TZL 1378 (web)

T R E N D L I N E S F e b r u a r y 8 , 2 0 2 1 , I s s u e 1 3 7 8 W W W . T H E Z W E I G L E T T E R . C O M

Architect salaries

This is our opportunity to get creative and bring in new ideas for our firms to get work. Virtual business development

Zweig Group’s 2021 Salary Report of Architecture, Interior Design & Landscape Architecture Firms compiles salary data from firms within this subset of the AEC industry. This report provides a deeper dive into architect positions at firms and analyzes salary trends over the past decade. In the chart above, three-year salary trends by median value are shown for junior , intermediate , and senior level architects. 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 Dewberry..............................................10

B usiness development looks much different today than it did a year ago. The acts of dropping by prospects’ offices or meeting them at a networking event are now few and far between. Our industry is struggling to figure out what the next steps should be as business developers. In my experience, there are a few things we can do to continue to drive business and make connections during these uniquely challenging times. ❚ ❚ Utilize LinkedIn. This is a powerful business tool that has been underutilized for years. Overall, the business community doesn’t understand the true value in the platform and how to harness its networking potential. Having a strong profile, which is completely filled out and contains good keywords throughout, is instrumental in helping people find you. Regularly share information (through articles or videos) about how you help clients, along with trends in the design and construction industry to stay visible among your existing connections; don’t discount their importance and their ability to get work for you. Comment and share information on LinkedIn, too. The more engaged you are, the more your connections will see you in their news feed. Nothing has changed in marketing as far as wanting to be top of mind. This is your digital top of mind! LinkedIn also has a new featured called LinkedIn ProFinder. You can enroll as a service provider and submit short proposals (usually answering five to 10 questions) about the service being requested. LinkedIn will match your profile with the requested services. It’s free for the first 10 proposals, but then you must upgrade to a LinkedIn Premium account after 10 proposals. ❚ ❚ Send a delivery system coupon. Before COVID-19 affected how we interact, you’d just pick up the phone or send an email inviting someone to coffee, lunch, or cocktails. Face-to-face interactions are much more limited now, and when they do happen it’s typically on a necessity basis. That doesn’t mean you can’t still have meaningful interactions! How about inviting your prospect or customer to a virtual coffee, lunch, or happy hour? Send them a delivery system coupon (DoorDash, Uber Eats, Instacart, etc.) so they can order something while you have your meeting. I would also suggest supporting local businesses by purchasing gift cards and sending those to your clients and prospects. It’s a win-win-win for everyone! In the early days of the COVID-19 shutdown, I heard a business developer set up a virtual whiskey tasting event with eight to 10 customers and prospects. He had the whiskey delivered to everyone and invited a whiskey connoisseur to talk about each one. The group then networked while they were trying out the whiskeys. Networking during these challenging times is still possible – it just takes some extra creativity and thinking outside the box.

Lindsay Young

JQ Engineering. ......................................4

PaleoWest. .............................................6

Psomas. ...............................................12

Twining, Inc...........................................12

Ware Malcomb......................................12

MO R E A R T I C L E S xz JULIE BENEZET: Lack of time is good for you Page 3 xz Audacious: Tom Motsinger Page 6 xz MARK ZWEIG: Make them want what you do! Page 9 xz TALIN ESPINOZA & REUBEN TOLENTINO: Advancing women in the AEC workplace Page 11




ON THE MOVE DEWBERRY PROMOTES JENNIFER BETANCOURT AND JONATHAN TALLMAN IN ILLINOIS Dewberry , a privately held professional services firm, has announced the promotion two professionals in its Elmhurst, Illinois, office. Jennifer Betancourt, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, GGP, and Jonathan Tallman, AIA, GGP, GPCP, have been promoted to senior associate in the firm’s architecture practice. Betancourt is a project manager and the firm’s corporate sustainability leader with more than 18 years of experience. She works on a variety of project types, including higher education, libraries, civic, public safety, commercial, institutional, and government sector projects. Betancourt has a broad skillset focusing on sustainability and ranging from programming and design work to project management and construction administration. She earned her bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Arizona. Betancourt is a registered architect in Colorado, Illinois, and Michigan. She is also a registered interior designer in Illinois, a green globes professional, and a LEED accredited professional with specialization in building design and construction. Betancourt is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Green Building Initiative, National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, and the U.S. Green Building Council. Tallman is an architecture market segment

leader and has more than 16 years of experience. His expertise includes planning, space needs analysis, conceptual design, design development, construction documents, and construction administration phase work for public safety facilities, including fire stations, police departments, and city/ village halls. Tallman is a contributing member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police through teaching bi-annually at training seminars and authoring sections of the updated IACP Police Facilities Planning Guidelines and the Training Guidelines, which will be released in 2021. Tallman earned his bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Kansas and is a registered architect in Florida, Illinois, and Ohio. He is a guiding principles compliance professional and a member of AIA, Association of Licensed Architects, GBI, International Living Future Institute, Kane County Fire Chiefs Association, and NCARB. 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.

