TZL 1426 (web)

Janua r y 3 1 , 2022 , I s sue 1 426 W W W . Z W E I G G R O U P . C O M


Effective remote work

Our industry hasn’t done a great job of managing risk comprehensively or systematically. There’s a better way. Risk management strategy

F I R M I N D E X AECOM....................................................................... 12 EYP.................................................................................. 8 FXCollaborative......................................................4 Hafer............................................................................... 6 Modjeski and Masters.....................................10 SCJ Alliance...............................................................2 Simpson Engineers & Associates, Inc..10 WGI, Inc. ....................................................................10] MO R E A R T I C L E S n ANN ROLLAND: Using a resource library to effect change Page 3 n Inspire by example: Jeff Justice Page 6 n MICHAEL BRITT: A newwork environment Page 9 n MARK ZWEIG: Mission, vision, and values – real, or just B.S. Page 11 Zweig Group combined responses from this year’s AEC Workplace of the Future Survey and last year’s AEC Industry Outlook and Response to COVID-19 Survey to analyze remote work trends and policies in the industry. When asked what percentage of their workforce could effectively work from home, the industry average was 71 percent. When analyzing this question by firm type and condensing the groups to our three main areas, the expected gap between the percentage reported by architecture firms (76 percent) and engineering firms (72 percent) relative to construction firms (38 percent) is clearly displayed. Participate in a survey and save 50 percent on the final or pre- publication price of any Zweig Group research publication.

W hat comes to mind when someone mentions enterprise risk? Depending on the context, you might think about that last big project that had a tough deliverable. Or maybe if you are a CFO or a finance leader, you groan and lament the cost of a necessary insurance evil. Or maybe as a C-suite or member of the board, you worry that there’s a poorly defined enemy that’s waiting to bite a chunk out of your firm or maybe even threaten firm viability. Well, you’d be right. It is all that and more. Our beloved industry has not done a great job of managing risk comprehensively or systematically. Too often risk management is a siloed initiative. People in the silos grapple with risk as far as it pertains to them. Those silos may be operational (projects) versus finance. The silo may be one practice area versus another. It may be geography or client or a project type that is under the Alternative Project Delivery umbrella. Again, you are right if you think it is all of the above. What we do know is that risk management is not just insurance. Insurance plays a key role for sure, but insurance is just a method of risk financing. The driver should be a risk management strategy. What is the risk management strategy? Does your firm have one, and if not, how do you get one? We are here to help. Combining industry research, personal experience, and interviewing brokers and underwriters, we conclude there’s a better way. SILOS. The silo approach is normal but fraught with a risk of its own making. That condition is sub-optimal linkage across and between silos of factors impacting enterprise risk. Silos can also lead to getting caught thinking that contract or client risk limits are firm risk limits. Silos may also inhibit large scope, 360 thinking that regards firm viability as the chief goal of enterprise risk management. Project risk, healthcare costs, or cyber risk among many others all affect firm risk and each are just a part of the picture – what should be an integrated picture. WHATWE FIND. Based on our experience and research, we find a combination of things when we analyze firms’ insurance and risk programs. Coverage may be ill suited in that firms are paying for coverage unlikely to be utilized, especially in a general liability situation as opposed to professional liability. Often firms may have deductibles or retentions that they should expand based on their financial viability and frequency (or infrequency) of claims. As it becomes more difficult

Dathan Gaskill




ON THE MOVE SCJ ROUNDED OUT 2021 BY HIRING THREE NEW TEAM MEMBERS SCJ Alliance has added three new employees to the team: a senior design engineer and two marketing coordinators. Senior Designer Peter Swan is working with the civil design group. With a degree in Computer-Aided Design, Swan brings 18 years of CAD experience and 10 years in civil engineering. Morgan Evans and Avery Ward were both hired as marketing coordinators, bringing much needed resources to the SCJ team. Evans andWard both hail from the finance industry. All three work out of the Lacey office. SCJ Alliance is a 100 percent employee- ownedfirmspecializing incivilengineering, transportation planning and design, cable-

propelled transit, environmental and urban planning, landscape architecture and design, construction management, and public outreach. SJC Alliance has been nationally recognized multiple times for award- winning projects, growth, and as a great place to work. Founded with a handful of people in 2006, SCJ now has 115 employees across eight offices: Lacey, Centralia, Gig Harbor, Seattle, Ballard, Wenatchee, and Spokane, Washington, as well as Boulder, Colorado. SJC Alliance’s culture is defined by its core values of stewardship, freedom, compassion, trust, and integrity, guiding relationships with our clients and colleagues. As a result, team members are selected for more than technical expertise; we hire for character.

