TZL 1413 (web)

T R E N D L I N E S Outside marketing consultants O c t o b e r 1 8 , 2 0 2 1 , I s s u e 1 4 1 3 W W W . T H E Z W E I G L E T T E R . C O M

These fundamentals are an important part of your firm’s healthy diet. Technology basics

F I R M I N D E X ADEC Innovations...................................2 Cameron Cole, LLC. ...............................2 Choice One Engineering........................10 Dewberry..............................................12 MKN.......................................................6 SCS Engineers........................................4 Studio Current. .....................................10 Ware Malcomb........................................8 WRNS Architecture...............................10 MO R E A R T I C L E S xz EDUARDO SMITH: Are you built for growth? Page 3 xz Guide and support: Mike Nunley Page 6 xz MATT HOYING: Collaboration consideration Page 9 xz MARK ZWEIG: Market sector-based organization structures Page 11 In Zweig Group’s 2021 Marketing Report of AEC Firms , firm participants were asked if they had hired outside marketing consultants for activities like strategic marketing planning, public/ media relations, and video preparation among many other things. Just over half (57 percent) of firms said they had used outside consultants. When broken down by firm staff size as seen in the chart above, we see that larger firms were more likely to hire marketing consultants, specifically once firms surpass 100 full-time employees. Participate in a survey and save 50 percent on the final or pre- publication price of any Zweig Group research publication.

M y appreciation for vegetables came later in life. I’m no expert in good nutrition, but I’m sure that eating some fruits and veggies, drinking water, and watching the empty calories are all part of a healthy diet. These nutritional basics aren’t as exciting as bacon- wrapped bacon, and they can be easy to forget. Zweig Group cares about nutrition, so consider this a reminder to “eat your spinach.” Threats to the continuity of your firm’s operations are all around you. Hackers and assorted bad actors want to deny you access to your networks and use them for their own purposes. They want to hold files hostage and extract ransom. You don’t have time for that! Your clients won’t have the patience to deal with your downtime, and your employees want to do their work without these interruptions. You are probably entrusting your technology infrastructure to skilled professionals, and that’s smart. But you are still responsible for the hardware, software, and networks that your staff depend on. If you haven’t talked to your professionals lately about the IT basics at your firm, please get something on the calendar today. Here are 10 questions to get the conversation flowing, those basics covered, and 1) Are your systems (servers, laptops, firewalls, switches, Wi-Fi access points) up to date with the latest OS and manufacturers’ updates and are you keeping up with security bulletins? 2) What is your hardware replacement policy, and are you executing on that? (Hint: Your staff love getting new laptops! Consider a three-year replacement cycle.) 3) Are your staff all using the same, up-to-date versions of your productivity tools and professional software? NETWORK: 4) Are your internet services up to the task of serving in-office and remote users? 5) How many employees have complained about poor internet at home? (Another hint: Figure out how to help!) SECURITY: the threats mitigated. HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE: 6) How is your critical data getting backed up? Do you have onsite and offsite backups? (Your facilities are still subject to disasters like fire, flooding, and power problems.) 7) How often are you conducting test restore operations? A backup isn’t a backup unless it can be used when needed.

Tom Godin

See TOM GODIN, page 2



BUSINESS NEWS ADEC INNOVATIONS ACQUIRES CAMERON-COLE ADEC Innovations , a recognized global leader in designing, developing, and delivering solutions and services in critical areas of sustainable development, announced it has completed its acquisition of Cameron Cole, LLC , a full- service environmental services and regulatory compliance consulting firm with nationwide operations in the United States. Zweig Group, a full-service AEC management advisory firm, represented buying firm ADEC Innovations in this transaction. John Bray, an advisor with Zweig Group’s M&A team, served as the company’s lead advisor on the engagement, working alongside managing principal Jamie Claire Kiser and senior analyst Drake Hamilton. “It was clear from the onset that these were two firms that identified with one another culturally, and this partnership will provide opportunities to both sides that previously weren’t available,” Bray said. “We are excited to see how Cameron- Cole and ADEC Innovations will work together to continue building a sustainable future for their clients.” With this acquisition, ADEC Innovations expands and extends its pure-play environmental and sustainability consulting business, currently operating under the brand names of FirstCarbon Solutions and ADEC Innovations ESG Solutions. Cameron-Cole brings full-service remediation, compliance and permitting, due diligence, waste, groundwater, wastewater, and hydrogeological services. The addition of Cameron-Cole increases ADEC Innovations’ depth and reach in environmental and regulatory compliance, air quality and greenhouse gas services, and environmental assessments. “Zweig Group was instrumental in identifying companies that were a cultural match and extended ADEC Innovations geographic reach,

