TZL 1372 (web)


feedback on this impromptu experiment working from home indicates that many would like to see a combination home/ office approach become normal. “I don’t want to be the kind of leader who has to control every detail. I’d much rather work with a passionate and caring team that has a strong commitment to shared values and a unified strategy, and watch the magic happen.” TZL: How much time do you spend working “in the business” rather than “on the business?” DA: Because of my background, almost all of my time is spent “on” the business improving systems, processes, recruiting, developing leaders, and pursuing growth. I am blessed with an organization of leaders who I fully trust to serve our clients with excellence. (Anderson has an MBA in finance and strategy and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of California; and is a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program at Duke University.) TZL: What type of leader do you consider yourself to be? DA: The word I often come back to is “entrepreneurial” – or, perhaps better, a leader of entrepreneurs. I don’t want to be the kind of leader who has to control every detail. I’d much rather work with a passionate and caring team that has a strong commitment to shared values and a unified strategy, and watch the magic happen. TZL: Stanford White recently joined Salas O’Brien. What was the main impetus for this? How many staff were added? DA: Stanford White is simply a great team of capable leaders who fit well into our organization. It’s amazing to see the collaboration that is already happening among our team. The main thought process behind any merger is always this: “Are we making both teams better, stronger and providing more opportunity for our team and clients?” If there is mutual commitment, matched with culture and value as well as financial alignment, we proceed. Stanford White

was our first office in North Carolina, and there are obvious advantages to a location in the Research Triangle and its focus on science and technology, healthcare as well as higher education – both of which are strong markets for us nationally. 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? DA: I totally agree. We talk about this all the time. It is so important to ensure there is a strong connection between peers and supervisors. People want to know they are valued, are learning, being rewarded, and have opportunities to grow. Even with tough conversations, the feedback needs to be delivered positively and constructively with great care. TZL: Is change management a topic regularly addressed by the leadership at your firm? If so, elaborate. DA: Our growth strategy gives us ample opportunity to address change with our team. For example, when we bring a new firm on board, we acknowledge that it’s a change, but also acknowledge that change is the only constant at growing, thriving firms. We also remind our team that embracing change is literally built into the very words of our firm’s core values. With every merger, our “thesis” is that everyone has to be the same or better than they were before and that we are bringing more opportunity to our clients. “We never want people to feel they have to leave the firm in order to grow, and with only a small number of exceptions, our mid-level and senior leaders have all stuck around for the long-term.” TZL: How often do you valuate your firm and what key metrics do you use in the process? Do you valuate using in-house staff or is it outsourced? DA: Because of our structure as an ESOP we do perform an outside annual valuation of our company, but we obviously don’t wait for that in order to evaluate where we are as a firm. Monthly financial and operational updates as well as annual strategic reviews are shared


NUMBER OF OFFICE LOCATIONS: 35 offices in 17 states and the District of Columbia MARKETS: ❚ ❚ Bulk material handling ❚ ❚ Chemical process ❚ ❚ Corporate and commercial ❚ ❚ Data centers and telecom ❚ ❚ Education (higher ed) ❚ ❚ Education (K-12) ❚ ❚ Federal government ❚ ❚ Healthcare ❚ ❚ High-rise ❚ ❚ Hospitality ❚ ❚ Manufacturing ❚ ❚ Mixed-use ❚ ❚ Municipal government ❚ ❚ Power generation ❚ ❚ Retail ❚ ❚ Science and technology ❚ ❚ Transmission and distribution SERVICES: ❚ ❚ Mechanical and electrical ❚ ❚ Commissioning ❚ ❚ Industrial process ❚ ❚ Civil and structural ❚ ❚ Roofing and waterproofing ❚ ❚ Clean energy ❚ ❚ Technology design ❚ ❚ Fire protection ❚ ❚ Automation and controls ❚ ❚ Architecture and interiors ❚ ❚ Construction management OWNERSHIP VALUES: Expect leadership; expect results, expect relationships


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MBER 28, 2020, ISSUE 1372

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