TZL 1434 (web)

Ma rch 28 , 2022 , I s sue 1 434 W W W . Z W E I G G R O U P . C O M


Employee productivity

To get your people working better as a team, you need to bridge the divide between the different groups in your firm. Fault lines

In Zweig Group’s AEC Workplace of the Future survey , firm participants are asked about current and future policies in their company as well as their current personal ideals. For example, participants were asked to rate their current productivity level versus their productivity level pre-pandemic. Participants that work from home expressed that their productivity level was generally higher now. Participants that primarily work at the office or on the road said that their productivity level remained the same. The other participants that worked a hybrid model fell in-between. The main purpose of this is not to compare the options one-to-one, but to understand your staff and implement policies with them in mind. Participate in a survey and save 50 percent on the final or pre- publication price of any Zweig Group research publication.

B en Lindbergh and Sam Miller were sports journalists and baseball statistics gurus who were offered an opportunity to run a professional minor league baseball team. Putting theory to practice, the pair hired a manager and assembled a complete roster of players who could hit, pitch, and field. The adventure is documented in their book titled The Only Rule Is It Has to Work . In addition to forming a complete team, they knew that this team needed to work together – that there needed to be a certain “chemistry” between the players. But team chemistry wasn’t nearly as easy to quantify as batting average or strikeouts per inning. For help, they turned to the work and research done by Katerina Bezrukova, at the time an assistant professor at Santa Clara University. She found that chemistry was a fairly simple math problem, and that predicting trouble was as easy as identifying what she called “fault lines.” According to Bezrukova, “Fault lines are defined as hypothetical dividing lines that split a group into relatively homogeneous subgroups based on the group members’ demographic alignment along multiple attributes (adapted from Lau & Murnighan, 1998). For instance, a fault line exists in a science team when all the engineers in a team are fresh college graduates and all the scientists are just about to retire.” Lindbergh and Miller likened fault lines to high school cliques: “If five friends all love cheerleading and five other friends all love marching band, then those 10 people are divided into two groups that don’t interact – there’s the fault line between them.” Fault lines intensify when group members are aligned around multiple attributes – when the marching band lovers are freshmen and the cheerleaders are juniors, for example. Many AEC firms like to think of themselves as families, but they are – at their core – more like sports teams (and sometimes high schools!). For example, managers need to hire different people to fill distinct but complementary roles, these people need to work together to achieve an outcome, and there are competitors. Fault lines develop in our firms, too. They are almost all organized around a hierarchy that maps closely with age – like the science

Tom Godin

F I R M I N D E X Dewberry.....................................................................2

Patel, Greene & Associates, LLC.............10

RDLR Architects.................................................... 6

Ware Malcomb.....................................................10

MO R E A R T I C L E S n JOSH BLAIRE: Advice to the CQV career-minded Page 3 n Balance: Lorie Westrick Page 6 n KATIE BATILL-BIGLER: Support your support staff Page 9 n MARK ZWEIG: You are the owner? So what! Page 11

See TOM GODIN, page 2



BUSINESS NEWS DEWBERRY’S WESTERN PLACERVILLE INTERCHANGE PROJECT EARNS CMAA PROJECTOFTHEYEARAWARD Dewberry, a privately held professional services firm, has announced that it has been named the recipient of the Construction Management Association of America’s (CMAA) Project of the Year Award. The firm’s Western Placerville Interchange Phase II project, which was completed for the City of Placerville, received the award for transportation projects under $50 million. Dewberry provided construction management services for the project, which features a new off-ramp at Ray Lawyer Drive on U.S. 50, new auxiliary lane on east-bound U.S. 50, new park-and-ride facility, 400 feet of Type 5 retaining wall, street lighting along Forni Road and a signalized intersection at Ray Lawyer Drive and east-bound off-ramp intersection, and roughly 2,000 feet of new roadway for the realignment of Forni Road, including curb, gutter, sidewalk, storm drain facility, and a Class I bike path.

The project was completed in 2020 and was the result of coordinated efforts between Dewberry, the City of Placerville, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), ElDoradoCountyTransportation Commission, El Dorado Irrigation District, El Dorado County Jail, and other private energy, gas, and telecommunications providers. “This project included many complete streets elements with improvements to both freeway and local streets, which will reduce traffic congestion for both commuters and visitors heading to Lake Tahoe,” says Dewberry Project Manager and Associate Vice President Howard Zabell, PE. “Having the opportunity to play a role in making this project happen and earning an award for our efforts is truly an honor.” Established in 1956, Dewberry is headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, with more than 50 locations and more than 2,000 professionals nationwide.