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



LINDSAY YOUNG, from page 1

❚ ❚ Ask the right questions. Even with almost everything going virtual now, it can be difficult to connect virtually with people if you’ve never met them before. Asking the right questions is key to getting your prospect and customer engaged. These days, people appreciate being asked “How’s it going?” or “What are you currently being challenged with?” or “How can I help?” The importance of empathy hasn’t gone away (in fact, it’s more important than ever), so we still must be genuine in the way we seek information. That’s why it’s good to ask people about things outside the workplace too – it helps build that relationship. Make sure to ask open-ended questions, too, so the other person doesn’t feel like you’re interrogating them. ❚ ❚ Virtual selling. Virtual selling is the presentation or interview you are conducting for an existing client or prospect. This can be challenging when trying to communicate over a computer screen. Your energy level must be 20 percent higher when you are presenting virtually compared to in person. But in many ways, presenting now is no different than before. Be prepared and practice your presentation. Know what the client’s hot buttons are and address them. Make sure they can see and hear what you are saying. Your presentation visuals should be strong and support your message. Set the expectation for everyone to have their camera turned on during the presentation, so you are able to receive some visual cues. This will be very helpful in reading your audience. As always, be genuine and engaged. Virtual business development and selling is going to continue to evolve over the next 12 months. As marketers and business developers, this is our opportunity to be creative and bring in new ideas for our firms to get work. I’d love to hear what your firm is doing when it comes to business development and selling. LINDSAY YOUNG is president and founder of nu marketing. She can be reached at lindsay@

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Lack of time is good for you

Time limits tighten focus, propel you over challenging hurdles, and maximize your chances of success.

T ime. Somehow there is never enough of it. No matter how fast you go, time goes faster, leaving you anxiously behind. And yet, scarcity of time provides an invaluable asset that forces you to work quicker, better, and smarter.

A FORMATIVE LESSON ON TIME. I discovered the value of time pressure after surviving a graduate school rite of passage called the “Hebb Seminar.” Led by Donald O. Hebb, a premier psychologist and exacting professor, the course tested students for grit, tenacity, and ability to learn, quickly. The seminar required us to make three presentations on complex topics within assigned time limits of five, 10, or 15 minutes. Professor Hebb offered no forgiveness on the time. If you were tempted to stray past your limit, he’d wordlessly tap his pencil on the table when 30 seconds remained. No one dared to run over. For one assignment, I had 10 minutes to discuss the work of William James, a 19th century philosopher who wrote about practically everything. Even the sound of the topic triggered panic, but with only two weeks to digest acres of material, I couldn’t afford to freeze in fear.

Instead, I nervously armed myself with a pen, buried my head in the books, and went to work. Two weeks later, I stood in front of the seminar and delivered my speech in nine minutes and 45 seconds. I also learned a lot about William James. THE GIFT OF TIME PRESSURE. A leadership program colleague asked, “Which is most critical to business growth? Time, money, people, or strategy?” Answer: Time. After all, if you had an infinite amount of it, you could always achieve something. However, because you will never have infinite time, you have to manage it as your most precious resource. Limited time means focusing on what is essential to your mission, ignoring white noise, and keeping your eye on the prize. That is what I experienced in my graduate school seminar and in countless examples since.

Julie Benezet




BUSINESS NEWS JQ ENGINEERING ESTABLISHES SUSTAINABILITY FELLOWSHIP JQ Engineering, LLP has established the JQ Engineering Endowed Fellowship in Sustainability. Distributions from this endowment will be used to provide one or more fellowships to full-time students in good standing pursuing a graduate degree in the Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering with a focus in sustainable development at Texas A&M University. JQ Engineering CEO, Stephen Lucy, and his partners were the driving forces behind this fellowship. “My partners in JQ Engineering, Christopher Story ‘95 and John Hoenig ‘00, are Texas A&M Aggies and civil engineering graduates,” Lucy said. “We all wanted to give back and provide support targeted at first-generation and underrepresented groups. Through our shared commitment to Texas A&M, we have established several fellowships within the Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.” Lucy’s father, Dan H. Lucy ‘48, was also a Texas A&M civil engineering graduate, and was a first-generation college student.

