TZL 1468 (web)

The PDF edition of The Zweig Letter.

December 12, 2022, Issue 1468 WWW.ZWEIGGROUP.COM


Compensation for marketing professionals

$- $20,000 $40,000 $60,000 $80,000 $100,000 $120,000 $140,000

What stories is your firm telling, and, more importantly, how are they being received? The story and the science

I was recently in Dubai on business. My travel partner and I had a few hours to sightsee, so we took a trip to the top of the Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world at 2,722 feet. It’s an amazing feat of architecture and engineering and an appropriate activity for the two of us since we were working with a design firm there. Fast forward a few weeks and I was in Chicago, attending the NCSEA’s Structural Engineering Summit. Adrian Smith, the lead designer of the Burj Khalifa when he was with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (coincidentally the design firm behind the Sears Tower in Chicago – another famous tall building), gave one of the keynote addresses. He talked about the design, of course, and how it was inspired by the geometry of a Middle Eastern flower and by classic Islamic architecture. The building has a story. And he talked about the structure itself and the engineering challenges and solutions. There’s the science. This amazing building sits right at the intersection of story and science – and so do amazing design firms. At Zweig Group, our mission is to Elevate the Industry, and one of the ways we do that is through science – providing data, analysis tools, and our applied expertise. The science helps firm leaders make sense of the complexities of operating a business. How much should we pay people? How much is too much to spend on rent? What is the right utilization target for a senior project manager? The science is necessary, but it is not sufficient to elevate a business. You need stories too. What stories can you tell? ■ To your clients or prospective clients – what is your answer when asked: Why should they pick you, to do this, right now, in this place? ■ To your employees or recruits – what is your answer when asked: Why should they work here, doing this, right now, for you? ■ To your shareholders or rising stars – what is your answer when asked: Why should they invest their money or keep their money, right now, in this business? We’re approaching the end of a calendar year, and for most firms there’s a lot of science going on – year end reviews and compensation

2021 2022

FIRM INDEX AECOM......................................................................... 8 FXCollaborative Architects LLP ............... 10 JFK&M............................................................................2 KSA...................................................................................4 MASS Design Group ......................................... 12 OMA.............................................................................. 12 Perkins&Will ...............................................................2 Prairie Engineers, P.C. ........................................ 6 Skidmore, Owings & Merrill ........................... 1 Studio-MLA ............................................................. 12 Tutor Perini Corporation ...................................4 MORE ARTICLES n MITCH FORTNER: Ambition Page 3 n An employee-first approach: Lisa Kramer Page 6 n MARK NUSBAUM: Improving construction administration Page 9 n MARK ZWEIG: Put your BD people in charge of recruiting Page 11 Marketing spending as a percentage of NSR increased by nearly a point last year, however it’s still a percentage point lower than the 10-year average of 4.5 percent of NSR. On average, total compensation (base plus bonus) for marketing professionals increased by roughly 9 percent in 2022. Participate in a survey and save 50 percent on the final or pre- publication price of any Zweig Group research publication.

Tom Godin

See TOM GODIN, page 2



BUSINESS NEWS SHEARMAN & STERLING BRINGS WORKPLACE OF THE FUTURE TO LIFE Global law firm Shearman & Sterling has completed the transformation of its New York City headquarters at 599 Lexington Avenue. The modernized space is a testament to the firm’s commitment to fostering a more connected, inclusive and engaged global culture. Completed in two short years, the project provides an enhanced client experience that reinforces the firm’s environmental, social and governance goals, and reduces its overall carbon footprint. Shearman & Sterling elected to redesign the space before the COVID-19 pandemic, intending to create a workplace that anticipated the evolving needs of its growing and diverse talent base, and would continue to support excellence in client service. The 340,000-square- foot space features high-performance technologies, state-of-the-art workspaces, wellness amenities and COVID-19 safety features. The human-centric model illustrates the sustainability aspects of its redesign. “The redesign of our New York office marks the continuation of what will be a global investment in our firm’s culture and values,” said Kenneth Johnsen, executive director and chief operating officer at Shearman & Sterling. “Our people and clients are at the heart of everything we do. We value their well-being above all else, and our newly renovated global headquarters embodies the firm’s human-centric model.”

