TZL 1467 (web)

The PDF edition of The Zweig Letter.

TRENDLINES Historical gross revenue growth/ decline (three years) December 5, 2022, Issue 1467 WWW.ZWEIGGROUP.COM

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These continuing education opportunities offers valuable insight into what makes successful AEC firms stand out from the rest. Lessons learned in Arlington


FIRM INDEX Ardurra........................................................................ 10 BL Companies, Inc................................................4 Bowman Consulting Group Ltd..................4 Integrated Project Services, LLC............10 KPFF................................................................................2 SCHRADERGROUP............................................. 6 Steinberg Hart..........................................................2 WINSTANLEY Architects & Planners...12 MORE ARTICLES n JULIA DEFRANCES: A cohesive culture Page 3 n Trustworthy: David Schrader Page 6 n KART VAITH: Providing value-added services Page 9 n MARK ZWEIG: Building your team Page 11 Last year 91 percent of firms we surveyed were projecting revenue increases for 2022. Firms on average were projecting 13 percent revenue growth over their 2021 figures. When we looked at historical growth and its impact on profit margin, we could see that very high profit firms grew at a much higher rate than average firms. Participate in a survey and save 50 percent on the final or pre- publication price of any Zweig Group research publication.

I had the opportunity last month to attend Zweig Group’s Project Management for AEC Professionals seminar and The Principals Academy . This was the first time I’ve been able to attend some of Zweig Group’s training events, and these seminars provided me with invaluable insights into the AEC industry and what sets successful firms apart from the rest. Here are the key takeaways from these events that resonated with me the most: ■ It is critical for you to know why clients would want to work with your firm. The “why” becomes your competitive advantage. Having a clearly defined answer to this question within your firm will help you get more work and will allow you to better communicate what level of quality you will be providing to your clients. The perception of usefulness is key on answering this question. Another question that goes along with this is: How will I be contributing to the mission of my client? Imagine addressing that when you are in a client discovery call. Having defined answers to those questions will be crucial for your business’ success. ■ Charge what your services are worth. Your clients are willing to pay a premium to work with someone they appreciate and trust. You must focus on increasing their satisfaction with your work and boost their perception that you will be offering a superior experience compared to your competitors. Having already built this level of trust with your clients will certainly further support your claim. ■ People in the AEC industry are over-worked. Burnout, unfortunately, is real. I spoke with a lady who worked for an environmental firm who felt that the drive and passion for her craft weren’t there anymore due do the massive volume of work she had. In the beginning of her career, she loved what she did, however, the spark and connection dwindled over time. You can easily get overloaded when bombarded with excessive work, tight deadlines, managing people, and juggling many projects all at once. All of these factors can make the enjoyment and sense of purpose for your work evaporate. It truly is unfortunate to see such talented and motivated people experiencing this.

Ezequiel Tovar

■ Focus on growth. The first things we consider when thinking about




BUSINESS NEWS CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF EAU CLAIRE SHOWCASES INNOVATIVE USE OF CARBON-SMART, MASS TIMBER PRODUCT Commercial timber construction has been raised to new heights with the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire. The primary structural support system for the museum consists of responsibly sourced mass timber, with timber columns, joist trusses, and girder trusses used in place of conventional steel and concrete.

Designed by internationally recognized architecture firm Steinberg Hart, the 24,000 square-foot museum features a loft-like interior space where timber columns act as an armature for hands-on exhibits and interactive technology. Together with KPFF, one of the nation’s leading timber engineering firms, the design team created a stunning carbon-neutral museum that will inspire discovery for kids of all ages.

