TZL 1376 (web)

Environmental engineer salaries T R E N D L I N E S J a n u a r y 2 5 , 2 0 2 1 , I s s u e 1 3 7 6 W W W . T H E Z W E I G L E T T E R . C O M

While we’re entering 2021 with a renewed sense of purpose and greater clarity, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. Unanswered questions

Zweig Group’s 2021 Salary Report of Northeast & Southeast Atlantic Engineering Firms provides yearly base salary trends for environmental engineering positions of all levels on the West Coast. Median base salaries for environmental engineers at the entry level , project level , and project manager were analyzed over a three- year stretch from 2019 to 2021. Entry level environmental engineers saw the biggest jump in base pay over that stretch while the other two levels experienced a steady rise. 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 CEC Corporation. ...................................6 Dewberry............................................2, 8 Duffield Associates, LLC. ........................4 Falcon Engineering, Inc.........................12 HSW Consulting, LLC.............................4 Hull & Associates, LLC............................4 Mead & Hunt...........................................4 RCE Consultants. .................................12 RTM Engineering Consultants...............12 MO R E A R T I C L E S xz WENDY CULVER: Why have an employee resource group? Page 3 xz One thing every day: Doug Glenn Page 6 xz MARK ZWEIG: Be a better A/E firm leader in 2021 Page 9 xz KIM FOWLER: Stay organized amid information overload Page 11

W orking for Zweig Group for the better part of the last decade, I’ve gotten used to being able to provide research-based solutions to a multitude of issues facing firm leaders in the AEC industry. 2020 was a year of incredible change and uncertainty, and while we’re entering 2021 with a renewed sense of purpose and greater clarity, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. Here are a few areas of firm management I think have been irrevocably altered and are likely to see continued changes in 2021. These are also the areas we are seeking to gather data on throughout 2021 and beyond. 1)Remote work. Looking back to 2016, Zweig Group’s Policies, Procedures & Benefits Survey found that 63 percent of firms allowed for some employees to work remote sometimes – and of that 63 percent only 26 percent allowed for any employee to do so (just over 16 percent of the sample). Just five years later, Zweig Group’s most recent data from our Impacts of COVID-19 on the AEC Industry finds that 67 percent of AEC firms have made policy changes to allow any employee to work remotely at any time. Firms also report that a median of 90 percent of their workforce can effectively telecommute. While at the beginning of the pandemic this work-from-home situation seemed temporary, I’m hearing from quite a few clients that increased profitability, maintained levels of productivity, and employee demands may make this situation more permanent. What remains to be seen is how many firms adopt a flexible or work-remote policy for all or some staff as a long-term policy. If they do, the effects will be far-reaching. 2)Recruiting/hiring. Recruitment and retention has previously been the No. 1 challenge for the AEC industry. In the future, will a more flexible and remote work environment be an incentive for younger individuals to want to work in architecture/engineering? Will this new environment open up new geographies and candidate pools that previously seemed inaccessible due to proximity or time-constraints? Has a decrease in face-to-face networking events hindered word-of- mouth recruitment as well as more traditional routes such as career fairs, or has an increase in time spent in front of screens and on social media/networking sites easily replaced these channels? Will all these new opportunities help make our industry more diverse? Looking back to our Impacts of COVID-19 on the AEC Industry , when asked about spending in recruitment/hiring, 17 percent of firms stated their spending in this area would see a “significant decrease” over 2019 and 26 percent said “slight decrease.” What we don’t know is if this decrease in spending is reflective of a temporary hold on hiring, lower expenses created by increased efficiencies from a more streamlined or virtual process, or a combination of both.

Christina Zweig Niehues




ON THE MOVE SENIOR HYDRAULICS EXPERT RANA STANSELL JOINS DEWBERRY Dewberry , a privately held professional services firm, has announced that Rana Stansell, PE, CFM, has joined the firm as a senior project manager in its Raleigh, North Carolina, office. With more than 22 years of experience, Stansell joins the firm’s transportation division to support projects across North Carolina under the firm’s contracts with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT). Prior to joining Dewberry, she worked for AMT Engineers and WSP where she provided hydraulics expertise for local and state agencies. “We’re very excited to welcome Rana to our team,” says Dewberry Senior Associate Carl Gibilaro, PE. “Rana has a strong background in hydraulics design and has spent her career working across a variety of project types to

strengthen her skills and expand her knowledge base.” Stansell earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from North Carolina State University (1996). Dewberry is a leading, market-facing firm with a proven history of providing professional services to a wide variety of public- and private-sector clients. Recognized for combining unsurpassed commitment to client service with deep subject matter expertise, Dewberry is dedicated to solving clients’ most complex challenges and transforming their communities. Established in 1956, Dewberry is headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, with more than 50 locations and 2,000+ professionals nationwide.