Integral to the redesign were sustainability, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility features. The Midtown Manhattan space now includes lighting and shade systems powered by recycled Ethernet cables, occupancy sensors, double-insulated glass, and other eco-conscious features. Equally apportioned office spaces, improved boardroom acoustics, artwork created by emerging diverse artists, and wheelchair accessibility throughout the building, reaffirm the firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. “Every detail of our 599 Lexington Avenue building was thoughtfully curated with our people, clients and global communities in mind,” said Arsha Cazazian-Clement, Director of Global Real Estate for Shearman & Sterling. “This is a pivotal time in our firm’s history, and we extend our gratitude to the hundreds of dedicated professionals who helped us bring this workplace of the future to life.” Shearman & Sterling is the first global law firm to participate in WELL Building Standard at an enterprise scale, committing its 22 global offices to pursue the WELL rating. The firm’s New York City headquarters is also on track for LEED Gold certification, a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership. The firm partnered with construction management firm L&K Partners, global architectural firm Perkins&Will, and an MEP engineering consulting firm, JFK&M, for the renovation of its New York office.

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adjustments, bonuses, financial year wrap up, and, of course, project work. I encourage everyone reading this to take a few minutes and inventory your stories. How do they sound? More importantly, how are they being received? If you find yourself needing help with the science or the story, please get in touch. Until then, happy holidays. Tom Godin is a strategic planning advisor at Zweig Group. Contact him at tgodin@ TOM GODIN, from page 1

ELEVATEHER® SYMPOSIUM Join Zweig Group and the newly inducted 2023 ElevateHER® Cohort at the ElevateHER® Symposium in Dallas on February 15, 2023. The symposium will include presentation overviews of the 2020, 2021, and 2022 ElevateHER® cohort’s research findings, team projects, powerful panel discussions, and DEI focused keynote presentations from industry change agents. Click here to learn more!

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.





To be effective over the long-term for an organization, our personal ambition must be grounded in mutual respect, collaborative teamwork, and integrity.

W ay back in the ancient days of 1991, as I was considering leaving the Federal Aviation Administration and re-entering the consulting world, I interviewed for a position with a national consulting engineering firm as a potential project engineer. The interview was with a former colleague/friend of mine and his supervisor, and I thought at the time that it had gone very well. We had a very interesting and far-ranging conversation.

Mitch Fortner, P.E.

Unfortunately, I never heard back from the folks I interviewed with. Sometime later, I asked my friend, “What ever became of that interview?” He said, “Mitch, we were looking for a project engineer, and you were clearly looking to become the president of the company.” In their defense, I’m certain there was more to the evaluation than that, and I probably didn’t match the candidate profile they were looking for. I may have given the impression that I was more interested in advancing my career than advancing their projects. That certainly wasn’t my mindset or my intention, as I was very interested in the position and doing good work for them. But now, looking back, that profound comment has

stuck with me for 31 years. I’ve often wondered if my ambition at the time was off-putting or otherwise offensive, and with that in mind, I thought I would flesh out some thoughts on ambition here. Let me just say up front, I believe career ambition is a fantastic quality in a candidate or employee. We interviewed a candidate recently who I believe expressed ambition appropriately and wisely. He appeared to be very willing to work hard and to learn from others with more experience as a way of growing into his next position at KSA. He was very focused on creating success for our clients and his co-workers, and he loved the description of our KSA University, our open-book management systems,

See MITCH FORTNER , page 4



BUSINESS NEWS FIVE STAR ELECTRIC AWARDED TWO CONTRACTS COLLECTIVELY VALUED AT APPROXIMATELY $90 MILLION Tutor Perini Corporation, a leading civil, building and specialty construction company, announced that its subsidiary, Five Star Electric, has been awarded two new contracts collectively valued at approximately $90 million. Five Star was awarded a design-build contract by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for a new two-story

substation building at JFK International Airport, which will provide power to the new JFK Terminal 1. The project scope of work for Five Star includes furnishing and installing 27kV switchgear, 15kV switchgear, medium-voltage cables, low-voltage power distribution equipment, security, lighting, fire alarm and other electrical systems. Five Star was also awarded the electrical component of a project to construct a new two-story substation building in