“Since second grade, I told everyone I was going to attend Texas A&M and be a civil engineer,” Lucy said. “Both myself and my brother Dan, class of 1981, followed in our father’s footsteps and became civil engineers.” Ultimately, Lucy said that Texas A&M is second only to his family in regards to the positive impact on his life. “Education opens up so many opportunities,” he said. “In addition to a great education, Texas A&M also provides access to the Aggie network, which is of immeasurable value.” Lucy said that he had always planned to give back to Texas A&M based on all the financial support he received during his time there. “I received the President’s Endowed Scholarship, which not only benefited me financially, but also provided me a relationship with my donor, Robert Guyler, that lasted until his death,” he said. “I visited with Mr. Guyler and his wife, Priscilla, one weekend every semester until I graduated with my master’s, and then continued to see him after my time at A&M,” Lucy said. “He was

a great mentor and generous with his time and advice. My engineering firm still works with Mr. Guyler’s construction company to this day.” Lucy and his wife, Lisa, have one daughter, Kaitlyn. In addition to his father and brother, Lucy had two uncles and has several cousins who also attended Texas A&M. Since its founding in 1984, JQ has been dedicated to providing reliable, innovative, and collaborative solutions to our clients and projects. The firm’s team is founded on creative and interpersonal ideals, embracing a can-do attitude that brings clients’ visions to life. The firm has grown from providing structural engineering services to local communities to offering civil engineering, geospatial, and facilities performance services throughout the United States. JQ’s approach of intentional communication, collaboration and commitment puts clients at ease. As a group of creative, engaged and people-focused professionals, JQ strives to exceed expectations.

MAKE THE MOST OF TIME. Here are five practices for leveraging time: 1)Establish a nonnegotiable time limit. Whether it is a date or number of minutes, make sure your initiative has a nonnegotiable time limit, and strictly enforce it. 2)Advertise the limit. When you make a deadline public, the public will enforce it. It establishes their expectations and your accountability. 3)Clear off your desktop. More than 50 years of research has shown that our brains don’t do well with multitasking. It decreases efficiency by as much as 40 percent and causes loss of vital information. A deadline forces you to eliminate distractions and concentrate on the primary task. 4)Solicit feedback. While preparing, ask others for feedback. It will check your direction, generate new ideas, and sharpen your thinking. 5)When it’s time to deliver, give it your all. Whether it is a speech, project, or transaction, when the time comes to deliver, give it all you got. You’ve worked hard to get there, and you want your effort to show. Time limits, however painful, tighten focus, propel you over challenging hurdles, and maximize your chances of success. JULIE BENEZET spent 25 years in law and business, and for the past 18 years has coached, taught and consulted with executives from virtually every industry. She earned her stripes for leading in the scariness of the new as Amazon’s first global real estate executive. She is author of the award-winning The Journey of Not Knowing: How 21st Century Leaders Can Chart a Course Where There Is None . Her workbook, The Journal of Not Knowing , provides a self-guided discovery mission to navigate the adventure of pursuing one’s dreams based on the Journey principles. She can be reached at

JULIE BENEZET, from page 3

❚ ❚ Deal deadlines. In my first financing transaction, the investment banker opened by announcing an aggressive filing date with the SEC. It struck me as arbitrary, as it wasn’t tied to anything real such as a company running out of money. Nevertheless, the date was nonnegotiable, causing a tight, stressful schedule. We achieved it. With that lesson behind me, I noticed what happened to transactions without firm deadlines. When people or things became difficult, instead of working out the kinks, team members escaped into other priorities, leaving the transaction to founder. “Limited time means focusing on what is essential to your mission, ignoring white noise, and keeping your eye on the prize.” ❚ ❚ Leading engineers and designers. The information age needs the creativity of designers and engineers to develop new concepts. That’s the good part. The hard part is they love their work and will relentlessly pursue developing something better. As a result, the end never arrives. Because competitive business pressures need projects to be “done,” leaders of creative talent must establish a due date, and short of a disaster, not waiver from it. ❚ ❚ Audience engagement. In our impatient world, you must decide what matters most in each moment. Newscasters routinely preface their questions with “quickly” to prompt interviewees to get to the point. Executives in leadership seminars learn that summarizing their key career lessons and future dreams in five minutes raises audience engagement. A racing digital timer in front of a public speaker reminds them to land their message.

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2021 Online Learning Opportunities


VIRTUAL SEMINARS Advanced Project Management for AEC Professionals – VIRTUAL SEMINAR DATE: March 3, 2021 PRICE: $799 PDH/LU: 6 Credit Hours OVERVIEW: This course is ideal for people that have existing experience leading proj- ects and teams. A new advanced skills training course for project managers led by a panel of three experts backed by a ton of research on how to best train project man- agers to be more effective and efficient. This advanced project management course is designed to take a Project Manager to the next level, with a focus on anticipating problems, communicating with leadership and other important stakeholders, and transitioning from managing to leading people and projects. LEARN MORE Elevating Doer-Sellers: Business Development for AEC Professionals – VIRTUAL SEMINAR DATE: April 6, 2021 PRICE: $699 PDH/LU: 6 Credit Hours OVERVIEW: This will be the same great content that is taught during our in-person The Principals Academy seminar that has trained over 900 attendees in the last five years. 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 management leadership, financial management, recruiting, marketing, business development, and project management. LEARN MORE

