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Challenges of working remotely T R E N D L I N E S A u g u s t 2 4 , 2 0 2 0 , I s s u e 1 3 5 8 W W W . T H E Z W E I G L E T T E R . C O M

Celebrate the present, and focus on extreme flexibility and radical empathy going forward. Celebrate in a time of change

T here’s never been a more important time for celebration than now. Scientific evidence has proven that celebrating brings the mind, body, and spirit into harmony, releasing endorphins that make you feel good. In this chaotic time, anything we can do to achieve harmony is critical. In this issue of The Zweig Letter , we honor and celebrate the 2020 award winners, which provides us with such an opportunity. This has become an annual tradition we’ve enjoyed for more than 20 years and over this span of time, the awards have evolved as have the firms. Two years ago, we decided to accelerate this evolution when we unveiled our “Elevate The Industry” mission. As part of our pursuit of elevation, we decided to incrementally increase the difficulty in achieving award status each year. This is called raising the reference standard. If we are to elevate the industry, then we must work harder every year to reach an increasing definition of excellence. We believe this is important as ideally it will drive innovation and evolution at a faster pace. It’s a great idea when the system we are trying to evolve stays intact, however, our system blew up almost overnight in mid-March. We quickly realized the fragility of our lifestyles and how reliant we are on schools, food supplies, and the ability to gather (oh yeah, and toilet paper). This major disruption continues. Where do we go from here? Certainly, we must celebrate our awards and in large fashion. This year, we can’t pack 400 people in a ballroom with music, light shows, smoke machines, and the flash of cameras as winners receive their awards on stage, but we must celebrate with our people in new ways. And the more we can celebrate and focus on the good things about our firms, the more harmony we can bring to chaos. So while living in the now and celebrating our awards is important, we must also look at the year ahead and how a longer-term COVID world affects awards. How we measure excellence is being radically redefined, and there is likely a shakeup still coming that every firm will feel. Although most of Zweig Group’s 2020 award programs were judging data that was largely from 2019 and before, there was one awards program that was collecting large amounts of data before and after COVID hit, the national Best Firms To Work For contest. Collecting more than a thousand data points per day, this program had the most dramatic shift after COVID started. Like a sonic boom, most employees of AEC firms were working from home with only days to prepare, and the data showed it. And as quickly, the reigning year-after-year champion of AEC staff challenges –“communication” – was replaced by “distractions,” which was not even on the spectrum in prior years. So as you look

In Zweig Group’s Best Firms To Work For survey, thousands of workers in the AEC industry were asked about life working from home. In particular, they were asked what their biggest challenge was when working from home between the five options in the chart above. When comparing women and men , there are noticeable differences. Women tend to struggle more with work-life balance and loneliness than men while men have more problems regarding communication and distractions. Participate in a survey and save 50 percent on any Zweig Group research publication. MO R E C O N T E N T xz KYLE AHERN: 2020 Best Firms and Hot Firms Page 3 xz Keynote speakers Page 4 xz Elevate AEC Virtual Experience &

Chad Clinehens

ElevateHer Symposium Page 5 xz JAMIE CLAIRE KISER &

CHRISTINA ZWEIG NIEHUES: Introducing the 2020 ElevateHer cohort Page 6 xz ElevateHer advisors Page 8 xz ElevateHer sponsors Page 8 xz Best Firm focus Page 9 xz 2020 Hot Firm list Page 10 xz 2020 Marketing Excellence Award winners Page 12 xz Elevate AEC sponsors Page 12




ABOUT THE CONFERENCE ELEVATE AEC VIRTUAL EXPERIENCE The safety and well-being of our loyal clients, friends, and family is our number one priority. That is why Zweig Group has decided to switch our Elevate AEC Conference and ElevateHer Symposium to a 100 percent virtual experience! You’ve asked. We’re answering. The Elevate AEC Conference can now be experienced 100 percent virtually. That’s right – the same

world-class experience, but no travel required. The 2020 Elevate AEC Virtual Experience will be an eight-week event, providing attendees meaningful content and networking opportunities from afar, highly produced with live interactions. This virtual experience will include daily doses of keynote speeches, Ted Talks, breakout sessions, virtual social mixing events, and awards celebrations.

Driving Financial Results Webinar


CHAD CLINEHENS, from page 1

Solid financial management is crucial to the success of any company, and firms in the AEC industry are no exception. This short course provides an overview of business financial management – specifically tailored to our industry – to help firm leaders make informed decisions that drive results.