Interested in learning more

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

EZEQUIEL TOVAR, from page 1

growth are employees, markets, revenues, etc. What about evolving your brand equity? What about growing your next tier of owners? What about growing your mentorship program? There must be an emphasis on growth because it is the only way for a successful future. Growing with purpose and precision will benefit both the long-term future of your firm and your employees. What employee doesn’t want to be in a company that’s growing? ■ Improving the financial state of the company is a top priority. No matter if you are a principal, project manager, architect, engineer, or receptionist, boosting the performance of your firm will be beneficial in the long run. Why? Because of you! Who will be the future investors of your firm? Investors will most likely be internal leaders who will continue the legacy and vision of the firm. By improving the financial health of your firm, you will be able to get a higher return. Something to note is that just because you make a profit does not mean everything is smooth sailing financially. If cash flow (the blood of your firm) is not in good standing, you will not continue to run your firm as effectively as possible. Also, building a strong balance sheet (the skeleton of your firm) will ensure that the firm stands strong and is able to resist any financial hardship on the horizon. Having a good average collection period, ROE, pre-tax, pre-bonus profit, working capital, revenue factor, and several additional metrics, will make your firm into a financial powerhouse. Making it a priority will require the effort of the whole team because it is in everyone’s best interest. ■ When planning for an internal ownership transition, you have to put in the effort to educate your people. How will your employees know that their firm gives them a good return on their investment? You have to show them by being open with the financials and metrics of your firm. That is why at Zweig Group, we push for firms to practice an open-book management approach. By being transparent, you will be able to sell your people on why your firm is a great investment. Showing them the “why” will help them choose to invest in your firm versus the S&P 500. Cultivating an educational culture around ownership is one of the most important things your can do. There you go! These two seminars provided an important learning experience for me and offered greater insight into the AEC industry, which is especially valuable as I’m still early into my career. These seminars were some of Zweig Group’s last for 2022, but you can see the full learning calendar for 2023 here. Ezequiel Tovar is an analyst within Zweig Group’s ownership transition team . Contact him at

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M&A NEXT SYMPOSIUM Reserve your seat at the table as Zweig Group’s M&A thought leaders share insights and provide deep learning about current and “next” practices in the world of M&A. This highly interactive event is designed to provide M&A education and practical application through roundtable discussions, thought leadership from expert panelists, and focused networking to connect leaders from across the country. Join us in Savannah, Georgia, April 27-28. Click here to learn more!

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A cohesive culture

Creating an engaging culture across multiple offices is a challenge that requires constant diligence.

I t’s challenging to build a cohesive and engaging culture, especially if your firm has multiple offices, multiple disciplines, field staff, or hybrid/work-from-home staff. In the case of BL Companies, we have all of the above. As an employee-owned firm, culture and engagement have always been a top priority, and we pride ourselves on the great culture we’ve built. That being said, culture and engagement are consistent challenges that require constant diligence.

Julia DeFrances

So how do you take so many disparate groups and create an engaging culture that works for everyone? And how do you maintain a great culture once you’ve built one? After more than a decade of employee- ownership, BL has some lessons learned that can help any firm build and maintain an engaging culture. 1. Start by understanding what a good and engaging culture actually means. It isn’t just about offering pizza parties and fun – it’s about respect, support, and connection. Fun is a bonus, not a cornerstone of good culture. No one stays at a firm because they have a ping pong table in the break room, just like no one leaves a firm because they don’t. People stay at firms where

they are valued, listened to, and supported. They leave firms that undervalue or under compensate them, refuse to address problems or change, and leave employees to fend for themselves. 2. While good culture is built on things like respect and support, fun events can still be a way to cultivate a better culture, as long as the fun is genuinely impactful. There should be a tangible benefit employees get by participating, as well as a tangible benefit the firm gets by hosting. At BL, our fun events usually come with some sort of prize for participants, so there’s a direct




