliminate drama to help employees let go of negativity and thrive through change.

A s with many of you, change is constantly on my mind. And rightfully so. The COVID-19 pandemic, a rapidly increasing backlog, escalating costs, and staff shortages have compelled us to change, adapt, and get creative in ways we never imagined. As company leaders, our stress is at an all-time high. My company, CORE, was no exception in 2020 and 2021. In addition to the implications of COVID-19 and pivoting to a remote workforce, we constructed and moved into two new offices, executed a brand refresh and newwebsite (shameless plug for, hired more than 20 employees, revamped our HR process, and implemented significant EOS organizational changes. I could keep going! When we came back to the office full-time in June of 2021, many of our team members felt like they had stepped into an entirely newworld.

Blake Calvert

Change is hard. Most in our industry don’t like it. New people, places, brands, managers, and procedures can invoke feelings of anxiety, stress, and loss of control. But pushing strategic change is critical to growing and sustaining a successful company, especially in times of uncertainty and chaos. Mark Zweig’s recent article in The Zweig Letter encouraged “change for the sake of change,” and I couldn’t agree more. As a culture-driven organization, we’ve looked for ways to inspire our team members to thrive

through change instead of just surviving it. While we haven’t been perfect in that pursuit, we’ve learned a few lessons along the way that we’d like to share: ■ ■ Listen. Think about this Simon Sinek quote: “Hearing is listening to what is said. Listening is hearing what isn’t said.” We work with some of the most intelligent and




weren’t effective for one reason or another. That’s OK. We acknowledge the mistake, learn from it, grow from it, and adapt our path. Making that part of our culture – giving team members at all levels permission to make mistakes and learn from them – has helped our team members to learn and embrace change more quickly. Every employee has a responsibility to affect change within themselves and allow others to do the same. It’s easier said than done, but employees feel empowered when it works. “New people, places, brands, managers, and procedures can invoke feelings of anxiety, stress, and loss of control. But pushing strategic change is critical to growing and sustaining a successful company, especially in times of uncertainty and chaos.” ■ ■ Eliminate the drama. Occasionally, despite our best efforts to guide our employees through change, some simply won’t accept it. This is usually when drama and negativity start to fester, which can devastate the culture, productivity, quality, and client experience. Drama is a virus that spreads like wildfire. When this occurs, we put a significant effort into coaching employees to row in the same direction. However, if employees poke holes in the boat as quickly as you fix them, and alignment is futile, it’s time to part ways. Teams must be aligned to be successful. Otherwise, the employee, team, and company will suffer. Even with staff and talent shortages, departures are OK. It’s often the best way for both parties to succeed moving forward. No doubt about it, change is hard. However, I believe change is vital to a company’s success. Change helps us to constantly improve and stay nimble. When change seeds take root, it adds energy to the company. As company leaders, we won’t always get it right. But listening to employees, strategically communicating, embracing a growth mindset, and eliminating the drama can help employees let go of the negativity and evolve through the change, which ultimately builds successful and thriving companies. Blake Calvert, PE, is president and CEO of CORE Consultants, Inc., a professional services firm in Colorado offering civil engineering, natural resources, and land surveying services. The team specializes in land development, energy, and public infrastructure projects in Colorado and beyond. Founded in 2014, CORE has created a unique culture that empowers its people to thrive at home, at work, and in their community. CORE’s focus on balance has resulted in happy employees, happy clients, and thriving communities. To learn more about CORE, visit

