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T R E N D L I N E S J u n e 2 8 , 2 0 2 1 , I s s u e 1 3 9 8 W W W . T H E Z W E I G L E T T E R . C O M

Principals’ compensation

Like Wheel of Fortune ’s most strategic letters, there are aspects of AEC firm operations that nearly always merit attention. “RSTLNE” for AEC firms

In Zweig Group’s 2021 Principals, Partners & Owners Report of AEC Firms , principals were asked to provide their current compensation data. Shown are the base salaries of all principals in the survey sample by median and mean value. Over the last five years, there has been a steady increase in base compensation among principals in the AEC industry. While bonus pay has flatlined over that same stretch, shareholder distributions have also increased in that five-year span. Participate in a survey and save 50 percent on the final or pre- publication price of any Zweig Group research publication. F I R M I N D E X FXCollaborative Architects.......................4 Nathelyne A. Kennedy & Associates, Inc..6 SG Blocks, Inc......................................12 Urban Engineers. ..................................10 Ware Malcomb........................................4 Westwood Professional Services, Inc......2 WSB.......................................................6 ZT Architecture & Land Development....12 MO R E A R T I C L E S xz MICHAEL SYRACUSE: Multiple modalities of mentoring Page 3 xz Seize opportunities: Nathelyne A. Kennedy Page 6 xz COREY FENWICK & ANDREW CHAKMAKJIAN: Networking tips for young professionals Page 9 xz MARK ZWEIG: Your work regimen Page 11

T he final contestant on the TV game show Wheel of Fortune chooses consonants and a vowel and then solves a word puzzle to win a prize. Before 1988, they chose five consonants and one vowel, and most chose “RSTLN and E.” That year, to spice things up, the show’s producers decided to give those six letters to the contestant and make them pick a few others. Like the show’s puzzles, every AEC firm and Zweig Group client is different. When we study them as part of research or advisory engagements, we always uncover unique insights. But there are aspects of AEC firm operations that nearly always merit attention and improvement. They are the “RSTLN and E” of AEC business operations. We give them to you – and then find a few others for you to work with on your journey to solve your own business challenges. 1)Communication. When we survey employees, responses to the statement, “In general, I feel like things are effectively communicated at my firm” score lower than other similar prompts. Everyone in your firm wants to know what is going on – the good and the bad. And they want to understand why decisions get made the way they do. Establishing an honest, routine communication cadence with your staff is a critical component of the employee experience you create. 2)Employee development. Your staff want to be good at their jobs. The right training and tools help them do that. They also want those jobs to be platforms from which fulfilling, meaningful careers are built. Zweig Group’s 2021 Recruitment and Retention Report of AEC Firms – and our advisory work – indicates that “frequency of mentoring” (not training, and not quality of mentoring) is a weak area for firms. Mentoring helps your staff unleash their talents and engage more deeply. 3)Recruiting and retention. These two are commonly linked but fundamentally different activities that also exist along the employee experience continuum. Every firm aspires to be amazing at both. 4)Marketing. Creating and maintaining brand awareness of your firm increases the likelihood that clients and talent will seek out your firm. The most savvy firms use traditional channels like email, their website, writing articles, and speaking engagements – and the full stack of contemporary social media outlets. Zweig Group’s research indicates that after referrals, speaking engagements and published content are the two most effective marketing tactics in the AEC toolkit. You can use digital tools for both. Unsurprisingly, these activities are outside of the core project work that keeps you and your teams busy and in business. And when firms are busy, it is important for leaders to look for high leverage actions – single actions with multiple positive impacts.

Tom Godin

See TOM GODIN, page 2



TRANSACT IONS ENDURANCE PARTNERS INVESTS IN WESTWOOD PROFESSIONAL SERVICES Endurance Partners, a leading investment group that partners with exceptional management teams for the long- term, has made a strategic investment in Westwood Professional Services, Inc. , a national award-winning AEC firm. Zweig Group, a full-service AEC management advisory firm, represented Endurance Partners in this transaction. Jamie Claire Kiser, Zweig Group’s managing principal, served as the company’s lead advisor on the engagement with support from Drake Hamilton, a senior analyst on Zweig Group’s M&A advisory team. “We are proud to be part of the story that brought our client, Endurance Partners, together with Westwood. The emphasis on culture, growth ambition, and the caliber of leadership of both companies is a powerful combination,” Kiser said. “This transaction demonstrates the expertise of not just our growing merger and acquisition advisory practice, but also the legacy of Zweig Group’s brand of thought leadership.” Endurance is focused on providing long-term capital and resources to growing middle market companies in partnership with management. Endurance brings together a world class group of executives with extensive leadership experience in financial services, private equity, and industrial sectors. “Westwood is an established leader in multi- discipline professional services for the AEC industry, and we are pleased to invest in and partner with them,” said Gerald Parsky, partner of Endurance. “We look forward to supporting Paul and the executive team in achieving Westwood’s vision and expansion into new technologies, services, markets, and geographic locations.”