BUSINESS NEWS BOWMAN AWARDED CITY OF BONITA SPRINGS, FLORIDA SIDEWALK AND DRAINAGE INFRASTRUCTURE DESIGN PROJECT THROUGH MCMAHON SUBSIDIARY Bowman Consulting Group Ltd. announced it has been awarded a project for 1.71 miles of sidewalk implementation and drainage infrastructure on the south side of West Terry Street in the City of Bonita Springs through its McMahon subsidiary. Bowman acquired McMahon Associates in May 2022 which now does business as McMahon, a Bowman Company. McMahon will be responsible for the design and permitting of sidewalks, crosswalks, ADA curb ramps and drainage management that will tie to stormwater management on the north side of West Terry Street. The south side of West Terry Street currently does not have pedestrian accommodations. Given

the limited available space in the mostly residential location, McMahon will focus on developing designs that will lessen the impact to residents as much as possible, while still providing safe and effective facilities. McMahon has been working consistently with the City of Bonita Springs since 2008 with projects that include citywide annual data collection, master bike/ pedestrian plans (which will be updated in 2023), transportation site evaluations for the Imperial Parkway, Shangri-la Road, Old US 41, Bonita Beach Road and Logan Blvd. McMahon has also performed site development reviews for complete streets, site access, land development, right-of-way and property acquisitions. “We are proud to give a safe place to walk and bicycle to the users of these

new facilities on West Terry Street,” said William Grieve, PE, McMahon project manager. “By replacing the current swale with new stormwater management, it will allow for better drainage away from properties and into the existing system on the north side of West Terry Street.” Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, Bowman is an engineering services firm delivering infrastructure solutions to customers who own, develop, and maintain the built environment. With over 1,700 employees and more than 65 offices throughout the United States, Bowman provides a variety of planning, engineering, construction management, commissioning, environmental consulting, geomatics, survey, land procurement and other technical services to customers operating in a diverse set of regulated end markets.

something that our current employees value and it makes our team feel heard and supported – it’s a great asset to our culture. But that ceases to be an asset if new employees or offices don’t know about it. If new team members assume feedback isn’t wanted or appreciated, they’ll feel unsupported and our firm misses out on a chance to improve. 5. Don’t be afraid to think big. The decision to become a 100 percent employee-owned firm was a big one, but it is also one of the biggest assets to our culture. Not only does it offer a financial incentive regarding the employee stock ownership plan, but it informs our culture and philosophy. We’re all employee-owners, so we all have an impact on the direction and success of the firm, and as such we prioritize things like benefits, professional development, and wellness. Your firm doesn’t necessarily need to be an ESOP to make a big change, but there could be opportunities you’re missing because they seem too big. 6. Embrace change and feedback. Your firm won’t always have the same leaders, staff, or culture. What worked one year might not work the next. That’s why it’s so important to listen to your employees on what they value. BL sends out a survey to our employees every year, where we collect feedback and find out what people appreciate and where we need to improve. That feedback helps inform our strategy and goals for next year, both in terms of our business and in terms of our culture. Without that direct feedback, your firm won’t know what issues need attention, and if you are resistant to change, your firm won’t be able to properly address those cultural issues, even if you know what they are. Julia DeFrances is a senior marketing coordinator at BL Companies, Inc. She can be reached at jdefrances@

JULIA DEFRANCES , from page 3

reward for employees who step up and get engaged. Our fun events are also centered around mixing up our teams, so participants build new relationships with people they don’t know and deepen relationships with people they do. Participants get a prize and can make some new work friends. The firm gets a strengthened, more connected workforce. Win-win. 3. Keep engagement activities accessible, quick, and voluntary. Things like team-building activities are great for building strong relationships, but you’ll push people away if you don’t approach them thoughtfully. For example, if your team is slammed with deadlines a four- hour mandatory team-building retreat will only build resentment, not engagement (yes, even if it’s really fun). Likewise, if you’re trying to engage across offices, you need to find something that works in a virtual environment, not just in-person. 4. Have consistent cultural messaging. At BL, being an employee-owned firm is very important to us and we say as much. Our culture and values are clear, consistent, and followed-through. This is especially important when onboarding new staff. For example, at BL we value and protect people who provide feedback. If there’s an issue with a team member or with a firm policy or process, we want our team to feel comfortable sharing that. It’s that works for everyone? And how do you maintain a great culture once you’ve built one?” “How do you take so many disparate groups and create an engaging culture

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




Trustworthy: David Schrader Managing partner of SCHRADERGROUP (Philadelphia, PA), a full-service firm that creates enhanced environments for the people who use them.


