TZL: What financial metrics do you monitor to gauge the health of your firm? KP: We look at our proposal dollar value to help us estimate our future revenue, our actual revenue, and the dollar value per employee based on revenue. This helps us ensure that we aren’t under- or over-staffed based on our actual and projected revenue. TZL: Ownership transition can be tricky, to say the least. What’s the key to ensuring a smooth passing of the baton? What’s the biggest pitfall to avoid? KP: Early on I recognized some key staff who I felt were knowledgeable in our field, knew how to provide amazing customer service, could handle difficult situations, lived our company values, and most importantly, were people that I wanted to be in business with. We are a relatively small firm (less than 40 staff) and started our transition plan six years ago. We have three other shareholders (besides myself) that I will be transitioning the company to and we are all working on the transition plan together. I am very open and honest with my timeline, our company metrics, and really every aspect of the business. I value and respect their opinion. The greatest pitfall to avoid, in my opinion, is to wait until it’s too late to start the transition planning. TZL: They say failure is a great teacher. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve had to learn the hard way? KP: One of my early failures was not terminating employees fast enough. For example, if they weren’t a good fit for the company and our core values, or if they didn’t have the technical knowledge or ability to learn the required skills, they probably needed to go. I was afraid of the uncomfortable situation. Not only was I costing the company money by keeping the employees on, but it was affecting staff morale, and I wasn’t helping the “to be” terminated employees be successful at something else. Our motto now is hire slow, fire fast. TZL: In one word or phrase, what do you describe as your number one job responsibility as CEO? KP: Leadership. TZL: Diversity and inclusion is lacking. See PERSEVERANCE, page 8
determine and predict workload and cashflow. For workload, about six months to a year, and for cashflow about three to six months. TZL: How much time do you spend working “in the business” rather than “on the business?” KP: I would estimate that I spend about 90 percent of my time working on the business. We had a business coach several years ago who stressed the importance of spending the majority of my time on the business. I think that this has helped with the success of our firm as well as our ability to sustain during the Great Recession. “We recently had a couple of employees come back to us after they left several years ago because of our culture and environment.” TZL: What role does your family play in your career? Are work and family separate, or is there overlap? KP: Family is why I do what I do. For the most part, they are separate. I feel that it’s better to keep the two separate so that you can focus on the family when you are with the family and on the business when you are at the office. TZL: Are you using the R&D tax credit? If so, how is it working for your firm? If not, why not? KP: At this point we are not. However, we are looking into this. TZL: How are you staying in touch with your clients during this pandemic? KP: We are communicating with our clients via the phone, email, Zoom, etc. to check in with them to see how they are doing and letting them know that we are fully working and available for whatever they need. 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? KP: Our firm is valued once a year. We typically use Zweig Group’s numbers to determine the company value. This year we intend to have the firm professionally valued.
HEADQUARTERS: Reno, NV NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 37 YEAR FOUNDED: 1996 OFFICE LOCATIONS: ❚ ❚ Reno, NV ❚ ❚ Denver, CO SERVICES: Computer aided drafting, construction administration, cost estimating and budgeting, electrical designs, electrical field observations, electrical system studies, emergency power systems, expert witness, feasibility studies, fire alarm study and design, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, lighting consultation and calculations, lightning protection design, lightning protection risk assessments, low voltage (audio/ visual, CCTV/CATV, data/comm, nurse call, SCADA, VoIP, security and video/surveillance), master planning, medium voltage design, selective coordination studies, site planning, SKM (short circuit coordination, voltage drop, demand load, load flow, ANSI fault study, transient motor starting Study, CAPTOR studies, DAPPER studies, equipment evaluations, and arc flash hazard analysis with the ability to print the PPE labels), special use permit, sustainable design (wind, photovoltaics, geothermal) VISION: Passion. Commitment. Integrity. Innovation. Accountability.
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UNE 8, 2020, ISSUE 1348
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