This webinar was specifically developed to help design and technical professionals in archi- tecture, engineering, planning, and environmental firms become more comfortable managing cli- ents and promoting the firm and its services. Led by two retired and current CEOs with extensive experience from the design desk to the board room, this one-of-a- kind webinar presents business development techniques proven to drive real growth and value in your AEC firm. Elevating Doer- Sellers Virtual Seminar 6 PDH/LU


According to Zweig Group’s 2020 Policies, Procedures & Benefits Report , on average, AEC firms spend more than $9,000 per new hire. I predict we’ll see that number go down next year as hiring and on-boarding processes become more automated and efficient through technology. Last year’s figures show that 40 percent of AEC firms were willing to pay to relocate both new and existing employees. I think in 2021, we’ll see even less spent on relocation, and this money will be spent in other areas. While many of these shifts may draw individuals to the industry, it’s double edged as they can also cause increased turnover. Will 2021 be a year of job hopping to more desirable opportunities? 3)Paid time off, leave policies, and project management. Last year, 90 percent of firms allowed employees to carry paid time off from one year to the next and the median number of days that could be carried over was 10. In the majority, 68 percent of firms, paid time off earned in excess of the maximum had to be forfeited. These numbers were gathered before the second half of 2020 and do not include last minute end-of-year adjustments. I’ve heard of many firms extending this to allow for greater PTO carryover. What will happen to all this PTO in 2021? Are firms adequately budgeting for this increase in PTO? Are project management and work-load procedures and policies able to handle more frequent or potentially longer periods of employee leave? Will a more flexible or more remote workplace of the future decrease the overall PTO demanded or offered employees? 4)How many firms have downsized or significantly changed their physical workplaces in response to COVID? The amount of space needed to effectively work has changed drastically over the past year. While some firms have had to make investments in an increase in space to allow for more physical distance between employees, other firms have decreased their square footage. I think we’ll see AEC firms spend less on rent/utilities and other related overhead in 2021. 5)If we learned anything from 2021, it’s how important culture and teamwork is. Many firms have had to get very creative to maintain communication and culture in an uncertain environment, through upheaval, remote work, and a multitude of other challenges. I think the industry as a whole will see firms continue through 2021 with a stronger sense of culture – something that will positively impact recruitment and retention. I’ve personally witnessed the culture change at many firms over the past year. I’ll be interested to see how this is reflected in our Best Firms To Work For scores. The events of the past year have undoubtedly altered our industry. As a researcher and advisor, I look forward to tracking the ways in which firms can not only cope with difficulties, but find ways to grow and thrive, using difficulties and changes as an impetus for improvements within their organization. CHRISTINA ZWEIG NIEHUES is Zweig Group’s director of research and e-commerce. She can be reached at



PO Box 1528 Fayetteville, AR 72702

Chad Clinehens | Publisher Sara Parkman | Senior Editor & Designer Christina Zweig | Contributing Editor Liisa Andreassen | Correspondent

Tel: 800-466-6275 Fax: 800-842-1560

Email: Online: Twitter: Facebook: Published continuously since 1992 by Zweig Group, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA. ISSN 1068-1310. Issued weekly (48 issues/year) $250 for one-year print subscription; free electronic subscription at © Copyright 2021, Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




ERGs to get your people involved to make changes from the heart of your organization, rather than being imposed from the top down. Why have an employee resource group?

D oes your organization have a diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEI&B) initiative? Do you have an employee resource group? If you don’t, you are missing a golden opportunity to better your firm and incorporate the voices of your employees. Our DEI&B initiative began in the summer of 2018. We started our ERG about six months later. This has been a hugely beneficial experience for us as a firm, and we’ve learned so much throughout this process.

Wendy Culver

Here are some of the steps we’ve taken that have helped us successfully create a meaningful ERG. ❚ ❚ Create a team. One of the first things we had to do to make this work was create an employee group to help champion this huge, ongoing program. We knew that if we didn’t get our employees involved and excited about DEI&B, the initiative would not succeed. We also knew that these initiatives must be supported by leadership and championed by the employees themselves. The initial intent of the ERG was to have an all-employee, no-manager group consisting of representatives from each of our 30- some offices. ❚ ❚ Get employee buy-in. We learned from experience that the best path forward for any initiative is creating buy-in from the employees. We’ve done this several times with great results. For example, our

employee engagement survey results had follow- up action plans, all developed by the employees. We also conducted an exercise to formalize our values statements; this group was made up entirely of employees without any management involved. Using these experiences as a model, we put out a companywide call asking for volunteers to help us get the ERG off the ground. ❚ ❚ Establish a mission. Once we had our initial members, we needed to have a discussion about what this initiative should look like at our firm. We then followed up with two in-person sessions to discuss DEI&B in general, establish the group’s mission, and develop ideas for how to move the initiative forward.