A s managing partner, Schrader is responsible for SCHRADERGROUP’s leadership, including design, management, and business development. His ability to create a vision with his clients has fostered significant success for all involved. “Over time, clients grow to trust us because we deliver what we say we can,” Schrader says. “And, when something doesn’t go as planned, we’re the first to step up to solve the problem. At the end of every project, I like to believe that our clients felt well guided to achieve their vision.” A CONVERSATION WITH DAVID SCHRADER. The Zweig Letter: Your career has focused on designing facilities of public interest. Can you tell me about one that really stands out in the group and explain why? DS: Our firm (and the work I did in my prior life) has focused on K-12, higher education, and public safety/mission critical facilities. Each one is important and each one builds on what we’ve learned from prior projects. As we continue to evolve, one that stands out right now is the Upper Merion Area High School in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Like so many of

our projects, one of the greatest highlights is working with the client. In this case, we toured a number of facilities with the client and took bits and pieces from what they saw to create a cohesive new facility for their students. It boasts a contemporary exterior and an interior that’s a combination of higher ed-type and industry spaces so when students move out of this environment, they’re comfortable with the spaces they may encounter after graduation. TZL: How has COVID-19 permanently impacted your firm’s policy on telecommuting? DS: We’ve landed permanently (for the meantime) on a hybrid work environment. People spend three days (of their choice) in the office to coordinate projects. The other two are work from home. We ask that people try to spend Mondays in the office and focus our Monday mornings on a variety of meetings coordinating everything from overall client management and sales and marketing to individual project oversight. Telecommuting has created some interesting situations. We have several staff members who, due to family situations, or other opportunities have moved to remote locations –



one to Australia. Because we value their contributions and because their roles were less directly client-based, technology has allowed them to continue to work with our team. So far they’ve been able to continue to contribute in a meaningful way without requiring face-to-face contact. This issue might have been a much greater challenge if it hadn’t been tested and perfected by the technology that we all became used to during COVID. TZL: Over the years, you’ve undoubtedly faced some unusual architectural design challenges. Can you tell me about one that springs to mind and discuss the challenge/ solution/outcome? DS: Each project faces unusual challenges. A recent project – the Community College of Philadelphia’s new Career and Advanced Technology Center – was located on an urban site. Challenges included the quick change in grade along the city block where it was located; the elevated commuter rail that runs along the site at the second and third floor of the building height; and the multiple building functions that compete for access to the street level (part of the career technology program includes auto shop vehicle bays and heavy diesel bays). The solution was to make use of the grade to create a vehicle entry door into the vehicle bays from the higher adjacent city street and the heavy diesel bay access off of street entry below the elevated commuter train. That access point allows for the city buses and heavy rigs to do a U-turn into the facility and into the heavy diesel bays so students can work there. The balance of the program is housed on three floors above those bays. The facility takes up the entire footprint of the city block, so stormwater is an issue. To counter the stormwater challenge, the facility incorporates a green roof obviating the need for further contribution of the building stormwater to the city stormwater system. As far as outcomes, I think creative thinking and teamwork led us to the multiple solutions that created this amazing facility. We’re very proud of it! TZL: Who are you admiring right now in the AEC industry? Where do you see thought leadership and excellence? DS: I’ve focused my attention on a professional organization, Association for Learning Environments. That organization has provided me with an incredible exposure across the spectrum of K-12 that includes designers, planners, industry partners, and clients. Because of this diverse group