Jersey City, New Jersey. Five Star’s scope of work entails furnishing and installing all electrical systems, including switchgear, supervisory control and data acquisition systems, traction power transformers, medium-voltage and traction power cables, low-voltage power distribution equipment, security, lighting and testing, as well as all raceways and feeders. In addition, traction power feeders will be installed from the new substation building to the existing PATH tunnels.

expectations?” If the candidate responds by saying something like, “I have never missed a deadline or never completed a task below expectation,” then those are red flags that can be an indication that they are willing to say anything to get the position. Or it could be a lack of an appropriate level of personal introspection, both of which are concerns for us. If the candidate spends significant time blaming other team members for the situation, that is also a concern. Conversely, focusing on how the issues were mitigated and how the client success was the focus is a very good indicator. So, what does a positive career ambition perspective look like? It reveals itself when someone expresses not only a desire to advance their personal career, but also: ■ A strong desire to learn and grow their career related skills and knowledge to the point that they would become a good candidate for promotion. ■ A strong desire to work within the mission and values of the organization and to help advance the organization as they advance their personal careers. ■ A strong desire to help others succeed, including clients, co-workers, and supervisors. ■ An understanding that not everyone is skilled or talented in the same way, and that we can learn from one another and encourage one another to achieve mutual success, while acknowledging our differences. ■ An understanding that success is not usually the result of chance, but more often can be traced to hard work, sound judgment, and good decisions. I don’t believe that the pathway to personal success is purely formulaic. But I do know that desire, empathy, and work ethic go a long way to achieving career goals. I’d like for it to be known far and wide that KSA is looking for future leaders with career ambition. In fact, we recognize that the long-term success of our company depends in part upon that very endeavor. Fulfilling our mission of building people who build the future depends upon this too. And we desire to be laser focused on that mission as we serve our clients with integrity, quality work, respect, and a focus on the future. Mitch Fortner, P.E. is president and CEO of KSA. Contact him at

MITCH FORTNER , from page 3

and our quarterly profit-sharing program. I was very impressed and I’m hoping we can bring him onto the KSA team very soon. Further, I hope that he can achieve his career ambitions within KSA as we “build people who build the future.” What do I mean when I say his expression of ambition was “appropriate and wise”? That’s a great question. Among KSA’s core values are mutual respect, collaborative teamwork, and consistent integrity. I believe that all three of those values are vitally important as we consider what appropriate and wise career ambition looks like. To be effective over the long-term for an organization, our personal ambition must be grounded in all three of these core values. ■ Ambition without respect for those we work with (fellow employees) or those we work for (clients and supervisors) just doesn’t work out well over the long-term. As leaders, we should be focused on helping others to be successful, as we strive for personal success. We’ve all seen folks who were willing to make someone else look bad to make themselves look good. Leadership recognizes the potential in others and helps them achieve success. ■ Personal ambition without teamwork has a very similar look to it, and it doesn’t look like leadership. There are some specialty areas within the engineering and architecture professions that are commonly filled by sole proprietors, but even those folks must work with others outside their firm in a teamwork configuration. Successful teamwork at some level is required on every project endeavor that I can think of. Individuals who cannot work well with a team rarely achieve long-term career success in our industry. ■ Ambition without integrity is a pathway to ruin. Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. I’ve also heard it described as when our actions match our words or being truly authentic. Decouple integrity from personal ambition and what you wind up with is a person who is willing to say or do anything to achieve personal success. How do we, as the employer, identify these issues during an interview? As one example, when we ask candidates questions like, “What was one situation where you completely missed a deadline or completed a task that was not fulfilled within

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An employee-first approach: Lisa Kramer President of Prairie Engineers, P.C. (Columbia, IL), a firm made up of engineers, surveyors, and scientists focused on solving problems for public and private clients.