Interested in learning more

about the projects and ideas driving the AEC industry forward? Learn more with Civil+Structural Engineer Media.

DATHAN GASKILL, from page 1

to get narrow or specific coverages, firms may overpay for insurance they can build for themselves in a captive. Another area demonstrating the need for coverage flexibility is Alternative Project Delivery or APD. While APD is a clear opportunity to shift risk among design firms and contractors, engineering firms need to understand and protect themselves especially in the design-build world. REMEDY. The real decision is to commit to a risk management strategy while having confidence in the outcome: 1. Makes your firm safer. 2. Makes your firm more viable and resistant to adversity. 3. Changes cash flow and profit for the better, if the circumstances are right. Zweig Group has an offering and a process in place to develop the risk strategies, assess enterprise risk, recommend solutions, and help you implement the solutions. Let us show you what we can do. SURVEY. In order to capture more current information and provide better advice, Zweig Group has opened a short survey for firms to let us know their specific circumstances. The data we gather will remain completely anonymous and will be used for benchmarking and service improvement. Click here to participate in the survey! Dathan Gaskill is managing director of Zweig Group Risk Solutions. Contact him at

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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 May 19-20 in Dallas. Click here to learn more!

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Even a slight shift toward more responsible materials is impactful and can effect change to the manufacturing industries and the products that designers specify. Using a resource library to effect change

A n abundance of materials are manufactured each year to construct the built environment; miles of gypsum wall board, tons of steel studs, yards of fabric, acres of carpet, to name just a few. The magnitude is enormous. Even a slight shift in “business as usual” is impactful and can effect change to the manufacturing industries and the products that architects and designers specify.

Ann Rolland

FXCollaborative recently had the opportunity to initiate such a shift. After more than 35 years in the same space, our recent relocation to new offices inspired us to rethink our materials resource library and use the move as a tool for meaningful industry change. To do so, we developed the Resource Library Manifesto, which provides designers with the information necessary to make well-informed decisions in specifying products and materials. It also serves as a call to action across the AEC industry to incite change. ■ ■ The motivation. The relocation meant packing and moving our architectural and design resource library – those products and materials that we select and specify to build buildings. Established in the mid-1980s, our resource library had accumulated a vast array of materials that spanned decades. While active and mostly up to date, the inevitable inertia that can come with

longevity had crept in and kept the library from evolving beyond just keeping up. The move was the perfect opportunity to cull out and reestablish a new, more meaningful library – one that had a deeper connection to our firm’s mission and core values. A daunting, but most welcomed task. ■ ■ The declaration. Our first step in planning the move was to purge the collection so we did not move outdated or unwanted products and materials. We asked ourselves how to decipher what we would take with us and what we would discard (return/recycle during a pandemic – a topic for another article). The Resource Library Task Force was established to develop criteria. The result was a Resource Library Manifesto that united our office’s resource library with FXCollaborative’s core values and beliefs. Our

See ANN ROLLAND, page 4



who collect and maintain relevant data on products and materials to help us make informed product choices. ■ ■ The call to action. There is power in numbers. With implementation of our Resource Library Manifesto underway and the recent development of FXCollaborative’s Sustainability Action Plan, we felt accountable to the AIA’s Material Pledge and justified in signing on to this commitment. We appreciate platforms such as The Zweig Letter that help us get the word out to our industry colleagues so they may implement their own version of our Resource Library Manifesto. The more that adopt these criteria in materials selection and sourcing, the more we can collectively bring about change in manufacturing practices and policies. Read on for the full text of FXCollaborative’s Resource Library Manifesto. Ann M. Rolland, FAIA, LEED AP, is a partner at FXCollaborative. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