of membership, we collaborate in ways that I don’t believe you see in single entity professional organizations. Because of that collaboration, trends are revealed, but more importantly, good industry practices are hatched that are tested from planner and designer – all the way to the end user. TZL: Have you had a particular mentor who has guided you – in school, in your career, or in general? Who were they and how did they help? DS: My greatest business mentors have been friends who run other types of businesses. I enjoy seeing the diverse business models and learning about their challenges and experiences. A mentor in the K-12 planning business, Ed Kirkbride, introduced me to the Association for Learning Environments and promoted me within that organization. I hope I left the organization just a little better off than when I joined it. Thank you Ed Kirkbride. TZL: What’s your number one concern for the industry as a whole in say the next five years? What’s your firm doing to address it? DS: Staffing. Fewer staff available and a changing workplace culture. As for staffing, it’s important that we continue to channel and grow enthusiastic and interested young people into the schools of architecture and engineering. Many of the people in our offices are involved in mentoring high school and college students. SCHRADERGROUP holds shadowing days in the office for high school students and also goes into schools to hold seminars on the profession so we can catch people early on. We also have a robust summer internship program. When it comes to the workplace culture, COVID played a big role here. With hybrid work days and other new workplace standards, we feel like some of the teamwork that used to be encouraged by people being around each other (for at least 40 hours a week) has been reduced. We’re working hard to make sure all generations can communicate and collaborate around a table, but those connections have definitely been reduced. We worry about that. TZL: Trust is essential. How do you earn the trust of your clients? DS: We earn their trust by being transparent and trustworthy. It falls into our list of SCHRADERGROUP values required of our team members. Being humble and trustworthy means that we focus on delivering a good product and process. We


Philadelphia, PA





Philadelphia, PA

Lancaster, PA

Baltimore, MD

Raleigh, NC

Pittsburgh, PA



Higher education

Public safety/mission

critical facilities



Interior design


See TRUSTWORTHY , page 8


© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

EMBER 5, 2022, ISSUE 1467


SCHRADERGROUP’s 2021 holiday party.

TZL: SCHRADERGROUP’s careers page states you’re looking for people who are community-oriented and have a knack for detail, design, and collaboration. What are some tips for ensuring you’re hiring people who walk the talk? DS: We look for many things in new hires, but two top the list: common sense and team players. We think it’s critically important to make good decisions based on ingrained intuition and experience (where possible). We want everyone we hire to fit into the culture we’ve established so we can work harmoniously as a team. We tend not to have people pigeon- holed into specific roles, rather we expect people to work across a broad variety of tasks. We try to move individuals toward their strengths. On a team, we ask that everyone try everything and we’ll see where they land. “We build trust by demonstrating that we are true members of our client’s team and that we can be leaned on to support the expertise that we sell them on.” TZL: A firm’s longevity is valuable. What are you doing to encourage your staff to stick around? DS: We offer social opportunities for the staff to team-build. This is critical because a team that plays together can work together. It’s also important to offer growth paths – in individual careers as well as in potential management and company ownership. We want people to have a say in their day-to-day advancement. Staff turnover is the greatest challenge for a company and we’ve been blessed by people who stick around.

TRUSTWORTHY , from page 7

build trust by demonstrating that we are true members of their team and that we can be leaned on to support the expertise that we sell them on. Over time, they grow to trust us because we deliver what we say we can. And, when something doesn’t go as planned, we’re the first to step up to solve the problem. At the end of every project, I like to believe that our clients felt well guided to achieve their vision. TZL: What type of leader do you consider yourself to be? DS: I try to lead by example and want people to see my efforts. I believe I’m fair (perhaps to a fault in some cases), so I hope that when it comes time to reciprocate, they’ll remember. TZL: What do you most enjoy about your position – management, design, business development? Why? DS: This might actually be part of my downfall. If I focused on one aspect of the items described, the firm might be positioned better for higher levels of growth. I tend to work across all of these spaces. I might not have as much direct input into detailed design as I used to, but I do initiate the high-level design concepts. I do my best to manage the office with the help of others and am heavily involved in client management. I’m also a primary “rainmaker.” I suspect my favorite of all of these is the clients; it used to be design. We have such an incredible group of clients who are all trying to do the best they can for their specific constituencies. It’s one of the benefits of doing public work. TZL: In one word or phrase, what do you describe as your number one job responsibility? DS: The initiator, connector, and motivator.