“We are excited about this partnership with Endurance, which will provide the deep network of relationships, board expertise, and financial capital we need to support our strategic plan,” said Paul Greenhagen, president and CEO of Westwood. “This move is an important validation of the work that we have done during the past several years to position Westwood for continued success and deliver on the tremendous opportunities we have ahead.” Through the partnership, Westwood will have access to Endurance Partners’ top senior advisors and business executives, which include Larry Bossidy, former chairman/CEO of Honeywell and Allied Signal, and vice chairman of GE; Mike Burke, former chairman and CEO of AECOM; Mark Byrne, founder and former CEO of Basic Chemical Solutions and former president of Allied Signal’s Fluorine Products Division; and William Harrison, former chairman and CEO of JP Morgan Chase, all of whom will be joining the Westwood Board of Directors. Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the leading research, publishing, and consulting resource for the built environment. The firm provides strategy, mergers and acquisitions, business valuation, ownership transition, marketing, business development, market research, financial management, project management, recruiting and executive search services nationwide. Zweig Group also provides a comprehensive suite of products including industry reports and surveys, executive training, and business conferences covering virtually every aspect of AEC firm management. The firm’s mission, Elevate the Industry, has five tenets: promote, diversify, educate, change, and celebrate. Zweig Group’s vision is to facilitate action in pursuit of elevating individuals, firms, and thus the industry.

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about the projects and ideas driving the AEC industry forward? Learn more with Civil+Structural Engineer Media.

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Chad Clinehens | Publisher cclinehens@zweiggroup.com Sara Parkman | Senior Editor & Designer sparkman@zweiggroup.com Christina Zweig | Contributing Editor czweig@zweiggroup.com Liisa Andreassen | Correspondent landreassen@zweiggroup.com

TOM GODIN, from page 1 There are two high leverage actions you can take right away:

1) Schedule a 15-minute one-on-one check in with your direct reports. Do this in the next 24 hours, and then have every manager in your firm do the same. Talk about anything other than project work. You will simultaneously improve communications and contribute to employee development. Make these development-focused check-ins a routine and over time you’ll improve retention. 2) Spend an hour with your marketing staff to make spot improvements to your company’s LinkedIn presence, post an announcement about a staff member, and ask your staff to share both that post and any open positions you have listed on the platform. You will be making positive progress in both recruiting and marketing. AEC firm management isn’t a game show. But like the contestants on Wheel of Fortune , you’ve been given a head start on solving your own puzzles. Please get in touch with me if you’d like some additional consonants and a vowel! TOM GODIN is a strategic planning advisor with Zweig Group. Contact him at tgodin@zweiggroup.com.

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2021 RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION SURVEY REPORT Zweig Group’s 2021 Recruitment and Retention Report of AEC Firms has statistics relating to all the latest methods used to hire and retain professionals in the industry. Click here to learn more!

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There are many ways to connect to others and contribute to a person’s professional and personal growth. Multiple modalities of mentoring

M entorship is critical to every professional’s success and can occur in many ways. After much self-reflection, especially through the last year of the pandemic, I realize how instrumental mentoring has been to my career. I have consistently been surrounded by great mentors – whether they knew it or not. In the more traditional sense, the novice apprentice learns from the wizened sage. That is one modality for mentorship, but there are many more ways to connect to others and contribute to a person’s professional and personal growth.