at the year ahead, you should be thinking about what new things you need to implement and measure in order to be able to celebrate next year, because a lot is changing. What makes a firm a great place to work, what effective marketing looks like, what drives growth is all going to be impacted as this illness affects our lives longer-term. So what can you do to keep driving excellence in your firm while quickly adapting to internal and external conditions that are changing due to COVID? Consider there is one common driver in every award: Your people. They drive growth, define culture, create marketing excellence, and the list goes on. Start now, and think big – really big – about how you can evolve the employee experience at your firm. Beyond the changes that are being forced by COVID, what can you do now to take a quantum leap in the employee experience? To guide your decisions, I’m challenging you as a leader to develop dramatic and extraordinary empathy for every person in your company. COVID brought down the house of cards and exposed the fragility of our system, putting tremendous pressure on people in a variety of ways. Now there is wide disparity in how individuals and family units are coping with all these new pressures, most of which are a result of trying to protect physical health. All the while, the toll on mental and emotional health is mounting. If you are not concerned about the well-being of your people, you should be. The way our awards data was trending post-COVID gave us concern, and continues to with difficulties growing as we approach the half year mark of this illness. Shooting to the top list of challenges for employees is distractions, work-life balance, and loneliness. Add to this the pressures that caregivers are facing as the uncertainty around schools will put additional pressure on the issues listed above, and the firm overall. With recruiting and retention still being the number one challenge firms face, losing valuable people because of work- life complications will be a costly tragedy. If it seems like I’m sounding the alarm, it’s because I am. Per the data, our industry was already struggling with employee burnout and the ability to appropriately staff projects before COVID. Losing additional workforce will make an industry crisis even worse. And while we were making some progress with diversity initiatives, especially in regards to gender equity, the months ahead could send us back decades if we don’t figure out a way to radically adapt our businesses to deal with a work-life balance cataclysm that will eclipse the first round in the spring. Embracing extreme flexibility now will put you ahead in the coming months. It’s time for radical empathy. As we proudly put our 2020 awards on the shelf and look at taking our award status to the next level in 2021, get radical in your thinking. We must quickly decide what is important and get to work on a structure that can deal with all the uncertainty ahead. As our lives and profession continue to become intertwined like never before, award winning firms will be made up of heroes at home, not just at work, What does an award-winning firm look like after a full year of COVID? I can’t fully answer that, but it will certainly be one that focuses on its people in extraordinary ways. For now, celebrate like crazy, envision a celebration a year from now, and get to work building the structure to make that happen. Congrats to all the 2020 award winners. It will certainly be a year to remember! CHAD CLINEHENS is Zweig Group’s president and CEO. Contact him at


1200 North College Ave. Fayetteville, AR 72703 Chad Clinehens | Publisher Sara Parkman | Senior Editor & Designer Christina Zweig | Contributing Editor Liisa Andreassen | Correspondent

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Chad Clinehens, president and CEO of Zweig Group, speaks at the 2019 conference.

2020 Best Firms and Hot Firms

The impressive data collected from Zweig Group’s Best Firms To Work For and Hot Firms continues to provide valuable insight into the AEC industry.

I n the past month, Zweig Group has been preparing to announce all of our 2020 award winners. This has been especially important for us this year as we honor the outstanding firms in this industry during a time that has been unlike any other we have seen. The celebrate tenet of our mission has taken on a whole new meaning given all of the challenges we are facing right now. Even though the way we celebrate may look a bit different in 2020, celebrating our accomplishments may be more important now than ever. Beyond the awards ceremony, I want to dive into a bit of the data to celebrate some great statistics to come out of this year’s Hot Firm and Best Firms To Work For data.

Kyle Ahern

a pay raise in 2019, and no firms administered pay cuts. Firms also paid out an average of more than $8,500 in bonuses per employee last year. The average number of PTO days was just under a total of 20 days per year and the number of paid holidays was nine per year. in the AEC industry to honor and celebrate their achievements.” “Zweig Group’s awards program offers a wide variety of ways for firms

As we have previously said, sharing revenue data firm-wide is a great tool to create a positive and open culture at your firm. It helps keep all employees informed about the health and strength of your company. The percentage of firms that share revenue data at least annually rose quite dramatically in 2019. Eighty-eight percent of firms share their revenue data at least annually compared to 79 percent in 2018. Best Firms To Work For don’t just offer great work environments, but they also compensate their employees and take care of them financially. Ninety-two percent of permanent staff received

See KYLE AHERN, page 4




BEST FIRM SNAPSHOT ❚ ❚ 92% of permanent staff received a pay raise in 2019 ❚ ❚ No firms administered pay cuts ❚ ❚ Firms paid out an average of more than $8,500 in bonuses per employee last year ❚ ❚ Average of just under 20 PTO days per year ❚ ❚ Average of 9 paid holidays per year HOT FIRM SNAPSHOT ❚ ❚ Average dollar revenue growth from the end of fiscal year 2016 to the end of fiscal year 2019 was $31.5 million, $2.6 million higher than the average for 2019 winners ❚ ❚ Average percentage growth rate held steady year over year at 81% ❚ ❚ Average gross service revenue per FTE was up slightly over 2019 at $204,500 BILL MCCONNELL, CEO, THE VERTEX COMPANIES McConnell rose through the ranks from a union construction worker during high school and college summers, to a project engineer at a top 50 construction company, to a senior executive at VERTEX. Since the inception of VERTEX in 1995, McConnell has led the organization by example. Under his leadership, VERTEX has seen consistent year-over-year growth of more than 20 percent. Twenty-five years later, in addition to setting strategy and leading VERTEX, McConnell works on billable projects while also contributing as an active teacher and student in academia.

