TZL 1383 (web)


TZL: How far into the future are you able to reliably predict your workload and cash flow? KG: Our cash flow model – which we refer to as our “headlights” – is able to estimate our cash position as far out as we’re willing to make corresponding assumptions related to cash receipts, billings, and net backlog. Generally, the reach of our “headlights” is about one fiscal year, though, as alluded to above, we have five-year strategic and financial plans that serve as a framework for annual budgets or “plans.” Workload predictability is something that we’re working on, complicated by laissez faire project triage – particularly the hesitancy of some of our project managers to close their projects out in a timely manner – and the predominance of small T&M projects that make up our net backlog. Consistency in approach related to workload balancing firm-wide has also been an issue. That said, we actively monitor net backlog and net backlog per FTE and are significantly improving hygiene as it pertains to validating near- term or “burnable” backlog (backlog aging). TZL: What type of leader do you consider yourself to be? KG: Collaborative, transparent, and empowering, as well as stubborn and focused – perhaps to a fault. Like Lombardi, I aim for perfection – knowing full well that I and we will never attain it – but that, along the way, we will encounter excellence if we remain willing to take calculated risks and support one another. It’s about building and maintaining trust at, and among, all levels of our organization. It’s also about knowing and acting on the fact that comfort is the death knell of progress. “What got you to where you are is never good enough to get you to where you want and need to go.” TZL: Are you using the R&D tax credit? If so, how is it working for your firm? If not, why not? KG: Yes, we are. It has resulted or produced marginal financial gain that has nonetheless exceeded the cost of internal research and external support. 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? KG: We place high priority on recruiting and promoting “people people” over “process people,” as well as on providing training – both structured, formal classroom training and active OJT. We recently developed a “P&L Manager’s Desk Reference Guide” that is heavily oriented to “people management” that will serve as both a framework for even more structured training as well as the basis for greater uniformity and efficiency in employee supervision and management practices throughout the firm. We are also in the process of revising our leadership training program and dove-tailing these various tools with our emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion. “Going forward it is highly likely that a substantial portion, if not the majority of our employees, will be working remotely on both intermittent and permanent bases.” TZL: The firm has been around for nearly 100 years. That’s impressive. What do you hope to achieve in the next five years in the way of growth/evolution? KG: Our five-year strategic and financial plans envision an overall growth rate of between 15-20 percent through both organic and acquisitive means; our anticipated growth in profitability as a percentage of net revenue is higher. This will mean greater selectivity in the opportunities that we pursue as well as greater internal efficiencies related to project profitability, cash flow, and cost containment. TZL: How are you balancing investment in the next generation – which is at an all-time high – with rewards for tenured staff? This has always been a challenge, but seems heightened as investments in development have increased. KG: Such investments are driven by our profitability. The more profitable we are, the more we are able to invest in both early- and mid-career professionals and tenured staff. The first thing we do with our FYE Operating Profit is fund our employee bonus pool.





SERVICES: Civil engineering,

facility engineering,

transportation/traffic engineering,

construction services, landscape

architecture, water/wastewater

engineering, environmental;

engineering, structural

engineering, specialty markets


Infrastructure, community,

facility, manufacturing,

construction, energy,



commercial, education,

energy, environmental, federal,

healthcare, industrial, legal,

manufacturing, municipal,

private, quasi-public, residential,


state, utilities

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RCH 15, 2021, ISSUE 1383

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