Michael Syracuse

When, as a recent graduate, I joined an 80-person architecture firm, I needed guidance to understand the profession and my path through it. A few of my colleagues stepped up and stood out from the office full of people to become my mentors. My direct manager was a leader in the firm, and we worked together on many projects. In his senior position, he influenced what projects were assigned to me and he kept his ears open for new opportunities. He also kept me away from tasks that were not going to advance my professional growth. He was my mentor-advocate. I also learned a vast amount from another colleague who had about five years more experience than me. While I was still a young

designer creating renderings, he was running large, complex projects and was seemingly light-years ahead of me. What proved to be more important than working on projects together, we sat near each other. I overheard all his conversations – whether on the phone with contractors or in-person with colleagues. As a result, I learned how he handled difficult conversations, his use of technical terms, and what was most important to keep projects moving ahead. He was always willing to discuss any topic and answer my questions, and I looked up to him as an example of where I could be in a few years. His organization, rigor, and persistence came




ON THE MOVE WARE MALCOMB ANNOUNCES PROMOTION OF KIM ARIAL TO DIRECTOR OF BUILDING MEASUREMENT SERVICES Ware Malcomb , an award-winning international design firm, announced that Kim Von Der Ahe-Arial has been promoted to Director, Building Measurement Services. In this new role she will be responsible for the national growth of Ware Malcomb’s building measurement services throughout the company. Since joining the firm in 2018, Arial has focused on expanding the firm’s building measurement services across North America. She has secured numerous regional and national clients to expand these services into new markets. Her team works with landlords, asset management firms, property managers and brokers to deliver accurate floor plans with quick turnaround times. “Kim has incredible dedication and is highly

admired by her team, Ware Malcomb peers and industry partners,” said Radwan Madani, Vice President, Operations for Ware Malcomb. “Her tenacity and commitment to client service has enabled her to secure key clients in several of our company’s regions.” She is an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from University of Southern California. Ware Malcomb’s building measurement team creates accurate as-built floor plans and provides 3D scanning services for commercial, industrial, healthcare, retail and residential properties using the latest in laser measuring technology. Established in 1972, Ware Malcomb is a contemporary and expanding full service design firm providing professional architecture, planning, interior design, civil engineering,

branding and building measurement services to corporate, commercial/residential developer and public/institutional clients throughout the world. Ware Malcomb has office locations throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. The firm specializes in the design of commercial office, corporate, industrial, science and technology, healthcare, retail, auto, public/ institutional facilities and renovation projects. Ware Malcomb is recognized as an Inc. 5000 fastest-growing private company and a Hot Firm by Zweig Group. The firm is also ranked among the top 15 architecture/engineering firms in Engineering News-Record ’s Top 500 Design Firms and the top 25 interior design firms in Interior Design magazine’s Top 100 Giants.


through Pratt Institute’s mentorship program. In addition, The City College of New York and FXCollaborative set up a program through their National Association for Minority Architects chapter that paired me with a current student. In both programs, I meet with mentees on a monthly basis to discuss a wide range of topics, including projects that we are working on, our experiences in the profession or school, and work-life balance. These conversations are especially energizing, as I can see firsthand these future leaders developing their critical thinking, often with an optimism that can’t help but affect the profession and change the world for the better. “The mentee is not the only one benefitting from the relationship. It has been immensely rewarding and inspiring for me to work with students and junior staff and witness them develop in their careers and personal lives.” Recent graduates are focused on getting a job, so I review their resumes, portfolios, and cover letters. We discuss navigating the job search and interview process. I’m able to act as the mentor-advocate and have connected students with my friends and colleagues at other firms for possible positions. In all the styles of mentorship described, the mentee is not the only one benefitting from the relationship. It has been immensely rewarding and inspiring for me to work with students and junior staff and witness them develop in their careers and personal lives. It also allows me to reflect on how I arrived at the place I am in my career, and helps me refine my goals as an architect. MICHAEL SYRACUSE is a partner with FXCollaborative Architects. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

through in everything he did. He was my mentor-by- example. As I progressed in my career, I soon discovered that I had knowledge to share with others and could become a mentor. I built upon my first experiences and learned some new mentoring modalities. As a project manager, I find it critical to share the inner workings of the project with my team. For example, giving every member of a team an understanding of a project’s contractual obligations and its financial performance is critical to success. Everyone can then take ownership of their time, tasks, and the project. They understand their roles and their obligations clearly and are often inspired to think of new and more efficient ways to work. This is project-manager-as-mentor. We run a formal mentorship program at FXCollaborative that connects employees at all levels to colleagues. Critical to this relationship is the pairing of mentees to senior mentors with whom they do not typically work, which serves a wide range of objectives. In some cases, the employee is studying for the ARE and wants to understand how this relates to the project they are working on. Or, they are looking for guidance on how to work through a difficult project or team member situation. Sometimes, it allows an architect to learn more about marketing or another part of the business with which they are not typically involved, and vice versa. Mentors and mentees typically meet once a month, ideally over coffee or lunch, or by Zoom this past year. In an ideal arrangement, this is the mentor-friend. While much of mentoring happens at work, I have found it valuable to connect with academia through mentoring in a few different ways. Formal mentorship programs arranged with local schools are an excellent place to start, especially those that foster diversity in the profession. I have connected with both students and recent graduates

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An enriching experience full of thought leaders, next practices and the ultimate source of learning, networking, and celebration for firms across the AEC industries. This year, Zweig Group’s annual Elevate AEC Conference is in two formats: the FREE Virtual ElevateAEC Conference & ElevateHer Symposium and the In-Person ElevateAEC Conference & Awards Gala .