PHIL BERNSTEIN, ASSOCIATE DEAN & PROFESSOR ADJUNCT, YALE SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE Bernstein is an architect, technologist, and lecturer at the Yale School of Architecture, where he has taught since 1988. He was formerly a VP at Autodesk, where he was responsible for setting the company’s future vision and strategy for technology and cultivating and sustaining the firm’s relationships with strategic industry. Bernstein was the executive responsible for Autodesk’s Waltham AEC Headquarters project, which received more than 14 architectural awards.

PHIL HARRISON, CEO, PERKINS & WILL As CEO, Harrison is responsible for Perkins and Will’s strategic focus and business performance. He is directly involved with the firm’s quality initiatives including design excellence, sustainability, and technical delivery; he oversees firm growth, diversification, and development; and he defines the firm’s business objectives for performance, collaborative operations, and staff development. Harrison joined the firm as an architect in 1993, working with science and technology, education, healthcare, and corporate clients.

GABRIELLE BULLOCK, PRINCIPAL, DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL DIVERSITY, PERKINS & WILL Bullock oversees Perkins & Will’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Engagement program, which works to support and strengthen a firm-wide culture that embraces a diversity of people, colors, creeds, credos, talents, thoughts, and ideas. Her unique role as an award- winning principal and the firm’s Director of Global Diversity enables her to combine her passion for architecture and social justice to effect positive change at a micro and macro level.

KYLE AHERN, from page 3

that there is real growth going on in the industry, helping to create and retain good, high paying jobs. I think that is something we can all celebrate right now. “Even though the way we celebrate may look a bit different in 2020, celebrating our accomplishments may be more important now than ever.” Zweig Group’s awards program – including Hot Firm, Best Firms To Work For, Marketing Excellence, Rising Stars, Top New Venture, and Jerry Allen Courage in Leadership – offers a wide variety of ways for firms in the AEC industry to honor and celebrate their achievements. I wish I could go through all of the impressive data that we get through the awards, but I am glad I can celebrate some of the highlights from the 2020 winners. Things are certainly very tough right now, and we recognize and appreciate that. But don’t let that stop you from celebrating what makes your firm so great! KYLE AHERN is awards manager at Zweig Group. Contact him at

This year has presented a number of unique challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic. Firms have had to completely adjust how they conduct business and how to best take care of their employees. There is a silver lining given these challenges, though. Ninety-two percent of employees have been satisfied or very satisfied with their firm’s COVID-19 response. This shows that our industry has been able to adjust well to such a unique challenge. Another good sign is that employees ranked communication as the least challenging aspect of working remotely. Normally, communication is considered a weakness for firms in the AEC industry. Hopefully, we can keep up good communication once we transition into the new normal. We did see some very impressive growth from our Hot Firm winners this year. The average dollar revenue growth from the end of fiscal year 2016 to the end of fiscal year 2019 was $31.5 million which is $2.6 million higher than the average for 2019 Hot Firm winners. The average percentage growth rate held steady year over year at 81 percent. The average gross service revenue per FTE is up slightly over 2019 at $204,500. This is great news. It shows

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diversify celebrate

promote educate





SEPTEMBER 30, 2020

You’ve asked. We’re answering. The Elevate AEC Conference can now be ex- perienced 100% virtually. That’s right—the same world-class experience, but no travel required. The 2020 Elevate AEC Virtual Experience & ElevateHer Symposium will be an eight-week long event , providing attendees mean- ingful content and networking opportunities from afar, highly produced with live interactions. This virtual experience will include daily doses of keynote speeches, Ted Talks, breakout sessions, virtual social mixing events, awards celebrations & more! The ElevateHer Symposium will include presentations of our 2020 ElevateHer™ Cohort’s research findings. This is one of the most exciting and requested events of 2020. The safety and well-being of our loyal clients, friends and family is our number one priority. That is why Zweig Group has decided to switch our Elevate AEC Conference & ElevateHer Symposium to a 100% Virtual Experience!




Includes: ElevateHer Symposium, ALL key- note speakers & learning sessions, Zweig Group seminars, roundtables & more!

Includes: ElevateHer Symposium, certain keynote speakers & learn- ing sessions


QUESTIONS? For group discounts or if you have any questions, contact Olivia Thomas at 479-713-0429, or visit REGISTER NOW

Everything we do is in pursuit of elevating the AEC industry, bringing awareness of the incredible impact that engineers, architects, environmental professionals, survey- ors, planners, landscape architects and related professional service providers have on the world. Empowering organizations with the resources they need to perform better, grow and add jobs, pay better wages and to expand their impact on the community, Zweig Group exists to advance the profession.