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




Providing value-added services

Provide added value to your clients and approach every project with an emphasis on building trust and exceeding expectations.

E very consultant providing professional engineering services today knows that our business is continuing to grow at a rapid pace. Competition in our industry continues to increase as well, with firms constantly developing ways to distinguish themselves and demonstrate why one should be selected over another. Ardurra attributes much of its success and rapid growth to our focus on providing added value to our clients and approaching every project with an emphasis on altruism that builds trust, exceeds our clients’ expectations, and fosters repeat business.

Kart Vaith, P.E.

This philosophy has yielded some key strategies that we apply to our client service model: ■ Integrating services to streamline support. While a full-service organization or “one-stop shop” sounds better than piecemealing services from multiple firms, oftentimes diversifying services can dilute efficiency and expertise. Ardurra has been intentional in the selection and development of the services we offer, both organically and acquisitively. We have carefully crafted a firm that offers services that complement each other, while ensuring industry- leading expertise in each discipline.

For example, we recently developed an electrical engineering and instrumentation and controls services group with top-notch professionals to provide in-house support to our national water, wastewater, and other disciplines. This was a way for us to further streamline the services we provide our clients, without sacrificing quality. We have also obtained complementary services through our acquisitions, focusing on firms that provide a “deeper bench” to our core services or adding expertise that improves the breadth of our offerings. To efficiently share resources, we have removed internal barriers to work sharing. For

See KART VAITH , page 10



ON THE MOVE NORMAN FISHER JOINS IPS AS DIRECTOR OF ARCHITECTURE FOR CANADIAN OPERATIONS Integrated Project Services, LLC, a leading provider of architecture, engineering, procurement, construction management, and validation services, announces the appointment of Norman Fisher as director of architecture for its Canadian Operation, based in IPS’ head office located in the Greater Toronto Area. Fisher plays a critical role in driving the Canadian region’s continued growth of its architecture portfolio and integrated project delivery capabilities. Fisher brings over 30 years of architectural and management experience to his new role. He worked on life sciences, research & manufacturing, government, and education projects, seeing them through each design phase and supporting the client’s needs through to construction and startup. As a former principal architect, he’s managed

large multi-disciplined teams to execute successful projects in the life sciences industry. In his new position, Fisher becomes a key member of IPS’ regional leadership team, supporting and identifying the best resources for project success. He will oversee the activities of design personnel on all projects delivered from IPS’ Canadian operations. “The IPS Canadian operations is growing rapidly, and Norm has the experience to lead the team through to the next step change in our business strategy. His knowledge, skill and passion fits our team culture, and we are very excited to start this journey with Norm,” states Paula Casalino, vice president of the Canadian Operations. “Norm leads with a high degree of organization and communication skills. He gracefully handles challenges with complex projects with varying budgets,

schedules, and teams. His work ethic and methodology align well with IPS’ Pride in Delivery model, which meets the needs of clients and their projects to provide the best outcomes.” IPS is a global leader in developing innovative business solutions for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Through operational expertise and industry-leading knowledge, skill, and passion, IPS provides consultancy services, architecture, engineering, project controls, construction management, and compliance services that allow clients to develop and manufacture life-impacting products. Its Canada region, established in 2017, has approximately 100 employees and is growing. With the addition of its newest acquisition, Linesight, IPS has nearly 3,000 professionals in over 45 offices across 17 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, Southeast Asia, Australia, and the Middle East.