S he’s a woman on the move. Kramer founded Prairie Engineers, P.C. in 2010 and has since grown the firm to 75 employees in nine offices throughout the Mississippi Valley region. What’s her strategy? She tends to build locations and services around new hires and not the other way around. She takes an employee-first approach. “We’ve always been focused on finding the right employees to fit the firm’s values and have been less concerned with their location or particular skills. That’s why we’ve opened several offices around new hires who lived in different geographic areas and also expanded services when an employee has come in with unique skills,” she says. Prairie Engineers has also made a few firm acquisitions where they had a strong existing business relationship. Their experience with these firms confirmed the mutual opportunities and the long-term cultural fit. Being very employee focused and maintaining a happy place to work has been their key strategy. This is likely why they’ve been named a Best Firm To Work For by multiple entities, including Zweig Group .

Kramer says Prairie Engineers truly has a great team that enjoys working together and supports one another. The culture is strong and the staff is accustomed to a culture of constant change and evolution because it’s this environment that provides more opportunities for growth. EMPLOYEES DRIVE GROWTH. “We’re very open with information and share updates company-wide frequently, and work with individuals to make sure their contributions are meaningful to both the company and their own career objectives,” she adds. Prairie Engineers takes pride in planning, designing, and building infrastructure projects that enhance the livability of communities. They practice giving back by encouraging community service and participating in community organizations. So, when making a new hire, Kramer and her leadership staff look for certain things such as meaningful involvement in extra-curricular activities and professional societies. They also look for relevant jobs held during summer or part-time during



college. A sense of eagerness to learn, to be involved, and a true love of the profession are all key indicators of a potentially successful new hire. That’s likely why staff have the ability to move into a principal role early on in their career. Prairie Engineers has several principals in their 30s, because an enthusiasm to take on the role and the ability to collaborate and develop a team is all that’s really needed. “I believe as a woman- owned company it’s been easier to recruit women engineers, surveyors, and scientists and I’m proud of the fact that half of our leadership team are women.” “The diversity of viewpoints that comes from a variety of ages on the leadership team serves to make us stronger and builds community and camaraderie through the whole team,” she says. As a woman-owned firm, Prairie Engineers holds DBE and/or WBE status in multiple states in addition to their Small Business Administration certification as an 8(a), economically-disadvantaged and woman- owned small business. But, she’s been careful not to overuse those designations and to make sure that the firm gets a majority of work from outside sources. Early on, Prairie Engineers worked primarily for local and state governments in central Illinois. However, when the state went more than two years without a budget, the firm had no way to enter into new contracts or to pay their bills for existing contracts; their workload and cashflow suffered tremendously and they were forced to diversify their client base and geographic service area. Although they’re still doing state and some local government work in central Illinois, their largest market now is the federal government and it’s expanded throughout the Midwest and across the nation. “I do think that firms with a DBE or similar designation are sometimes thought of as providing only subcontracted services – not as a firm to prime a project,” Kramer shares. “But, on the flip side, I believe as a woman- owned company it’s been easier to recruit women engineers, surveyors, and scientists and I’m proud of the fact that half of our leadership team are women.”

OPPORTUNITIES TO SUCCEED. When she first founded Prairie Engineers, she had two pre-school age kids, so Prairie Engineers has always been very “family-friendly.” The parents on her team appreciate the flexibility the firm offers to work around kids’ schedules. And, flexibility is something that’s always been a part of the company culture. Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Prairie Engineers was a distributed company and an early adopter of Microsoft Teams for communications and project management. So, when this global workforce challenge hit, they were able to quickly pivot without much interruption to a fully-remote work environment. They also allowed telecommuting before COVID-19 and have continued that flexibility of work location and work schedule. Some people are fully remote and some work a hybrid schedule. Everyone’s needs are accommodated – whether that’s pursuing specific projects to get them the experience they are looking for or working with variable schedules and last-minute changes. “I’m a macro-manager,” she says. “I believe in making sure that people have the right tools and resources to do their jobs, and then get out of their way and let them do their work. I’m here for guidance and support, but overall, I’m pretty hands-off.” Kramer believes that the hallmarks of Prairie Engineers are flexibility and transparency. As a company, they’re very open with company financials, new initiatives, and future growth plans. They share a larger percentage of company profits with a third of the distribution pro-rated to everyone in the company and the remainder as performance based to all who have gone above and beyond. Their PTO policy is generous as well. Anyone with fewer than 10 years of industry experience receives 160 hours; more than 10 years gets 200 hours, plus additional loyalty hours for years worked. It’s this flexibility and transparency that are meeting their long- term goals. When we can align company goals with individual goals, we can achieve great things.” “It’s important for each person to plan their career and evaluate whether they