ElevateHer has been a call to action to work together, and the reaction to this inclusive approach has been powerful. Introducing the 2020 ElevateHer cohort

E levateHer came from Zweig Group’s commitment to Elevate the Industry. As a consultant to AEC firms across the country, it became apparent that there was a tremendous opportunity to better attract, engage, and retain every bright mind by working together to build companies that reflect our clients and communities. You really cannot build valuable enterprises without a brilliant, empowered workforce. We see ElevateHer as a call to action to work together, and the reaction to this inclusive approach has been powerful.

Jamie Claire Kiser

When we decided to launch the ElevateHer initiative, the first study our research team revisited was our 2018 Principals, Partners, and Owners Survey of AEC Firms . We had not previously divided the survey results based on the gender of the survey participants, and once we did, two data points confirmed that we were on the right track: First, every single woman in a principal role who responded to our survey shared that she has considered leaving the industry. Second, exactly 0 percent of women principals were given any portion of their ownership interest for free, compared to 33 percent of male principals who were gifted any portion of their ownership. This is staggering. While women are entering engineering programs at record rates, the data is clear that we – as a profession – must change, or else we will repeat the cycle of recruiting the next generation of women and retaining them until they feel the exhaustion that causes the gaps in diversity at the top of org charts that is the reality for our industry today.

We launched the concept of a cohort-style program at Zweig Group’s Elevate AEC event last year and took applications through the rest of 2019. We ended up with an inaugural cohort of 30 people from across the AEC industry with diversity in every respect: CEOs working alongside marketing directors; folks from Utah to California to Mississippi to New York, across gender, discipline, age, and every demographic category. We successfully assembled a diverse cohort of individuals all with the same passion to ensure equal opportunities and to confront the industry’s No. 1 challenge – recruitment and retention. With such a diverse cohort, every individual had their own perspective and motivation to take on this challenge. The initial meetings were held in Dallas and included open networking, presentations, inspirational talks, and a brainstorming project in smaller groups based on interest. Cohort members left this initial meeting

Christina Zweig Niehues




LIZ BARTELL; SR. PROJECT ENGINEER; PATEL, GREENE & ASSOCIATES: As a graduate of the first class of engineering majors from a women’s college, I am intimately familiar with the importance of representation from people of all genders, race, sexual orientation, and ethnicity in the AEC industry. DON KOPECKY; SR. MECHANICAL ENGINEER; BARR ENGINEERING CO.: The culture of the industry must be more amenable to the value system of younger people. This will make the industry a better place to work for the next generation by helping it become more inclusive, compassionate, and accepting. SUSAN DAWSON; MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER; GHT LIMITED: One of the most important issues our 2020 class will need to address is that 90% of AEC principals are white, 83% are male, and only 58% of these principals acknowledge there’s a lack of diversity amongst principals. gender, race, or any other form – should be valued for that perspective that helps shape companies and decisions differently. SHIBANI BISSON; ASSOCIATE/SR. PROJECT MANAGER; WSB: I would like to provide a framework for how we approach and have the tough conservations with the males in the industry, so that a culture of inclusion and respect is developed for all males and females in the AEC industry. CINDY SACHNOFF; VICE PRESIDENT, HUMAN RESOURCES; WGI: I am very passionate about gender equality and women in the workplace. We need to educate those in the industry who don’t see this as an issue, and I’d like to be a catalyst to move this forward within the AEC industry. JASON PEREIRA; PRINCIPAL; CWE: Being the father of an 8-year- old daughter, I’d like to be part of the movement/change that transforms AEC work environments, so that females, like my daughter, who may want to reach a leadership position have equal access to these milestones during their career. JENNIFER PORTER; VICE PRESIDENT; GERSHMAN, BICKNER & BRATTON, INC.: Service to others is a cornerstone to my life, and I am very eager to make the personal connections through ElevateHer, which I believe will raise my own expectations of myself and my company. VERONICA PORTER; CHIEF REVENUE & MARKETING OFFICER; WAGGONER ENGINEERING: Because of my experiences, I have a passion to help other women excel in their careers and rise through the ranks. We need more women in senior roles to help mentor and promote other smart, talented women. JENNIFER RIDD; ASSOCIATE/SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER; JQ: I want to be a part of the ElevateHer initiative on behalf of every woman who has ever felt “less than” or overlooked – women who are good at their jobs and committed to success and growth, but just don’t see a way they fit. SUSAN OSTERBERG; CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER; SMITH SECKMAN REID: Diversity – whether it comes in age, AARON TIPPIE; SR. VICE PRESIDENT, POWER; WESTWOOD PROFESSIONAL SERVICES: The stresses on companies to add and keep good people will only increase. We clearly need more women to enter the AEC space and to remain in the industry long-term. FRED VINCIGUERRA; CEO; FORENSIC ANALYTICAL CONSULTING SERVICE: For me, it’s about how to engage women to be proactive in their careers. I am blessed to have three daughters, one of whom wants to be an engineer. I would like her to have opportunities that may not be as readily available. MARYANNE WACHTER; SR. STRUCTURAL ENGINEER; BUROHAPPOLD ENGINEERING: A lot of people leave structural engineering after three years. I firmly believe this is because companies have stopped investing in their junior engineers until they have “proved” themselves.