See WENDY CULVER, page 4



TRANSACT IONS THREE LEADING PROFESSIONAL SERVICE COMPANIES COME TOGETHER TO FORM NATIONAL PLATFORM Three leading professional service companies have come together to form a national platform that will result in comprehensive environmental, energy, water, and civil infrastructure capabilities. Round Table Capital Partners launched this new venture with the acquisition of Hull & Associates, LL C in July of 2020 and has now further expanded the organization with the acquisitions of Duffield Associates, LLC and HSW Consulting, LLC . The platform is RTC’s third buy and build strategy in the AEC industry. Tony Brindisi, Co-founder and Managing Partner at RTC, said, “We are very bullish on the AEC industry, given the strong tailwinds driving demand for environmental services and sustainable infrastructure development. With these acquisitions, which bring together three highly successful organizations and an exemplary team of experienced executives, we are confident we have the foundation to build a true market leader over the coming years.” The leaders of Hull, Duffield and HSW remain with the company as senior leaders within the new organization. Gerry Salontai, CEO of the platform, explained, “Each of these companies has outstanding leadership in place that will allow continued success individually while building a combined leadership team moving forward. Hull, HSW and Duffield provide a complimentary set of capabilities that will expand service offerings to our growing client base within the combined companies.” With offices in eight states, the firm has a broad geographical reach. The addition of Duffield and HSW builds on an already comprehensive capability set in environmental site assessment and remediation, energy, water resources and

treatment, site civil infrastructure, and climate change resiliency, along with marine and coastal engineering. The client sector markets for the platform include the industrials, real estate, energy, transportation, and government sectors. The platform will continue to grow organically, by providing superior service to its clients, and inorganically, by adding like-cultured firms that expand its geographical reach, compliment its services offerings and strengthen its diverse and deeply experienced team of professionals. Guy Marcozzi of Duffield notes, “We’re excited to take this deliberate strategic next step because it provides additional technical breadth and depth to service clients, allows us to pivot effectively towards today’s environmental and infrastructure needs and provides exciting new opportunities for our staff.” Ken Watson of HSW said, “This is a win- win for our employees and clients alike to take advantage of the expertise of these excellent companies, to expand our geography, and create new opportunities. We are proud of our staff and excited to be a part of this national platform.” Stradling, Yocca, Carlson, and Rauth, P.C. acted as legal counsel, and BDO USA, LLP and CohnReznick, LLP acted as financial and tax advisors on behalf of RTC and its affiliates. AEC Advisors represented HSW in this transaction. Hull & Associates, LLC offers a broad spectrum of services for the environment, energy and infrastructure markets. Now in our 41st year of operation, we strive to provide informed, efficient, and sustainable solutions for our clients across all of our market areas. Innovative thinking combined with an emphasis on health and safety, Hull continues to deliver exceptional, value-added services that exceed our client’s expectations.

RTC Partners is a private equity firm that focuses on investing in and building strong businesses with committed management teams in the professional, business, and healthcare services industries. The firm’s dedicated emphasis on human capital, combined with its thoughtful approach to both organic and inorganic opportunities, allows organizations to unlock the next stage of growth while enabling sustainable and long- term value creation for all stakeholders. RTC is actively seeking additional platform and add- on acquisitions in its targeted markets. Duffield Associates, LLC are specialists in civil and environmental engineering projects serving Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware. Our services also include civil, environmental, and geotechnical engineering, water and wastewater engineering, marine engineering and dredge material management, transportation, natural resources, structural engineering, landscape architecture, and materials testing with an emphasis on person- to-person collaboration across our diverse range of engineering disciplines. We also take pride in our community outreach which enables us to make a positive difference in the world around us. HSW Consulting, LLC is a Florida based environmental science and engineering company that provides comprehensive engineering and scientific expertise for our clients nationwide. We specialize in tailored and collaborative design solutions for the full range of services we offer that include environmental, water resources, military and federal, and quality assurance capabilities. Our commitment to excellence, value, relationships and partnerships, health and safety, and communication is reflected in our long-term record of responsible environmental stewardship.

rewarding) when our people get involved. It means more when change comes from the heart of the organization itself, rather than being imposed from outside, or from the top down. Working with these dedicated and passionate employees, I have no doubt that lasting, substantive change is possible. WENDY CULVER is Mead & Hunt’s chief human resources officer. She has been with the company for more than 20 years. She can be reached at “It’s a lot more productive (and rewarding) when our people get involved. It means more when change comes from the heart of the organization itself, rather than being imposed from outside, or from the top down.”

WENDY CULVER, from page 3

❚ ❚ Define and diversify. We also formed four interest subgroups: women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans. As those are the four areas we report on for affirmative action, this was simply an easy starting point. Eventually, these groups will most likely change; some may continue, others may morph into something else, and we will undoubtedly add others along the way. It’s important to always be changing and growing. ❚ ❚ Formalize your processes. The structure of our group was pretty loose at first until we had a better grasp on the role of the group; once we had a firm idea of what the group wanted to accomplish, it was time to formalize it to keep it sustainable. We’ve formed a steering committee and put processes in place for different procedures – how to create new interest groups, for example. When it comes to DEI&B, it’s always a work in progress and a journey of learning. Without our ERG, we could continue our efforts, of course. But it’s a lot more productive (and

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.