Two conferences. One mission.

In-Person ElevateAEC Conference & Awards Gala The 2021 In-Person ElevateAEC Conference & Awards Gala will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Denver, Colorado on November 3-5, 2021. Withmuch optimism and excitement, Zweig Group is thrilled to restore the full annual in-person conference this fall; presenting the highest level of curated thought leadership, numerous networking opportunities, and the iconic black-tie awards gala celebrating all our 2021 winners of the Hot Firm List, Best Firms toWork For, Marketing Excellence, Rising Stars, Top New Ventures, and the Jerry Allen Courage in Leadership Award! The 2021 In-Person ElevateAEC Conference & Awards Gala will be the industry’s top conference of 2021 with new networking and learning opportunities for leaders across the country. Trust us, you will not want tomiss this! Register now to guarantee your spot.

Virtual ElevateAEC Conference & ElevateHER Symposium Zweig Group has continued to evolve its virtual conference, so the FREE 2021 Virtual ElevateAEC Conference & ElevateHER Symposium is back with a four-week virtual experience with over 40 speakers and 30 credit hours of networking, learning, and celebrating – all in an unlimited virtual environment. From emerging professionals, project managers, to CEO’s, there is something for everyone at the FREE 2021 Virtual ElevateAEC Conference & ElevateHER Symposium . REGISTER FOR VIRTUAL NOW FREE SEPT. 13 - OCT. 8, 2021

NOV. 3 - 5, 2021 Denver, CO REGISTER FOR IN-PERSON NOW $1,995/attendee

QUESTIONS? For group discounts or any other inquiries, please contact events@ zweiggroup.com, call 800.466.6275 or visit zweiggroup.com

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.



Seize opportunities: Nathelyne A. Kennedy In 1959, Kennedy became the first Black woman to receive an engineering degree from a school in Texas. Here, she reflects on her more than 55 years of experience since then.


I n 1959, Nathelyne Archie Kennedy became the first Black woman to receive an engineering degree from a school in Texas. She is the president and founder of Nathelyne A. Kennedy & Associates, Inc., a Houston-based civil engineering firm that was acquired by WSB in 2019. Committed to advancing the engineering profession, Kennedy has served on the Texas Turnpike Authority Board of Directors and on advisory committees for Texas Southern University, University of Houston Downtown, and her own alma mater, Prairie View A&M University. In 2006 Prairie View named the Nathelyne Archie Kennedy Building, housing the School of Architecture and Art, in her honor. Here, Nathelyne reflects on her more than 55 years working in the engineering industry. “I hope to see more women heading up their own firms,” Kennedy says. “Engineering is not a male field, it’s just male dominated. I would like to see more women seize opportunities.” A CONVERSATION WITH NATHELYNE A. KENNEDY. WSB: How did you end up in engineering? Nathelyne Kennedy: I decided to major in engineering after one of my teachers brought it to my attention. My

original plan was to major in math and become a teacher like my father. I thought, “If this doesn’t work out, I can always be a teacher,” so I decided to major in engineering. I found out when I started school that there were only two women majoring in engineering and only one graduated – me. After that, things moved fast. I didn’t know that I was the first Black female to receive an engineering degree in Texas. In the beginning, I struggled to get hired even though I graduated at the top of my class. The men easily found employment over me. But eventually, I was hired by an engineering firm after they decided to give me a one-week trial in Chicago. I pounded the pavement hard in Chicago and eventually moved on to a mid-size engineering firm – again after a one-week trial period. That one week turned into 12 years. Eventually, life led us back to Houston. I took some time off to raise my kids and then eventually started my own firm in 1981, Nathelyne Kennedy & Associates, Inc. We continued to grow and build our networks and today, I still work with some of the same people from the ‘80s. For 38 years, we operated as NAK and I’m proud of all that we have accomplished. In 2019, NAK was acquired by WSB, a Minneapolis-based design and consulting firm. It’s bittersweet to hand over what I’ve built, but I’m looking forward to what’s next and know NAK is in good hands.