TOM GODIN, from page 1

teams that Berzrukov studied. Fault lines develop between the technical staff and administrative staff and between offices or departments or studios. What is a leader to do? Continuing the high school analogy, Lindbergh and Miller offered a constructive way forward: “If a couple of students from each group are also into, say, running the school’s canned food drive, there is now a third, overlapping group. And if there’s a conflict between a cheerleader and a clarinetist, there are now networks for resolving it.” Your chemistry assignment for the next week: 1. Map out the fault lines in your organization and reflect for a moment on how they manifest themselves day-to-day. 2. Identify the people who form the connective tissue across the fault lines. They play an important role in your firm. 3. Get your canned food drives going. Go beyond superficial (but fun, and important) social gatherings and create opportunities for people on different sides of a fault line to interact on a meaningful level – to solve a specific problem or advance an initiative in your strategic plan. Tom Godin is a strategic planning advisor at Zweig Group. Contact him at tgodin@

PO Box 1528 Fayetteville, AR 72702

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.

2022 AEC EXECUTIVE ROUNDTABLE The 2022 AEC Executive Roundtable is a unique opportunity for AEC firm leaders to engage and interact with industry peers to discuss current issues facing firms today, explore industry trends and next practices, and confront the biggest challenges they face leading their firms. See you this June 22-24 in Dallas. Click here to learn more!

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




Advice to the CQV career-minded

Y ou won’t hear playground voices echoing, “I want to be a CQV expert when I grow up.” And I wasn’t shouting that out over the doctor and firefighter votes in kindergarten either. But as the executive vice president of our commissioning, qualification, and validation practice, I can honestly say I couldn’t have picked a better career. This intriguing and fulfilling career path leads to new experiences, new opportunities, and newways to expand your skills every day.

Josh Blair

Taking a step back, CQV – a detailed and science- based service – is an essential part of the heavily regulated life sciences industry. It ensures that facilities, systems, and equipment are designed and installed as specified, function as intended, and work together to support the process of producing a biopharmaceutical or medical device product that is safe and effective. In short, it’s a fulfilling role because you can see the value you provide – across a product lifecycle – come to life. For me, growing up, that passion for seeing things come to fruition started early with a love of art, planning, and design. That sparked my interests. Yet, rooted within a family that was heavily involved in the construction industry, I found that moving beyond plans and drawings to seeing design impacts and implications in a real-world scenario really fueled my passion.

In the CQV process, especially commissioning, you spend a lot of time at construction sites. In fact, it’s not unusual to work on multiple projects at multiple jobsite locations, all at the same time. Suffice to say, every day is different. It’s anything but boring. And when you’re onsite, especially during a project’s startup phase, you’ll find that many issues can arise. As commissioning agents, we’re there to identify and resolve those issues. If you’ve read this far, this may be a career for you to consider. Do you thrive in a fast-paced environment? Excel at managing a myriad of details? Enjoy investigating, recommending, and implementing ways to bring your projects to a timely and successful closure? Then read on. Commissioning is the process of completing construction. Historically, it began as a shipbuilding

See JOSH BLAIR, page 4



NEW FROM ZWEIG GROUP 2022VALUATIONREPORT Zweig Group’s just released 2022 Valuation Survey Report of AEC Firms is the definitive resource to value an industry firm. Zweig Group’s exclusive Z-Formulas can be used to quickly calculate how much an AEC industry firm is worth. Simply input seven factors: staff size, net revenue, backlog, EBITDA, profit, book value, and interest-bearing debt, for a rough value for any industry firm. Features of this publication: ■ ■ This report was compiled with data gathered from AEC industry

firms that have used an internal formula for valuation, have been merged or acquired, or that have been appraised by an independent valuation consultant. ■ ■ Zweig Group uses the above data to calculate six different value ratios for each firm. These ratios can be compared by firm size, type, region, reason for valuation, and more. ■ ■ Hundreds of case studies can be used to make reliable comparisons of value between your firm and others in the industry.