Columbia, IL

Champaign, IL

Hannibal, MO

Hazelwood, MO

Hillsboro, IL

Keokuk, IA

Springfield, IL

Vicksburg, MS

Washington, IL


Federal government


State and local government/education

Utilities and industry


Water resources




Surveying and mapping

Natural resources ecology


© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

EMBER 12, 2022, ISSUE 1468


BUSINESS NEWS AECOM TO SERVE AS OWNER’S ENGINEER FOR THE TORONTO TRANSIT COMMISSION’S BLOOR- YONGE CAPACITY IMPROVEMENTS PROJECT AECOM, the world’s trusted infrastructure consulting firm, announced it has been awarded a contract by the Toronto Transit Commission to serve as owner’s engineer for the Bloor-Yonge Capacity Improvements project. In this role, AECOM is expected to provide consulting services – including the utilization of lean project delivery and building information modeling – through all phases of the project, which aims to expand and modernize the transit hub to accommodate current and future ridership, improve accessibility and safety features, and enhance the customer experience. “Bloor-Yonge Station is a critical interchange – the busiest in Toronto’s subway system and one of the busiest in North America – and we’re thrilled to help deliver these important improvements for the community,” said Marc Devlin, chief executive of AECOM’s Canada region. “We’re proud to have delivered a diverse range of infrastructure projects as a trusted service provider to the TTC since 1979, including over ten years on the BYCI project, and are pleased to implement our deep understanding of their collaborative delivery approach,

design standards, and operating procedures to help them see this vital project through to completion.” Initially constructed in 1953, Bloor- Yonge Station is expected to experience significant ridership demand due to population growth in the Toronto area and the implementation of planned transit expansion initiatives. The BYCI project seeks to improve service levels for TTC customers by constructing a new Line 2 passenger platform, expanding both Line 1 passenger platforms, improving accessibility and safety, and enhancing the concourse level, entrances, and exits. “The BYCI project is a monumental next step in improving service levels and addressing ridership growth from within and outside the City of Toronto,” said Sean Chiao, chief executive of AECOM’s global Buildings + Places business. “We look forward to serving as the TTC’s righthand advisor in this role to help them realize this exciting undertaking. We’re proud to work in partnership with our clients, like the TTC, to deliver industry firsts, create sustainable outcomes, implement digital solutions, and improve mobility for communities around the globe.” AECOM is expected to provide services to the TTC through all project phases,

including detailed design, procurement, construction, commissioning, handover, and close-out. The firm’s scope is anticipated to include advisory services in the implementation of the delivery model, training and application of lean project delivery and BIM, development of project specific output specification, estimating and costing services, design document review, and other services in support of the project, including specific design assignments, as requested. AECOM is the world’s trusted infrastructure consulting firm, delivering professional services throughout the project lifecycle – from planning, design and engineering to program and construction management. On projects spanning transportation, buildings, water, new energy and the environment, our public- and private-sector clients trust AECOM to solve their most complex challenges. AECOM’s teams are driven by a common purpose to deliver a better world through its unrivaled technical expertise and innovation, a culture of equity, diversity and inclusion, and a commitment to environmental, social and governance priorities. AECOM is a Fortune 500 firm and its Professional Services business had revenue of $13.3 billion in fiscal year 2021.