ANN ROLLAND, from page 3

manifesto declared that we would evaluate materials through three lenses: (1) the company’s commitment to issues of equity and social justice, (2) promotion of well- being and production of healthy, toxin-free materials, and (3) contributions to reduce climate change and the degradation of our planet. ■ ■ The execution. The purge reduced the materials we moved by almost half, and provided us with a well-curated base to build back. In implementing the Manifesto, we developed a scoring system for library materials, graphically similar to Consumer Report’s color-coded dots, which helps designers readily evaluate good, better, and best in material categories across the three primary criteria lenses: social justice and ethical sourcing, human health and well-being, and sustainability and the climate crisis. “Best in Show” materials, the top scorers, are given a prominent, high visibility location in our Resource Library. We are also looking to partner with industry resources

FXCOLLABORATIVE’S RESOURCE LIBRARY MANIFESTO Our resource library will reflect our values and commitment to issues of social justice, sustainability, and the health and well- being of our planet and the inhabitants of the environments we create. The re- sources we select must contribute to the creation of a healthier, more equitable future for humankind and the planet. As designers we can influence and look to our practice to insist on industry account- ability and change. By signaling to manu- facturers and product suppliers our firm values we send an important message and convey our sense of responsibility to collectively advance manufacturing practices and industry resources. Finding clear, simple, and transparent information about materials is difficult. Databases are incomplete, and the is- sues are often complex, technical, and can seem insurmountable. We rely on supplier information and industry re- sources which can be ambiguous and selective as they come with their own agenda or a specific focus. How can we make informed choices and advocate for better outcomes in our objective? This manifesto is our action plan for doing so. It is a time to reflect, edit, and reformu - late our resource library. Our goals are to cultivate an awareness in the AEC indus- try and to be advocates for change and to help designers make better informed decisions in selection of the products and materials that we specify. We will flesh out the implementation of this manifesto in the upcoming months.

First, we want to knowwhat we are spec- ifying. To do so we will ask manufactur- ers and product suppliers to divulge information related to their production and practices. Below is an outline of the criteria – three primary lenses we will use for evaluation: 1. Social justice and ethical sourcing: ■ ■ Ethically sourced supply chains: Confirmation that the products are created without the use of child and/or enslaved labor. ■ ■ JEDI initiatives and commit- ments: Strategies and educa- tional programs currently in place or an indication of specific timelines toward these goals. Public record against racism with actionable items to implement positive and restorative change. ■ ■ Corporate structure and leader- ■ ■ Anti-racism stance:

■ ■ Optimization of material ingre- dients: Efforts to reduce the number and quantity of prod- ucts with harmful content and to avoid using Red List and High VOC materials. ■ ■ Life-cycle health: Inclusion of effects in all stages of a materi - al’s life (extraction, manufactur- ing, installation, finish product, re-use, and disposal). 3. Sustainability and the climate crisis: ■ ■ Embodied carbon/global warming potential: Provide en- vironmental product declara- tions and use carbon reduction and sequestering practices. ■ ■ Recycled content: Maximize pre-consumer and post- consumer recycled content. ■ ■ Responsible disposal and re- use efforts: Provide materials and assemblies that can be disassembled and recycled. Offer take-back programs, and circular-economy activities. ■ ■ Local material sourcing: Pro- vide locations of raw material extraction and harvesting, and manufacturing of material com- ponents and finished products. ■ ■ Responsible sourcing: Utilize responsible sourcing certifica - tions.

ship: Report of current leader- ship, work force, and recruiting policies that promote equitable gender and diverse representa- tion.

2. Human health and well-being:

■ ■ Disclosure of material ingredi- ents: Transparent disclosure of material ingredients and health impacts using industry recog- nized standards such as Health Product Declarations, Declare, etc.

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Inspire by example: Jeff Justice President of Hafer (Evansville, IN), a firm that has created environments that impact people’s lives with fun, thoughtful. and inspirational design since 1978.