■ ■ See how growth rate, staff size, firm age, and other factors affect firm value. ■ ■ Chapter on valuation practices and ways to enhance value for design and environmental consulting firms. Click here to purchase or learn more about Zweig Group’s 2022 Valuation Survey. Participate in Zweig Group’s 2022 Financial Performace Survey and save 50 percent on a Zweig Group research publication.

are no CQV schools and limited CQV training programs, so you need to learn from experience. In my first role as a controls technician for Voltec, Inc., I was mentored by Art Brower, P.E., who inspired me to think broadly and execute with precision. As my career progressed, I was fortunate to work with Joe O’Donnell of Genesis AEC who gave me the right exposure to the right projects, pushing me to stretch and sharpen my capabilities. ■ ■ A yearning to learn, continually. From your successes, of course, but also from your mistakes. Taking accountability is important, but taking the initiative to apply what you’ve learned is paramount. ■ ■ A motivation for quality and a desire to mitigate risk (especially for QV). An understanding of quality implications and risk, systems’ performance, repeatability, and regulatory frameworks are additional skill sets that can help position you for success. ■ ■ An interest in traveling. If you’re interested in working alongside clients in the field – versus being tied to an office or a desk – this may be the career for you. You can find yourself traveling across the U.S. or even internationally to client sites, troubleshooting and addressing their design impacts, while experiencing new locales, new cuisine, and potentially new vacation destinations. Overall, if you’re someone who wants to be truly involved in the way things are built, constructed, and operated, you may want to explore this role further. And even if this specific career path is not on your radar as a permanent position, it’s beneficial for any engineer to spend some time in a commissioning role on a project basis to realize the real-world consequence of making a mistake on drawings or to understand what really works or conversely, doesn’t. That alone can solidify and strengthen your career. If you have any questions, please email Genesis AEC at info@ Josh Blair is executive vice president of commissioning, qualification, and validation services at Genesis AEC. Connect with him on LinkedIn .

JOSH BLAIR, from page 3

term. A commissioned ship – like a commissioned building – is one that is deemed fit for service. It’s the last 10 percent of the project where everything comes together. From a career perspective, it’s where the rubber hits the road for honing your technical skill sets and adding value to a project. And in my opinion, there’s no better experience than that. Consider the complexity and interoperability of large-scale systems such as building automation systems, HVAC, packaging/fill, purified water, process/manufacturing, and compressed air. Now factor in a litany of features and functions for each of those systems. Lastly, twist that Rubik’s Cube once more and imagine yourself as a CQV expert who is evaluating, adjusting, and modifying those systems so they meet the owners’ requirements and operate effectively and efficiently. Challenging? Yes. Rewarding? Absolutely. Ensuring that everything functions the way it is supposed to is, quite simply, job satisfaction at its finest. A desire to make a difference is critical to becoming a CQV engineer. You need to truly care about the end user and the end results. If that’s something that drives you, you’ll find this intriguing and fulfilling career path leads to new experiences, new opportunities, and newways to expand your skills every day. But what does it take to become a CQV professional? Here are a just a few qualities: ■ ■ Awide range of talents. Troubleshooting and problem- solving (especially for commissioning) are critical. But you must also be a great communicator who is methodical, proactive, and resourceful. You should be someone who does whatever it takes to get the job done. ■ ■ A background in engineering. Process, chemical, mechanical, or electrical for building commissioning, including technical trades such as those of an air balancer or controls technicians, and a very technical background – clean utilities, process equipment, lab equipment, and quality, etc. for QV are career perquisites. ■ ■ A mentor is key. Training at the personal level goes a long way. My degree is in electrical engineering from Penn State, which has applicability, but quite honestly, there

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.


A Better Way to Maintain Business License Compliance

AEC fi rms across the country trust us with their entity and professional licensing management to:

Save time and reduce their workload

Get proactive, personalized support from true AEC experts

Consolidate their compliance into a

single-source solution

Ditch those spreadsheets and experience the difference!

Firms that leverage Harbor Compliance as their registered agent often achieve cost savings as an added bene fi t to specialized AEC licensing solutions.

To learnmore visit or call 888-670-2652 - and ask for a free Compliance Healthcheck.

