TZL 1423 (web)

Janua r y 10 , 2022 , I s sue 1 423 W W W . Z W E I G G R O U P . C O M


Effective remote work

How employees answer a question about where they see themselves in two years, and what their responses really mean. In two years’ time

F I R M I N D E X Alliiance ........................................................................4 Ardurra ........................................................................ 10 Babcock International..................................... 10 EUA ................................................................................... 2 Galloway ...................................................................... 6 Galloway & Company, Inc............................ 12 JRCA Architects ................................................... 12 Performa...................................................................... 2 TETER .............................................................................4 Ware Malcomb....................................................... 8 MO R E A R T I C L E S n AYA SHITANISHI & MEGAN CHANG: Hosting project meetings Page 3 n Inspire and lead: David Guetig Page 6 n KEVIN BROWN: The future of work Page 9 n MARK ZWEIG: Focus on these things in 2022 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.

I n my last article, I presented insights on Zweig Group’s Best Firms to Work For data – specifically about the categories in which the largest differences were present in employee sentiment between the top five and the average Best Firms To Work For scores. Over the past year, we’ve been putting a great deal of effort into further harnessing the power of the data that we have at hand. This is an ever-evolving and iterative process that is designed to benefit the entire industry – both firms and employees alike. The raw data alone is insightful, but pairing data strategically can bring even more powerful insights. For example, one of the questions that Zweig Group asks employees in the survey is, “Where do you see yourself in relation to your firm in two years?” This is an open-ended response so we get all kinds of answers, but they normally fall into a few broad buckets. These buckets include “same role,” “leaving the firm,” “project manager,” “technical role,” “no answer,” and “principal/ upper management” – although my all-time favorite response was “Mastermind Genius Rainmaker.” The way bucket proportions vary between firms alone is in itself fascinating and reflects a lot about the culture and the firm’s organizational project management, but that’s a topic for another day. What’s important now is, what do we do with that information? How do we go about understanding with great clarity what our employees are trying to tell us? Before I go any further, this data is completely anonymous. We do ask for demographic data to allow us further insights, but we do not provide the raw data to management – only a summary, to protect the participants, and to protect the integrity of the data and the process. In other words, the firm’s management will not be able to identify that a white male aged 25-34 in the Minneapolis office answered that he is unhappy with the level of mentoring opportunities at the firm, or any of the other answers that he gave. That being said, what we can do is correlate groups of answers with the remainder of the dataset in order to pinpoint the source of not only the things that aren’t working, but also the things that are working, because we don’t want to overbalance and lose the things we’re doing right. So, let’s go back to our buckets that I mentioned above. You would want to look at all those buckets and develop some correlations, but just as an example, let’s dive into that “no answer” bucket. I think a lot of times that is written off as somewhat of a neutral answer. But what does that

Stephanie Warino




TRANSACTIONS EUA ANNOUNCES MERGER WITH PERFORMA INC. Zweig Group , a full- service AEC management advisory firm, announced its client EUA has expanded its reach and service offerings by merging with Performa. This merger expands EUA’s reach, enhancing the firm’s ability to serve clients across the U.S. and attract and retain top talent. Jamie Claire Kiser, Zweig Group’s managing principal, served as EUA’s lead advisor on the engagement. “EUA and Performa are both very high quality, high performing firms with insightful leadership and a strong vision for the future,” said Tracey Eaves , a valuation services advisor with Zweig Group. “EUA and Performa complement each other from a culture and work ethic perspective, and their collective clients will certainly be the beneficiaries of the business combination.” EUA has a national reach with local expertise. Since 1907, the firm has grown

to more than 200 employees throughout offices in Wisconsin and Colorado. This merger will grow EUA further, from three to five offices. Once complete, this merger will make EUA an architecture, engineering, and design firm with more than 100 years of experience and more than 250 employees in five markets. The integration of Performa brings EUA newmechanical, electrical, plumbing, and structural engineering service offerings. EUA’s existing relationships with external engineering partners are very important and offer a unique opportunity to leverage internal consultative engineering expertise. In the future, EUA will look for opportunities to strategically leverage its new offerings, thoughtfully add engineering talent, and continue to be a trusted partner. Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the leading research, publishing, and consulting resource for the built environment. For more information, visit or call 800.466.6275.