WSB: How did your role as president of NAK evolve over time? NK: Everything has changed. At the beginning, I was doing everything myself. We were growing, things started changing fast and I couldn’t do it all. My job shifted toward marketing, business development, and managing the office. When I found out things I needed to do, I learned. I didn’t know I was going to have to go out and talk to people. I was used to sitting in the office. I had to practice how to build my network. I eventually learned to enjoy it because I learned a lot and had the chance to meet many wonderful people. I was new to people and they were curious about me. Right away, we started winning prime work. Designing roads and streets, then bridges. Word got around about us and we continued to grow. “The proudest moment of my career was when I was selected as Houston’s Engineer of the Year in 2016. In the 70 years they’ve given out the award, I have been the only female to receive it. It was a huge honor.” WSB: What were some challenges of owning your own business? NK: We were a small firm and getting new, young people to come and work for me was a challenge. They would come and get a little experience and then leave for larger firms. The bigger the better it seemed in their minds. Today, I still have two people that have been with me for 30 years, and three people for more than 20 years – and they were the key people that helped build NAK into what it is today. WSB: What has been the most rewarding part of your career? NK: The most rewarding part is the people – my staff and other engineering firms. It’s also realizing that we have been successful and have proved that we can do it. I’m proud of our recognition over the years. I have to say that the most rewarding part is not knowing if I could do it, and then achieving success. It has given meaning to my life and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished. It’s been a very rewarding journey. WSB: What is the proudest moment of your career? NK: The proudest moment of my career was when I was selected as Houston’s Engineer of the Year in 2016. In the 70 years they’ve given out the award, I have been the only female to receive it. It was a huge honor. It reinforced that I have accomplished something. Not one woman before me, not one after me. I am still the only one in 70 years. WSB: Who has been the biggest influence in your life? NK: My parents. My mother was the mother everyone should want. My father was liked by everyone. My mother stayed at home and raised us, and my father was an agriculture teacher. He taught me a lot about money, saving, and people. They were my best teachers. I don’t know of anyone who was better or meant more to me than the two of them. I think about them every day.

Nathelyne from Prairie View A&M’s 1959 yearbook. Special Collections/Archives Department, John B. Coleman Library, Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, Texas

WSB: If you could give someone starting their career one piece of advice, what would it be? NK: Try to learn as much as you can about your craft and business, but don’t learn too much that it will cause you to change your mind. If I had been told it would be this hard to do this, I would have probably looked at something else, but sometimes it is best to just jump in the fire. If you jump in and work your way out it’s amazing how much you learn. To me, that was the best part of business. There is so much enjoyment in learning and meeting people. Deep down, I believe people are nice and that they want to help you. Everywhere I have lived and everywhere I have worked, I’ve loved meeting people, especially my staff. “I found out when I started school that there were only two women majoring in engineering and only one graduated – me. After that, things moved fast. I didn’t know that I was the first Black female to receive an engineering degree in Texas.” WSB: What do you hope to see in the future for the engineering industry? NK: I hope to see more women heading up their own firms. Engineering is not a male field, it’s just male dominated. I would like to see more women seize opportunities. WSB: What is the most important life lesson you have learned? NK: Be nice to others – it comes back to you. Do unto others as you have them do unto you. I grew up with that and I really believe in it.

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

NE 28, 2021, ISSUE 1398


New From Zweig Group




OVERVIEW: Zweig Group surveyed AEC industry firms on their workplace policies, benefits, HR staff composition, HR operating expenses, and other important workplace issues and challenges. Data was collected from firms of every size, type, and region of the country. The results of this study will help you benchmark your AEC firm in all areas related to benefits and compensation.


OVERVIEW: Zweig Group’s 2021 Principals, Partners & Owners Survey Report of AEC Firms is a comprehensive study of owners and top managers of U.S. AEC firms. This eye-opening report covers ownership, stock appreciation, buy/sell agreements, non-compete agreements, voting rights, roles, responsibilities, perks, compensation, and more.


OVERVIEW: The 2021 Financial Performance Survey Report includes comprehensive data on the financial performance, financial departments, challenges, methodology, and financial practices of AEC industry firms. The 2021 edition has been updated with an additional chapter on COVID-19 outlook and budget/revenue projections.









© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




Networking is a key part of any business – no matter the industry – because it can lead to a new job, experience, or business for your firm. Networking tips for young professionals

E ngineers go through rigorous science and math classes while they are in college. They learn all of the technical skills they will need to be successful in their expertise, and many take on internships that allow them to put these skills into practice. The skills that are typically not stressed for engineers are business, communication, and networking.

Corey Fenwick

Networking is a key part of any business, no matter the industry. In the consulting engineering field, networking can lead to a new job, experience, or business for your firm. You never know when a connection will be able to provide you with a project lead or teaming opportunity. Here are 10 networking tips any young consulting engineer can use to succeed: 1) Join a professional organization. The engineering field includes diverse disciplines, and there are equally diverse professional organizations available to provide networking, advocacy, and educational opportunities. Firms will often pay employees’ dues to an organization to keep them professionally engaged. The American Society of Civil Engineers is a great organization that advocates for individuals in the industry, but there are many more specialized organizations that may

speak to your interests or professional or personal background, like ACEC, ASHE, NSPE, NSBE, WTS, SWE, SASE, and more. Attend seminars and conferences offered by these organizations and stay in touch with those you meet at these events. Also consider joining the local chapter of your alumni association to get to know others from your alma mater. Once you are involved, consider taking on a board position for the additional experience and recognition. 2) Attend events. Any given month, there are several industry events going on, such as awards dinners, non-profit benefits, and happy hours. These are a great way to meet people in the industry and those adjacent to it. Keep an eye out for a shared “Events Calendar” your firm keeps, and ask to attend an event that is of interest to you. Many firms end up sponsoring events and are given a

Andrew Chakmakjian





networking can be hollow, but it can be an easy way to make an introduction with someone who works for a firm you are interested in, or maybe a future potential client. Request a connection along with a follow-up action item to meet for lunch or coffee, so you can get to know each other offline. Be sure that your online profile is up-to-date, and if you are using it for professional purposes, make sure it looks the part. 7) Give advice, even when it doesn’t benefit you. When you give advice without expecting anything in return, it might not benefit you immediately, but people will remember. You never know when someone will return the favor. It is a great way to connect with people, and they are likely to either return with helpful insight or advice later, or let other people know your character, giving you a more positive image amongst your peers. 8) Avoid the hard sell. When networking with prospective clients or employers, avoid a “hard sell” approach. Try to build trust and foster a relationship that can be long-term. Reach out to connections just to say “Hi!” or congratulate them on a recent accomplishment. When you only reach out to people when you are looking for something, they are likely to recognize that and are more likely to ignore it. People want to work with genuine people, so be sure to build connections on more than just business, and perhaps find commonalities that can provide a bond outside of work. 9) Volunteer. There are many mentoring programs that link up with the engineering industry. By participating in these programs – on top of helping guide younger people looking for a STEM career – you will be interacting with others in the field, both your age and above. These connections will be valuable in the future. Organizations like the ACE Mentor Program, the Spark Program, MATHCOUNTS, and the Future City Competition are in need of volunteers with the skill sets most engineers possess, so these are obvious choices. Teachers often reach out to firms looking for guest speakers to educate their classes, so consider presenting at a high school! You never know who you will meet volunteering for a local charity though, so work for one that interests you. 10)Get published. A great way to get your name out there is to write a bylined article. The innovative projects engineers work on, as well as new techniques they develop, can work great as an article or research paper. You can submit your writing to industry magazines, trade journals, society newsletters, or to your company’s internal or external newsletter. Work with your firm’s marketing group, if needed, to help you find the right vehicle. When in doubt, you can always start your own blog or post it on LinkedIn. Articles often receive feedback from readers, so by putting your work out for others to see, you may attract the attention of professional connections that will benefit you later in your career. If writing is not your thing, consider submitting project work for an award! Many publications have their own awards program, so by getting a project recognized, you will be shining a light on your career. As showcased in these tips, there are many different ways to network. Pick those you are most comfortable with to start, and expand to others as you get more comfortable. You are the only one who can hold you back from excelling at networking! COREY FENWICK, CPSM, is a senior strategic communications specialist at Urban Engineers. Contact him at chfenwick@ urbanengineers.com. ANDREW CHAKMAKJIAN is a vice president and director of corporate development at Urban Engineers. Contact him at ajchakmakjian@urbanengineers.com.