© 2022 Harbor Compliance. All rights reserved. Harbor Compliance does not provide tax, fi nancial, or legal advice. Use of our services does not create an attorneyclient relationship. Harbor Compliance is not acting as your attorney and does not review information you provide to us for legal accuracy or su ffi ciency.



Balance: LorieWestrick Managing principal of RDLR Architects (Houston, TX), a community-driven architectural firm that is recognized throughout Texas.


D uring Westrick’s leadership, RDLR has earned numerous design and firm awards including the Texas Society of Architects Firm Award, the highest honor bestowed on architecture firms. She has extensive experience in all areas of architectural design and planning and enjoys public work projects such as educational facilities and streetscapes. She also has considerable experience designing for non-profit organizations. Noteworthy projects include the Houston Food Bank (recipient of five local, state, and national awards); the Sam Houston Tollway NE Main Lane Plaza (TxA Design Award); and renovations at Reagan High School (GHPA design award). “Innovation stems from our ability to look at projects holistically, considering client needs, and to creatively find opportunities for community enhancements,” Westrick says. “We look for opportunities to leverage our client’s project to enhance Houston’s built environment.” A CONVERSATIONWITH LORIEWESTRICK. The Zweig Letter: The firmwas founded 40 years ago. How

long have you been with the firm and how has your position evolved during that time? Lorie Westrick: I started subletting a workstation from Rey de la Reza (founder of RDLR) in 1992. At the time, I was pursuing a practice that allowed me to be available for my young children while working independently. After completing several residential projects, Rey invited me to collaborate on some of his work. This collaboration continued over several years, after which I made the commitment to join RDLR. I was asked to join the firm leadership in 2000. TZL: How do the four principals divide their responsibilities? How do those responsibilities overlap? LW: Firm partners share common principles for success: satisfied clients, quality design, and a healthy business. Together, we make decisions that balance these principles. Though we all share a passion for design and the business, each of us have unique talents that we bring:



■ ■ Howard Merrill leads our transit and education projects. He is a consummate technician and is also responsible for ensuring all our technical documents are of exceptional quality. manager who provides team leadership on our most complex projects. She is responsible for implementation of new project accounting methodology and software. ■ ■ Daniel Ortiz leads our municipal projects. ■ ■ Jennifer DaRos is a strong project He is an exceptionally talented architect capable of filling any project need. Daniel also is responsible for firmwide financials. ■ ■ My strengths lie in interiors, planning, and conceptual design. I manage most of the non-profit and interior projects. Daniel and I share office management responsibilities, including staffing, business development, and marketing. We use each other as sounding boards. TZL: What does your growth plan look like for the next five years? How are you working to meet that end? LW: While we see great opportunities to leverage our transit experience in other Texas markets, our business success is not based on revenue or staff numbers. RDLR growth is organic; it is responsive to opportunities to produce quality work, satisfied clients, and maintain a healthy business. TZL: How has COVID-19 permanently impacted your firm’s policy on telecommuting? during one’s tenure and the vision that new ownership will bring. I am very excited about RDLR’s future!” LW: Like everyone else during COVID-19 lockdowns, we adjusted to remote working with new technology. While established teams were able to remain productive, on- boarding new staff was extremely difficult. Design is collaborative. Everyone on our team contributes. Being physically together allows for spontaneous flow and sharing of ideas. We were eager to get back to the office. We have always believed family and health “Transition is a time to celebrate company achievements obtained

come first. (As a mother of four, I understand how difficult it is to juggle family and work responsibilities.) We meet individual requirements and provide opportunities for flexible schedule, remote working, and “bring your kid/pet to work” if need be. The technologies we used during COVID-19 lockdowns are used regularly. TZL: Innovations in technology seem to be at the forefront at RDLR. Tell me about your most recent innovation. What is it? How is it helping with current projects? How is it helping to move the firm into the future? LW: Every project is an opportunity for innovation. While we use the latest BIM and project management technologies, they are mere tools. Innovation stems from our ability to look at projects holistically, considering client needs, and to creatively find opportunities for community enhancements. We look for opportunities to leverage our client’s project to enhance Houston’s built environment. TZL: Have you had a particular mentor who has guided you – in school, in your career, or in general? Who were they and how did they help? LW: I have been very fortunate to have numerous mentors in my career. Pete Winters, FAIA, my boss during my tenure at CRSS, provided me with incredible project opportunities, encouraged me to work with others, and trusted in my ability to deliver. Pete taught me to balance client service, design quality, and business health. As a young project manager, I was intimidated by the scale of my assignments. Out of necessity, I reached out to my team for advice. It was this experience that taught me that design is collaborative and doesn’t rely on any one individual. Design leaders are idea- gatherers and organizers. My experience associated with Rey de la Reza, FAIA, was also very formative. Rey taught me to expand project vision beyond property lines. His designs always considered their impact on the surrounding streetscapes and neighborhoods. TZL: Trust is essential. How do you earn the trust of your clients? LW: Trust is earned by delivering what you promise and by being a trusted advisor. We aim for this daily. TZL: Can you share an example of