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mean? Is it apathy? A correlation to this group of employees’ level of satisfaction with performance management areas of the survey could lend some great insights on the implicit messages your performance management systems are sending and get all the cylinders firing. In my previous article, we looked at how important performance management (I interpret this as growth and opportunities to improve) was to employees – nearly as important as compensation. Does the “no answer” really mean “too busy to answer”? A correlation of this group of employees’ perceptions of project management processes or resource allocation areas of the survey could help you to identify areas where greater efficiencies could be achieved, or where administrative hires are best placed. Do the “no answer” folks just not knowwhat options are available to them? It may pay to take a close look at the communication areas of the survey within this group, and compare it to the group that did respond to the question, “Where do you see yourself in relation to your firm in two years?” Or (terrifying thought), is “no answer” really a “leaving the firm” answer? Diving into those nuances can make all the difference in understanding how your policies and norms are shaping your workforce. This is why it’s important to quantify the apparent neutrals in questions like this. We celebrate the promotors, emphasizing the areas where we are succeeding with them, and we obsess and lose sleep over the detractors, and shore up the things they’re identifying as our shortcomings. The truth is, while we can learn something from both and apply valuable lessons, there’s often not a great deal that will change promotors or detractors from their positions. The neutrals, however, could lead to some significant insights. Stephanie Warino is a licensed professional and an advisor with Zweig Group. Contact her for systems-level thinking evaluations of compensation and performance programs 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.

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




Hosting project meetings

A good project meeting is like a dinner party: You’re the host and it’s your job to make sure your guests have a great experience.

W orking in a multi-discipline firm like TETER, I’ve been on both the hosting and attending side of project kick-off meetings.

There are two key things that make a difference on how I feel about the meeting: 1. When I get the information. Coming into a kick- off meeting as an attendee, I enjoy having the information up front as I can start to formulate questions in advance to ask the design team when we’re all present. This lets me actually start working on the project when we have the kick-off meeting, instead of playing phone tag or exchanging lengthy emails. As an engineer, it should come as no surprise that efficient meetings are the most enjoyable ones. I feel that my time in the meeting has value when I can pose my questions and receive answers as well as answer questions posed by others. Coming into a kick-off meeting as a project manager, my team’s time is valuable. If I look at the kick-off meeting in terms of dollars, an hour-

long kick-off meeting (accounting for various billing rates) can easily cost around a thousand dollars. With this in mind, taking the time to organize the information I have and preemptively answer the questions I know the other disciplines are going to have will be much more efficient for me to do as the manager than for each individual to do on their own. If I don’t know all the answers, I can at least get the ball rolling with an email or phone call. 2. Howmy time is spent. As an attendee, I dislike meetings where all I do is listen to someone read the slides or handouts verbatim – that wastes my time as I can read much faster than the presenter can talk! My time is valuable, and if I’m bored I’ll secretly work on a different project as I pay loose attention to what’s going on – and as most meetings these days are virtual, that’s now even

Aya Shitanishi

Megan Chang




BUSINESS NEWS MINNEAPOLIS ARCHITECTURE FIRM ALLIIANCE CELEBRATES 50 YEARS OF INSPIRING DESIGN When Alliiance opened its doors for architecture and design clients in 1970 in a 1910s mansion in the Loring Park neighborhood of Minneapolis, the Walker Art Center’s “new” building by Edward Larrabee Barnes was just opening and Carole King’s “Tapestry” topped the charts. Fifty years later, the firm is still in its original home, thriving and growing in diverse practices — including aviation, science and technology, corporate workplaces, civic and community, higher education, retail and a newer specialty in environmental learning spaces. Alliiance serves public and private clients, corporations, Fortune 500 companies and legacy clients including many projects for Medtronic, Ecolab, General Mills, the University of Minnesota and the Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport. “I’m so proud of our hundred-plus team of planners, architects and interior designers and ourwork to create inspired environments for people,” says Eric