BLAKE CALVERT , from page 3

innovative people in the industry. We look to them to understand problems, brainstorm creative solutions, and improve our ideas. However, two-way communication can be a struggle. At CORE, we constantly ask for feedback in many forms, including our semi-annual employee surveys, feedback from our All-CORE meetings, creating issues in our EOS L10 meetings, and informal one-on- one conversations. Sometimes the feedback is brutal. I’ve learned to take the good with the bad and use it constructively to fuel meaningful change, not just within me but within our leadership teams as well. But, we have to keep our eyes on the long-term vision. Reacting without understanding and purpose can be trouble. The day that CORE opened its doors, I set a precedent for our team: “Don’t complain about a problem. Speak up and be part of the solution to fix it.” That precedent set eight years ago is still my mantra today, and it has served CORE well. Listening to and empowering employees to speak up and be part of the solution is a powerful tool that gets more people invested and on board with the change. ■ ■ Communicate strategically. It goes without saying that any change should be communicated and over- communicated, and then communicated again. And then communicated again! It never stops. But how intentional are we with packaging the right message to the right people at the right time? A mass email, Teams blast, or post on the company intranet may be an easy way to reach the masses and outline the details, but it isn’t exactly impactful. Communication about change must come in layers. For us, frequent All-CORE meetings effectively deliver the “why” behind any change, dispel rumors, connect the possibilities, and help fill in the gaps. And, it allows our employees to ask questions on the spot. Our management and team EOS L10 meetings incorporate company or personal headlines and cascading messages to ensure our employees see and hear messages more than once. We’ve also utilized targeted one-on-one conversations before and after the change happens. Identifying who’s onboard helps us coach, get key players into alignment, alleviate uncertainty, and create excitement around the change. Personalizing the change discussion with critical individuals can help build confidence through the transition and inspire others, too. ■ ■ Embrace a growth mindset. A growth mindset is critical at CORE. To be successful here, our employees must embrace it. We all make mistakes, especially as company leaders. It’s part of the human experience. We’ve implemented changes at CORE that haven’t worked out or “No doubt about it, change is hard. However, I believe change is vital to a company’s success. Change helps us to constantly improve and stay nimble. When change seeds take root, it adds energy to the company.”

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




Character: Sam Dawson CEO and co-owner of Pape-Dawson Engineers (San Antonio, TX), the largest civil engineering firm headquartered and exclusively located in Texas.


D awson is CEO and co-owner of Pape-Dawson Engineers, Inc., which provides civil engineering, environmental, and surveying services for land development, transportation, and water resource projects. The firm has a reputation rooted in integrity and has effectively served clients throughout the state for more than 55 years. It leverages adaptable industry leaders, cutting-edge technology, and positive relationships with stakeholders throughout the state to provide customized solutions to meet Texas’ growing needs. “Pape-Dawson’s mission is to be the most respected engineering firm in our geographic and technical areas of practice,” Dawson says. “We believe that we will be defined more by our character than by our products of service.” A CONVERSATIONWITH SAM DAWSON. The Zweig Letter: Your website states that your “culture sets you apart.” Can you elaborate? If you were to describe the company’s culture in a fewwords, what would you say?

Sam Dawson: Pape-Dawson is relentlessly focused on being the most respected engineering company in Texas. Not the biggest. Not the richest. The most respected. Therefore, we hire and retain the best and the brightest employees with the same values to fulfill this mission. We want to be the best place to work, too. We prioritize employees and their families, and we run the business like we are a family. We provide a professionally engaging, flexible, challenging, and positive work environment with formal programs offering abundant opportunities for our employees to learn and grow as individuals, develop enriching relationships with co- workers, and give back to the community. Those programs include our Academy for Professional Excellence, the Pape- Dawson Charitable Foundation, and PD Connect, to name a few. Our unique culture is founded on excellence, hard work, responsiveness, respect, and character above all else. TZL: What excites you most about the AEC industry when you fast forward into the future – say five years? SD: The demand for infrastructure will be significant across this



country, and especially in Texas, over the next 25 years. Doing our job right is critical for our profession. The environment, the quality of life and safety of individuals are in our hands – we must get it right. I am excited about this challenge and this tremendous responsibility. TZL: Does your firmwork closely with any higher education institutions to gain access to the latest technology, experience, and innovation and/or recruiting to find qualified resources? SD: We’ve been engaged with higher education institutions for decades, as this is a critical resource for sustaining and expanding our workforce. Various employees have served as guest speakers for classes at both four-year and two-year programs. Our talent management leader sits on advisory boards of colleges and universities to provide employer insight, and we participate in panels, mock interviews, etiquette lunches, resume reviews, and engineering competition judging panels to prepare students for their careers. Several of our engineers also participate in senior design projects on a consultant level, and have been doing so for about a decade, attending practices and presentations to offer critiques, questions, and suggestions for improvements. We also offer internships and one-day externships for students to practically apply their knowledge and expose them to civil design. The great thing in all of this is that there are mutually beneficial outcomes to these experiences. Through engaging with the next generation of engineers, we’re supporting their development and encouraging their professional growth, but we’re also grounding ourselves in the latest technology, questioning the ways we’ve “always done things,” and recruiting future employees. TZL: In one word or phrase, what do you describe as your number one job responsibility? SD: Character is everything. If you are a person of truth and character, people will respect you. If they respect you, they will trust you. If they trust you, they will be willing to follow you. Pape-Dawson’s mission is to be the most respected engineering firm in our geographic and technical areas of practice. We believe that we will be defined more by our character than by our products of service. And if we are going to be a trusted company, we must be a trusted people, and that starts with me. TZL: What skills are required to run a successful practice? What do you wish you knew starting out that you know now? SD: Passion, faith, flexibility, endurance, commitment, humility, and compassion.