S ince 2004, Justice has provided design leadership across a wide spectrum of company projects. His responsibilities are two-fold: helping to shape Hafer’s strategic vision, and empowering employees to use their imaginations to create a better world. “I hope my friends view me as a servant leader – a person who does not seek recognition, but spends time building others up,” Justice says. “The mentality is to do whatever it takes to help the team be successful. The goal is to inspire by example.” A CONVERSATIONWITH JEFF JUSTICE. The Zweig Letter: Part of your firm’s philosophy states, “We don’t believe our designs should simply tell a story – they should enable it.” Can you illustrate what this means with a real-life example? Jeff Justice: When we design a project, we start by finding out what matters most to our clients and we listen intently to understand their mission, their story. Once we know these

things, we design a space that not only tells their story but allows them to live it each and every day. For example, a hospital client’s mission is “to be an innovative leader in health and wellness through unsurpassed quality, clinical care, and compassion for patients and their families.” As designers, our job is to then create a space that exudes excellence, allows staff to work efficiently, and provides patients and their families with safe and comforting spaces. Another example is when a corporation wishes for an office space where employees are inspired. Our role is to bring that company’s story to life by designing the space that emulates their brand, creating workspaces that give employees the flexibility to be creative and to collaborate to achieve their goals, and a space that sparks positivity and happiness. TZL: What type of leader do you consider yourself to be? JJ: I hope my friends view me as a servant leader – a person who does not seek recognition, but spends time building others up. The mentality is to do whatever it takes to help the team be successful. The goal is to inspire by example.



TZL: Trust is essential. How do you earn the trust of your clients? JJ: Trust is absolutely the main ingredient for long-term relationships. It is not only developed during the “good times;” trust is earned as you work through consensus development, through difficult decision- making processes and through conflict resolution. All relationships and projects have challenges. What forms the bond is how you resolve the problems in a manner that demonstrates you have the clients’ interests in front of your own. “The emergence of current generational cultures has reminded me the importance of work-life balance late in my career. My hope is that future generations are able to achieve work-life balance better than me.” TZL: Howmuch time do you spend working ‘in the business” rather than “on the business”?” JJ: At Hafer, we purposely choose not to highlight the distinction. Our strategic plan focuses on integrating activities of both concepts into the typical work day for all employees. It’s our goal to build a culture where continuous improvement, client service, employee development, and business development is embedded into everyone’s mindset. The result is not shifting focus back and forth, but a collective understanding of holistic approach to the accomplishment of both concepts. TZL: They say failure is a great teacher. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve had to learn the hard way? JJ: My roots are firmly grounded in the baby boomer mentality. Therefore, I have often focused on the accomplishment of tasks and many times failed to experience all the opportunities life and family have to offer. The emergence of current generational cultures has reminded me the importance of work-life balance late in my career. My hope is that future generations are able to achieve work- life balance better than me. TZL: What skills are required to run a successful practice? What do you wish you knew starting out that you know now?

JJ: I learned the joy of creative thinking in college, but it wasn’t until I competed for work, dealt with human resource challenges, and “paid the bills” that I discovered true creativity in a holistic business practice perspective. I have learned that successful business practices are what ultimately allow you to be in the best position to experience the creative joy born in college and to produce truly inspiring work. TZL: In one word or phrase, what do you describe as your number one job responsibility? JJ: My first priority is to be a facilitator – to help our future leadership navigate client relationships, conflict resolution, encourage growth, and to be a resource. Ultimately, it’s all about sharing the information and building the confidence necessary for greater future success. TZL: A firm’s longevity is valuable. What are you doing to encourage your staff to stick around? JJ: I spend a great deal of time thinking about our firm’s longevity. Our firm is in its 43rd year of existence. I am its second president and part of the second generation of leadership. My mission, as we transition into the third generation, is to teach them what I know and help build a strong foundation. From there, I will be their greatest cheerleader as they work to achieve their dreams. We know staff stay because of compensation, benefits, and culture – but I suggest the reason they thrive is the opportunity to mold their future. “A planned, informative, and transparent process is critical to building a new generation of independent, courageous leaders who will guide the firm to new heights.” TZL: Over the past year or so, your firm has made several new hires and made several leadership promotions. Is this growth part of a current strategic plan? What’s your growth forecast for the next five years? JJ: During 2020, our firm completed an enlightening and comprehensive strategic plan. The plan focused on four pillars: Clients, Process, Financial, and People. While we know you can’t succeed without See INSPIRE BY EXAMPLE, page 8