table or complimentary tickets to attend. Senior staff may get offered the tickets first, but let whoever is coordinating the sponsorship for your firm know that you are willing to take a ticket if a spot opens up. Always bring $20 with you, just in case the event doesn’t have an open bar. This should leave you with enough to buy a drink for yourself – and one for a new connection who wrongfully assumed the drinks would be free (but be aware of ethics violations regarding anything that could be considered a gift to a government employee). Also consider attending a college career fair on your firm’s behalf. It is a great way to prove you can be a strong representative of the firm. 3) Keep in contact with your coworkers. Like many industries, employees tend to move among different consulting engineering firms. Connections you make early in your career may pay off later, as someone starting on the consulting side could move to the public sector, or vice versa. Try to keep as many personal relationships as you can with coworkers, and connect with everyone you have a working relationship with on LinkedIn to help keep tabs. Avoid connecting with people on LinkedIn you do not have a working relationship with though, as that tends to turn people off. “Any given month, there are several industry events going on, such as awards dinners, non-profit benefits, and happy hours. These are a great way to meet people in the industry and those adjacent to it.” 4) Attend a company “meet and greet.” Consulting firms will often organize “meet and greets” to find areas where business overlaps. Two firms that compete on projects may realize each possesses strength in a discipline the other is lacking and agree that teaming could lead to a strong opportunity on a future pursuit. These meetings tend to happen between business development staff and practice leaders, but are generally casual and happen over coffee or lunch, or as is more common now, virtually. Ask to attend a meeting if you hear about one happening with your firm and another. You can tag along and observe. Be sure to get contact information from everyone you meet, and follow up afterward with them saying how you appreciate meeting them. Even if no business is developed, it will make you more comfortable for these types of meetings in the future. 5) Find a mentor in your firm. As you begin your career, look at the senior staff in your firm and figure out whose career you would like to have. Do you want to eventually get into management? Are you interested in sticking with project work? Or maybe finding a balance between the two? Is there a specific type of project work you would like to specialize in? Ask a senior employee out to lunch, coffee, or for a drink after work, and pick their brain on their career path. If they are busy, schedule some time to sit with them in their office. They will likely be able to give you advice you can learn from, or connect you with someone else who may be a better fit. 6) Leverage social media. Recruiters often use social media platforms to probe potential candidates, as well as to learn about your skills and experience. Social media is also a great way to enhance in-person networking. Alone, social media

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Your work regimen

T here is a common misconception – popularized in movies and television – that creative people have to be messy, disorganized, and live chaotic lives. I have had the pleasure of working with many super creative (and productive) people over my lifetime, and I have to say the majority of them do not fit that stereotype whatsoever! If you feel your like you’re losing control and you don’t know how you can accomplish all you want to, you could benefit from establishing a routine.

and the organization of her space. Here she was – probably one of the most talented oil painters alive today – and everything in her space was in perfect order and completely organized. It told me something. “Divide up your day into sections. Devote specific times on specific days to certain types of activities. Have some phone-free times as a part of each day. Try that for a month and see if your productivity improves.”

Mark Zweig

In fact, most are highly disciplined and have a real work regimen they stick to. One of the best examples of this I have ever known is Dalva Duarte. She is a well-known painter – born in Brazil and educated in Paris – who specializes in portraits of indigenous people, among other things. Although she has lived in Saint-Priest in France since 2000, I met Dalva in the early ‘90s when she and her husband lived in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. At that time, she had a 10,000-square-foot studio – complete with an old, white, MGA roadster and white Porsche 356 coupe, along with Hemingway’s desk and piano – where she painted from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., five days a week. At that time, she was selling five to seven paintings every month. I cannot tell you how impressed I was with her work