Project Management for AEC Professionals – VIRTUAL SEMINAR DATE: April 7, 2021 PRICE: $699 PDH/LU: 6 Credit Hours LEARN MORE

OVERVIEW: Each team member brings their own unique experiences and skillset to project teams. Effectively leveraging the talents of your team can optimize team effec- tiveness. This course provides people-focused, science-driven practical skills to help project leaders harness the power of their team. By addressing the most important aspects of any project – the people – this course will provide practical techniques that can be immediately implemented for a positive impact on any AEC team or business.


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




Audacious: Tom Motsinger President and founder of PaleoWest, a heritage consulting firm that guides clients’ projects through regulatory challenges posed by prehistoric, historic, and paleontological resources.


A fter nearly 25 years of providing archaeology consulting services, including managing some of the largest and most complex archaeology projects in the western U.S., Motsinger founded PaleoWest (Phoenix, AZ). As the firm’s president, it’s his combination of scientific credentials, business acumen, and proven success in solution-oriented consulting that has guided PaleoWest’s mission and approach. “I knew there was a market for an archaeology-only firm that lives, breathes, and bleeds problem solving rather than esoteric research,” Motsinger says. “So PaleoWest gestated in that kind of nourishment. It was born on January 1, 2006.” A CONVERSATION WITH TOM MOTSINGER. The Zweig Letter: Your website says, “We pride ourselves on being the most innovative team of problem-solvers in the business, leading to better products and more

efficient services.” Can you provide a recent example of these problem-solving skills to illustrate? Tom Motsinger: A good example is the Marana Center shopping mall between Tucson and Phoenix. The developer needed to meet a Christmas shopping season deadline for its anchor tenant. The problem was that they needed a federal permit and there was a giant, federally-regulated prehistoric village in the development area. Hundreds of pit houses, human burials, and a communal ball court all had to be professionally excavated. We came up with a plan to do the impossible in our line of work: Coordinate the review among several interested tribes, a federal agency, and two state agencies to get a year-long project done and approved in just three months. We hired what seemed like all the archaeologists and earth-moving machines in the Southwest; deployed a fully digital data-collection system; and submitted the report the day after fieldwork was completed. It was audacious and absurd, but we pulled



it off. The client had their clearance early, and we even earned an early completion bonus from the client. That, there, is PaleoWest. “We’ve driven some underperforming big dogs out of the firm, and I don’t recall ever regretting it. I like feeding the vegetables in our garden, not the weeds.” TZL: Diversity and inclusion are lacking. What steps are you taking to address the issue? TM: Last year we put in place a “Diversity Task Force” of employees to really take a hard look at ourselves with respect to diversity. What we found is that we have some real challenges in developing and maintaining a diverse workforce. Although anthropologists study and celebrate the diversity of human culture, they are overwhelmingly white. And while women enter our industry at a clip that’s on par with men, we lose a lot of women to academic and federal agency positions, usually owing to the real strain that field archaeology puts on raising families. We’ve expanded our leave policies to give women a career path that is more family- centered and doesn’t require them to pause their careers. With regard to minority inclusion, we realized that we can’t hire what’s not there. So, we sponsor a Native American scholarship to push young Native Americans through the anthropology program at my alma mater. We’re also just finalizing an African American scholarship program at a university in the Southeast to help diversify our industry from that direction. We hope to hire and train some of these scholarship recipients and challenge our colleagues at other firms to follow suit. TZL: How has COVID-19 impacted your firm’s policy on telecommuting/working remotely? TM: We were pretty lucky on this one. We had already developed a solid system of communication and running marketing and project work remotely. It’s at the core of our coast-to-coast collaboration among our offices. So, we didn’t need to develop a remote-work system from scratch. Still, we need to do fieldwork in person. We wrote to the governors of our states

