PB: These are two areas that are, or would be, driven out of our automation group, and we are in the infancy of investigating these technologies to serve our clients. “We have communicated to the employees, new and old, that we are all just stewards of the company, with ownership handed down from generation to generation.” TZL: It is often said that people leave managers, not companies. What are you doing to ensure that your line leadership are great people managers? PB: We are very sensitive to not only what people are capable of, but where their interests lie, as in our business, most managers are good technically, less so as people managers. It is more often said that people excel at what they like. As a result, we’ve allowed, and in some cases encouraged, people to do what they like – more than what they can do, or feel the company needs. To prevent that departure, we have opened the doors more to good managers with some technical acumen in managerial positions, as opposed to good technical people with some managerial expertise. TZL: What novel approaches are you bringing to recruitment, and how are your brand and differentiators performing in the talent wars? PB: We have hired a full-time talent acquisition specialist, thoroughly explored every reputable internet social media doorway we can find, and have never forgotten the following premise: It has as much probability of success (and we reward our employees for doing so) to hire someone who is known, with multiple connections to fellow employees, than to hire off the street. Combined with our generous business ownership and profit- sharing model, these principles and that approach have made us tough to beat in the open market. TZL: What unique or innovative pricing strategies have you developed, or are you developing, to combat the commoditization of engineering services? PB: I don’t know how unique or innovative they are, but we have developed rate structures that are customized to reward (discount) our clients for directly awarded
volume or repeat business, provide shared savings on lump sum or NTE projects, and for those clients willing to sign extended, relatively exclusive contracts for our services, highly discounted multiplier based rates. TZL: They say failure is a great teacher. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve had to learn the hard way? PB: As apparent as it may be, telling the truth, and being completely honest are not one and the same. Though I like to think we all strive to be the latter, no one is perfectly honest. That said, at a minimum, to run a successful business and partnership, you have to be willing to tell the truth when asked a direct question. 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? PB: First, we acknowledge that it’s the most difficult position to master within the company, try to prioritize the company as a “project led” organization, provide the control required to the PMs, and reward them personally for repeat, profitable work. Second, try to find or position the individuals within the organization who have the broad range of experience, leadership, and confrontational abilities to succeed. Third, provide PMP, CMP, or PM Bootcamp training to further enhance their skills. “We have also communicated that barring any major economic event, we would ride through less profitable times, together, with no layoffs, but perhaps less in profit sharing, performance pay, and share value growth, which all employees have the opportunity to participate in.” TZL: In one word or phrase, what do you describe as your number one job responsibility as CEO? PB: To have the most positive outlook and be the most positive force within the company.
HEADQUARTERS: Cincinnati, OH NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 227 YEAR FOUNDED: 2007
OFFICE LOCATIONS: ❚ ❚ Cincinnati, OH ❚ ❚ Chicago, IL ❚ ❚ Cedar Rapids, IA ❚ ❚ Louisville, KY ❚ ❚ Dearborn, MI INDUSTRIES: Consumer
products, facilities, food and beverage, pharmaceutical/ biotech, renewable fuels, and specialty chemicals SERVICES: Process engineering, project management, mechanical engineering, construction management, owner’s engineering, feasibility studies, electrical engineering, instrumentation and controls services, civil and structural, architectural services, laser scanning, cost estimating, piping design, manufacturing safety, automation, and IT services WHY IT GROWS: By sharing the ownership, financial rewards, and responsibility together as a team, BSI has formed a strong foundation. With this foundation of trust and respect, in spite of a well- known economic downturn experienced by many of its competitors, they can, fortunately, say that they’ve never experienced a layoff for lack of work, have continuously added associates to the ranks, and grown in almost every quarter since its formation.
See POSITIVE FORCE, page 8
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ch 23, 2020, ISSUE 1337
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