Peterson, president and leader of the agency’s international aviation practice. “Throughout the pandemicwe continued to deliver for clients, remained profitable, and are now in hiring mode. Longevity is one of our core strengths – our team has deep experience in our core industries, and many have been with Alliiance for 20 years or more.” With 75 people focused solelyon aviation design, Alliance has worked with MSP Airport since 1978 as well as more than 115 airports across the world. “Alliiance sets the standard for user experience, elevating and enriching the lives of all who use airports – from passengers to airport staff to airlines,” says April Meyer, principal, Alliiance. “We unite people and place through design for airports everywhere from Papua New Guinea to Brazil, Louisville to Spokane — we even have a branch office at MSP Airport to keep our projects on task.” The pandemic and the social unrest of the last year has helped Alliiance initiate several important dialogues. The first, architecture’s role in helping support a

more just society, has developed quickly. “We aligned our firm objectives, looking through lenses of sustainability, quality design, equity, diversity and inclusivity,” adds Peterson, “And we’ve expanded our collaborations, including a partnership for Target Center with 4RM+ULA, a Black-owned firm in St. Paul, Minnesota.” Alliiance has also instituted a new change management consulting service to help clients approach flexible and safe work spaces post-pandemic. As a full-service architecture and design firm that unites people and place through design, Alliiance allies with the best engineering and specialized consulting partners to provide a comprehensive family of integrated services for clients, from feasibility studies, master planning, and brand integration through design, construction, and post-occupancy project phases. Alliiance is an open and energetic team of planners, architects and interior designers, working together to create inspired environments for people.

will just leave. Running over the scheduled meeting time is like hosting a five-hour dinner. Ugh! Serving cheesecake before the steak is confusing! Make sure your agenda is presented in logical order. Information should be presented generally, then in detail. Concise information is key! Don’t serve soup with a fork. Provide information and direction that’s easy to digest. It may take you longer to prepare, but the effort is well worth it for your guests! 2. Create your guestlist and send out invites. Don’t forget to invite dear Aunt Yolanda! Make sure that anyone who will benefit from attending is invited; it will save you time to share the information just one time. If it’s a potluck, say so! Don’t expect people to bring information to the meeting if you haven’t told them to. 3. Be the perfect host. Create a great atmosphere. Everyone is busy – find innovative ways to keep their attention so they leave your meeting with the info they need to be successful (snacks work magic). Don’t let Jerry, your college BFF with no manners, offend all your other guests. Make sure you are the perfect host. Don’t let anyone sidetrack your meeting or distract others from having a good time. Set the tone. Be inspirational and make sure everyone leaves your party full and happy. They will look forward to your next one! Aya Shitanishi is a partner and architect at TETER. Connect with her on LinkedIn. Megan Chang, P.E., is an associate and professional engineer at TETER. Contact her at megan.chang@


easier to do. When a meeting is engaging and encourages participation, you’ll get my attention and a better end product, because this allows myself and the design consultants to do what they love best – designing. As the project manager, the sooner everyone is collaborating together, the better the solution will be as it will take into account the different concerns and design constraints of the entire team when changes are easier (and cheaper!) to accommodate. As a side perk, I feel my effort is appreciated. There’s nothing quite so discouraging as having worked hard to gather information for a meeting and then proceed to talk to politely smiling faces (or worse yet, blank screens staying on mute) who receive the information and then walk out of the room (or sign off of Zoom/Teams) without saying more than two words. Each time the design team gets together should be used effectively; it doesn’t happen often. To that end, below is some sage advice I’ve received that I’d like to pass on. A well-executed project kick-off meeting is like a dinner party, and you, the project manager are the gracious host. Your project teammates are your guests and it’s your job to make sure they have a great experience. 1. Set your menu (agenda). Your guests will show up starving for information, and you’re serving up five courses of it. Make sure it’s presented beautifully, on time, and everything is easy to eat! If dinner takes too long, people

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2022 Learning Opportunities

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Inspire and lead: David Guetig President of Galloway (Denver, CO), a firmwith a streamlined process that addresses all its clients’ design needs – from architecture to civil engineering and survey.