The Principals Academy Virtual Seminar




The Principals Academy is Zweig Group’s flagship training program encom- passing all aspects of managing a professional AEC service firm. Elevate your ability to lead and grow your firm with this program designed to inspire and inform existing and emerging AEC firm leaders in key areas of firm manage- ment leadership, financial management, recruiting, marketing, business devel- opment, and project management. Learning and networking at this premiere event challenges traditional seminar formats and integrates participatory idea exchange led by Zweig Group’s CEO Chad Clinehens, PE, and Zweig Group’s Managing Principal, Jamie Claire Kiser, as well as the firm’s top line up of advi- sors. Zweig Group’s leadership team draws from our 30+ year history working with AEC firms to teach the latest approaches to managing and operating success- ful firms – using our comprehensive data set of industry benchmarks and best practices. The Principals Academy is like a mini-MBA for design and technical professionals and is an impactful way you can spend learning to build your ca- reer and your firm.


PAST ATTENDEE FEEDBACK: • “Great course, each presenter was very knowledgeable and I often shared a summary of key points immediately with management or other employees. Well worth our time, thank you!” • “It was great hearing the high level perspectives from the Zweig staff and their ability to bring real world experience to the topics was very helpful.” • “Everything about Ownership and being a Principal was well organized into one com- prehensive seminar. The topics and presenters were well organized. I recommend this course to new owners/principals coming in, and as refresher course to existing AE busi- ness owners for reviewing best practices.”


Zweig Group is an approved provider by the American Institute of Architects (AIA).




One thing every day: Doug Glenn COO of CEC Corporation (Oklahoma City, OK), a multidiscipline firm with a focus on eliminating aging infrastructure and driving community growth through innovative design.


A s COO of CEC Corporation, Glenn is expected to find new areas for growth and improvement within each of the company’s practices in harmony with the overall company vision. His responsibility is to maintain accountability by setting clearly defined goals and then measuring results against the goals. He is charged with creating and implementing new processes that enable CEC to best serve its clients and employees. Glenn has also served as the Engineer of Record on numerous projects including the Tulsa Inner-Dispersal Loop (South Leg) Rehabilitation, the OSU-Stillwater Pavement Evaluation, the I-44 and Lynn Lane Bridge Replacement in Tulsa, OSU Athletic Village Phase II development, and the Creek Turnpike & Aspen Avenue Interchange in Broken Arrow. “I think the key is to always try to improve something every day,” Glenn says. “If you look at it all at once, it will be too much for you. Just improve one thing every day.”

A CONVERSATION WITH DOUG GLENN. The Zweig Letter: Tell me about “Civil Servants.” How was this organization conceptualized? Who is involved? Doug Glenn: Civil Servant was really the dream of our president, Marty Hepp. It provides a means for us to organize the giving of our time, talents, and treasure back to our communities. All of our employees have the opportunity to be involved, and we really encourage participation throughout our various work teams. Melissa Leyba is the formal director of the organization and does a fantastic job. TZL: How has COVID-19 impacted your firm’s policy on telecommuting/working remotely? DG: Those who could function at home were telecommuting full-time for 11 weeks. Our people really stepped up to the plate and kept things running relatively unimpeded, and they are all to be commended. As we



have transitioned back to the office, we developed long-term options for flexible work hours and part-time telecommuting, and our employees have really taken to it. “We focus on flexibility and adaptability. If we can react to changing environments quickly, we will have the greatest opportunity for continued success.” TZL: How much time do you spend working “in the business” rather than “on the business?” DG: We posed this question to our Practice and Corporate leadership just last week, and it really varies from person to person. In general, as a growing company, we are consistently facing that struggle of folks transitioning from working in every project to leading teams and leading leaders. TZL: It is often said that people leave managers, not companies. What are you doing to ensure that your line leadership are great people managers? DG: We are trying to be better at determining who might be good people managers in the first place. It used to be that if you were a good engineer, you got promoted out of it. As we grow, we are putting a hard focus on identifying who should follow a people management career path while also developing good rewards for those following a technical track. TZL: Is change management a topic regularly addressed by the leadership at your firm? If so, elaborate. DG: The saying, “the only thing constant is change” is probably incorrect. Change doesn’t seem to be constant. It is accelerating. Just look at 2020. Moreover, trying to predict every little change is probably not a good use of time either. We focus on flexibility and adaptability. If we can react to changing environments quickly, we will have the greatest opportunity for continued success. TZL: How do you handle a long-term principal who is resting on his or her laurels? What effect does a low- performing, entitled principal or department head have on firm morale? DG: Maintaining a leadership team that shares our core values is non-negotiable.