hazard mitigation, having led recovery efforts for more than $20 billion in funds throughout the nation. Not only can implementing resiliency measures lead to eligibility for multiple funds, grants, and fund matching, they ultimately save our clients’ money. Hardening all infrastructure, especially facilities located in vulnerable areas, to be resilient and more resistant to impacts reduces the risk of future failure or need for repair or replacement. ■ Value engineering mitigates cost escalation. With the continued inflation, rapid increase in materials and labor costs, coupled with the traditional engineers’ lack of emphasis on proactively countering these rising costs, Ardurra has established an internal task force focused on identifying proactive solutions to help our clients manage or mitigate these impacts on their operating budgets and capital improvements programs. One large project overrun can quickly alter capital planning and paralyze a client’s budget. Ardurra is exploring strategies including post-bid, third-party value engineering, as well as partnering with contractors to integrate alternative delivery cost-saving measures into traditional delivery methods to provide more control over costs well into design. Ardurra continuously strives to incorporate unique strategies and out-of-the-box approaches that yield value and benefit our clients. This foundational principal has solidified our reputation for project ownership and client investment. We remain focused on building strong partnerships through our unwavering commitment to delivering quality services and practical solutions that exceed our clients’ expectations and improve our communities in a sustainable manner. Kart Vaith, P.E., is chief strategy officer at Ardurra. Connect with him on LinkedIn .

KART VAITH , from page 9

example, any project manager is allowed to select their delivery team without regard to geographic location. This ensures that the most efficient team is applied to each project in service to our clients. ■ Leveraging tools and innovation to provide best-value. Incorporating tools and innovation into projects and leveraging them to provide best-value solutions for our clients are Ardurra hallmarks. Our professionals are at the forefront of new technologies and involved in industry research and development of innovative and best- value approaches for the services we provide. Realizing it is difficult to not get caught up in the hype of being the first to implement a new technology, our in-house technology group carefully evaluates the benefits and risks before making any recommendations to our clients. Our technology group conducts weekly firmwide brown bags and periodic in-person training sessions to share new innovations, technologies, and project solutions. This group also engages in projects early to ensure that our clients receive the full suite of solutions available in the marketplace for their consideration and implementation. ■ Implementing proactive resiliency strategies to save costs. Sustainability is being embraced by more and more of our clients and integrating resiliency measures is becoming standard practice. While gaining energy efficiency through alternative energy sources that supplement energy requirements to save our clients’ operating costs is fairly routine in our business, resiliency has also become an important consideration in our industry. Ardurra has been at the forefront of resiliency measures as it relates to emergency management and

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




Building your team

Y our job as a leader – whether that is for the entire company, an office, a department, or a design team – is all about building your team. While you undoubtedly have other responsibilities, one of your primary roles is assembling, maintaining, and motivating your team. While you undoubtedly have other responsibilities, one of your primary roles as a leader is assembling, maintaining, and motivating your team.

Mark Zweig

Unfortunately, unless you start a business with a clean sheet of paper, you are bound to inherit some or all of your team members. So, many times you have to work with the people you have – or at least largely do for some period of time – until the timing is right to move some new talent into your team. That’s not always a bad thing. You may think you know the character and capabilities of someone based on limited exposure to them and their track records, but then again, you may not. Sometimes you have to work with people for a while to appreciate all they bring to the team – or to learn about their negative behaviors that hurt the team. So time – if you have it – can be a good thing. My experience is that it helps when you, as the leader, really get to know the people who work with you (and “with” is an important word, because no

one wants to work “for” someone else!). Working alongside them is the best way I know how to do this. Too many managers think they are above doing the actual work of the team and when they have that attitude, problems will develop! Or, they are under the impression that doing the actual work of the business is not the best use of their time, because they have the misconception that they should be full- time managers. You build trust and respect when you show you are willing to do any job that needs doing yourself. It also helps you figure out what individual people are best and worst at doing. By the same token, you also have to get to know your people as just that – people. We all carry our personal baggage into the workplace. I know I did. Leaders

