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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. AM: I am a traditionalist in that I believe hard work is required to succeed. One needs education, experience, and persistence to realize an enhanced level of professional service and success. The next generation must be provided with the learning opportunities and experiences necessary for their personal growth and development, just like prior generations. However, in some cases they must be provided with such experiences sooner in their careers; they’re not necessarily as patient as our more mature tenured staff. The level of mentoring is greater and it’s more important for them to achieve a goal that has a positive impact on life and society in general. However, the next generation must also realize that personal commitment, time, and effort are required to achieve these objectives. For many, this is a surprise when they enter the work environment. There is some feeling of entitlement which must be addressed early on so the next generation can (hopefully) appreciate the realities of the “real business world” and our profession in order to succeed. One must still reward tenured staff in a myriad of ways, tailored primarily to their needs. A young single professional has different needs than a married, seasoned professional with a mortgage, children, and college pending, etc. Benefit programs should be comprehensive and flexible to the extent possible. Performance bonus programs and IRA and profit sharing- retirement plans should be part of the mix. TZL: What novel approaches are you bringing to recruitment, and how are your brand and differentiators performing in the talent wars? AM: I wish we could point to a novel approach to win the talent war. As an SDVOSB, we work to connect with veterans who bring our team experience, commitment, and experience in the federal government. Our growth has also allowed us to hire more “seasoned- credentialed” part-time staff who are seeking 500-1,000 hours of work per year. The part-time staff have delivered high-value skill sets with flexibility and competitive rates. We have also stepped See BALANCE, page 8

a career in environmental science and engineering and currently plays a key role as the firm’s vice president of operations. Finding the appropriate work-life balance is always a challenge, but with the support of others, balance is achievable. TZL: What, if anything, are you doing to protect your firm from a potential economic slowdown in the future? AM: We have a great mix of repeat clients and services. Our “eggs” are not in one basket, which helps minimize the impact of a downturn in a specific sector or the economy as a whole. Also, we have become a leading small business federal prime contractor. Many of our federal contracts are typically five-year IDIQ programs that afford us with excellent workload stability. Our long-term return on investment philosophy, picking and choosing our clients carefully, and maintaining an 80 percent or greater repeat client base have allowed us to successfully weather any economic slowdown realized over the past 39 years. We started the firm when interest rates were 22 percent! TZL: Are you using the R&D tax credit? If so, how is it working for your firm? If not, why not? AM: We engaged a CPA firm four years ago to research the R&D tax credit. We qualified and have received a tax credit over the past four tax years. It’s refreshing to see our business receive federal tax credit support as we need to constantly invest in our staff, find new ways to be innovative to succeed, and provide our clients with enhanced value-added professional services. 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? AM: We have a Project Manager Training Program that runs approximately 18 months. The program is designed to help our future leaders obtain the skills not typically taught to engineers and scientists during their college years. Modules include communications, leadership, and client relations. We also require all supervisors to receive training on what it means to be a supervisor and how to be successful in personnel management. We believe and hope that our project management training both enhances retention of our future leaders and allows them to better mentor and guide their direct reports. TZL: How are you balancing investment

HEADQUARTERS: Bedford, MA NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 62 YEAR FOUNDED: 1980 NUMBER OF OFFICE LOCATIONS: 5 SERVICES: ❚ ❚ Site assessment and remediation ❚ ❚ Architectural and engineering design ❚ ❚ Environmental engineering and planning ❚ ❚ Occupational safety and health ❚ ❚ Marine technology/maritime services ❚ ❚ Environmental compliance/ management ❚ ❚ Environmental ❚ ❚ Health and safety training ❚ ❚ Life sciences ❚ ❚ Commercial ❚ ❚ Industrial and high technology ❚ ❚ Institutional ❚ ❚ State and municipal STAFF: Mabbett & Associates is a group of dedicated, committed, and enthusiastic scientists, engineers, health and safety professionals, and program managers. Most of its technical staff has advanced degrees and a third of them are veterans. MARKETS: ❚ ❚ Federal

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rch 9, 2020, ISSUE 1335

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