ensures everyone is well informed of company objectives, encouraging everyone to pull together in the same direction. There are weekly discussions with discipline groups and market leads, monthly presentations for all employees where they share successes and failures, opportunities and goals. There are also bi-weekly lunch and learns where individuals and teams have a chance to showcase their projects and present lessons learned. “We also meet one-on-one with our discipline and market leads on a weekly basis just to talk about whatever is currently happening, and in turn, they meet weekly with each individual on their team,” Kramer says. “It’s these frequent one-on-one conversations that help to bring us closer together and gives everyone a chance to talk freely and address potential issues at the onset.” Kramer says that she anticipates continuing to grow in numbers and geographic coverage. She’s constantly sharing project pursuits and opportunities with the entire team, and listens to their feedback about what they like to do and what they want to gain experience in.

Prairie Engineers’ leadership team.

“While it may not be possible to meet these goals immediately, we do make an effort to pursue work to meet individual goals,” she says. “I think it’s important for each person to plan their career and evaluate whether they are meeting their long-term goals. When we can align company goals with individual goals, we can achieve great things.”

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




Changing your perspective and striving to always be present, aware, and reassuring will inspire confidence during construction administration. Improving construction administration

R ecently, I gave a talk to the staff at FXCollaborative on our responsibilities during construction administration. Knowing CA isn’t a topic that excites some architects, I tried a different tact. In lieu of discussing it as a laundry list of tasks to be accomplished, I turned it on its head and discussed it from the owner and CM’s perspective. Hoping to shift the paradigm, the discussion moved away from what we’re obligated to do, and toward what we want our client and the CM to feel.

Mark Nusbaum, AIA, LEED

Changing our perspective reprioritizes the goal of CA. No longer is it just about reviewing submittals and RFIs or issuing field reports. Now, it’s a leadership role wherein the primary purpose is to always be present, aware, and reassuring. In other words, the goal is to inspire confidence. This means continuously reminding your client and the CM that the design team is fully invested in bringing their project to fruition on schedule and within budget. This is done through actions, not words. But let’s be realistic – CA can be a grind. The endless cycle of submittals and RFIs is repetitive. Add in unexpected field conditions, scheduling pressures, and non-stop value engineering, and it becomes easy

to lose sight of the big picture. For this reason, the design team needs to move away from the minutiae, and instead toward the emotional impact of our work. It’s a small shift in our approach, but one that has the potential to deliver better outcomes for the client, CM, and design team. The following five steps reflect this idea and challenge us to rethink our approach to CA. Implementing these during construction sets the tone that the design team is fully on board. With this new approach, clients and CMs can be confident that goals will be met, and the design team can be satisfied they are adding value to the process.

See MARK NUSBAUM , page 10



The CM should clearly identify which submittals and RFIs are their highest priorities, and which can wait. The most important takeaway is that the CM knows that the design team is working on what is most urgent to them. Discussing these issues during a prep-session means that the design team is fully prepared with answers for the real thing. This form of “practice makes perfect” communicates to the owner that the design team and CM are on the same page. “The design team needs to move away from the minutiae, and instead toward the emotional impact of our work. This shift in approach has the potential to deliver better outcomes for the client, construction manager, and design team.” 5. Adopt the “I need it yesterday!” mentality. Adopt the attitude that everything we work on during CA was needed yesterday − even if it wasn’t. However unrealistic that mindset, it helps us understand where the client and the CM are coming from – meaning everything is urgent, and nothing is as reassuring to them as knowing the design team understands this. Adopting the “I need it yesterday” mentality means: † Being aware of the construction schedule. † Knowing the status of every submittal and RFI under review. † Making every effort to respond quickly to the CM’s priorities for submittals, RFIs, and field issues. † Being responsive when answering emails and returning phone calls, especially from the owner. † Setting up Zoom calls with the CM to work through problematic submittals, RFIs, or trade coordination issues. † Working efficiently with the CM to close out the project so users can occupy the building ASAP. Understanding “urgent” is the best way to let the owner know that the design team is fully engaged in the process and is being responsive to the CM’s priorities. Construction is tough enough, and projects rarely − if ever − go perfectly. Scheduling and cost issues occur, and unexpected field issues cause disruptions. However, by following these five recommendations, issues can be mitigated or dealt with quickly. Along the way you will inspire confidence in the owner and CM by providing a fundamentally different way of performing CA. Mark Nusbaum, AIA, LEED is principal and director of technical design at FXCollaborative Architects LLP. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