technical expertise, and leadership depth,” said James M. Donovan Global CEO ADEC Innovations. “When Zweig Group introduced ADEC Innovations to Cameron-Cole, we immediately recognized how both companies would be able to expand our Environmental, Social and Governance solutions and service offerings and further advance sustainable business and operational practices across the United States – and around the world.” While Cameron-Cole will continue its commitment to provide critical environmental compliance services to its clients, it will now expand its geographical reach beyond the United States. Further, it will have seamless access to ADEC Innovations’ software and data management and processing capabilities that will enable it to provide more extensive and effective client solutions to its clients. Cameron- Cole’s suite of products and services will now include California Environmental Quality Act and National Environmental Policy Act compliance, climate change, life cycle assessments, and sustainability consulting. As a result of this latest investment, ADEC Innovations expands its United States office presence to Colorado and Florida. Cameron- Cole employees will join the 4,500 strong workforce that ADEC Innovations has across 24 sites located in 17 countries across six continents. Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the leading research, publishing, and consulting resource for the built environment. The firm provides strategy, mergers and acquisitions, business valuation, ownership transition, marketing, business development, market research, financial management, project management, recruiting and executive search services nationwide.

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TOM GODIN, from page 1

8) Do you have anti-malware/virus protection installed on every system, is the protection up-to-date, and do you run scheduled scans frequently? 9) What are your password and two-factor authentication policies and are they being enforced? 10) How often do you remind your staff about the elements of good computer security hygiene? There are a billion issues competing for the attention of AEC leaders and their IT professionals. Occasionally – and maybe more often than that – you should go back to the basics. Grab some carrot and celery sticks and review fundamental technology status and policy with your team – today. TOM GODIN is a strategic planning advisor with Zweig Group. Contact him at

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

Email: Online: Twitter: Facebook: Group-1030428053722402

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Zweig Group’s 2021 ElevateAEC Conference & Awards Gala Zweig Group is thrilled to announce that the annual in-person ElevateAEC Conference & Awards Gala will return in Denver, November 3-5. Click here to learn more or to register for the AEC industry’s top in-person learning and networking event of the year.

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




Are you built for growth?

With more work than we can handle and the current recruiting challenges we face, we need to be sure that our organizations have the foundations for sustained growth.

I started my career in the environmental consulting industry in the early 1990s. In the 30 years since, only the few years leading up to the Great Recession have rivaled the present for growth in our industry. Many firms are experiencing difficulties just keeping up with the work that’s walking in the door, and hiring difficulties are exacerbating the problem. I can’t recall how many times I’ve heard managers refer to the difficulty of finding the “unicorn” (perfect candidate) they aspire to bring on board.

Eduardo Smith

So, with more work than we can handle and the recruiting headwinds we face, we need to be sure that our organizations have the foundations for sustained growth. In essence, we need to instill a growth culture. WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO GROW THE BUSINESS. No doubt, there are firms that are satisfied being busy enough, offering niche services, and maintaining a size that is comfortable for their owners and employees. That fits their definition of success, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, there are valid reasons why growth is important: ❚ ❚ It provides career growth opportunities. In today’s employee-favored market, growth

opportunities are essential for attracting and retaining staff. Research shows that opportunity for advancement is (nearly) as important as salary when making job choices. If your firm isn’t growing, staff will probably recognize that opportunities for upward mobility are limited. ❚ ❚ Profitable growth typically leads to an increase in the company’s valuation. Whether in a privately held firm, ESOP, or publicly traded company, increasing the return to shareholders is typically a company priority. Profitable growth not only enlarges the bottom line, but enables investment that can further enhance the firm’s value.




ON THE MOVE AMES & GOUGH APPOINTS LAUREN RHODES MARTIN AS RISK MANAGEMENT AND CLAIMS SPECIALIST FOCUSING ON DESIGN FIRMS Ames & Gough, a leading insurance broker and risk management consultant specializing in serving design professionals, law firms, associations/nonprofits and other professional service organizations, today announced the appointment of Lauren Rhodes Martin as risk management and claims specialist focusing on the firm’s architect and engineer accounts. In her new role, Martin, who is based in the Ames & Gough Washington, D.C. office, will work directly with the firm’s partners and client executives on all aspects of design firm clients’ risk management, including contract reviews, claims advocacy, loss prevention training and advice. Ames & Gough currently has more than 1,700 design firm clients in all parts of the U.S.