G uetig has more than 30 years of professional experience ranging from civil engineering and project management to executive administration. He believes that being a leader at Galloway is all about valuing and lifting up the team, providing unparalleled client support, and demonstrating exceptional professional knowledge. He enjoys bringing people together and working toward a common goal and shares the company’s purpose: “To enrich people’s passion.” A CONVERSATIONWITH DAVID GUETIG. The Zweig Letter: Part of your mission is “creating a fantastic work environment.” What types of things did you do during COVID to continue that mission? David Guetig: We are big on culture and communication. We’re known for having fun at Galloway. During COVID, we

did a nightly email to staff that consisted of fun clips and memes. I solicited information from staff about favorite COVID memes, etc. and we had a contest. Each night, my family and I would review the entries and the winner received $50. It was a fun way to stay connected. As COVID continued to carry on through the summer, we developed an active social and wellness group and started the “Gallolympics.” There were eight different events and we asked people to wear Galloway gear when they did them and to take a selfie/photo. The categories included: hiking, rafting, running, water events, biking, golf and putt-putt, walking, and field and court sports. We’d share photos and prizes and it was a great way to inspire people to get out and have fun. We couldn’t do our summer picnic, but we still managed to stay in touch. TZL: Howmuch time do you spend working “in the business” rather than “on the business?”



DG: Right now, it’s about 50/50. I’m trying to do a little less “in” and more “on.” We just did our first acquisition – one which Zweig Group helped us with – and I’ve learned that hiring the right people to take on different aspects of things is paramount. We have a CFO now, so that takes a lot off my plate. I’m still working on delegating some of that day-to- day stuff to focus on the long-term. “Through the Great Recession, I got an ‘on-the- job MBA.’ It was hands-on learning and it made me stronger.” TZL: What role does your family play in your career? Are work and family separate, or is there overlap? DG: When you’re an owner, there’s no doubt going to be overlap. You just cannot separate the two. We’ve found that the spouses of our leaders are all supportive of what they do and understand that curve balls will happen. There’s unexpected travel, and late nights that cannot always be planned for and they understand it’s just part of the deal. We could not have grown the firm without that support. I’m also lucky that my wife has an entrepreneurial spirit. TZL: What skills are required to run a successful practice? What do you wish you knew starting out that you know now? DG: Through the Great Recession, I got an “on-the-job MBA.” It was hands-on learning and it made me stronger. I know that it’s important to be conservative, financially. I had to figure out what made the company tick. I learned all that on the job. Now, I work to educate others about the important KPIs that I didn’t know at the time. TZL: What type of leader do you consider yourself to be? DG: One that leads by example. I know it’s not always the best model because everyone has a different style and way of doing things. What works for one may not work for all. I’ve always been a “put your head down and get the job done” kind of guy. That said, I do respect other leadership styles. I’ve had to change my style a bit over the years to being more of a coach and less of a player.

TZL: Are you using the R&D tax credit? If so, how is it working for your firm? If not, why not? DG: Yes. In 2015, we did some research on this and asked our accountant about it. We decided it was a good thing to do and amended our taxes for 2013 and 2014 as well. I believe it’s the greatest and only tax- friendly legislation out there for owners of AEC firms. TZL: Is change management a topic regularly addressed by the leadership at your firm? If so, elaborate. DG: In 2012, we had 30 staff members. Now, we have 220. We’ve had steady growth and have been dealing with change management on a daily basis for the past 10 years. We have to think through how growth will affect staff. As shareholders and a board, we have a lot of discussion about this. Communication is key when it comes to keeping people calm. TZL: Your company has many interesting initiatives. Do these initiatives help in terms of recruitment and retention? Please explain. DG: Yes. In fact, I celebrate these initiatives and our overall culture in every interview that we do. I spend about 15-20 minutes with each applicant and talk about our core values and what it’s like to work for Galloway. We pour a great deal of energy into our people – both through tech and non-tech training. We have several different committees and self-run groups. Among them are the Diversity and Equity Initiative; Galloway People of Color Initiative; Galloway Recognizes Opportunities for Women Initiative; and Galloway Gives. We also have plenty of ways to communicate what’s happening at the firm through things like a monthly “Month in a Minute” video to share See INSPIRE AND LEAD, page 8 “We just did our first acquisition – one which Zweig Group helped us with – and I’ve learned that hiring the right people to take on different aspects of things is paramount.”