A good local economy doesn’t hurt either. One lesson I wish I’d learned a tad sooner than I did is that change can be good. When you transition from working for your family to running the family business, there’s an immense pressure to maintain the status quo. You know the adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In order to grow, you have to welcome change and have a willingness to change direction when you are wrong. “Pape-Dawson is relentlessly focused on being the most respected engineering company in Texas. Not the biggest. Not the richest. The most respected.” TZL: Research shows that PMs are overworked, understaffed, and that many firms do not have formal training programs for PMs. What is your firm doing to support its PMs? SD: Pape-Dawson is blessed to have a dynamic Chief Employee Engagement Officer who has stood up our internal corporate university we call APEX: Academy for Professional Excellence. Every Pape- Dawson employee is invited to participate and is slated for personal development. Within that framework, we have specific programs for project managers that touch on all aspects of the job, from people skills to business skills. We use a wide variety of assessment and development tools since all of our managers and employees are unique. We use the global recognized standards of the Project Management Institute, but none of this is static. All our programs are evolving every quarter as we add more and more content designed to help our managers and employees be more effective. Effective managers lead to better work for the client, but that’s just one small benefit. We are specifically equipping our managers to lead great teams and increase their personal wellness and life skills. We can’t take great care of our clients if we’re not taking great care of ourselves. 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? SD: In terms of ownership transition on my end, I don’t intend to pass the baton anytime soon! Whenever that time does come,





■ ■ San Antonio, TX

■ ■ Austin, TX

■ ■ Houston, TX

■ ■ North Houston, TX

■ ■ Dallas, TX

■ ■ Fort Worth, TX

■ ■ New Braunfels, TX


■ ■ Transportation

■ ■ Water resources

■ ■ Land development

■ ■ Surveying

■ ■ Environmental

■ ■ GIS

See CHARACTER, page 8

■ ■ Support services

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

RUARY 21, 2022, ISSUE 1429


BUSINESS NEWS WARE MALCOMB EXPANDS TO SOUTH AMERICA, OPENS NEW OFFICE IN SAO PAULO, BRAZIL Ware Malcomb, an award-winning international design firm, announced the opening of its newest office, in Brazil, located at Rua Florida 1703, Conjunto 62, São Paulo, SP, 04565- 001. The new office brings the total number of Ware Malcomb offices across the Americas to 25. Andres Galvis, regional director, Latin America, for Ware Malcomb will lead the office and the overall growth and management of the company’s operations in the region. To this point, he has been responsible for the firm’s Mexico City office and all Latin American projects. “We are pleased to announce the opening of Ware Malcomb’s new office in the dynamic Brazilian market,” said Galvis. “We’ve had excellent, rewarding client partnerships in Latin America over

the years, and we look forward to new partnerships in Brazil.” “Our company’s growth and expansion into South America is a testament to our team’s hard work and dedication,” said Matt Brady, executive vice president, Ware Malcomb. “We are pleased to open this office to continue serving our clients in the region with innovative, high quality design solutions to maximize their real estate portfolios.” Ware Malcomb has conducted significant work in Latin America since 2003 for clients including Prologis, Emerson, DHL, GLP and LOG, among many others. The firm’s international work includes a wide range of projects spanning five continents including industrial, office, interior architecture and design, healthcare, retail, science & technology, public/institutional facilities and renovations. 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, Mexico and Brazil, Ware Malcomb 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.