Houston, TX






■ ■ Transit and urban


■ ■ Education

■ ■ Civic architecture

■ ■ Non-profit and social


■ ■ Housing

■ ■ Aviation


■ ■ Architecture

See BALANCE , page 8

■ ■ Interior design

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

ARCH 28, 2022, ISSUE 1434


BALANCE , from page 7

“community-driven architecture” by providing the details of a recent project? LW: Houston Food Bank client, Brian Greene, challenged architectural standards regarding building entries and established traffic practices while we were designing renovations at their current facility. Listening to his creative ideas and vision for a food warehouse that also was a “beacon of hope for the community” encouraged us to be bold, innovative, and creative with solutions. This project transformed our traditional design process and helped us imagine “community-driven architecture.” We believe capital investments should respond to user needs as well as benefit the overall community. RDLR looks beyond project limits to seek opportunities to enhance the public realm and create places for communities. We believe that good design is not contingent upon the schedule or budget, but rather the result of an inclusive design process that includes stakeholders, community leaders and design and construction professionals. Successful projects reflect cultural influences and are contextually sensitive. They are sustainable developments which are cost effective to maintain and operate. A recent example of community-driven architecture is our project SERJobs for Progress, a community nonprofit organization that has served hundreds of low-income individuals in need of a second chance. SER purchased a 2.4-acre property in Houston’s vibrant and historic East End, converting the original home of Tellepsen Construction to serve as its headquarters. At the groundbreaking event, Mayor Turner said of the effort: “This is not just a building, it is a place where dreams will be realized, hard work will be recognized, and the whole city of Houston will benefit.” The 22,500-square-foot building was fully renovated and occupied in mid-2018, just after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. The East End location of the project has made a large and positive impact on its residents and the community in turn. With its opening shortly after Hurricane Harvey, the organization’s services were magnified and there was a significant increase in demand for skilled labor in the construction industry, as well as many other blue-collar careers. Recently, the pandemic also created a great need for SER programs and services. Now more than ever, the program provides much needed opportunities and financial stability for individuals in Harris County and beyond. The choice to transform a dilapidated and decaying building was deliberate, bringing a sign of prosperity to the community. The coffee shop and art gallery are accessible to the community, making it a hub for people to gather and explore opportunities. Since its opening in 2018, the Workforce Opportunity Center has served almost 20,000 individuals in the community through various services. The project was recently awarded a 2021 ULI Houston Development of Distinction Award in the Not-for-Profit category. The ULI Houston Development of Distinction awards honor developments and green spaces that seek to inspire land use that fuels the creation of a flourishing global city.

RDLR’s City of Houston Southwest Substation project.

TZL: They say failure is a great teacher. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve had to learn the hard way? LW: As a firm leader, my greatest failure was holding on to staff when the firm could not afford to. During the Great Recession, our firm suffered as did many others. As a new owner, I was reluctant to reduce staffing. Employees were more than colleagues – they were friends. The result was significant financial stress; the firm was at the breaking point. We almost lost it. I learned businesses are entities that serve others. They must be cared for so they can continue to provide for all. “Firm partners share common principles for success: satisfied clients, quality design, and a healthy business. Together, we make decisions that balance these principles.” 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? LW: As a second-generation business owner who is soon facing retirement, I’ve experienced ownership transitions as both buyer and seller. This puts me in a unique position. I was the young professional with drive and vision that felt held back by management reins. I’m also the senior professional facing retirement and the changes this brings. Ownership transition must balance my young and senior persons. Transition must be fair and put the health of the business before any individual. Transition starts with selecting, trusting, and allowing the development of other leaders. Setting up realistic and comfortable financial goals for new owners is critical. Transition is a time to celebrate company achievements obtained during one’s tenure and the vision that new ownership will bring. I am very excited about RDLR’s future!