“As many parts of the country emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, design firms face the challenge of balancing exciting growth opportunities with a dynamic operating environment marked by accelerating and complex risks,” said Matt Gough, president, Ames & Gough. “With her vast insurance industry experience and career-long focus on architects and engineers Lauren brings a valuable and timely resource to our team and clients. We’re delighted that she is joining our team and look forward to her contributions to our clients and our firm.” Martin joins Ames & Gough following a distinguished career of nearly 35 years at CNA, where she held positions of increasing responsibility in claims and client management, culminating with her appointment in 2018 as A/E Platinum Accounts Director. For more than three decades she was directly responsible for

handling architect and engineer errors and omissions claims. With more than 1,700 architects, engineering firms, and other construction professionals of all sizes as clients, Ames & Gough is the leading specialty insurance brokerage and risk consulting firm serving the needs of these professionals. Ames & Gough also has established itself as a committed, superior resource for law firms and associations and nonprofit organizations in need of professional liability, management liability, and property/ casualty insurance and risk management assistance. Established in 1992, the firm has offices in Boston, Massachusetts; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Orlando, Florida; and Washington, D.C. Clients throughout the U.S. are served by a team of more than 40 professionals and staff located in the four offices.

EDUARDO SMITH, from page 3

in keeping with the overall vision, mission, and values. The firm must also have an appropriate staff mix so the concept of leverage can be applied. Leaders must have the time available to lead and managers must be able to manage. They can’t all be buried in project work. ❚ ❚ Be selective in both hiring staff and accepting new clients. Hire good people before you are desperate to fill an opening. Even if you are in a pinch, don’t settle for just anyone, or you will be spending your time and money managing turnover. A few years ago after a bad experience, I vowed to never again “settle” on a new hire. I read Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Ideal Team Player , and made it required reading for all our hiring managers. We began incorporating the principles from the book in evaluating candidates: Are they humble, hungry, and smart? Since then, our interview and hiring process has drastically improved and our retention has increased significantly. When considering new clients, I suggest taking a critical look at the resources needed to serve existing clients and be careful not to put those clients in jeopardy for one-off projects with new clients. Also consider passing on those clients that are pushing toward commoditizing our consulting work and make contracting decisions solely based on price. ❚ ❚ Develop processes that support your practitioners and provide consistency. It may be that you were able to get this far without formal processes for things like project planning, forecasting, client feedback, and other functions. And you may allow project and client service managers to run projects and handle clients according to their own discretion. But growth-oriented firms should be seeking more consistent outcomes across all their clients, projects, and operations. Standards and processes also facilitate more efficient onboarding of new staff. Consistency is critical to building a durable brand and gaining your clients’ confidence. Whether growth comprises your firm’s future aspiration or its current desperation, equipping your firm to accommodate it effectively gives you the best chance to succeed for the long haul. EDUARDO SMITH, P.E. is senior vice president of client success at SCS Engineers. Contact him at

❚ ❚ It’s a measure of winning in the marketplace. And everyone wants to associate with winners, whether they’re employees or clients. ARE YOU PREPARED FOR GROWTH? Just because growth comes easily doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. Growth pressures can strain a company to its breaking point. This is particularly true for a firm that doesn’t have a growth culture – that is, one where the pursuit of and adaptation to growth is embedded in the way it conducts its business. Even firms that have experienced periods of rapid growth aren’t necessarily built for it. “Whether growth comprises your firm’s future aspiration or its current desperation, equipping your firm to accommodate it effectively gives you the best chance to succeed for the long haul.” Is your firm well positioned for growth? Below are a few things to consider when evaluating your firm’s preparedness for growth: ❚ ❚ Make sure your leadership team is on board. That means every one of your leaders is dedicated to the firm’s growth, realizing that the status quo is no longer in the cards. All must buy in; teamwork is critical. I’ve come across organizations in which senior staff work as if they had their own private practice. They are “eating what they kill,” don’t work as a team, and don’t employ the concept of leverage – pushing work down to staff at the appropriate level or skill set. Sustainable growth will rarely occur in such environments, as every senior practitioner is their own growth limiter. ❚ ❚ Have a functional structure to manage the growth. I’ve seen organizations that are too flat. They cannot accommodate growth because practically all decisions run through one or a few people. Instead, you need competent, empowered managers who will run their divisions or groups

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.