TZL: A firm’s longevity is valuable. What are you doing to encourage your staff to stick around? SD: We offer a variety of quality benefits that keep our employees happy and healthy. These benefits are flexible in response to employee needs and current events, such as COVID-19. We also provide countless opportunities for personal and professional development and a competitive salary with annual performance reviews. Our family-like company culture also makes every employee feel special and appreciated. Employee engagement is at an all-time high thanks to virtual and in-person activities such as bingo, trivia, themed birthday Fridays, employee appreciation lunches (including live music and games), comedy shows, Food Truck Fridays, Spurs and Ranger games, our annual picnic for employees and family members, and our annual Christmas party for the entire company. We also have a very active networking program, PD Connect, that offers a variety of opportunities for employees to learn and connect through project site visits, sports teams, professional speaker series, and social gatherings. Employees and family members are kept up to date on company happenings and employee achievements (both professional and personal) through a quarterly magazine, weekly “See What’s Happening” emails, and an employee intranet. Our leadership team and I try our best to ensure Pape-Dawson is the last company listed on each employee’s resume. “Doing our job right is critical for our profession. The environment, the quality of life and safety of individuals are in our hands – we must get it right.”

CHARACTER , from page 7

however, I have no doubt it will go smoothly because of the transparent and frequent communication within our officer group. I will make sure the next generation is well prepared, and let go when it’s time to let go. We are also building a loyal and trusted team that is not part of the family, and really listening to them, and sharing success with them. As long as our mission and unwavering dedication to our community remain intact, Pape-Dawson will continue to succeed. On the other side of things, we recently acquired a phenomenal firm to expand our footprint in the Dallas-Fort Worth area: Dowdey, Anderson & Associates. The key to that smooth transition was rooted in the fact that DAA shared Pape-Dawson’s dedication to demonstrating integrity and putting clients’ needs first. When your technical capabilities and core values align, acquisitions become more like the joining of families than the taking over of business. Once legal and financial decisions were made, top-level leadership from both firms met to discuss goals and functional changes. We all recognized that patience would be key in the transition, as hasty changes can be disruptive and costly in so many ways. All DAA employees were informed of the changes and assured of their job and financial security before any real transition took place. Then we conducted small group orientations with the employees to have the opportunity to get to know them and answer their questions. Other little things to help the transition included welcome gift baskets, a group breakfast, a happy hour, and meet-and-greets with other Pape-Dawson employees to foster that sense of family. From the earliest possible point, we made it known to all that DAA and Pape- Dawson would be stronger together.

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




Construction outlook

Disruption drives innovation, and these challenges will help us to be leaner in our business and develop more creative and collaborative ways to build.

A s we start 2022, the pandemic’s ripple effect is still creating upheaval and disorientation for the construction industry. We are currently experiencing significant problems from three distinct fronts: cost escalations, long lead times, and labor shortages.

I recently moderated a panel discussion for the Lean Construction Institute’s DFW Community of Practice. Our four industry experts – representing mechanical/ plumbing, structural steel, drywall/framing, and concrete – candidly explained how these three issues are affecting their businesses and our industry, and what we might expect as we move forward into the new year. Today, I’ll share some of my observations around each of these topics and highlight some of the takeaways from that insightful panel discussion. 1. Cost escalations. According to Ken Simonson, chief economist of the Association of General Contractors, “Prices for nearly every type of construction material are rising at runaway rates.” But when will it stop? During the referenced LCI event, panelists shared that they expect price increases to continue into 2022 and then flatten to a new baseline. Unfortunately, they do not see

the costs returning to where they once were. Before the pandemic, sophisticated builders with strong preconstruction departments could keep a budget for months, throughout the design process. But today, estimates can be completely outdated and irrelevant within a fewweeks or even in a matter of days. And it’s not just the cost for raw materials that’s climbing. Things like imported shipping containers are now four times more than before the pandemic, and with additional border control regulations anticipated in 2022, these transportation costs could compound. 2. Long lead times. Over the past three months, lead times on raw materials such as aluminum and copper have continued to rise. HVAC and

Keyan Zandy

See KEYAN ZANDY, page 10



ON THE MOVE BOWMAN CONSULTING GROUP ADDS JIM BREZACK AS WATER RESOURCES DIRECTOR Bowman Consulting Group Ltd announced that Jim Brezack has joined the company as Water Resources Director. He will be responsible for overseeing Bowman’s national water resources practice, working with clients to address water supply challenges and provide insight and solutions relating to water conservation, water reclamation and water supply planning. This includes the interpretation and application of state and federal environmental policies. “We are thrilled to have Jim and his staff on our team,” said Mike Bruen, Bowman’s chief operating officer. “Jim’s 30 years as a recognized leader in planning and design of wastewater, water supply, and recycled water will be invaluable to our clients. He has been a leader in the industry, providing insight on the complex master planning and design of water systems. We are pleased to

have this strategic hire expand our presence into the expansive California market.” Brezack received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Utah State University and his master’s degree in water resources from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining Bowman, Brezack was the founder and president of Brezack & Associates, based in Walnut Creek, California. The firm’s primary services included water conservation planning, water resources and environmental planning for public agencies and private entities dealing with environmental challenges. In connection with Brezack’s move to Bowman, all Brezack & Associates employees joined the company. “As water and environmental challenges rise across the U.S., the opportunity is now one of becoming more resilient in our climate control efforts,” said

