Morrison-Shipley Engineers’ team, and other than a name change and a few procedural differences, it really feels like nothing has changed. “When Halff first contacted us, we were not looking to sell. We had discussed M&A as a growth strategy, but with MSE being the acquirer. As our discussions progressed, it became clear Halff and MSE shared many of the same core values – the first being putting our people first.” TZL: How has your role changed, if at all? GS: My new role as Halff’s vice president has allowed me to move away from the administrative duties I had at Morrison- Shipley Engineers. This is allowing me a fresh opportunity to spend time working “in” Halff’s business instead of working “on” the business. TZL: Now that you’re part of the Halff team, what will you be doing differently? What will you be doing the same? GS: Given that I now have no administrative duties, the greatest difference is that I am now focused solely on growth and improvement initiatives. Halff and Morrison- Shipley Engineers put our people first, so one thing I will be doing the same is looking for opportunities that improve the lives of our employees by providing them with long-term career paths and advancement. TZL: Trust is essential. How do you earn the trust of your clients? GS: I believe trust in our industry is established by the following principles: 1. Do what you say you will do. 2. Charge what you say you will charge. 3. Deliver projects when you say you will. 4. Do not make excuses when you are at fault. TZL: What skills are required to run a successful practice? What do you wish you knew starting out that you know now? GS: Nothing replaces hard work – you must
be willing to do anything at any time. Running a successful practice is not an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job, but instead a 24/7 commitment to your team. Certainly, there are the obvious skills needed such as earning the trust of your team, good decision-making, and creating paths to success, but to accomplish all of these, a strong work ethic must be at the core. TZL: What’s currently on your plate that you’re most excited to work on and why? GS: I have recently become a part of the leadership for Halff’s Land and Site Development practice, and I am very excited to be a part of one of our fastest-growing practice areas. We have such a great group of people in our LSD practice, and I’m eager to get out and share our capabilities with new clients. TZL: What type of leader do you consider yourself to be? GS: My leadership style is to let those I lead do their job without my interference. Instead, I want to be a resource. I have always believed in hiring people who can work without being managed as I see people do their best work when they are not constrained. Micro- managing is extremely demoralizing to employees and creates so much more failure than it does good. “My leadership style is to let those I lead do their job without my interference. Instead, I want to be a resource. I have always believed in hiring people who can work without being managed as I see people do their best work when they are not constrained.” TZL: What benefits does your firm offer that your people get most excited about? GS: Employees expect outstanding training opportunities and the desire to be heard. Halff offers so many resources to its employees from technical and leadership training to better communications skills through our Halff Chats program. Also, Halff’s management team is highly visible to all employees, and they routinely See PUTTING PEOPLE FIRST, page 8
HEADQUARTERS: Richardson, TX NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 1,200 YEAR FOUNDED: 1950 OFFICE LOCATIONS: 27 SERVICES: ■ ■ Architecture ■ ■ Construction services ■ ■ Energy ■ ■ Environmental ■ ■ GIS ■ ■ Intelligent transportation systems ■ ■ Land and site development ■ ■ MEP engineering ■ ■ Planning and landscape architecture
■ ■ Public works ■ ■ Right of way
■ ■ Software development ■ ■ Structural engineering ■ ■ Subsurface utility engineering/utility coordination ■ ■ Surveying ■ ■ Transportation ■ ■ Visualization ■ ■ Water resources ■ ■ Water/wastewater
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ARCH 7, 2022, ISSUE 1431
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