■ ■ Evansville, IN

■ ■ Owensboro, KY

■ ■ Carbondale, IL

■ ■ Columbus, OH


■ ■ Architecture

■ ■ Engineering

■ ■ Interior design

■ ■ Landscape architecture

■ ■ Planning

■ ■ Sustainable design


■ ■ Civic

■ ■ Corporate

■ ■ Education

■ ■ Financial

■ ■ Healthcare

■ ■ Libraries

■ ■ Religious

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

UARY 31, 2022, ISSUE 1426


BUSINESS NEWS EYP LAUNCHES SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPE DESIGN PRACTICE EYP, a leading architecture and engineering firm creating memorable designs that enhance people’s lives and communities, announces the launch of its sustainable landscape design practice that creates healthier and more productive environments from the ground up. Guided by programs like the Green Building Council and the Sustainable SITES Initiatives®, EYP’s sustainable landscape approach extends its long history of developing sustainable projects. Jessica A. Petro, PLA, ASLA, has joined EYP as lead designer and landscape architect to spearhead the firm’s focus on creating sustainable, high-performance landscapes. “We’re advocates for your site,” stated Petro. “Our team thinks about how landscapes function and how they interact with their inhabitants and the surrounding community. From master planning and programming to complete design and documentation services, we work with our clients to pursue climate positive designs that can sequester carbon, clean the air and water, increase energy efficiency, and restore habitats.” Although formalizing its sustainable landscapedesignpractice, EYPhas spent years working with local consultants to oversee the landscape narrative for multiple projects, including Birch Bayh

Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Indianapolis, Indiana; U.S. Embassy in Oslo, Norway; Fulton State Hospital in Fulton, Missouri.; and, The Quad at the University of Texas in Houston. The firm will continue its work with local experts and consultants to guide thought leadership and design implementation to benefit clients. EYP has also worked on more than a dozen projects across the Texas Medical Center, including the recent Texas A&M University Intercollegiate School of Engineering Medicine. According to D. Kirk Hamilton, Ph.D., Beale Professor of Health Facility Design, Texas A&M University, “When I was in school, we had to draw to the edge of the vellum sheet, so the plan sat within a fully rendered site plan that included landscape, hardscape, drainage, parking, and walkways. In the business world, architects need to confront how their buildings interact with the land and natural environment. They need to collaboratewith landscape professionals in their firm or consultants to their firm. We constantly remind our students about the close collaboration required in the design realm and the importance of the inseparable relationship between architecture and landscape.” “Expanding our capabilities to include landscape and the natural environment is part of EYP’s long-termgrowth strategy because it’s a natural fit with our culture

and commitment to sustainability. We can nowworkwith clients to achieve their carbon neutral designs, inside and out,” stated Kef Mason, interim chief executive officer, EYP Inc. “It also provides greater depth and enrichment to our staff in areas important to them: resiliency and climate. Jessica’s knowledge and understanding of sustainable landscape design make her natural leader for this at EYP.” As a lead designer and landscape architect at EYP, Jessica Petro will lead the team to align the built and natural environment, so systems can inform and respond to each other to address each client’s program and mission. In addition, she will leverage the expertise of EYP’s in-house interdisciplinary teams and environmental data to better inform decisions about site feasibility, circulation, and natural resources. EYP is a people-first, integrated design firm specializing in higher education, healthcare, government, and science and technology. EYP’s integrated teams offer planning and design, high-performance engineering, environmental graphics, preservation and modernization, interiors and workplace, sustainable landscaping, and rapid response projects to tackle your pressing challenges. EYP has interdisciplinary offices in 11 cities across the United States and projects in more than 100 countries.

