BALANCE, from page 7
have less growth with increased profitability. We don’t want to work harder for less. TZL: They say failure is a great teacher. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve had to learn the hard way? AM: One must trust, but verify. I inherently trust others to do what they’ve been delegated to do, but I also realize that one must verify that what’s been delegated has been successfully and properly completed. Oversight is an essential element of effective management and as such, senior management and PMs must verify on a regular basis that an individual’s as well as a system’s performance is acceptable and that serious issues haven’t occurred. If problems are identified, immediate steps must be taken to resolve them, and enhanced training may be required to help ensure they do not reoccur. “One must trust, but verify. I inherently trust others to do what they’ve been delegated to do, but I also realize that one must verify that what’s been delegated has been successfully and properly completed.” TZL: Diversity and inclusion is lacking. What steps are you taking to address the issue? AM: Our firm has always encouraged and supported diversity and inclusion. We are an equal opportunity and veteran-friendly employer. We have an agreement with the US Department of Defense to support the guard and reserve. We currently have a diverse staff by gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, country of origin, and ethnicity, etc. We actively consider the above factors and seek qualified individuals as part of our recruitment programs.
up our efforts to bring on college interns to help create a pipeline for our future generation of staff. 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? AM: As an SDVOSB I have to remain active in the day-to- day operations of the business to maintain this federal small business designation. If I retire or I’m deemed by the federal government to not meet its requirements, the business loses its SDVOSB status. If this were to occur, we’d have to compete as any other small business in a “full and open” market. Approximately 50 percent of our current federal workload is as a small business, not an SDVOSB. As such, our long-range plan will be to seek non-SDVOSB opportunities in the federal-public sector and also continue to grow our private sector workload. I have no plans to retire anytime soon, and if I were to die on the job, the firm would have a three-year transition period per federal law to restructure and also to continue to actively compete for Veterans Administration work which represent the majority of our SDVOSB contracts. One must ensure there is a competent senior management team in place to carry on the business when you’re gone. I have such a team. TZL: What unique or innovative pricing strategies have you developed, or are you developing, to combat the commoditization of engineering services? AM: Simply put, we no longer pursue low-price technically acceptable procurements. We have focused on pursuing best-value and Brooks Act A/E opportunities where qualifications drive the selection process. In the private sector, we look for and retain clients whose decision making is not based strictly on “low price.” We don’t want to achieve growth for the sake of growth alone. We’d rather
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THE ZWEIG LETTER March 9, 2020, ISSUE 1335
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