SHANNON ACEVADO; SR. PLANNER; MATTHEWS DESIGN GROUP: If there is a lack of diversity of people working in this industry, there could be lack of diversity in the breadth of innovation, solutions, and approaches taken which moves this industry forward. BLAKE CALVERT; PRESIDENT & CEO; CORE CONSULTANTS: Creating a cultural change toward diversity starts at the top. Company leaders must lead, act, and set an example of inclusion every day. It must be ingrained into the culture and values of the company. Set the tone, and others will follow. MAGGIE SNAPE; HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR RESOURCES; FUSS & O’NEILL: With more than 30 years in HR, I have worked hard on gender equality in the workplace. I have been amazed these past five years by just how far behind this industry is. MELANIE BOWCUTT; SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER; HORROCKS ENGINEERS: There are younger groups of women entering the field that I know we can provide better opportunities for, but we have to start building leaders. I want to be that leader. ANDREA DUMONT; ENGINEER, PROJECT MANAGER; JACOBS: As I progress in my career it becomes more and more obvious the obstacles that women face at far greater lengths than men. I got into engineering because I’m passionate about changing the world. GINGER LACY; OFFICE MANAGER; WATRY DESIGN, INC.: I want to be an example for the young people in my life and show them that it’s important to raise your hand, to step forward, to speak up. THY DANIELS; MARKETING MANAGER; KPFF CONSULTING ENGINEERS: As a woman of color and someone who has personally considered leaving the industry several times, I’d like to help my organization implement a change in culture, recruitment, and retention. DARA DAVULCU; DIRECTOR OF MARKETING; SKILES GROUP: I deeply admire the work these people do in the AEC industry, and the people – the unsung heroes of civilization – who do the work. I am excited by any opportunity to elevate them, irrespective of their gender. ELIDE PANTOLI; UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO; POST- DOCTORAL RESEARCHER: I am action and solution oriented and I do not like to wait for other people to do what needs to be done, I want to be part of the change. JANKI DEPALMA; ASSOCIATE, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER; DCI ENGINEERS: I am the only female and minority in a leadership role in my office. When we talk about belonging and creating a space for everyone to thrive, I can bring a unique intersectional perspective. JACQUELINE DEVEREAUX: I want to be part of the solution to improve our industry for working moms and for the future generation of women entering the pipeline now. ANGEL FARLEY; HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER; QK: Although I fill a support role for the engineering industry, I have promoted diversity and inclusion throughout the firms I’ve worked with and I deeply understand how crucial it is for us to grow the profession. KRISTAN GREENE; HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR; MANHARD CONSULTING: An inclusive culture is an environment in which respect, equity, and appreciation of differences are cultivated for a positive employment experience. MARY HEATH; CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER; MCADAMS: As an industry, we are beyond checking a box, it’s time to hone-in on implementation. I want to prove that we can do it. Not only can we can make changes that are right, but they can also improve our bottom line.

© Copyright 2020. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

UST 24, 2020, ISSUE 1358



MARCIA ALVARADO; STRUCTURAL PROJECT MANAGER; TRC WORLDWIDE ENGINEERING, INC. Alvarado provides a unique combination of engineering and BIM coordination to TRC Worldwide Engineering’s operations in the Florida geographic regions and throughout the U.S. She also serves as president of the ACE Mentor Program of Greater Tampa Bay. The AEC focused program has raised more than $100,000 in scholarships for high school students to further their education in the college and apprenticeship tracks. Alvarado also serves on the Leadership Tampa Bay Board of Directors, and assists with marketing and social media efforts for the organization.

BERNICE BAKO; DIRECTOR OF MARKETING FOR GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT; TURNER CONSTRUCTION COMPANY After 30 years in the marketing profession working with engineers, Bako truly describes herself as right and left brained – she gets excited about a spreadsheet as much as a video editing session. An MBA, she has spent 25 years at Turner Construction Company as the Director of Marketing for Global Development working with construction and supply chain teams to grow new markets and business opportunities.

STEVE LUCY; CEO/PARTNER; JQ ENGINEERING As co-founder of the Dallas branch in 1994, Lucy serves as JQ’s CEO. With a significant portfolio of structural projects with varying project delivery methods over nearly three decades, Lucy guides clients through all stages of a project, from inception to completion. As CEO, his role includes recruiting and retention — which starts by attracting skilled and savvy engineers and helping them evolve as creative problem solvers who excel at delivering JQ’s signature style of client service.

TINA MYERS; DEPUTY CEO; SMPS Myers is responsible for SMPS’s operations, governance, human resources, programs, and overall management of staff. She is also responsible for implementation of policies and programs established by the board of directors and ensuring the alignment of programs with the Society’s Strategic Plan. She works directly with all SMPS chapters ensuring sound management and governance practices.She has over 29 years of experience in association management ranging from governance and human resource management to membership and marketing and chapter component relations.