We can work on slumping financial performance. We can lift each other up when one part of the company is in a valley. However, we can’t do that unless we’re all in alignment and working together. 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? DG: We use an outside firm to place a valuation on our business. It is just a better way to get past feelings and biases. It has worked well thus far. TZL: You were picked as a Zweig Group 2020 Hot Firm. What do you most attribute your fast growth and positive economic outcome to? DG: We are a very faith-based organization. We try to operate by the core values of honesty, humility, self- control, and generosity. When all of our team members are in accord to live out those values and work together, growth and positive economic outcomes will typically follow. “You obviously need some level of experience and expertise to become a leader, but that is secondary. There are no magic numbers set on years of experience or dollars generated. Character comes first.” TZL: What have been the greatest challenges during this growth period? How resolved? DG: Well, I wouldn’t say that all of our challenges are ever totally resolved. I think our challenges are not at all unique. Twenty years ago, we had three employees, so over time we’ve faced all of the expected tasks of developing HR policies, accounting systems, managing a vehicle fleet, etc. I think the key is to always try to improve something every day. If you look at it all at once, it will be too much for you. Just improve one thing every day. TZL: They say failure is a great teacher. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve had to learn the hard way?

HEADQUARTERS: Oklahoma City, OK NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 216 YEAR FOUNDED: 1966 NUMBER OF OFFICE LOCATIONS: 4 SERVICES: ❚ ❚ Airport planning and design ❚ ❚ Bridge design and inspection ❚ ❚ Construction engineering and inspection ❚ ❚ Facilities ❚ ❚ Materials testing ❚ ❚ Power delivery ❚ ❚ Surveying and mapping ❚ ❚ Transportation planning and design ❚ ❚ Water distribution ❚ ❚ Wastewater collection COMPANY CULTURE: Service is at the heart of CEC’s culture – community service, employee development and outreach. CORE VALUES: Humility, honesty, self-control, and generosity PURPOSE: Get Stuff Built Right ® – Relationships, communities, families. VISION: Eliminate aging infrastructure and drive community growth.


© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

UARY 25, 2021, ISSUE 1376


BUSINESS NEWS DEWBERRY’S JERRY MRYKALO RECEIVES WTS- DC CHAPTER’S HONORABLE RAY LAHOOD AWARD Dewberry , a privately held professional services firm, has announced that Senior Associate and Department Manager Jerry Mrykalo, PE, PTOE, has been recognized as the recipient of the Honorable Ray LaHood award by the Women’s Transportation Seminar Washington, D.C., Chapter (WTS- DC). Mrykalo was recognized during the virtual WTS-DC holiday party on December 8. The award is presented annually to a man who is a leader in transportation, has contributed to the advancement of women and minorities in the transportation field, has led by example seeking out opportunities to advance and advocate for women in his own firm, and has advanced the reputation and credibility of women in transportation through his support and career achievements. “Jerry models a work environment where women are not only welcomed but are considered valued members of the team,” says Dewberry Transportation Engineer Shelley Wynne, PE, PTOE. “Jerry has a solid reputation of supporting women at the hiring and promotion level at Dewberry and encouraging leadership roles for women on projects.” “Jerry has been a leader within our mid- Atlantic transportation business unit for many years, working hard to lead and promote our traffic engineering capabilities and team not only in the mid-Atlantic, but throughout the company,” says Dewberry Vice President and Business Unit Manager Steven Kuntz, PE, DBIA. “We are excited for him to receive recognition in being named the recipient of the 2020 Honorable Ray LaHood award from the WTS-DC Chapter.” Mrykalo obtained his bachelor’s degree in

civil engineering from the Pennsylvania State University (2005). He is a licensed professional engineer in Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia. Mrykalo was named 2018 Rising Star by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC). He is also a Professional Traffic Operations Engineer. Dewberry is a leading, market-facing firm with a proven history of providing professional services to a wide variety of public- and private-sector clients. Recognized for combining unsurpassed commitment to client service with deep subject matter expertise, Dewberry is dedicated to solving clients’ most complex challenges and transforming their communities. Established in 1956, Dewberry is headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, with more than 50 locations and more than 2,000 professionals nationwide. DEWBERRY WELCOMES LAND PLANNING EXPERT MELISSA CURRIE Dewberry , a privately held professional services firm, has announced that Melissa Currie, Ph.D., RLA, has joined the firm as a project manager and senior planner based in the Daphne, Alabama, office. Currie has more than 30 years of experience in site selection and planning, landscape architecture and design, project management, and urban design. In addition to managing the planning department in the Daphne office, she will serve as a national planning resource for the firm. Currie is an expert in U.S. housing policy and has conducted research exploring how neighborhoods and communities respond to stressor events, including natural disasters and economic downturns. She has spent the last several years working as a professor, conducting research, managing external

grants, and worked with communities to rebuild following major natural disasters. “I am thrilled to join Dewberry’s team of exceptional planners and serve clients across a variety of markets,” says Currie. Dewberry Associate Vice President Jason Estes, PE, adds, “Melissa’s background in site/civil design and land planning, along with her career in academia, is an asset to our team and our clients. We’re very excited to have her on board.” Currie earned her Ph.D. in geography and urban regional analysis from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (2015), and her master’s degree in urban design (2008) and bachelor’s degree in sustainable development (2006), both from Cornell University. Currie is a member of the American Planning Association, American Society of Landscape Architects, and the Urban Affairs Association. Currie has authored numerous peer- reviewed articles for academic journals and professional publications, including the Journal of Planning Education and Research, Applied Geography, and the Journal of Urban Affairs. Dewberry is a leading, market-facing firm with a proven history of providing professional services to a wide variety of public- and private-sector clients. Recognized for combining unsurpassed commitment to client service with deep subject matter expertise, Dewberry is dedicated to solving clients’ most complex challenges and transforming their communities. Established in 1956, Dewberry is headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, with more than 50 locations and more than 2,000 professionals nationwide.