Brezack. “I am excited to join Bowman to help build on their solid and proven foundation in water resources planning, design and engineering. I look forward to introducing my clients to Bowman’s team of skilled professionals and continuing to advise our collective communities on the increasing importance of water resilience and conservation.” Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, Bowman is an established professional services firm delivering innovative engineering solutions to customers who own, develop, and maintain the built environment. With more than 800 employees and more than 30 offices throughout the United States, Bowman provides a variety of planning, engineering, construction management, commissioning, environmental consulting, geomatics, survey, land procurement and other technical services to customers operating in a diverse set of regulated end markets.

restaurants, hospitality, and others) struggle to hire and retain enough employees to satisfy the demand for their services and products. Official data from the U.S. Labor Department reported that a record 4.3 million Americans voluntarily left their jobs in August 2021 – the equivalent of 2.9 percent of the national workforce. This is the fifth month in a row of record exit numbers, significantly impacting manufacturing and construction positions. With the increasing need for workers to fill open roles on active projects, many firms are likewise increasing benefits and salaries and doubling down on recruiting efforts. These rising labor costs will be built into projects and add to rapidly escalating construction prices. In 2021, we felt the material cost increases; nowwe are experiencing cost increases to both materials and labor. If you’re looking for some good news, I can offer this: our industry is resilient. This is not the first turmoil we have endured, and it won’t be the last. Furthermore, disruption drives innovation, and these challenges will help us to be leaner in our business and develop more creative and collaborative ways to build. The panelists shared that they have already begun to realize many positives: finding more efficient ways to procure materials, improving communication with general contractors and suppliers, and focusing on lean initiatives in their operations to increase productivity with fewer people. Today’s challenges are accelerating a much- needed transformation in our industry – and we will reap the benefits from and continue to build on these successes when we are once again living, working, and building in less fraught, unpredictable times. Keyan Zandy is chief operating officer for Skiles Group. Find him on LinkedIn .

KEYAN ZANDY , from page 10

electrical equipment lead times have also continued to grow, and items like metal decking and roof insulation can now take more than six months to procure. These procurement issues force delays in project start times and can create scheduling issues for the duration of construction. Lead times frequently change mid-project, and it is now common for ordered materials to arrive much later than originally promised. According to the trade panel I spoke with, for some scopes of work they are ordering materials much earlier – and without as much information, like precise field measurements – to hedge against missed procurement dates. While many are hopeful that things will ease up, it doesn’t appear this will be the cause until the second or third quarter of 2022. “Today’s challenges are accelerating a much-needed transformation in our industry – and we will reap the benefits from and continue to build on these successes when we are once again living, working, and building in less fraught, unpredictable times.” 3. Labor shortages. Labor shortages are nothing new in our industry, but we are experiencing these shortages in new (worse) ways – and it’s not just construction that’s suffering. In 2022, the labor shortage will continue to spread beyond the building industry, as many other sectors (retailers,

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




M any times over the years, we have worked with AEC firm clients who, as a part of their business planning process, decided they wanted to break into a new market sector or project type. If you feel the need to diversify your business, here are some tactics to win clients in a newmarket when you don’t have prior experience. Break into a newmarket sector/project type

Of course, that’s rarely easy. The biggest barrier is the age-old conundrum of clients who typically hire based on an AEC firm’s previous experience doing projects of that type, when the AEC firm doesn’t HAVE that experience. How can you get that experience IF you have to have it TO get it? While I won’t try to argue that prior experience is the predominant factor driving AEC firm selection in most cases, it is not in every case. If you feel the need to diversify your business, here are some specific tactics that I have seen work for other companies: 1. Mine your current staff roster to find experience that individuals in your firm already have but you weren’t aware of. Believe it or not, many companies in this business are unaware of everything their employees have done in the past. They may not have it all on their resumes or in your marketing database. You may have to pull it out of them.