LAURA NICK; CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS LEADER; GARVER As Garver’s Corporate Communications Leader, Nick leads the in-house communications team charged with all facets of branding, strategic marketing, and internal communications. Since joining the firm in 2011, she created the firm’s competitive recruitment program; developed GarverGives, the company’s employee-driven charitable giving program that prioritizes STEM partnerships; and is currently spearheading Garver’s centennial year celebration, which includes hosting all of Garver’s 650 employees in its founding city of Little Rock in October 2019.


as members of a smaller project group with a focused topic or problem they would work on together over the proceeding months, and an end goal of a focused deliverable designed to be shared with the rest of the industry at Zweig Group’s ElevateHer Symposium and Elevate AEC conference. Project topics ran the gamut, and included methods to support individuals in the industry at all stages and phases of their life, addressing conflict and implicit biases, designing career paths, awarding and incentivizing diverse projects and firms, and much more. We picked a hell of a year to launch this program. As we wrapped up the initial in- person meetings, COVID-19 hit the U.S., and for many, these in-person meetings were some of the last work-related travel and networking opportunities to be had for a long time. This new challenge created a completely different set of circumstances to navigate and overcome, but for many highlighted the importance of an initiative such as ElevateHer. Luckily, with the geographic diversity present in each of these project groups, the collaboration was designed to be virtual. Over the next few months project teams met on their own, with Zweig Group team members, and with other industry stakeholders to design a product, idea, or process, and presentation to present JAMIE CLAIRE KISER & CHRISTINA ZWEIG NIEHUES, from page 7

at the inaugural ElevateHer Symposium (now virtual). In addition to these projects Zweig Group delivered books, facilitated discussions and a book club, and provided educational resources including presentation training to all cohort members. Project presentations will commence in early October and, because the symposium is virtual, are open to all who want to attend. These new ideas are designed to tackle specific issues identified as problems or obstacles to recruitment and retention of every individual in the industry, and are sure to provide actionable solutions that will assist in Zweig Group’s overall mission – to Elevate the AEC Industry. ElevateHer is about the future of the AEC industry and Zweig Group’s commitment to embrace, promote, and ensure equal opportunities for everyone regardless of gender, race, age, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. There is a real opportunity to build teams with the best and brightest talent if we can come together to create cultures that foster all careers. The role of gender and what it means to be a woman in an AEC firm is a complex, changing, and highly charged topic. And it’s one that has to be discussed as a question of survival for our industry. JAMIE CLAIRE KISER is managing principal and director of advisory services at Zweig Group. CHRISTINA ZWEIG NIEHUES is director of marketing and media at Zweig Group. Contact them at jkiser@ and

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P R O F I L E Best Firm focus Leaders of employee-friendly firms on recruiting, culture, and the importance of employee feedback.

BRIAN BOWERS, PRESIDENT, BOWERS + KUBOTA: It is an honor to receive the Best Firms designation in the 200+ category. Our philosophy at Bowers + Kubota Consulting is to strive for excellence and to be better than we were the day before. Our leadership team lives our values, listens to our employees needs, and engages them at all levels. I believe the number one reason people love working for the firm is our firm’s culture. Our culture is based on our values – Superior Quality, Wellness, Integrity, Family and Teamwork. Employees feel valued and engaged as a part of the Bowers + Kubota Consulting Family. ELYSE CONTI, MARKETING MANAGER, TRAFFIC PLANNING AND DESIGN, INC.: Over the years, the annual survey for Zweig’s award program has really helped us understand what our staff likes (and doesn’t like) about our company and culture. It has proved to be an invaluable tool to us in our evolution. In our opinion, the key to creating an outstanding work environment is truly listening. TPD’s management works to integrate as many staff suggestions as possible into our workplace practices. These annual surveys also hold us accountable by ensuring we continue to improve and prioritize what matters most to staff. GORDON GREENE; EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT; PATEL, GREENE & ASSOCIATES, LLC: Upon reflection, we are often astounded at the quality of staff we have been able to attract. We never want them to feel underappreciated, so we make sure to keep a true open-door policy, provide all sorts of opportunities for input, and then actually listen to them! One example of our efforts here is our Mentorship Program that kicks off in a couple months. This program was a suggestion we received from several folks as part of a Best Firms To Work For survey (thanks Zweig Group!). By providing these venues for ideas and then appreciating and implementing the good ones, we hope folks feel like PGA is their own. When they feel that way, they will work that way, and everyone wins. support including mentoring and state-of-the-art technology, advanced learning, and the opportunity to direct and broaden professional interests. As we look beyond 2020, we strive to continue promoting an environment focused on our employees, while achieving success with our clients and strengthening our industry. E ILEEN PANNETIER, PRESIDENT, CEI: We’re truly honored to be recognized as a Best Firm To Work For, especially knowing that this award not only reflects CEI’s professional achievement and industry leadership but exemplifies that our employees are our No. 1 asset. We value our clients who have helped grow CEI with a high degree of repeat business, but we recognize that our success is the result of a highly dedicated staff. CEI is employee- owned and, with little turnover, we feel that our people love working here for a variety of reasons, including great benefits, flexibility, and a friendly office culture, and professional