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? JJ: As your question indicates, the evolution of a firm must be a transition, not simply a “change.” A planned, informative, and transparent process is critical to building a new generation of independent, courageous leaders who will guide the firm to new heights. It’s important for staff firmwide to have respect and admiration for the future leadership as well. Externally, attention must be given to continuity of client relationships and community involvement. “My first priority is to be a facilitator – to help our future leadership navigate client relationships, conflict resolution, encourage growth, and to be a resource.”


a strong financial statement, excellent service to clients, and an efficient process, we realize that there should be an even stronger focus on our own people. They are crucial to our current and future success. This awareness has led to more visible appreciation of our staff and an emphasis on their overall health and happiness – both for our long-time team members and new hires. At Hafer, we’ve experienced great success over the past few years in terms of number and size of projects and geographical reach. We now have clients all over the country. As our company grew from two states to four recently, we concentrated on assembling a talented, motivated group of professionals who love our culture. This became the foundation to executing our plan. As far as future growth goes, we certainly realize growth is a goal, but the growth is not focused only on a tangible number of staff or revenue, but rather the intangibles of creating an inspiring work environment with great processes that leads to holistic design excellence. If we can do that, the numbers will take care of themselves.

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




A newwork environment

It’s important to examine how your company can maintain culture and continue strategic growth in a newwork environment.

A s companies transition back to the office (both physical and virtual) and adjust to a new normal, it’s important to examine the ways they can maintain culture and continue strategic growth in a newwork environment.

At our firm, Modjeski and Masters, we decided it was critical to go back to the office while still providing employees the flexibility to work from home. Once we came to that decision, we knewwe had to expand the office space at our Pennsylvania headquarters to accommodate a growing staff and address the changing workplace landscape. Firms considering going back in person will find a favorable commercial market with opportunities to negotiate improvements to office space. As our lease renewed, we expanded our headquarters by 10 percent and reconfigured 20 percent of the existing space to enhance collaboration. Throughout the pandemic, I held virtual town halls with employees across the country, providing them with a chance to voice their opinions and have a clear stake in the business. As an employee-owned firm, Modjeski and Masters takes ownership seriously and emphasizes giving people at all levels the ability to provide input and suggest direction.

We found that there were many benefits to working from home. Employees reported more flexibility, savings on gas, and a much better work-life balance. And in some ways, the pandemic caused our team to communicate more frequently and effectively. On the other hand, employees missed face-to-face interaction and found the lack of socialization with co- workers to be a serious challenge. Overall, the hybrid work environment has changed how teams collaborate. Companies had to re- evaluate their methods of communication, and many – ourselves included – invested in technology to better support remote work. Technology like Microsoft Teams or Zoom has made inter-office communication faster than ever. However, the goal should not be to communicate more, but to communicate better. As part of our office expansion and renovation efforts, we created conference rooms to take advantage of this technology and accommodate hybrid in-person

Michael Britt

See MICHAEL BRITT, page 10



TRANSACTIONS WGI, INC. ACQUIRES NORTH CAROLINA’S SIMPSON ENGINEERS & ASSOCIATES, INC., ADDING STRENGTH AND NEWSERVICES IN THE TRANSPORTATION ARENA National engineering and design firm WGI, Inc. announced the acquisition of Cary, North Carolina-based Simpson Engineers & Associates, Inc., a 40-person consulting firm providing transportation structural design, in-service bridge safety inspections, environmental/planning services, construction observation, and rail project management. The acquisition continues WGI’s ongoing commitment to growth and sustainability, as SEA adds new services in the transportation arena including rail business management, rail facility management, railroad construction oversight, and a robust team of bridge inspectors focused on maintaining a safe and efficient transportation network. In addition, SEA complements WGI’s diverse structural design and transportation planning expertise. Headquartered in the Research Triangle Park area, SEA was founded in 2004 and led by David B. Simpson, Jr., PE. The firm provides services within the

southeastern U.S. with a particular focus on project management for the North Carolina Department of Transportation – Rail Division. SEA’s existing clients will continue to work with the same professionals already providing decades of exceptional service. David Simpson will continue leading the Cary operations. “I am very excited that David Simpson and his outstanding team in North Carolina have joined our WGI team. This acquisition allows us to fulfill a critical goal of expanding our North Carolina presence, adding to and strengthening our national transportation practice. It could not have come at a more opportune time with the recent passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure and competitiveness,” said WGI’s CEO, David Wantman. For Simpson’s part, the fit seems natural; “I’ve built our firm over the past eighteen years, and it’s been an incredible journey. As I’ve come to know David Wantman, Greg Sauter, and the broader WGI team over the past year, I’m confident that our associates and clients will be in