2. Use your existing clients to give you a shot at doing something all new. These clients are ones who know you, like you, trust you, and want to see you succeed. If they have other needs that are out of your traditional wheelhouse, they may be willing to give you a shot. Ask them! You may just get a shot. 3. Hire your way into the newmarket. You could recruit someone who has experience doing work of a certain type that you don’t now do. There’s nothing novel about this strategy, but there is little doubt it can work. The problem with it is twofold. One, it’s slow. It could take years to find the right person and then even longer than that for them to secure a project. And two, there is no guarantee you will get the right person. That could really take a long time to figure out.

Mark Zweig

See MARK ZWEIG, page 12



BUSINESS NEWS TWO DESIGN AWARDS FROM THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS 2021 EXCELLENCE IN DESIGN Winstanley Architects & Planners announced that two of its projects, Old Dominion Boat Club and National Ready Mixed Concrete Association have been selected as winners in the AIA Potomac Valley 2021 Excellence in Design Awards competition. The Old Dominion Boat Club received a Special Recognition Commercial Architecture award for its relationship to historic site. ODBC is a boat club on the Potomac River that has been a part of the waterfront of Alexandria since the 1880. Using materials and design aesthetics that rendered a building that looks like a boat and has interior elements that mimic shipboard interior construction

components, the Old Dominion Boat Club now enjoys a brand-new multi- story club (like ships have multiple decks) which looks and “feels” like a boat. The National Ready Mixed Concrete Association received an Award of Merit in Interior Architecture. The firm’s approach for the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association was to create an interior that could be immediately identifiable with NRCMA. Instead of an open layout, Winstanley embraced the concept of a dramatic concrete space by reducing the glazing to the office doors and applying an architectural wall-coating with concrete detailing. This set the tone for the entire space. The details are based on

expressing concrete inspired elements such as the suspended rebar ceiling, concrete looking carpet-tile, coffered ceiling at the Lobby. Winstanley Architects & Planners is an award-winning architectural and planning design studio specializing in projects of distinction from a design, cultural, environmental and political perspective. With design workshops in Washington, DC and Miami, the firm is renowned for its ability to seamlessly integrate planning, architecture and interior design in projects across the academic, civic, commercial, hospitality, mixed-use, renovation/historic preservation, and residential sectors in North America and the Caribbean.

back to the participants via email and by getting press. A good example of this was when Ross & Baruzzini did a study of emergency response centers – a new market they wanted to break into – several years after the 9/11 attacks. By surveying municipalities on what kinds of emergency response facilities they had, and then getting that information back out to those municipalities through a variety of channels, within two years of the effort they secured their first project in that new market. This is only one of many examples. 6. Use your outside BOD members as a way to get into a newmarket. They may have contacts or experience that could be very valuable to your diversification efforts. Learn all you can about them and what they have done over the course of their careers and leverage it. I have seen this tactic used successfully more than once. There may be many reasons a firm in our business would want to diversify its portfolio. Primary amongst them is reduced risk if the external environment suddenly changes. While we are no doubt in an unprecedented boom period for our industry currently, there are some potential clouds on the horizon you may want to keep an eye on. Spending some time on what markets could be positively affected by negative events could be wise. Mark Zweig is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at

MARK ZWEIG , from page 11

4. Buy your way into the newmarket. Buy another firm that is already serving the market or doing the types of projects that you want to do. This is done fairly often in our business and is one of the top reasons firms go on the acquisition trail. It doesn’t have to be large or cost a lot of money. There are many small firms out there with no transition plans or exit strategies for their owners. They may also be willing to finance the whole thing for you. Do some research and make some contacts. If you don’t have the time or desire to do this for yourself, Zweig Group has entire groups of people dedicated to providing this service. “There may be many reasons a firm in our business would want to diversify its portfolio. Primary amongst them is reduced risk if the external environment suddenly changes.” 5. Do research and use PR to get into the newmarket. This has always been one of my favorite tactics to employ. Do a study on the new market you are trying to serve, and then spoon feed the information you have learned

ZWEIG GROUP’S MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS SERVICES Whether you’re on the buy- or sell-side of a deal, Zweig Group’s full-scale Mergers & Acquisitions advisory team can help you find and evaluate candidates and then structure the transaction – managing the complicated process from conception to the closing table. We guarantee our clients senior-level attention, a tireless work ethic, and a creative, entrepreneurial approach to every transaction as the ultimate goal will always be building a long-term, successful relationship. Click here to learn more!

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