your firm? Are you naming principals in their 20s or 30s? DG: We are a fairly young company. Most of our principals are in their late 30s or have aged into their early 40s. You obviously need some level of experience and expertise to become a leader, but that is secondary. There are no magic numbers set on years of experience or dollars generated. Character comes first. “We try to operate by the core values of honesty, humility, self-control, and generosity. When all of our team members are in accord to live out those values and work together, growth and positive economic outcomes will typically follow.”

ONE THING EVERY DAY, from page 7

DG: Do not put someone into a position that is not aligned with their gifts. You both will be miserable, and it is a lot more difficult to undo it than to avoid it in the first place. TZL: Research shows that PMs are overworked, understaffed, and that many firms do not have formal training programs for PMs. What is your firm doing to support its PMs? DG: We have a class for new project managers or those that are soon to get into it. We cover everything from business development to budgeting, scheduling, pricing, communication – you name it. After a few years of that, we are starting to develop some follow-up classes for those a little further along. TZL: How many years of experience – or large enough book of business – is enough to become a principal in

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




The leadership abilities of you firm’s principals and managers will determine your collective success this year. Be a better A/E firm leader in 2021

F inding, developing, and keeping leaders is essential to any A/E firm (or ANY business, for that matter) that wants to be a going concern that lasts into the future and can out-survive its founders. You cannot get on LinkedIn or Twitter, pick up a business magazine or newsletter, or go to the business section at your local bookstore without seeing a wide variety of posts, articles, and books on the subject. It is so incredibly important.

Mark Zweig

2) Be an optimist. Someone has to believe there is no obstacle you cannot overcome if you really want to. Someone has to believe in the promised land. That someone is you. Be the one who sees the glass half full versus half empty. Be the one who makes the lemonade out of lemons and who knows you can do it before those lemons evidence themselves. This optimism can be contagious. 3) Be a hard worker. Put in the hours and show your dedication and willingness to sacrifice your time. This is challenging today with so many people working remotely, but there are ways you can demonstrate it to all. You need to figure out what those are and employ them because you, as a leader, set the pace. 4) Sell, sell, sell! Leaders of A/E firms sell projects.

2021 will be a pivotal year for many firms in this business. The leadership abilities of the principals and managers will determine your collective success. While I have talked about all of these things more than once in these pages, they bear repeating. Here are some practical things you – and everyone in your firm – can do to start being a better leader RIGHT NOW ! 1) Set the best possible example. Your personal example is always the single most important thing you can do as a leader. All eyes are on you. Don’t be one of those people who gripes about your employees’ late timesheets and expense reports that you must have to bill your clients when you yourself are not getting them in on time. It’s just like you can’t tell your kids to not text while they are driving and then do it yourself every time you get in the car.

See MARK ZWEIG, page 10



MARK ZWEIG, from page 9

no one is as good as you are at doing (fill in the blank) at first. But give them time and maybe they will be BETTER than you are doing it eventually.” 13)Don’t ask anyone to do anything that you won’t do yourself. The leader is not too proud to do dirty work, do mundane work, go somewhere they don’t want to go, work late, cut vacation short, work for a client who is hard to work for, work with someone who is hard to work with, go to a meeting they don’t want to go to, comply with policies on timesheets and expense reports, and more. An effective leader never asks someone to do something he or she would not do themselves. 14) Figure out how things actually work. The best way to do that is to get into the details of things. That means if you are having problems getting proposals and qualification documents out in a timely manner, go sit with the people who do that work and help them. That is how you can actually get to the bottom of things. 15) Be tough when you need to and soft when you need to. Leaders don’t shy away from their responsibilities and can make the tough calls when necessary. Those “calls” may be to get out of unprofitable businesses or confront non-performing managers. These things are essential. But that also doesn’t mean that they forget to be human, show respect, have some humility, treat everyone with decency, and be compassionate to others in need. A big part of leadership is demonstrating both toughness AND compassion. You don’t have to be one way or the other at all times. 16) Be accessible and responsive. Leaders have to keep their doors open (most of the time, anyway!), their cell phones on, and their email inboxes cleared out so they can respond when someone needs their advice, decision, input, or clout to get something done. I pride myself on this in spite of the personal issues it may create at times! Responding quickly shows respect for the other guy or girl. It shows that you understand their time is valuable. 17)Know how to have fun and let other people have fun. The best leaders have a sense of humor and appreciate that in other people. They know when work is fun people stay with it longer and care more. So, they make it fun if they can! 18) Share the wealth. Leaders don’t just share credit, they share the fruits of success. If the company makes money, everyone benefits. They don’t make empty promises of bonus plans or opportunities and then fail to come through. 19) Be a good listener. You cannot be a leader and understand people and problems if you don’t listen to others. Be attentive. Put the phone down. Ask open-ended questions. Watch your body language. The best leaders show people they are important by being a good listener! 20) Be a good person. I will let you define that any way you like. But I do know this: It’s hard for others to let you lead if they don’t think you have good character. Interpret that as you will, but you know what I am talking about. So there you have it. 2021 will be a bad year for some firms in this business and a great year for others. I will predict that the leadership abilities you and your managers demonstrate on a daily basis will determine which way it goes for you! MARK ZWEIG is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at

