People want to work in a well-managed organization. Related to the above, people want to work in a company that has a vision for excel- lence. That means that you operate at a profit, collect your money, do a business plan every year and follow it, invest in the necessary IT and marketing, the employee experience, and a whole lot more. One of the most powerful things you can use to market your firm to recruits in this highly competitive market, is a clear, written strategic plan that outlines where the company is going. Organizations like this share more infor- mation with their employees and are transparent. The “business of the business” is more important than ever in AEC. As we look at what it takes to build a firm driven by purpose and performance, we can see that it is a lot of things. Evolving beyond a firm that is a “multi-discipline, regional firm that is client focused and provides solutions” and all that jargon requires finding the road less traveled and requires many of the things discussed here. Commitment to training and development is more than just lunch and learns. It is a true commit- ment to developing people on unique paths where they can soar. Mentoring is not just a formal program of check the box, it is authentic interest in growth and change. M. Scott Peck’s book is just that, an in-depth journey that makes for a fulfilled human being. Engineering firms are also a “being”, made up of the people. With a culture and personality that reflect the collective, when we invest in our people and help them find the road less traveled, our firms will evolve beyond the status quo – one that is filled with purpose and performance at a higher level. Larry Pleimann invested in me early by listening to me beyond just the help I needed with structures. He got to the “why” I was there in civil engineering. It was the first step of a transformational journey for me where I love what I do. Now that I reflect on those discussions, Zweig Group’s Elevate The Industry™ vision probably started there. As many of our readers may be experts in designing the actual roads we use everyday, let’s consider the roads of our lives that we can design. What can you do today to elevate your firm and find that road less traveled where purpose and perfor- mance of your people and the firm soars.
CHAD CLINEHENS, P.E., is Zweig Group’s president and CEO. Contact him at email@example.com.
The concept of national parks has existed for the better part of the last 150 years since Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872. These parks, which in all forms encompass nearly 400 separate ar- eas, provide people with a space to reflect on the immense beauty and importance of our natural environ- ment. And, just as the Roosevelt Arch entrance to Yellowstone reads, these parks are “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” However, in the late 19th and early 20th century getting to remote parks was incredibly difficult. Not only were these parks located in rugged, rural areas with little to no automotive infrastructure, they forbade ac- cess to vehicles even if they managed to get there. In fact, many of the “roads” in our national parks were little more than footpaths and army patrol routes with occasional stagecoach routes. With an increase in the popularity of auto-tourism at the start of the 20th century, there was an intense push to not only construct new roads that would improve the parks’ accessibility, but also to update and modernize the footpaths and stagecoach routes. In order to maintain the spirit, integrity, and natural aesthetic of the parks, the roads being constructed had to minimize impacts on both the aesthetics of the landscape and ecology of the living environment. One major early proponent of this method of thinking was Andrew Jackson Downing, who is considered one of America’s first great landscape designers and architects. Downing stressed road construction practices such as following the natural curves and topography of the landscape and planting trees at the curve of a road. The latter gives the impression that the road was moved to avoid the stand of trees. Downing also empha- sized constructing these roads to lead to specific viewpoints or natural vistas. Another landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted Sr., built upon Downing’s ideas and introduced the concept of a loop drive, which he had perfected in New York City’s Central Park. Building on Central Park’s successful landscape, Olmsted argued for designs that were easy to navigate, revealed the rural world, and minimized environmental “violence”. With the need for roads capable of supporting automobiles established, several groups set about modern- izing park road infrastructure. Much of the early road-construction in areas such as Yellowstone and Sequoia National Parks was undertaken by military units. At Sequoia National Park, the first highways connecting the park to the public were constructed by Charles Young and his unit of Buffalo Soldiers,
Accessing the National
Parks Luke Carothers
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