■ ■ Denver, CO

■ ■ Colorado Springs, CO

■ ■ Johnstown, CO

■ ■ Fresno, CA

■ ■ Farmington, UT

■ ■ Pleasant Grove, UT

■ ■ Salt Lake City, UT


■ ■ Architecture

■ ■ Civil engineering

■ ■ Development services

■ ■ Fueling

■ ■ Interior design

■ ■ Landscape architecture

■ ■ MEP engineering

■ ■ Structural engineering

■ ■ Survey

■ ■ Traffic engineering

■ ■ Water resources

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

UARY 10, 2022, ISSUE 1423




and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. In Anderson’s role as studio manager, Architecture, he helps lead the architecture studios in the New Jersey and New York offices and leads select projects. He joined Ware Malcomb in 2015 as a job captain and was promoted to project manager and senior project manager. Anderson has overseen multiple projects including industrial, interiors and mixed use, and coordinated directly with several large client accounts. Anderson holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Philadelphia University. In Smith’s role as studio manager, advanced manufacturing, he helps lead the advanced manufacturing studios in the New Jersey and New York offices and leads select projects. He brings extensive knowledge in overseeing the project quality assurance process, with an in-depth expertise in building code analysis, constructability review and design requirements. Smith joined Ware Malcomb in 2012 as a project coordinator and was promoted to the roles of project manager and senior project manager. He has experience in specialized industrial facility design including multistory distribution and food processing projects. Smith has a

bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Buffalo and master’s degree in architecture from Kent State University. “I am very excited to share the news about these key promotions in our region. Scott has been instrumental in the leadership of the studios and has become a respected advisor among clients in the Northeast market,” says Edward Mayer, II, principal architecture of Ware Malcomb’s Northeast region. “Jon and Adam have both demonstrated significant drive and dedication to our projects, directly contributing to the growth we are experiencing. We are looking forward to seeing these three key leaders grow in their new roles.” Established in 1972, Ware Malcomb is a contemporary and expanding full- servicedesign firmprovidingprofessional architecture, planning, interior design, civil engineering, branding and building measurement services to corporate, commercial/residential developer and public/institutional clients throughout the world. The firm 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 Hot Firm by Zweig Group.

LEADERSHIP IN NEWARK OFFICE Ware Malcomb, an award-winning international design firm, announced the promotions of Scott Daniel to director, architecture, Jon Anderson to studio manager, architecture and Adam Smith to studio manager, advanced manufacturing, all in the firm’s Newark, New Jersey office. PROMOTIONS In his role as director, architecture, Daniel leads the growth and management of the region’s Architecture Studios in New Jersey and New York. A registered architect in the states of New York and New Jersey, Daniel has three decades of experience in the architecture industry and has led and designed multi- million-dollar projects, both nationally and internationally. Daniel joined Ware Malcomb as a senior project manager in 2019, working directly with clients and managing projects from concept through construction to completion. He was promoted to studio manager, Architecture in June 2021. Daniel has completed diverse project types including industrial, multifamily, office, hospitality, and retail, among others. Daniel holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and an MBA from the University of Arizona. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects

INSPIRE AND LEAD, from page 7

what Galloway staff have been up to as well as “Lunchtime Conversations.” It’s so important to educate staff and bring them together. 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? DG: In 2006, I took over as president and we started doing valuations. We use the formulas from Zweig Group’s Valuation Survey Report . We do a snapshot every year of our net worth, interest bearing debt and backlog. Every three years, we average it out. A CPA verifies it and we use three factors: headcount, revenue, and EBIDA.

TZL: In one word or phrase, what do you describe as your number one job responsibility? DG: Inspire and lead.