MARK NUSBAUM , from page 9

1. Feel their pain; get in their heads. Understanding the needs of the owner and CM is necessary to inspire confidence. Seeing the project from their perspective means understanding the scheduling and budgetary pressures they face. Remember – they need to answer to someone too, whether it be investors, banks, or bosses. Putting yourself in their shoes is one way to reassure the CM and owner that you understand what keeps them up at night. “Feeling their pain” lets the owner and CM know that you’re a team player who can see the project from their point of view. 2. Be prepared. Design teams should have well-established internal protocols developed for CA. Set up an internal CA meeting for your staff well in advance of the construction kick-off to review workflows and responsibilities. This will include reviewing the contract with the owner to ensure all bases are covered and reaching out to the CM to confirm the construction kick-off date. Showing the owner and CM that the design team is prepared “Day 1” is a good step to inspiring confidence. 3. Build relationships before kick-off. Prior to the construction kick-off, set up a meeting with the CM and owner. Use this time to identify key personnel and establish efficient workflows for submittals and RFIs. Understand that CMs have well-established procedures for how they work, which might not be compatible with the design team. For this reason, discussions about submittal and RFI workflows, field reporting, drawing issuances, and requisitions need to be hashed out before construction begins. Building relationships early on creates trust and signals to the CM that we’re serious about getting the job done while reassuring the owner that all parties are working together. 4. Practice makes perfect. Finger pointing in an owner- architect-contractor meeting is never a good look. For this reason, schedule discussions between the CM and design team before the OAC meeting. During this “pre-OAC” session, discuss the status of each open submittal and RFI. Items that are late should be identified along with the actions needed to remedy them. Additionally, field issues that require sketches from the design team should be reviewed. The CM should have a firm commitment from the team as to when each issue will be resolved. “Construction administration can be a grind. The endless cycle of submittals and RFIs is repetitive. Add in unexpected field conditions, scheduling pressures, and non-stop value engineering, and it becomes easy to lose sight of the big picture.”

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




This could greatly impact your firm’s ability to grow and adapt to a changing environment. Put your BD people in charge of recruiting

G etting tired of having all kinds of people needs and not having any good candidates? Does your business plan call for adding certain types of expertise you don’t have, yet you really don’t know where you will find those people? I have the solution. Put your best business developers in charge of recruiting!

Mark Zweig

Recruiting is selling, plain and simple. You need to completely rethink your dysfunctional and outmoded idea that recruiting is all about keeping bad people out of your firm. It’s not! It is about getting good people INTO the firm. It’s about selling people on the idea that their careers are better served at your firm than wherever they are at present. Period. If you accept this idea then it only follows that you need your best sellers out there selling – selling people on coming to work for your firm – then you need to actually figure out how to do it. Because ideas are a dime a dozen. It’s implementation of them that matters.

Just like any sales process, you need to define the steps in the recruitment process, and then track and report on the performance metrics that match up with your process. For example – how many people did you contact to attempt to recruit for any specific job opening over any given time period? How many of those were willing to meet? How many offers were made? How many offers accepted? How long did it take to fill each opening from the time you started recruiting until the person started for work? These are similar metrics you would use for business development but applied to recruiting. These metrics need to be shared widely and discussed in regular