the best hands imaginable. I’m looking forward to the next step in our growth and in contributing meaningfully to the continued success of WGI.” As amultidisciplinary solutions-providing consulting firm, WGI has 18 offices in eight states, serving an active client base in over 39 states, specializing in the following disciplines: mobility planning, transportation engineering, land development/municipal engineering, traffic and transportation engineering, parking solutions, geospatial and land surveying, subsurface utility engineering, restoration and structural engineering, landscape architecture, environmental sciences and water resources, architecture, land planning, and MEP engineering. In 2021, ENR ranked WGI No. 175 – up 12 places – on its list of the Top 500 Design Firms, while at the same time naming WGI its 2021 Design Firm of the Year in the southeast United States. South Florida Business Journal ranked WGI No. 5 on its 2021 Top 25 Engineering Firms, and No. 59 on its 2020 list of Top 100 Private Companies.

There is no doubt the pandemic has changed howwe approach work together. As the world gets back to a new normalcy, it will be critical for firms to not only ask for, but truly hear and consider employee feedback in their strategy. Employees have become much more comfortable stating their needs and expectations, and we will continue to see that as the younger generations move along in their careers. Employees are critical to any company’s success, and their feedback is important in developing a plan that will enable future growth and nurture passion and collaboration at every level. Michael Britt, CEO of Modjeski and Masters, one of the world’s leading bridge engineering firms responsible for the design and maintenance of some of the nation’s most recognizable structures. Connect with him on LinkedIn. “There is no doubt the pandemic has changed howwe approach work together. As the world gets back to a new normalcy, it will be critical for firms to not only ask for, but truly hear and consider employee feedback in their strategy.”

MICHAEL BRITT, from page 9

and virtual meetings. Our so-called “Zoom rooms” have digital whiteboards, large screen TVs, and provide more space for ample social distancing. We also developed more open, collaborative spaces to allow teams to better work together on complex projects. Through employee feedback, we found that both managers and employees feel it is easier to ask questions and get faster feedback in person to move projects along. That being said, most of our employees wanted to come back to the office at least part-time specifically for the collaboration factor, the transfer of knowledge, and educational and growth opportunities. When bringing on new employees, we find that it is especially important to provide training and opportunities to learn directly from our leading experts. There is a natural, unintentional exchange of information that happens in person. That exchange is so critical to a young engineers’ development, and unfortunately, much more difficult to replicate virtually. This past year, we’ve seen the issue of staffing challenges ripple across industries. In response, we are constantly looking to hire new engineers as we continue to grow, and providing these opportunities for education and teamwork will attract those looking to start and move up in their own career.

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




I was talking to my brother, John, yesterday afternoon on the telephone. John – after a long career at the top of the world’s largest group of advertising and marketing companies, WPP Group – is now the chairman of a company called Neuro-Insight, a firm that measures brain activity in response to a client’s promotional efforts. If you’re not doing a good job with these, you’re losing an opportunity to further your culture and to provide meaningful motivation to your employees. Mission, vision, and values – real, or just B.S.

Mark Zweig

As is often the case, we eventually ended our phone call talking about business. After we railed on one of the latest management fad programs – one I won’t name to avoid alienating any of our readers who are currently implementing it – we got to “mission, vision, and values.” Our consensus is that while these things are incredibly important, most CEOs don’t even knowwhat they are for their own firms, much less do anything to make them real. His contention is that whenever you talk about employee performance, it should always be in the context of those things and whether or not the employee did anything to further them or not. I didn’t disagree with him. I think far too many company owners in our industry think that these are things they write versus things they live. It’s just another academic exercise that wastes everyone’s time, and gives cynical employees ammunition to criticize management. That’s a problem.