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




Support your support staff

Set a tone firmwide to recognize the valuable work that’s done by people in every role at your firm – not just your technical staff.

I n the AEC industry, it’s common to distinguish between “technical staff” and “support staff.” Generally, we all understand what those terms mean. Technical staff are engineers, architects, contractors, surveyors, planners, scientists, landscape architects – the list goes on. They may have a few letters at the end of their name, they are responsible for the company’s billable work, and they are experts in their chosen professions. Support staff are financial controllers, marketers, business developers, office managers, contract specialists, administrative assistants, IT, and human resources staff. It’s a workforce that is (let’s be honest) largely female, fulfills a huge variety of roles that make the day-to-day operation of their firms possible, and are often also experts in their chosen professions.

Katie Batill- Bigler

Unfortunately, professionals in these support roles can be regarded as interchangeable, easily replaceable, or even an unavoidable burden; they may not be offered the same professional development opportunities as their “technical” colleagues and/or their hard work may not be fully recognized for the benefits it brings to the firm at large. It should go without saying that such notions or practices are not only unwise but can pose a real threat to the success of a business. At the very least, it can seriously dampen the work culture and company morale.

I’m proud to say this is far from the case at Patel, Greene and Associates, LLC. I genuinely believe our firm’s success is thanks, in large part, to a shared mentality that everyone plays a crucial part and that each should strive to achieve excellence within his or her area(s) of expertise. Our core values of Integrity, Commitment, and Excellence guide this way of thinking, as every member of our staff embraces the call to excel for the benefit of PGA’s growth and success, for our clients’ success, and for the opportunity to reach their own highest potential.






the structure is built on a wood and steel frame. A clean and modern aesthetic was created through careful choice of building materials, including board and batten, stucco, a standing seam metal roof and rough sawn wood bracing. A light and inviting earth tone palette is complemented by crisp white and red cedar. Inside, amenities for residents include an indoor therapy pool, library, theater, beauty salon, activity rooms, full fitness center, full-service kitchen and a commercial laundry center. “Our San Diego team was proud to work closely with Westmont to bring their vision to fruition, and we believe the residents will find it a beautiful place to call home,” said Brian Koshley, regional

director of Ware Malcomb’s San Diego offices. Construction on Westmont of Encinitas was led by general contractor Westmont Construction. Westmont of Encinitas prides itself on providing the right amount of support for seniors seeking active, maintenance-free lifestyles with added help for daily living activities. 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.



OF ENCINITAS, CALIFORNIA Ware Malcomb, an award- winning international design firm, announced construction is complete on Westmont of Encinitas, an assisted living center for seniors, located at 1920 South El Camino Real in Encinitas, California. Ware Malcomb provided architectural services for the 91,334 square foot project. ENCINITAS IN Westmont of Encinitas is a two-story garden-style structure built on 3.2 acres. It incorporates 101 beds and 93 units: 35 studios, 50 one-bedroom units, and eight two-bedroom units. Designed in the Craftsman style with coastal influences,

do the job of an AEC marketing/BD professional, financial controller, IT specialist, office manager, etc. These people think high-level, long-term, are constantly multi-tasking, and generally are required to master a broad spectrum of skills for a wide variety of responsibilities. They amass an enormous amount of contextual knowledge, knowledge of the firm, understanding of how best to support and motivate the technical staff, and they are arguably some of the hardest to replace because rarely is someone waiting in the wings who can be easily plugged in. I am fortunate to know AEC marketers and business developers across the country who are true rock stars. Most have worked very hard, arguably harder than they should’ve had to, for the recognition and authority they deserve. Many of us have been in situations where our work is boiled down to “making proposals look pretty,” or our recommendations for how to win a pitch were disregarded because we weren’t seen as “technical staff.” Don’t make your support staff fight harder than anyone else in the room to be heard. Because these professionals are most often women, they are already working to overcome the challenges of succeeding within a male-dominated industry. What’s more, their unique areas of expertise mean they likely have valuable perspectives no one else can offer. Every successful team is made up of many parts, with distinct strengths and specialties, and a successful AEC firm is no different. Responsibility falls to leadership to set a tone firmwide, one that recognizes and emphasizes the work that’s done by people in every role. It is an understanding that investing in support staff, as well as technical staff, will not only strengthen your company culture, but will also assuredly strengthen your bottom line. When you do that, you will find that such sentiment reverberates throughout the company and its people. It tells everyone at all levels that they matter, that their work matters, and that both are seen and appreciated. Katie Batill-Bigler is marketing director at Patel, Greene & Associates, LLC. Connect with her on LinkedIn .