See MARK ZWEIG, page 12



BUSINESS NEWS SGB DEVELOPMENT CORP. ACQUIRES A MEMBERSHIP INTEREST IN AN AFFORDABLE HOUSING ENTITY IN ATLANTA, GEORGIA SG Blocks, Inc. , a leading designer, innovator and fabricator of container-based structures, announced that SGB Development Corp., a subsidiary of SG Blocks, has acquired a membership interest to build 70,000 square. feet of affordable housing in the Atlanta, Georgia metropolitan area to be known as “Norman Berry Village.” SGB DevCorp has partnered with CMC, a New York City-based real estate development firm with national expertise, with ZT Architecture & Land Development and Community Development Consortium providing design build services. CMC has previously engaged SG Blocks to complete a design build project known as Ridge Avenue, also in Atlanta, which is currently in the planning stage. Units will be constructed at the company’s SG Echo campus in Durant, Oklahoma, and shipped to Atlanta. SGB DevCorp will control the planning and construction process, netting revenue from design, manufacturing, site work, and asset ownership stake. The project will draw on the experienced leadership of local developer Shaun Belle, CMC president. “We are excited to be partnering with SGB DevCorp., on Norman Berry Village,” Shaun Belle noted. “It is an expansion of our relationship with SG Blocks. CMC believes modular construction represents the best value to the end user and we will continue to work vigorously in finding new sites to bring to market.” “We believe in the opportunities Atlanta offers SGB DevCorp, and that expanding in the Atlanta market is the right choice at the right time, given the need for affordable housing,” Paul Galvin, chairman and CEO of SG Blocks noted. “SGB DevCorp solutions can address directly some of the most pertinent issues in the U.S. housing shortage; as we

build efficiently without losing design quality, and we operate at lower costs. It’s a win for everyone.” “SGB DevCorp.’s strategy is and will remain to find the best local developers in emerging markets to partner within the delivery of safe and green affordable housing,” Galvin explained. The company anticipates this to be the first of many projects in which SGB DevCorp develops, designs, constructs and delivers either single family or multi-family homes, whether that be for purchase or for rent, depending on specific market need, with both affordability and quality in mind, given the nature of housing in the area. Norman Berry Village is expected to consist of two buildings with 132 units, a mixture of one- and two-bedroom apartments. The land is located in the Atlanta, Georgia metropolitan area within East Point, Fulton County, Georgia. “Atlanta’s economy has had a positive growth trajectory, with an influx of new and exciting corporations setting up shop. We’re pleased to be adding to this booming economy, although we know there is still work to be done,” Shaun Belle, president of CMC noted. SG Blocks, Inc. is a premier innovator in advancing and promoting the use of code- engineered cargo shipping containers for safe and sustainable construction. The firm offers a product that exceeds many standard building code requirements, and also supports developers, architects, builders and owners in achieving greener construction, faster execution, and stronger buildings of higher value. Each project starts with GreenSteel™, the structural core and shell of an SG Blocks building, and then is customized to client specifications. CMC Development Group’s goal is to improve the economic and environmental conditions of emerging urban markets through the development, acquisition, and management

of affordable residential and commercial properties. The core of CMC’s business is developing and managing residential and commercial real estate in Metropolitan New York and Atlanta area markets. CMC supports positive growth of urban neighborhoods it develops in through its Future Developers Program, Community Based Workforce and its Buy Local Construction Service Providers Program. CMC is focused on capitalizing on economic opportunities in urban areas while developing properties that focus on solid economic return, affordability and green building sustainability. CMC is a NYS Certified MBE with offices in New York and Atlanta, Georgia. ZT Architecture + Land Development Inc. is an innovative architecture, design/build and development firm with offices located in: Los Angeles and Atlanta, Georgia. ZT Architecture + Land Development was founded on the principle and belief that architecture is the design and organization of sculptured shapes and forms within space, acting as the canvas. If life is suspended animation, these designed suspended shapes and forms give context to our experience, through the relative, objectivity of each form and shape to each other. ZT Architecture + Land Development feel therein lies the basis for environmentally sensitive, organically evolved, and sustainable, designed communities. Architecture has the capacity to help shape one’s experience. ZT Architecture + Land Development’s projects, big or small, public or private, high-end or affordable, all work to engage the public in a meaningful, thoughtful and poetic way, to create and leave a lasting impression and experience.

like your life is more under control. You may be pleasantly surprised! MARK ZWEIG is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at mzweig@zweiggroup.com. “There is a common misconception that creative people have to be messy, disorganized, and live chaotic lives. I have had the pleasure of working with many super creative (and productive) people over my lifetime, and I have to say the majority of them do not fit that stereotype whatsoever!”

MARK ZWEIG, from page 11

I have witnessed much of the same discipline and work regimen in many of the most successful architects and engineers I have worked with over my lifetime. John Portman had a regimen later in his career that started with painting and sculpting every day until noon and then work after. I could cite many other examples. My point is this: If you – as a creative person yourself – feel your life is spinning out of control and you don’t know how you can get done all you want to, maybe you could benefit from establishing more of a routine or work regimen. Divide up your day into sections. Devote specific times on specific days to certain types of activities. Have some phone-free times as a part of each day. Try that for a month and see if your productivity improves and you feel

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.


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