See MARK ZWEIG , page 12



ON THE MOVE FRANCESCA FRANCHI AIA JOINS WINSTANLEY ARCHITECTS & PLANNERS WINSTANLEY Architects & Planners is pleased to announce that Francesca Franchi, AIA LEED has joined the firm. Franchi is a highly accomplished, award- winning designer with a long history in guiding architectural teams both nationally and around the world. With more than 30 years of experience, she is passionate about creating memorable architecture and designing tactical spaces that cross a broad spectrum of markets. Her experience is extremely broad and ranges from adaptive reuse of small existing structures to tall mixed use skyscrapers in China and beyond. Franchi’s professional objective is to accomplish architecture as creative problem solving and her approach to

reach the optimum results involves a total integration between the client, the teams, the program, and the site. She cares and understands ground planes and the intersection of how buildings meet and connect with the streets and context, thus her focus on retail. Her wealth of experience has been earned through the numerous projects she has successfully designed and has gained her the respect of WINSTANLEY’s clients and her team members. Franchi first began working with Michael Winstanley in late 1990s when the two teamed up to design multiple projects in the metro Washington area as well as many international assignments. She later went on to work with major international practices designing. “Francesca will be an integral part of our ability to delivery award winning

design work to our clients and I couldn’t be happier to be working with her again”, says Michael Winstanley AIA AICP, founder and design director. “Our collaboration over the years has produced amazing results and I look froward to her contribution to our firm’s design legacy”. A native of Lima, Peru, Franchi received her bachelor’s degree in architecture from the Ricardo Palma University of Lima and her master’s degree in architecture from Cornell University where she was awarded the Michael Rapuano Design Excellence Award. As a member of the DC AIA Design Excellence Committee, she is leading the South American Women in Architecture lecture series, which focuses on promoting the unique and outstanding design talent of women in the south of the American continent; a passion always present in her life.

least pleasant aspects of my job as a manager and probably one of my greatest failings. No one really enjoys having to tell someone what they are doing that is negatively impacting other people, yet it is sometimes necessary. Best to confront it early versus later. Approach it from the spirit of caring. You are trying to help that person. Yet be honest about how their behavior is hurting them and others. Keep your emotions in check – also easier said than done, but necessary. This is a critical role in team building. Always be working to equip your people with the skills they need to move up. You want everyone on your team to be ready for their next role so when a vacancy occurs for any reason there is someone there to step into their job. I’m a big fan of promoting from within. The older I get the more I appreciate how critical this is. Outsiders often take too long to get up to speed when hired in as managers. They don’t know the people and the culture and it takes time to figure that out. If they move too quickly they get shot in the back. If they move too slowly they get nothing done. My first preference is going to always be looking for someone who is already there for a management role and I will only go outside when absolutely necessary. I have never been a fan of “team building” exercises or forced company get-togethers as team building exercises, although I do think certain attributes of people may come out in the course of doing these things. You can see how social people are, and occasionally leadership qualities in people who aren’t managers may evidence themselves. Some business owners swear by them. So think about it. Can you do more than you are now to build a better team around you? If so, you had better get on it – now! Mark Zweig is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at

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who don’t elevate themselves above everyone else find this part of their job easier than those who do put themselves above everyone else. So you’ve got to be willing to avoid some of the trappings of success at times, at least in my experience. Those trappings could be as simple as having a private office with a closed door that has an admin person posted outside who functions as a guard keeping people away from you. Or maybe it’s your reserved parking spot. Things that separate you from everyone else will create barriers when it comes to getting to know your people. Some people who work for you will seek out your mentorship. It has to be a mutual thing. Mentors and mentees can’t be assigned. Don’t play favorites, but at the same time, be willing to put extra energy and time into those who really want to learn from you. Effective leaders are mentors. I have found mentorship and the relationships I developed with certain people to be one of the most rewarding aspects of management over my lengthy career in this industry. Much like a coach of any sports team, you have to constantly be on the lookout for good people, and when you meet them, be willing to take a stab at recruiting them. This could happen at professional or trade group meetings, events at your kid’s school, or any number of other places. Some people feel self- conscious about recruiting. I never did. I always felt like we had a good company that a motivated and caring person could do well in, so I took a shot. You have to believe in what you are selling and I never worked anywhere I didn’t believe in. Even though I am retired from the business, I still try to get my best students working as interns or entry-level employees at the company today and there are a number of them working there as a result. Dysfunctional or disruptive people have to be dealt with or they can ruin morale. That, for me, was always one of the

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