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




The future of work

Those companies that are resolute, agile, and creative will define the workplace rules of tomorrow, while the rest will be forced to follow or buckle beneath the pressure.

I look back on the initial months of the pandemic with a chuckle; we were clueless, weren’t we? I recall the many discussions indicating that if we all just shut down for two weeks, the virus would burn itself out and we could all return to business as usual. Then, one by one, we watched as the cities where we live and work enacted stay at home orders, and we saw two weeks stretch to two months, then six months, then a year – and so on. Somewhere in the summer months of 2020, the reality and depth of the crisis finally began to sink in, and for the first time in my nearly 25-year career, I found myself taking on a new role: futurist.

Kevin Brown

Like our peers, Ardurra peered into an uncertain future – one with macro- and micro-economic unknowns, concerns for the health and safety of our families, friends, and colleagues, and a business landscape that was unrecognizable. We simply did not knowwhat the impact would be on the business or our lives. But out of that uncertainty, we found resilience. We discovered that we were far more capable and adaptable to remote work than previously thought – and we recognized, in real time, that the technology, tools, and skill sets that were emerging out of necessity would accelerate trends that previously seemed far off. The future was nigh. THE TALENT GAP. The scarcity of talent in the AEC industry is nothing new; even during the Great

Recession, unemployment among engineers never rose above 3 percent. Fortunately, our fears of economic calamity assuaged as the pandemic proceeded, and any hiring freezes were short-lived. By summer 2020, we were hiring, onboarding, and integrating staff wholly remotely. What’s more, as an acquisitive firm, we acquired multiple new businesses during this period and integrated all of them remotely. Certainly, we would have preferred to welcome them in person, but we managed and we were successful. The pandemic had an unintended consequence on our recruiting; we discovered that we could take on talent wherever they were, not just where we

See KEVIN BROWN, page 10



TRANSACTIONS COMPLETION OF THE SALE OF UK POWER BUSINESS Babcock International Group PLC announced the completion of the sale of its Power business to M Group Services for a gross cash consideration of £50 million. Babcock’s Power business is a leading provider of engineering services in the UK overhead line electric transmission and distribution industry. It is trusted to deliver high quality outputs to clients including National Grid, Scottish Power Energy Networks and Western Power

Distribution. Following the sale, the business will form part of Morrison Energy Services, a division of M Group Services. The business is a part of Babcock’s Land sector. For the year ended 31 March 2021, it reported total revenues of £70 million and profit before interest and tax of around £7 million before allocated overheads. Babcock CEO David Lockwood said: “I’m delighted that we continue to make

real strides in delivering our plan of streamlining the Group. The business is a great fit for M Group Services, and I wish them every success as they continue to grow their operations.” Babcock is an international aerospace, defence and security company. We have a leading naval business, and provide value-add services across the UK, France, Canada, Australasia and South Africa. Babcock also operates in, and exports to, additional markets.

quickly realized that replicating the social closeness proved far more difficult than efficiently transitioning work tasks. We did what most other firms did – organized Zoom happy hours and special “virtual” events. We provided every employee with an annual subscription to the Calm app to help them find an outlet for relaxation and mindfulness. We encouraged leadership to take a more personal approach to management, routinely check in with their teams, and be sensitive to their personal and professional needs. We communicated openly and honestly about mental health and highlighted the resources available for those in need. But in the end, we only found true resolution when staff began to return to the office; even just a day or two per week was transformative. WHAT IT ALL MEANS. Up until now, I have discussed the many challenges we faced and the lessons we’ve learned from them, but the more difficult task is putting a solution into practice that understands and respects the new realities of our workforce and our workplaces. Some companies reacted too quickly, stating that their staff would never return to the office, while others set arbitrary deadlines for staff to return “or else.” The prudent response lies somewhere in between. The days of having a physical presence are not over; they remain an important and salient bond among the staff. At Ardurra, we talk about culture a lot – it’s what sets us apart from other firms and is central to our business strategy – and I don’t know that a company culture can exist without a physical space where people intersect. I believe that more today than I did before the first mention of COVID-19. However, I don’t think that translates back to what work looked like pre-pandemic. The future I see is variable, where staff find a balance of remote and in-person work that best suits them and the business. This necessarily refocuses “in office” time as social and collaborative, while remote work becomes independent, concentrated, and productive. In the end, there can’t be one solution to meet the needs of every person and every business, but I knowwithout question that those companies that are resolute, agile, and creative will define the workplace rules of tomorrow, while the rest will be forced to follow or buckle beneath the pressure. Kevin Brown, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is chief human resources officer at Ardurra. Contact him at