At PGA, our “support staff” span three departments: Administration (financials, office management, and contracting); IT; and marketing (pursuit tracking and proposal development, advertising, graphics, and internal and external communications). The value of their contributions is irrefutable. When we secured a prominent contract last year that required an exhaustive and detailed monthly invoicing effort, we recognized that delivering accurate and reliable progress reports and invoices was just as critical to the contract’s success as delivering quality engineering services. With that in mind, our administration worked to develop a process that has allowed us to consistently submit documents early and accurately. Thanks to the excellence of our administrative staff, our overall capabilities and reliability have been further strengthened in the client’s eyes. When I was considering joining PGA in 2018, I could tell right away the firm understood the value of marketing and business development just by reading the robust job description for my potential position. Since then, our group has optimized pursuit workflows, implemented a CRM system, begun overhauling our website for stronger recruiting and brand positioning, and continued to build a team that has grown in step with the rest of PGA. Our marketing staff can focus on their areas of expertise, while having time to continue exploring new skills, all while understanding their supervisors care about their day- to-day experience and that their hard work is appreciated. The quality of our proposals and presentations, our ability to be proactive and organized, and our commitment to promoting brand recognition all further PGA’s growth. It would be a mistake to assume that just anybody could “Every successful team is made up of many parts, with distinct strengths and specialties, and a successful AEC firm is no different.”

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




You are the owner? So what!

I t really kills me how some firm owners in this business still think they are in control. I have news for you: The only thing you control is the stage that the drama of business is conducted on. You can’t make people do what you want, so you must get your people to realize you’re all on the same team.

You can’t make people do what you want. They have free will. They will only do what it is they want to do. Period. Accept it. So your goal is to help people figure out you are all on the same team. They need to want what you want. As long as those things are the same, great. I worked with a company once where one of the principals – a former military officer and Corps of Engineers employee – thought everyone had to do what he said “because he was an owner.” Needless to say, he had a real hard time keeping people working for him. They either quit or moved to another team inside the firm to get away from the guy. So how can you get people who work in your firm to want what you want? Here are some ideas for you: 1. Get everyone involved in developing the business plan. That’s going to help them feel like their input is valued and help create psychological ownership. And I’m not talking about asking employees for your purpose

(mission), or your ultimate vision (what you will become at some point), but rather more tactical stuff like what to do and how to do it. 2. Be an open-book company. Sharing all information on how the firm is performing with everyone who works there builds trust because you clearly aren’t hiding anything from them. Plus, you can show your goals and how you are making progress toward achieving them. 3. Share the spoils of success. That means getting everyone at your firm some piece of the profits when the company makes money. Of course the flip side of this is you can’t afford to carry anyone who isn’t pulling their weight or they will be benefiting from the labors of everyone else. 4. Train your managers. I always said my goal wasn’t to motivate anyone, but rather to keep us from demotivating good people. It’s easy to do. Get too rigid or too inflexible, have too

Mark Zweig

See MARK ZWEIG, page 12



BUSINESS NEWS 2022 ACEC ARKANSAS ENGINEERING EXCELLENCE AWARDS ACEC Arkansas announced the winners of the 2022 Engi- neering Excellence Awards, which recog- nize Arkansas engineering projects that demonstrate a high degree of achieve- ment, value, and ingenuity. Projects were evaluated based on uniqueness, future value to the engineering profession, sus- tainable considerations, and successful fulfillment of client’s needs. CategoryWinners: Studies, Research, and Consulting Engi - neering Services ■ ■ Small ProjectWinner: FTNAssociates, Ltd.; Downtown Bentonville Master Drainage Analysis; City of Bentonville ■ ■ Large Project Winner: Garver; NACA WWTP Conceptual Engineering Re- port; Northwest Arkansas Conserva - tion Authority Building/Technology Systems ■ ■ Large Project Winner: Garver; LIT NA - VAID Improvements; Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport Structural Systems ■ ■ Large Project Winner: Michael Bak- er International; Hernando de Soto Bridge Emergency Repairs; Arkansas Department of Transportation Environmental ■ ■ Small ProjectWinner: FTNAssociates, Ltd.; Closure of Highlands Disposal Area; Bella Vista Village Property Owners Association ■ ■ Large Project Winner: McClelland