and were fortunate to get nearly all our work classified as “essential,” keeping us afloat and able to bridge our core staff through the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak. With some pretty strict safety procedures in place, we’ve been able to go about our business very effectively. TZL: How much time do you spend working “in the business” rather than “on the business?” TM: I’ve never been the “Exalted Hero” type who needs to be at the center of every project and business decision. I spent all our money early on recruiting and training a solid leadership team. As far back as eight or more years ago, I started taking my hands off the wheel a little more each year. Now, I spend very little time on projects and not much more on day-to-day proposals. This leaves me in a great position to focus on our outward messaging, strategic planning, acquisitions, and high-end recruiting. TZL: After 24 years in the business, what prompted you to form PaleoWest? What was the main impetus? TM: I learned the business as I helped build an archaeology department in a multidisciplinary compliance firm for 15 years. I lost the “CEO sweepstakes,” and the job went to another colleague who wasn’t an archaeologist. Shortly after he got the top gig, he came into my office and said, “Tom, I don’t understand archaeology.” I replied, “Well, it’s 60 percent of our revenue and 70 percent of our business. I’ll just keep doing the understanding for you.” He decided, instead, to de-emphasize it, so we agreed on me leaving. I had six months of professional invisibility as I burned out my executive non-compete. All the while, I was plotting PaleoWest’s launch. I knew there was a market for an archaeology- only firm that lives, breathes, and bleeds problem solving rather than esoteric research. So PaleoWest gestated in that kind of nourishment. It was born on January 1, 2006. TZL: What role does your family play in your career? Are work and family separate, or is there overlap? TM: Well, I did it right by starting the business when I was single so I could go all in on the effort. Then, as Elvin Bishop sings it, “I fooled around and fell in love.” I married a terrific woman who was very successful in another industry. She

HEADQUARTERS: Phoenix, AZ NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 170 YEAR FOUNDED: 2006 NUMBER OF OFFICE LOCATIONS: 11 SERVICES: ❚ ❚ Archaeological surveys ❚ ❚ Archaeological excavation, testing, and monitoring ❚ ❚ Ethnographic consultation ❚ ❚ National Register eligibility assessments ❚ ❚ Architectural history ❚ ❚ Section 106 consultation ❚ ❚ National Historic Preservation Act ❚ ❚ Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act ❚ ❚ National Environmental Policy Act compliance ❚ ❚ Expert witness testimony ❚ ❚ Paleontological studies ❚ ❚ Database development ❚ ❚ 3D modeling ❚ ❚ Low Altitude Aerial Imaging and Mapping WHAT’S THE “PALEO WAY?”: The PaleoWay system streamlines data collection, eliminates re-work and error, and produces report-ready data from the start, significantly reducing report preparation, production, and post-production time.

See AUDACIOUS, page 8

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

RUARY 8, 2021, ISSUE 1378


AUDACIOUS, from page 7

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? TM: We run an in-house valuation at the close-out of each quarter using Zweig Group’s Z-2 Formula. That score blends revenue, net profit, EBITDA, backlog, equity, and staff size. It always comes out more conservative for us than other metrics do, but we like to keep it that way. “I knew there was a market for an archaeology-only firm that lives, breathes, and bleeds problem solving rather than esoteric research. So PaleoWest gestated in that kind of nourishment.” TZL: To date, what’s been one of the firm’s greatest challenges and how was it solved? TM: Cash has always been tricky. When I launched, I met with at least eight banks. None of them understood what an archaeology firm does. (“So, let me get this straight ... grandmothers hire you to look for dinosaurs in their backyards? I’m sorry, but our credit committee has asked that you leave immediately.”) We were fairly well capitalized with my savings, but had some early success in landing big, multi-state projects that were expensive to field, with payment 90 or more days off. I recall spreading my credit cards across my kitchen counter, deciding which ones to draw cash out of to make a few payroll cycles. We went through a period with a factoring company, the kind that legally takes ownership of your accounts receivable, cuts out their fee, and sends you what’s left. That was expensive, but necessary for funding our growth. Eventually, banks warmed up to us when we had a few years of solid numbers under our belt. We generally take a conservative approach to cash management, with the owners only getting paid after the staff is bonused and a large sum is set aside as retained earnings to fund our growth. Still, though, the cash monster always looms in the dark. TZL: Ownership transition can be tricky, to say the least. What’s the key to ensuring a smooth passing of the baton? What’s the biggest pitfall to avoid? TM: We’ve had our PaleoWest Transition Program in place since last year, and, so far, it’s going terrific. I’ve got seven of the top professionals in our industry taking over the firm from me over 10 years, plus a pipeline of younger buyers waiting in the wings as they develop their careers at PaleoWest. Creating a team of entrepreneurial types who are also collaborative is the real key. I’ve got colleagues much older than me who either can’t transition their firms or have tried, failed, and had to buy it back from employees who were the wrong types to own it in the first place.