I wish I could wave my magic wand and make every AEC firm’s mission, vision, and values statements more real and more substantive. But I can’t. Yet it’s really important, especially today when we work in an industry that faces huge talent shortages – where employees desperately crave purpose and meaning – and one made up of firms that are actually doing something good for society, and should not have a hard time with this. Why can’t we do a better job with these things (mission, vision, and values statements)? I have several theories on it. First and foremost, there are just too many “management junkies” out there working as principals of AEC firms who read every new book and listen to every podcast, and eat it all up without considering the qualifications and experience of the sources of this content. They love this stuff and

See MARK ZWEIG, page 12



BUSINESS NEWS AECOM TO PROVIDE ARCHITECTURE AND ENGINEERING SERVICES FOR KENNEDY SPACE CENTER AND OTHER NASA FACILITIES AECOM, the world’s trusted infrastructure consulting firm, announced that it has been selected by NASA to provide architecture and engineering services as part of its Southeast Regional Architect and Engineering program. The indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity, multiple- award contract has a shared program ceiling of $300 million for its five-year term. “Our relationship with NASA dates back over fifty years and we’re looking forward to building on that legacy through this integralwork,” said Karl Jensen, executive vice president AECOM’s National Governments business. “As NASA has grown, evolved, and continued to push the boundaries of space exploration, AECOM has been there to support its globally impactful missions and cutting- edge operations. We’re immensely proud to be granted new opportunities with the administration that highlight our shared values of integrity, collaboration,

and inclusion while maintaining a keen focus on the impacts we’re leaving on the world.” AECOM’s work will focus on the rehabilitation, modernization, and development ofnewsystems for facilities, utilities, and ground support at several prominent NASA locations across the United States. These include Kennedy Space Center in Florida; Johnson Space Center, Sonny Carter Training Facility, and Ellington Field in Texas; White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico; Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama; Michoud Assembly Facility in Louisiana; Stennis Space Center in Mississippi; other NASA assets; and additional launch or landing sites worldwide. “From the Mercury and Gemini programs through today, AECOM has been honored to work alongside NASA on all of its facilities spanning the country. This new contract allows us to continue our successful and longstanding partnership,” said Sean Chiao, Chief Executive of AECOM’s global Buildings + Places business. “We’re excited to leverage our intimate knowledge of

the administration’s enterprises and best practices to deliver unmatched professional services that advance NASA’s goal of leading an innovative and sustainable program of space exploration, scientific discovery, and aeronautics research to the next frontier.” Under the contract, AECOM will provide a wide range of architecture, civil, structural, mechanical, and electrical infrastructure services across all project phases, including planning and feasibility, permitting, preliminary engineering, final design, engineering services during construction, activation, and commissioning. These services include architectural design, field investigations and surveys, engineering and environmental reports, trade studies, design specifications, construction site inspections, and scheduling and cost estimating. AECOM is the world’s trusted infrastructure consulting firm, delivering professional services throughout the project lifecycle – from planning, design and engineering to program and construction management.

provide good advice to anyone else? It’s like being a parenting “expert” who has juvenile delinquent kids. In any case, mission, vision, and values should be critical elements of how firm leadership guides the development and growth of their companies, and the behaviors of their employees. Not doing a good job with these things is a lost opportunity to provide meaningful motivation to all employees and help further the cultures their leaders are trying to create. Mark Zweig is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at “Missions, visions, and values are typically the products of a group of people, and therefore their outputs inevitably end up being the proverbial ‘horses designed by committees’ that please no one.”

MARK ZWEIG, from page 11

jump from one book and one fad to another, thinking each one could be a potential panacea for every problem the company faces. Another problem is that missions, visions, and values are typically the products of a group of people, and therefore their outputs inevitably end up being the proverbial “horses designed by committees” (camels) that please no one. The language gets too complicated, and the meaning more distorted with every iteration. The authors cannot put themselves in the shoes of their skeptical rank and file employees and can’t see how they will react to their products. The last problem is the consultants firms in our business use. I hate to be critical, but most of them are washed up middle managers who were never even owners of the companies they worked for, or people who have little specific experience in our business. I would not hire ANY consultants who aren’t part of a “real business,” with that company being one having management who have proved they can run their own growing, successful business. If one can’t run their own business successfully, what makes anyone think they can

ZWEIG GROUP’S STRATEGIC PLANNING SERVICES A partnership with Zweig Group means you benefit from our cumulative efforts over the last 35 years. Our team is more than facilitators, we are designers. Our advisors work directly with you to define and then achieve your vision, mission, values, and critical objectives. An essential and primary investment, strategy development aligns your team around a just cause and provides a road map that everyone can follow. Click here to learn more!

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