Consulting Engineers, Inc.; Princeton Montclaire Drainage Improvements; City of Benton ■ ■ Honor Award: FTN Associates, Ltd.; DAMCO Inc. Waste Tire Disposal Fa- cility; Arkansas Department of Energy and Environmental Quality – Office of Land Resources Water andWastewater ■ ■ Large Project Winner: CWB Engi- neers, Inc.; Eden Isle Pump Station and Force Main; Eden Isle Corporation ■ ■ HonorAwards: Crist Engineers; Biosol - ids Processing Improvements; Para - gould Light Water and Cable ■ ■ Honor Awards: McClelland Consulting Engineers, Inc.; Pea RidgeWastewater Treatment Plant; City of Pea Ridge ■ ■ Honor Awards: Garver; City Corp – In - dustrial Area Tank; City Corporation - Russellville ■ ■ Honor Awards: Halff Associates, Inc.; Water Supply and Treatment System Improvements; Sardis Water Associa - tion, PWA Transportation ■ ■ Small Project Winner: Crafton Tull; Two Rivers Park Trail Improvements; Pulaski County ■ ■ Large Project Winner: Garver; LRPA Growth Initiative; Little Rock Port Au - thority ■ ■ Honor Awards: McClelland Consult- ing Engineers, Inc.; Pine Bluff Regional Airport Taxiway Relocation; Pine Bluff Regional Airport

■ ■ Honor Awards: Crafton Tull; Port of Lit - tle Rock Infrastructure Improvements; Pulaski County/City of Little Rock Special Projects ■ ■ Large Project Winner: CEI Engineer- ing; Railyard Park; City of Rogers ■ ■ Honor Awards: PMI; Adams FieldWRF 72” Outfall Repair; Little Rock Water Reclamation Authority ■ ■ Honor Awards: B&F Engineering; Ma - jestic Park Baseball Complex; Visit Hot Springs ■ ■ Honor Awards: Crist Engineers, Inc.; Sanderson Dam Bridge – Hot Springs, AR; City of Hot Springs – Utilities De - partment ■ ■ Honor Awards: McClelland Consulting Engineers, Inc.; Saracen Casino and Resort (IncludingAnnex), Phase I Qua- pawTribe – Brock Eubanks Small Projects ■ ■ Winner: Michael Baker International; Jonesboro Municipal Airport Emer- gency Lighting and Signage Project; Jonesboro Municipal Airport Energy ■ ■ Large Project Winner: Bernhard; UAMS Energy Project; UAMS ■ ■ Small Project Winner: McClelland Consulting Engineers, Inc.; CRT Run - way Lighting Reconstruction; Crossett Municipal Airport ACEC is the largest national organization of engineers engaged in the independent practice of consulting engineering.

up, you will have plenty of resentment any time you try to give anyone any negative feedback. Management does not want employees to resent them. 7. Promote your people! Make them into the rock stars instead of just doing that for your principals. It’s essential, and will help tie their own success to that of the company. So howwould you say your firm stacks up on these seven points? Doing all of them? Or doing just a few of them? I will say right now that your ultimate success as a company will depend on full implementation of these seven items. Prove me right – or wrong! Mark Zweig is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at

MARK ZWEIG, from page 11

much bureaucracy, have too many meetings, allow non- productive people to stay in their jobs, or do anything that embarrasses someone, and you will be demotivating somebody. Not the way to get them wanting what you want! 5. Watch your language. I never said anyone worked for me if I was introducing them to someone else. They worked “with me.” Or, another way to express it is to say, “We work together.” It may seem like a small thing, but it isn’t. 6. Performance appraisal systems need to allow employees to rate their managers. It has to be a two-way street (if you do these things at all). If it is just top-down versus bottom-

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.


Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12

Made with FlippingBook Annual report