They bring in new clients. They are also able to sell their ideas to their partners and the other employees working in the business. Selling is helping. Selling is problem solving. Whenever I get asked what I think the most critical skill is for any entrepreneur to have, I say, “selling ability.” And selling abilities are a skill anyone can master if they really want to. 5) Demonstrate you are a team player. We all need people who can get along with others. Most of what we all do requires lots of cooperation of lots and lots of people. So once again, you have to demonstrate your personal abilities to work well as a part of a team. You have to be one of those who can get along with anyone versus one of those who has problems getting along with most everyone. 6) Demonstrate that you aren’t a quitter. Don’t be the one who is quick to give up and throw in the towel. Instead be the one who shows you stay ‘til the bitter end and get things done. There’s no hill you can’t climb. You are the optimist. The optimist never fails because they don’t give up. Giving up is the only way to fail. 7) Demonstrate a willingness to make sacrifices. You take the pay cut if one is necessary. You give up your large office if you are out of space and need room for others. You take the old company car and give the new company car to someone else. You go to the meeting in Beirut that no one else wants to go to. That’s leadership! 8) Give credit to your people. As I already stated, this business is a team effort. So, don’t be someone who always grabs the glory and the spotlight. The warmth of that spotlight feels good, doesn’t it? So share it! Instead of being a glory hog, give the credit to the other people on your team. They are the ones you have to keep motivated to make things happen. Your public appreciation for them is critical. 9) Don’t be an information hog. Show you trust people enough to share all the information with them. This is so important and one of the (many) reasons I love open-book management. It builds trust. But there is more to it than that. Don’t be someone who has hidden agendas. Other people will see through that. Share your thinking and the logic behind it. That logic is based on information that other people may need so they can do the right thing. 10)Demonstrate that you are ethical. You only have one reputation. If it is good, you can lose all your clients, employees, and money, and get it all back. That means you can’t do anything even slightly unethical, underhanded, illegal, or otherwise and keep that reputation. Not to mention that if you want your people to act properly you set the example. 11) Admit when you are wrong. A little humility goes such a long way. It’s one way to endear yourself to others. “To err is human.” But that means you have to admit your mistakes, and a lot of leaders have egos that don’t ever allow themselves to be wrong. I can admit I have struggled with this myself at times. Leaders have to face up to it when they are wrong. They don’t put blame on others. The ability to admit one’s mistakes encourages other people to admit theirs. It’s essential to keeping problems from growing out of control. 12) Learn to delegate and let go. Leaders are good delegators. They realize no one else will ever learn to do something if they themselves cannot resist the temptation to do it all themselves or be overly controlling. As I always say, “Sure,

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




If you chip away at your organization goals one task at a time, you will begin to see the benefits. Stay organized amid information overload

O rganization can come naturally to some and be a struggle for others. For myself, I have always loved the task of staying organized. Whether it be in my home, my office, or my computer desktop, I’m always up for a good declutter. It not only clears my space, it clears my mind. If you don’t consider yourself an organized person, don’t turn a blind eye. Much like exercise, if you chip away at your organization goals one task at a time, you will begin to see the benefits.

Kim Fowler

Here are just a few ways organization can be beneficial in the workplace: 1) Increase productivity 2) Reduce stress 3) Streamline repetitive tasks 4) Free up time for more non-work activities 5) Positively impact your company’s bottom-line So, in what ways can you begin to improve your organization habits? Below are my tips for staying organized and getting the most out of your workday, week, and year: ❚ ❚ Streamline through templates. If you have

repetitive processes that you do on a day-to-day or weekly basis, create templates so you’re not recreating the wheel each time. Whether it be a proposal template, an Excel document, or a weekly email, have templates in place that can free up time for tasks that require more thought and attention. ❚ ❚ Follow a consistent filing structure that works for you and your team. If you are in a management or leadership position, take a look at your firm or department’s filing structure. Does it make sense, or could it use some revising? A good rule of thumb is to have someone outside of your department or organization try to find something in your files. How