KEVIN BROWN, from page 9

were. It broadened our reach and we began to cast a wider net that resulted in organically opening new offices in new geographies that we hadn’t specifically targeted before. It also provided access to candidates who were dissatisfied with how their current firms were dealing with the pandemic. While we proved resilient, others were less adaptive or lacked the technology to support remote work effectively. “There were indeed great benefits from remote work – time saved on commute, more flexibility to balance personal responsibilities, etc. – but many found it hard to turn work “off” after normal business hours.” NEWPEOPLE CHALLENGES. While the transition to remote work proved that we could be successful without the physical proximity an office setting provides, it brought with it new challenges. A few months into the pandemic, we surveyed our staff and found that this new reality was having profound impacts on their mental wellness. Almost 20 percent reported being lonely, while others reported increased anxiety. For years, the elders of the industry believed that remote work was not feasible because there would be too many distractions and not enough oversight. What we found was the opposite; instead of employees becoming neglectful of their work, the real challenge was maintaining a healthy work-life balance. There were indeed great benefits from remote work – time saved on commute, more flexibility to balance personal responsibilities, etc. – but many found it hard to turn work “off” after normal business hours. There simply wasn’t a significant differentiation between work and home when you’re working from your couch or dining room table. We take for granted the psychological value of brief talks around the watercooler or a shared lunchtime in the employee lounge; work is a key source of social interaction and support that was immediately lost. We found that employees stopped using paid time off; they reasoned that there wasn’t anywhere to go, so why waste their vacation time on a day stuck at home. At Ardurra, we recognized this challenge and went to work at it – and we

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Focus on these things in 2022

W hile I am no longer an owner in an AEC firm (other than the design/build/ development company I have with my wife, which is down to a single commercial center), I spent more than 40 years in this industry and keep my eye on it closely. In the new year, remember that we’re responsible for creating our own luck. You can start by focusing on these five things.

Here are the things I would be focusing on in my firm in 2022 if I still was an owner in one: 1. People. It’s a cliche, but people are everything in a professional service business (well, almost everything – people, brand, and reputation!). I would be working on how to keep making my business a better place to work – a more caring place, a place with real opportunities, a place that constantly reinforces the idea that good people can build a career there without feeling like they are compromising their opportunities, standards, or personal ethics to work there. That is a big, big challenge. Money is part of it – and that won’t be there if the firm isn’t profitable – but it certainly isn’t all of it. Flexibility in when and where one works is critical. A real sense of purpose for the business is crucial. And lots and lots of feedback for people is essential. I also firmly believe there is no way to have real trust between employees

and management if you are not an open-book management company. 2. Costs. Everything is going up in price. That is going to strain profitability. But profits are essential if you want to provide real opportunities and rewards for your people. So costs have to be managed very closely. One of the bigger costs is office space. Don’t have too much of it. Another is overhead staff. Don’t let that get out of control. Firms in this business have a tendency to add too many non-billable staff when things are going well. I have seen it forever. Don’t do it. Work on your processes and systems so that it takes FEWER people to run the place. Get rid of all unnecessary steps in everything. Simplify. And cut back on meetings because they absolutely destroy your productive capacity and hurt morale at the same time.