See MARK ZWEIG , page 12



BUSINESS NEWS LABC’S 52ND ARCHITECTURAL AWARDS HONOR DESIGN PROJECTS THAT BUILD COMMUNITY AND CREATE MEANINGFUL, INCLUSIVE SPACES The Los Angeles Business Council announced the winners of its 52nd Architectural Awards, celebrating ambitious projects that exemplify architecture’s unique power to build community, starting with inviting people to actively participate in the design process. More than four dozen projects were recognized for design innovation, with the Grand Prize going to Sixth Street Viaduct Bridge and the Chairman’s Award to the Audrey Irmas Pavilion at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple. “This year the LABC is honoring projects that represent more than a particular style of building, but rather a way of approaching design that listens to and learns from the people and places in the surrounding community,” said Mary Leslie, president of the Los Angeles Business Council. “Our honorees demonstrate that if you take a holistic approach to the design process and collaborate with diverse stakeholders to create a shared vision, the result will be a design with the biggest possible impact.” Community building was the driving force behind the Grand Prize winning Sixth Street Viaduct Bridge. Dubbed the “Ribbon of Light,” the 3,500-foot cinematic icon is a network tied arch structure defined by 10 pairs of arches rising and falling above the LA River and city below. Replacing a landmark 1932 structure, the design is the product of an international design competition, emphasizing the city’s commitment to making the new bridge a true reflection of the community. Planned not just as

a multi-modal link but as a destination, the bridge has been transformed from an auto-centric structure to one that embraces walkability and connection with wider sidewalks, bicycle lanes and new opportunities for green space. “The design of the new Sixth Street Viaduct is an architectural, engineering and cultural triumph,” said Deborah Weintraub, AIA, the city’s chief architect and the chief deputy city engineer, who accepted the Grand Prize award for the project. “It reflects the city of Los Angeles’ ambition to create a new standard for infrastructure that is a community destination, a key element of our multi-modal transportation network, and visually captivating.” Nearly 500 leading architects, designers, building owners, developers and city and state officials gathered at the awards ceremony. Winners were selected by a jury panel of industry experts, including architects, construction firms, owners, and developers. Michael Murphy, architect, author, educator, and founding principal of MASS Design Group, whose pioneering work in Rwanda and the U.S. is changing the way the built environment is being drawn upon to solve the climate and social crises we face, delivered the keynote. The Audrey Irmas Pavilion at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple took home the esteemed LABC Chairman’s award. Designed by OMA’s Shohei Shigematsu, the dramatic trapezoidal building covered in hexagonal stone tiles is a multi-purpose event space built for celebration and community. Situated next to the historic Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Koreatown, the Pavilion

answers the community’s call for a gathering place where people can come together for religious and cultural events. Destination Crenshaw, the nation’s largest art and cultural celebration of the African American community, won the prestigious Community Impact Award. A community-driven project, Destination Crenshaw was conceived as a “reparative development project,” designed as a living celebration of Black Los Angeles. Consisting of more than 100 permanent and rotating art installations, ten new public parks, exhibits, and new streetscapes, this public art and cultural experience runs along 1.3 miles of Crenshaw Boulevard and the new Crenshaw/LAX Metro line. “Los Angeles continues to set the standard for design and construction that strengthens our communities, and celebrates cultural and social change,” said Mayor-elect Karen Bass. “I was proud to help secure funding in Congress for Destination Crenshaw, which will promote cultural tourism in the heart of South Los Angeles, and have also laid the groundwork for more federal dollars to assist this important undertaking.” One of Los Angeles’ most accomplished architects, Mia Lehrer, president of Studio-MLA, received the second annual LA Community Legacy Award, for her expansive vision to improve quality of life through landscape architecture. Mia has led the design and implementation of ambitious public and private projects including the Hollywood Park Racetrack redevelopment and SoFi Stadium, the LA County Natural History Museum Gardens, and the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

to a changing environment. Don’t you think it makes sense to rethink it? Mark Zweig is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at “You need to completely rethink your dysfunctional and outmoded idea that recruiting is all about keeping bad people out of your firm. It’s not! It is about getting good people into the firm.”

MARK ZWEIG , from page 11

management or operations meetings just like marketing metrics are. I think one place AEC firms fall down is they rely on the HR people to do their recruiting, and a lot of HR people (not all) really aren’t trained nor oriented to be sales people. That’s why they went into HR in the first place instead of marketing. They (HR folks) are geared to training, development, and minimizing liability exposure, but not geared to selling. Get the right people in the right roles, right? I think this is a really important subject that is greatly impacting the ability of many firms in this business to grow and adapt

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