decided to join my firm at the start of the Great Recession. It was a little nerve wracking, but she helped transition us into the safe harbors of federal contracting just when we needed it. She’s the only one of us with a business degree, and she’s still our chief administrative officer. My only daughter is a software engineer who has never had an interest in the business. TZL: Artificial intelligence and machine learning are potential disruptors across all industries. Is your firm exploring how to incorporate these technologies into providing improved services for clients? TM: Yes. The centerpiece of our project delivery system is an AR-like workflow. Data is collected digitally in the field and synched continuously into a cloud database. That database then learns to “write” our reports as fieldwork is proceeding. So, when our project director finishes a month of fieldwork, instead of having a month of writing in front of her, she has just a couple days of clean-up before the report is ready. Besides getting reports to clients quicker than other firms can, we also minimize the under-employment of our best leaders by getting mired in tedious tasks. TZL: Are you using the R&D tax credit? If so, how is it working for your firm? If not, why not? TM: Yes, we got turned onto it by our CPA five years ago. We do much more R&D than other archaeology companies, as far as automating our project workflow and building back-end databases that improve our business efficiency. It really improved the game for us financially when we learned that we could take an annual tax credit for that kind of work. It’s one of those situations where I’m leery of the legislation as a citizen, but happy to take advantage of it as a business owner. “It was audacious and absurd, but we pulled it off. The client had their clearance early, and we even earned an early completion bonus from the client. That, there, is PaleoWest.” 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? TM: I hope that’s not me! We’re a meritocracy and I always impress on employees that we have no “Ivory Tower” positions, no tenure, and we’re all on soft money. We’ve driven some underperforming big dogs out of the firm, and I don’t recall ever regretting it. I like feeding the vegetables in our garden, not the weeds.

COMING SOON: 2021 VALUATION SURVEY REPORT With the survey data included in this report and Zweig Group’s exclusive Z-Formulas, the 2021 Valuation Survey Report of AEC Firms is the definitive resource to value an industry firm. Zweig Group’s Z-Formulas can be used to quickly calculate how much an AEC industry firm is worth. Simply input seven factors: staff size, net revenue, backlog, EBITDA, profit, book value, and interest-bearing debt, for a rough value for any industry firm. Click here to learn more!

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Make them want what you do!

I f you look at the architecture and engineering business (notice I didn’t say “AEC” because I don’t think “construction” is part of the same “industry”), I think we could all agree that clients of firms in this business generally hire you because they need your services. They don’t necessarily want those services – but they need them. It’s great to be needed, but it’s not really where you want to be. The position you should really seek to attain is to be wanted.

Mark Zweig

Clients need A/E firms so they can get their property rezoned, so they can get building permits, so they can get competitive bids from contractors to build something, and much more. I never fully appreciated this fact until I became a developer about 15 years ago. Even though we had in-house design, we still needed structural engineers to stamp retaining walls, civil engineers to do drainage plans, geotechnical engineers to give soils data to the structural engineers, land surveyors to do topographical surveys for the civil engineers, and registered architects to stamp tenant improvement plans in commercial buildings we owned. All necessary stuff. Most of the time, as a developer, I was guilty of all the same sins I complained about in developer clients when I was on the other side of the fence inside an A/E firm selling services. Price was a

major consideration. Shortly after price came reliability. Would the A/E firm get done what we needed done? Time is money. And as far as architectural services for building design were concerned, my number one criteria (after price) was would the architecture firm do what I wanted them to do, or would there be a battle because they wanted to do what THEY wanted to do? All of this is fine – it’s great to be needed – but it’s not really where you want to be. The position you should really seek to attain is to be WANTED – wanted because you have something no one else has, or no one else can do as well as you do. The reason this is important is because it takes the focus off price.

See MARK ZWEIG, page 10



ON THE MOVE DEWBERRY PROMOTES JONATHAN SKLARSKI, JUSTIN FORD, AND JOSH BAXLEY IN NORTH FLORIDA Dewberry , a privately held professional services firm, has announced the promotion of nearly 50 professionals nationwide, including three in its North Florida, offices. Jonathan Sklarski, PE, has been promoted to associate vice president in the Panama City office; Justin Ford, PE, has been promoted to associate vice president in the Blountstown office; and Josh Baxley, PE, has been promoted to associate in the Port St. Joe office. Jonathan Sklarski has nearly 20 years of experience and manages operations in the Panama City office, which employs

approximately 40 staff members covering a range of services, including engineering and surveying. He earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of New Hampshire (2001). Justin Ford has nearly 15 years of experience and works as the branch manager for the Blountstown office. The office of ten provides engineering services and funding support for local municipal clients. Ford earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Florida State University (2007). Josh Baxley has 12 years of experience and is the branch manager for the firm’s Port St. Joe office, overseeing 15 staff working on site/ civil engineering projects for municipal and commercial clients. He earned a bachelor’s

degree in civil engineering from Florida State University (2002). 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.