Mark Zweig

See MARK ZWEIG, page 12



TRANSACTIONS GALLOWAY & INC. ACQUIRES JRCA ARCHITECTS Zweig Group, a full-service AEC management advisory firm, announced its client Galloway & Company, Inc. has acquired JRCA Architects, creating a dynamic alignment of knowledge and culture. Jamie Claire Kiser, Zweig Group’s managing principal, served as Galloway’s lead advisor on the engagement, with support from advisor John Bray and senior analysts Andrew Chavez and Drake Hamilton. Zweig Group worked closely with Galloway’s president, Dave Guetig, and Kristoffer Kenton, director of architecture. COMPANY, “This transaction really underscores that M&A in our industry isn’t just about ‘synergies’ – it’s about the future and growth,” Kiser said. “Zweig Group has advised Galloway on a variety of strategic initiatives over the last few years, and our deep understanding of Galloway’s ambition and uncompromising commitment to culture facilitated a smooth M&A process. The outlook in the mountain region and demand for services remains strong for AEC; this

transaction is the second closing we have advised on within the month in these states, a trend we see continuing into 2022.” Galloway is headquartered in Denver with six regional offices. The firm’s staff of nearly 250 professionals provides a full-service approach to architecture and engineering that supports projects nationwide. Its active portfolio includes projects in 26 states. Utah-based JRCA is highly regarded for its design of healthcare, public works, and public safety facilities, as well as government and justice centers. The firm’s expertise in these markets will complement Galloway’s extensive portfolio in the commercial, multifamily, industrial, and federal markets. Galloway and JRCA have worked together throughout the years, and this established relationship further supported the acquisition. Galloway has grown rapidly over the past eight years, with a 13 percent annual average growth. The firm’s expansion began in 2013 with the opening of its first

regional office in Salt Lake City. Since then, Galloway has added five additional offices in Colorado, Utah and California. This is Galloway’s second acquisition in the Utah market. JRCA will retain its Salt Lake City office and staff, and will continue operations under the Galloway name. JRCA’s owners will join Galloway as shareholders. Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the leading research, publishing, and consulting resource for the built environment. The firm provides strategy, mergers and acquisitions, business valuation, ownership transition, marketing, business development, market research, financial management, project management, recruiting and executive search services nationwide. Zweig Group also provides a comprehensive suite of products including industry reports and surveys, executive training, and business conferences covering virtually every aspect of AEC firm management. For more information, visit or call 800.466.6275.

the cause of it. The founders/major owners won’t get out of the way. They stay too long and suck too much out of the company. They slowly run off the best people because they won’t pass the baton. Don’t be like that. The sooner you start, the better. If you don’t have good people to pass the reins over to, get some now. And please – for heaven’s sake – do a financial model that shows how much capital will be exiting the firm looking ahead each year. Not doing this is irresponsible. And finally, keep your ears open to sell the firm to someone else who WILL invest in it to keep it successful. Sometimes an external sale is the best thing for your people, not the worst. I could most definitely go on here but won’t. Good luck in 2022 – but perhaps more importantly, remember that we create our own luck every day! MARK ZWEIG is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at “I would be working on how to keep making my business a better place to work – a more caring place, a place with real opportunities, a place that constantly reinforces the idea that good people can build a career there ... That is a big, big challenge.”

MARK ZWEIG, from page 11

3. Marketing. You may not think you need to do this because business is booming, but marketing is critical for your firm to be positioned to do well when things aren’t so great. It will also help you earn higher fees which is critical to your profitability. Do the brand building you should be doing. Do more original research. Build your client database. Make use of all social media platforms. Work on visibility – better project signage, office signage, company clothing, company vehicles, etc. – because these things will help you be top of mind for your clients and potential clients. Focus on responsiveness and making your firm easier than any other to deal with. That’s why I use the bank I use. That’s why I buy so much from Amazon. That’s why I buy cars from two specific dealerships. That’s why I use the attorneys I use. I’m not unique – a lot of busy people feel the same way and act accordingly. 4. Technology. Anything you can do to make things easier will cut down on the number of non-billable staff you need to run your business and help facilitate working remotely and getting the best people for the project working on what they should be focusing on. Reduce complexity. Reduce involvement of people in decisions that they don’t need to be involved in. Make it possible to find information quickly and painlessly. Your business will be greatly impacted by these things. 5. Transition. A lack of transition planning kills a lot more firms in this business than we may want to admit. It’s because it is a slow death that we don’t always recognize

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