1-49 EMPLOYEES 1. Comprehensive

Environmental Inc. 2. Matthews Design Group 3. Shear Structural 4. e2 engineers 5. Randall-Paulson Architects 50-99 EMPLOYEES 1. Patel, Greene & Associates, LLC 2. Choice One Engineering 3. Taylor Design

4. Wright Engineers 5. Garmann/Miller


100-199 EMPLOYEES 1. Traffic Planning and Design, Inc. 2. Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group 3. TowerPinkster 4. Foresite Group, LLC 5. Aguirre & Fields 200+ EMPLOYEES 1. Bowers + Kubota Consulting Inc. 2. Garver 3. P2S Inc. 4. MBP 5. Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc. Visit zweiggroup. com/2020-best-firms-to- work-for/ to see the full list of winners.



The complete

1. NV5, Inc. 2. Anser Advisory 3. NELSON Worldwide 4. Westwood Professional Services 5. LJA Engineering 6. Ampirical Solutions LLC 7. GATE Holdings, LLC 8. Ardurra Group 9. IPS-Integrated Project Services, LLC 10. Salas O’Brien 11. Atwell, LLC 12. Ware Malcomb 13. Woolpert 14. The Thrasher Group, Inc. 15. SWCA Environmental Consultants 16. Garver 17. Arora Engineers, Inc. 18. IMEG Corp. 19. BSI Engineering 20. VLK Architects, Inc. 21. McAdams 22. Cobb, Fendley & Associates, Inc. 23. Hastings Architecture 24. CMTA, Inc 25. PaleoWest, LLC 26. Fleis & VandenBrink 27. Lowe Engineers 28. Ulteig

35. WGI, Inc. 36. The Vertex Companies, Inc. 37. Mabbett & Associates, Inc. 38. WestLAND Group, Inc. 39. HILGARTWILSON 40. Parametrix

69. PPM Consultants, Inc. 70. ISG 71. Barton & Loguidice, D.P.C. 72. WSB 73. Clark Nexsen 74. Wood, Patel & Associates, Inc. 75. J2 Engineers, Inc. 76. Wade Trim 77. Traffic Planning and Design, Inc. 78. C.A.P. Government, Inc. 79. The Mannik & Smith Group, Inc. 80. TLC Engineering Solutions, Inc. 81. Humphreys & Partners Architects 82. Harper Houf Peterson Righellis Inc. 83. HMT Engineering & Surveying 84. CORE Consultants 85. Reiss Engineering, Inc. 86. Poole & Poole Architecture 87. Allana Buick & Bers, Inc. 88. Blackstone Consulting LLC 89. MWM DesignGroup 90. CWE 91. Atlantic Environmental Solutions, Inc. 92. Hunt, Guillot & Associates, L.L.C. 93. Galloway & Company 94. Karins and Associates 95. 4 S.T.E.L. Engineering, Inc. 96. KSA Engineers, Inc. 97. e2 engineers LLC 98. JSD Professional Services, Inc. 99. EAPC Architects Engineers 100. Passero Associates

41. Sullivan Engineering LLC 42. Coffman Engineers, Inc 43. SEPI 44. P2S INC. 45. Ross & Baruzzini, Inc. 46. HED 47. TowerPinkster 48. GEI Consultants Inc. 49. Matthews Design Group 50. OHM Advisors 51. Langan Engineering & Environmental Services 52. ECS 53. Apex Companies, LLC 54. Fitzemeyer & Tocci Associates, Inc. 55. Stonebrooke Engineering 56. R.G. Miller Engineers, Inc. 57. CEC Corporation 58. TETER, LLP 59. Long Engineering 60. A&E Design 61. Woodard & Curran 62. Chen Moore and Associates 63. DCI Engineers 64. DY Consultants 65. Fishbeck 66. Bowers + Kubota Consulting, Inc. 67. PK Electrical, Inc. 68. LeCraw Engineering, Inc.

29. Halff Associates, Inc. 30. Maser Consulting P.A.

31. Patel, Greene and Associates, LLC 32. RTM Engineering Consultants, LLC 33. Ramey Kemp & Associates, Inc. 34. Hillmann Consulting

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P R O F I L E What makes a Hot Firm winner? Leaders from Zweig Group’s top five Hot Firms talk about what they attribute their success to.