MARK ZWEIG, from page 9

project descriptions do not accomplish this. They instead list facts about the project but little of the back story on how the project developed and even less about what happened after it was built. Not the way to really create desire for what you do. You want clients reading these cases and saying, “Wow – THESE are the people we should be working with!” I won’t say it is easy to develop good cases for firms in this business. I’m not sure why that is the case, but it is usually a battle to get these done properly. “The position you should really seek to attain is to be wanted – wanted because you have something no one else has, or no one else can do as well as you do. The reason this is important is because it takes the focus off price.” 5)Be selective about the clients you work for. Not all clients will enhance your reputation. You have to be willing to say “no.” The only way I know how to accomplish this is to have more clients who want you than you can serve. If you cannot drive demand beyond your ability to supply it, you will take work from clients you should not be taking. Make them want you by being hard to get. Being too easy doesn’t necessarily make them want you. We all want what we cannot have. 6)Be willing to walk away from anyone who abuses you in any way. This is so important because the collective morale of everyone in your business depends in large part on you and what kind of behaviors you will tolerate from your clients. If you make it absolutely clear that no price is high enough to subject yourself and your people to abuse, you make your firm more desirable to work with for (good) clients. Creating “want” versus need may seem counterintuitive. Being in a business that clients need is usually enough. But the question is do they need YOUR firm, or just A firm? You should want to achieve the former versus the latter. And that’s going to take doing things differently for most firms in the A/E business. MARK ZWEIG is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at

If you want to be wanted versus just a necessary evil competing with other firms on price, here are some things you need to do: 1)Have something unique to offer. This is so important and fundamental. You cannot do everything the same way everyone else does and create the same kinds of products everyone else does and then expect to be wanted. You have to do something unique and better. That takes a push for constant improvement and innovation in both your process and your outputs. Our business works against “new” and “innovative.” There’s risk associated with that. It may not work. It may cost more to design or take longer to build because the contractors aren’t familiar with it. But that is a risk you may need to take to create real value for your clients that their other providers can’t or won’t do. 2)Build a lot of awareness of your firm and your work through PR. I’m talking about being in the media constantly. Being in the mainstream media is always better than the industry-specialized media. When the public at large knows who you are and what you do. Make your firm principals into public figures that people know (or want to know). Make your people people that clients want to do business with because they think they will learn something from you. Make your people people clients want to hang out with because they are interesting and smart and funny. You can do that but you won’t do it with just another boring project description. Focus on the people. It takes a relentless and consistent effort to come up with “man bites dog” kinds of press versus “dog bites man” kinds of stuff. 3)Get people talking about you. Again – this will only come from your real effort to do something new and better, and from selling the personalities you have leading your firm and your projects. Taking the safe and expedient route every time will not accomplish this goal. Of course, not everyone will like you or your work when you do this. That’s OK. This is a real big hurdle to overcome for most people in this business who are trying to please everyone and never offend anyone. And yes, taste is subjective. 4)Have some big successes you can point to. Project cases – what the problem or opportunity was – and what you did for your clients and how that translated into benefits for them – are at the heart of selling successes. I find most firms’

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A conversation about how improving gender representation in the AEC workplace benefits everyone. Advancing women in the AEC workplace

U ntil recently, the concept of diversity initiatives has not been a focal point in our industry. This conversation has been steadily gaining ground in our corporate environment. It is clear: improving gender representation in the workplace benefits everyone – it is good for workplace culture, professional development, society, our personal lives, and the financial bottom line. But these gains are only attainable with the cooperation and support of our male colleagues, mentors, and sponsors.

Talin Espinoza

I recently spoke with Reuben Tolentino, CCM of Psomas, about this important subject and how our industry has evolved regarding women professionals in our workforce. Talin Espinoza: Looking toward the future, what are the threats to your business, your success, and how are you handling them? Reuben Tolentino: Talent shortage. Specifically, here in California, we are doing ourselves a disservice by not looking outside the usual places. We need to work to become more open-minded about attracting and welcoming professionals from every walk of life. That includes gender, international professionals, and people from different industries – for example, people from industries like oil and gas that we don’t typically consider in our talent pool. If we are not open-

minded and expect everyone to fit a specific mold, it can become an issue. Our industry must embrace change and evolve to reap the benefits that come with change. TE: Some could argue our industry has failed to think strategically about women as a business opportunity, and how that strategy could possibly be a solution to our talent problems as well as missing out on the diversity of ideas brought to the table. Do you feel that talented women leaders change the work environment? How so? RT: I am seeing a lot more women taking on leadership roles in the construction industry and