See KIM FOWLER, page 12



TRANSACT IONS RCE CONSULTANTS JOINS RTM ENGINEERING CONSULTANTS RTM Engineering Consultants – a rapidly-growing, national consulting firm headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois that offers services in civil, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection design – has announced its recent acquisition of RCE Consultants . RCE Consultants is a civil engineering firm based in Laguna Woods, California, specializing in water, wastewater, public works, private land development, industrial and water quality sectors. “We are impressed by the growth that RTM has achieved over the last 39 years and look forward to partnering with them in this next chapter of their development,” said RCE President, Rich Clark. “With our combined resources moving forward, we will be able to take on new and challenging projects,

while also growing and developing our team internally.” Established in 2004, the RCE team brings a creative and unique approach to civil engineering consulting. By asking the important questions upfront regarding added value to investment, enhanced site functionality and sustainable design strategies, the RCE team ensures a balance among the needs of stakeholders, approving agencies, and end users alike. For RCE, projects become more than just interpreting local codes, ordinances, regulations, and bureaucratic finagling, but also bringing together communities, united in excitement for the project. Tony Mirchandani, CEO of RTM Engineering Consultants commented, “The RCE team

will not only bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to RTM, but they are a perfect fit culturally. With this new strategic growth move, we will be able to broaden our civil engineering services nationwide as well as expand our presence on the West Coast.” Established in 1981 and headquartered outside Chicago, RTM Engineering Consultants integrates civil, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering design services with sustainability as a given. RTM goes beyond a typical consulting role and becomes a partner to clients by aligning with the goals, processes, and people at each organization. Licensed in all 50 states, RTM’s portfolio spans major market sectors nationwide.

KIM FOWLER, from page 11

red flags in your inbox ensures important emails stay top- of-mind and don’t go unnoticed. ❚ ❚ Delete, delete, delete. Take five to 10 minutes at the end of each day to make sure any unnecessary or “spammy” emails are deleted out of your inbox. Additionally, move any important emails that need to be filed into the appropriate folder. ❚ ❚ Implement lists into your work routine. Whether you prefer a digital app like Evernote or a simple hand-written list, getting your tasks out of your head and in writing will help you to not lose sight of your day-to-day tasks and overall goals. Take time at the beginning or end of each day to evaluate your list and revise where needed. I also like to take some time to edit my list at the end of each week, so I am ready to hit the ground running Monday morning. In addition to a day-to-day task list, writing a monthly or quarterly list that includes more lofty goals helps you stay abreast of what you’re trying to accomplish in the long run. Note: Your day-to-day task list should support and move toward these loftier goals. So, where do you start on your organizational journey? 1)Start with what can be completed in a reasonable amount of time. If you can clean up your desk or inbox in less than an hour, start there. Tackling a relatively “easy” organization task that will produce clear and visible results is likely to motivate you to move on to larger tasks. 2)Take it one day at a time. Organization is successful through day-to-day maintenance. Going back to the exercise analogy, if you stay on top of it, it will be much easier to maintain. 3)Be willing to put in the grunt work upfront. Getting started at ground zero may seem overwhelming, but it’s important to stay focused on the long-term benefits. As the saying goes, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” 4)Give yourself grace. If you begin to fall behind on some of your organizational goals, don’t beat yourself up. Do what you can with the time that you have. Every bit counts. KIM FOWLER, CPSM is the marketing manager at Falcon Engineering, Inc. She can be reached at

long does it take them to retrieve what they’re looking for? If they are searching for more than 30 seconds, you may need to rethink your file structure. Below are some items to consider: ❚ ❚ Do you have a standard nomenclature when naming your folders and documents? For example, each of your project folders may include the following nomenclature: Department_MM/YY, Client, Project Name ❚ ❚ Are your folders and subfolders consistent throughout? For example, on a Marketing Drive, each proposal folder may always include five subfolders: 1) RFP, 2) Working Documents, 3) Supporting Documents, 4) Graphics, 5) Final Document ❚ ❚ Time-saver tip: Use the F2 Command to quickly select and edit a folder or file name. ❚ ❚ Stay on top of your email and online calendar. In this digital age, email can become overwhelming if you don’t keep it in check and your calendar may quickly fill up as the week goes on. Below are some tips for staying organized with your online communication tools. ❚ ❚ Take advantage of the color-coding feature in your calendar. Color-coding items helps to visually see what needs more attention and what may simply just be a reminder or small task. If you have your hand in several departments, you could also designate a color for each department. The possibilities are endless – do what make sense to you. ❚ ❚ Create folders and subfolders in your inbox. I am a big advocate of creating a file structure within your inbox to save your emails no matter how small or minute they may seem at the time. As a marketing manager, perhaps the most important folders I create are for proposals – organized by year, month, and proposal name. Each time we begin a new pursuit, I create a folder and simply drag any emails related to that pursuit into the folder. Saving your emails in an organized fashion saves time when you need to reference a specific pursuit, person, or firm. ❚ ❚ Take advantage of the flagging system in your inbox. Flag important emails that need attention. The visual of

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.


Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12

Made with FlippingBook Annual report