D ICKERSON WRIGHT, P.E., CHAIRMAN & CEO, NV5: We attribute our success to a flat organizational structure and vertical focus, allowing us to put the best people in front of our clients. We strive to enter the client at the highest level – the design phase – and seek to be a value- added consultant differentiating our offerings, increasing margins, and creating barriers to entry. NV5 focuses on five core business verticals: construction quality assurance, infrastructure, program management, utility services and environmental, and also delivers geospatial services through Quantum Spatial, North America’s largest geospatial solutions company. BRYAN CARRUTHERS, CEO, ANSER ADVISORY: Anser’s growth is a combination of upper quartile organic growth and strategic acquisitive growth of culturally aligned legacy brands. This combination has led Anser to become a nationally recognized leader in providing capital program and project advisory solutions to our clients’ unique challenges across a diverse range of public and private end markets. OZZIE NELSON JR., CEO, NELSON WORLDWIDE: Through a combination of organic growth, acquisitions, and a recent transformative rebrand, NELSON has become a leader in workplace, retail, mixed-use, hospitality, industrial and healthcare design. NELSON touts universal capabilities across all verticals in architecture, interior design, graphic design, and brand strategy, primed for regional, national, and international applications. This change marks a key turning point in response to consumers’ brand preferences and the future of experiential design in the 21st century. The organizational strategy allows NELSON to utilize cross- functional teams, spanning from innovation to implementation services to collaboratively influence the dynamic nature of brand experiences. NELSON is one of the largest multi- disciplinary firms in the nation, with 1,100 employees in 25 locations and over $200 million in annual revenue.

PAUL GREENHAGEN, CEO & PRESIDENT, WESTWOOD PROFESSIONAL SERVICES: Westwood has a strong team and we are very much aligned in our vision and values. We have a lot of initiative and collaboration across our company, and in the end, we all benefit from each other’s successes. I feel very fortunate to lead this team.

JAMES ROSS, P.E., SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, LAND DEVELOPMENT, LJA ENGINEERING: Two things: First, we stick to a founding principle that everything we do is about employees and clients. When our president, Calvin Ladner, says everything is for employees and clients, he means employees and he means clients. If we are good to clients, they are good to us, our employee-owners, who benefit from the company’s success, who can then go be even better to clients and each other. It is a circular, ever feeding loop from which we do not stray. Ever. And secondly, we continued to diversify and grow, both in services and geographically. “Grow or die” is another founding principle. In late fall 2018, LJA actively undertook growth of our Dallas transportation and land development divisions. We hired two local industry leaders, and the group went from two to 40 in only weeks. Although 40 was unexpected, Calvin had the courage to embrace the rapid hiring with confidence that the projects and clients would follow. They promised $12 million in revenue their first year and delivered $19 million. LJA also completed two area M&A transactions in 2019. The North Texas operations hit its 100th employee in January 2020.




Zweig Group’s MARKETING EXCELLENCE AWARD recognizes outstanding and effective marketing in the AEC industry. Award entries were judged by a team of marketing professionals and evaluated based upon overall creativity, messaging, results achieved by the campaign, and level of design. “Marketing can have a tremendous impact on how the company looks to the outside world and to how the company looks to employees on the inside,” said Zweig Group CEO Chad Clinehens. “With the reduction of in-person interaction, excellent marketing is more important than ever in defining the external and internal brand.”

ADVERTISING 1. IPS- Integrated Project Services 2. P2S 3. LJA Surveying 4. Garver BROCHURE 1. Miyamoto International 2. A&E Design 3. HLB Lighting Design 4. Patel, Greene, and Associates VIDEO 1. Prein&Newhof 2. Miyamoto International 3. Taylor Design 4. Environmental Design Group 5. ISG IDENTITY REBRAND 1. A&E Design 2. Taylor Design 3. TLC Engineering Solutions 4. WGI SPECIAL EVENT


INTERNAL NEWSLETTER 1. WSB 2. McKim & Creed, Inc. 3. ECS 4. Falcon Engineering Inc 5. Shive-Hattery RECRUITMENT/RETENTION 1. CORE Consultants 2. Taylor Design 3. Lea & Braze Engineering 4. LJA Engineering 5. DAVIS Construction SOCIAL MEDIA 1. Miyamoto International 2. HLB Lighting Design 3. DAVIS Construction 4. Kleinschmidt Associates 5. HLB Lighting Design WEBSITE 1. WGI 2. ISG 3. Kleinschmidt Associates 4. CMTA Inc 5. Sullivan Engineering LLC

2. Reputation Ink 3. LJA Surveying 4. TowerPinkster 5. J2 Engineers INTERNAL MARKETING 1. Garver 2. WSB 3. McKim & Creed, Inc. 4. Pond 5. Sullivan Engineering LLC HOLIDAY 1. P2S 2. Widseth 3. McKim & Creed, Inc. 4. Langan 5. ISG EXTERNAL NEWSLETTER 1. WSB 2. Pond 3. Wright Engineers 4. Sullivan Engineering LLC PROJECT PURSUIT 1. McAdams 2. Environmental Design Group

1. American Institute of Steel Construction 2. Garmann/Miller Architects-Engineers 3. Taylor Design 4. SWBR 5. Environmental Design Group


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