Reuben Tolentino




BUSINESS NEWS WARE MALCOMB ANNOUNCES CONSTRUCTION IS UNDERWAY ON 640 COLUMBIA MULTISTORY INDUSTRIAL BUILDING IN BROOKLYN Ware Malcomb , an award-winning international design firm, today announced construction is underway for a multistory distribution center at 640 Columbia in Brooklyn, New York. Ware Malcomb is providing architectural design services for the project and working in collaboration with DH Property Holdings and Suffolk Construction. Steel is currently being erected at the 640 Columbia construction site. The facility’s strategic location will facilitate crucial last-mile distribution to meet the needs of retailers and manufacturers being minutes fromDowntownManhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the largest concentration of e-commerce shoppers in the country. The project is located on a 4.5-acre site in the Red Hook waterfront district in Brooklyn. The three-story facility totals more than 370,000 square feet and includes a warehouse, office space, two levels of truck docks, a mezzanine with parking and dedicated elevator service to the third floor. The second story, which is accessible to full- size tractor trailers via a ramp, consists of 28-foot clear heights and a 130-foot truck court. The third floor includes 18-foot clear heights and has direct freight elevator access. An attached 77,853-square-foot parking structure accommodates up to 184 cars for employees. “Seeing this project progress from Ware Malcomb’s conceptual multistory prototype into construction is an incredible milestone for Ware Malcomb,” said Michael Bennett,

principal of Ware Malcomb’s Northeast region. ”We have worked in close collaboration with DH Property Holdings and Suffolk Construction and are looking forward to seeing this project through to completion.” This building will be the first multistory e-commerce distribution center on the East Coast. Ware Malcomb’s design future proofs the facility so it can accommodate vertical transportation elements like robotic rovers for picking and drones for delivery. The multistory warehouse design includes stacking and ramping features that can handle 53-foot trailers. “Based on the specific requirements of this project and the location’s access to 13.5 million consumers within an hour drive, Ware Malcomb is confident the unique design of this multistory warehouse will serve as a significant distribution center for the greater New York area for many years to come,” said Edward Mayer II, principal, architecture of Ware Malcomb’s Newark, Princeton and New York offices. The design of 640 Columbia is based on Ware Malcomb’s multistory industrial prototype. Originally developed in 2017, the prototype creates a new commercial asset class of building that addresses challenges felt by both everyday consumers and e-commerce industry mavens. The firm’s multistory design focuses on facilitating industrial development in highly sought-after/land-constrained locations by building vertically to significantly increase rentable area without expanding the building footprint. Ware Malcomb has designed approximately 20 million square feet

of multistory distribution projects since 2017 in major markets across North America. “We’ve enjoyed working with the team at Ware Malcomb from the early conceptual stages of this project now into construction. Their industrial thought leadership was demonstrated through their creative multistory design and efforts to maximize the long-term real estate value of the facility and the site,” said Dov Hertz, president of DH Property Holdings, LLC. Established in 1972, Ware Malcomb is a contemporary and expanding full service design firm providing professional architecture, planning, interior design, civil engineering, branding and building measurement services to corporate, commercial/residential developer and public/institutional clients throughout the world. With office locations throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico, the firm specializes in the design of commercial office, corporate, industrial, science and technology, healthcare, retail, auto, public/institutional facilities and renovation projects. Ware Malcomb is recognized as an Inc. 5000 fastest-growing private company and a Hot Firm by Zweig Group. The firm is also ranked among the top 15 architecture/engineering firms in Engineering News-Record’s Top 500 Design Firms and the top 25 interior design firms in Interior Design magazine’s Top 100 Giants.


contributions have improved many industries and will continue in that direction as we welcome more diversity. TE: If you could give advice to a young, male professional starting out in our business, what advice would you give him about working with women professionals? RT: I would say don’t treat them as women per se, treat them as people. Whether it’s a man or a woman, they can have a positive effect on your career path and you need to gravitate toward that. The fact that we have more up and coming women in our industry means you will have the opportunity to diversify your choices on who you’re seeking as mentors. More choices, more points of view, is always a good thing! TALIN ESPINOZA is chief strategy officer for Twining, Inc. In her role she leads the company’s business development and marketing efforts at a programmatic level. Espinoza recently concluded her term as president of the CMAA Southern California Chapter. She also serves on the board of directors for the Association of General Contractors Los Angeles District and the AGC of California Diversity and Inclusion Committee. REUBEN TOLENTINO, CCM, DBIA, ENV SP, serves as principal and vice president at Psomas overseeing their Southern California public works construction management team. He has successfully 20 years of professional experience in construction project management.

being recognized for their accomplishments. And it’s about time! Women professionals are delivering high profile and successful projects and programs. “Having more women involved in the industry – public figures, those who are in positions of leadership – is an asset. It’s a testament to how their contributions have improved many industries and will continue in that direction as we welcome more diversity.” Three years ago the only female on my team was my assistant. Now, 30 percent of my professional workforce is women. It’s encouraging to see that a lot of the up- and-comers are strong, educated, smart women who look forward to being on construction jobs. That has helped them become successful. Having more women involved in the industry – public figures, those who are in positions of leadership, like yourself – is an asset. It’s a testament to how their

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