TZL 1427 (web)



Cultural steward: Steven Metzger CEO of LaBella Associates (Rochester, NY), a firmwith diverse service offerings that can address any aspect of the built or natural environment.


M etzger’s work ethic started as a teenager while working in the family business. He learned to show up early, never sit down on the job, and, if he ran out of things to do, sweep. Today, Metzger continues to subscribe to that same philosophy. “Above all else, we want to be a great firm for our employees,” Metzger says. “If we can maintain a culture and a workplace where our employees feel professionally fulfilled, valued, and provided with growth opportunities, they will perform at their highest potential, and there is little incentive to leave. We work hard every day at doing just that.” A CONVERSATIONWITH STEVEN METZGER. The Zweig Letter: Your website states: “We want to deliver more – more value, more trust, more problem solving.” Can you illustrate this by sharing a recent example of how you did this for a client?

Steven Metzger: Recently, LaBella completed an athletic facility project for a K-12 client in a traditionally underserved community. On the surface, the project seemed straightforward, but it eventually proved very challenging from an engineering and financial perspective. Many unforeseen aspects came to light as the project progressed, including extreme environmental conditions, extensive permitting, and complex space constraints. To address and resolve issues, our team remained nimble and worked side-by-side with the client to develop solutions. In doing so, we gained their trust and built a partnership. The ultimate result was a completed facility that met the initial expectations of the school district and exceeded those of the community it served. TZL: How do you anticipate COVID-19 permanently impacting your firm’s policy on telecommuting? SM: COVID-19 has proven that we have the ability to work remotely under extreme disruptive circumstances. We’ve also learned that certain components of our business could work


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