The most anticipated conference and awards gala in AEC is just two weeks away!

Featuring keynote speakers - Sandra M. Parét, AIA, IIDA | CEO at STG Design Richard Worsham | Co-Founder of Janus Motorcycles


For group registrations and discounts, or any other inquiries about the conference, please contact Or visit for more details. There is still time to register, do not miss this long-awaited opportunity to learn, celebrate, and elevate the industry together with your AEC peers.




Guide and support: Mike Nunley CEO and president of MKN (Arroyo Grande, CA), a firm specializing in water, wastewater, and water reuse engineering for public agencies.


A fter serving as a project engineer, project manager, branch manager, and ultimately a senior operations manager and vice president for a Fortune 500 consulting engineering firm, Nunley started MKN. His team provides forward-thinking water, wastewater, and water reuse solutions to public agencies and private clients throughout central and southern California. “Technical expertise, communication skills, and the ability to motivate and organize others are all necessary for success, and I aspire to improve my abilities in all these areas,” Nunley says. “These are also the skills we look for in our company’s leaders.” A CONVERSATION WITH MIKE NUNLEY. The Zweig Letter: Your firm specializes in water, wastewater, and water reuse engineering for public agencies. What are the most notable concerns/needs for clients now compared to when you started the firm nearly 10 years go? Any significant changes?

Mike Nunley: I think the greatest challenge we face is climate change; it will affect water supply and wastewater facilities across the state. The impact on wildfires and drought conditions has already been significant. It will require investment from federal, state, and local resources to mitigate risk and relocate or harden critical infrastructure. We have worked with several clients to develop climate change adaptation and mitigation plans for their facilities. Our firm also helps clients secure and manage grants and loans to reduce impact on ratepayers, and we provide staff extension services, design, construction management, and all other services necessary to help them fund and implement projects. Another major challenge is the retiring workforce and need for water operators, engineers, and utility professionals at all levels, who have jobs that are much more complicated than they were even 20 years ago. The move to One Water from the formerly separated fields of water, wastewater, recycled water, and stormwater are



resulting in new certifications, skill sets, and responsibilities. Our firm focuses on partnering with our clients to deliver the resources they do not have in-house. For many of our clients, we provide staff extension, program management, and project management services to help meet their needs. In other cases, we provide the design and construction management team they cannot staff internally. “We’ve been aggressively recruiting to stay ahead of our clients’ needs, implementing staff referral bonuses, highly competitive benefits such as wellness stipends and education reimbursement.” TZL: How do you anticipate COVID-19 permanently impacting your firm’s policy on telecommuting? MN: We’ve seen our senior staff adapt very well, so we plan to continue allowing remote work. This opens more opportunities to recruit staff too. The greatest challenges have been with entry-level engineers. They really need to interact with senior staff to learn and grow. We are trying to encourage the staff who need support and mentoring to be in the office, while still allowing flexibility to accommodate their own personal needs and challenges, especially during the pandemic. TZL: How much time do you spend working “in the business” rather than “on the business?” MN: I find it is a challenge to balance the work required to manage a rapidly- growing firm while still managing my own deliverables for clients. I would say it is 50/50. I started the firm because I love engineering and I continue to work on projects for clients. I have personally worked for some of these agencies for 15 to 20 years, so I have history on their facilities and programs. I also enjoy working with junior staff and taking part in their development and find that projects are the most efficient way to train staff and share knowledge. TZL: What skills are required to run a successful practice? What do you wish you knew starting out that you know now? MN: Technical expertise, communication

skills, and the ability to motivate and organize others are all necessary for success, and I aspire to improve my abilities in all these areas. These are also the skills we look for in our company’s leaders. Prior to starting out, I wish I had a stronger background in tax planning. I’ve learned on the job and have also hired an experienced accounting firm and tax credit specialist to lead these efforts. It’s made a big difference in our financial success. TZL: Are you using the R&D tax credit? If so, how is it working for your firm? If not, why not? MN: Yes – the past few years we’ve pursued R&D tax credits. It has made a huge difference in the tax liability for firm owners, which directly benefits the company. TZL: Does your firm work closely with any higher education institutions to gain access to the latest technology, experience, innovation, and/or recruiting to find qualified resources? MN: Yes, we are a platinum sponsor of the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s Civil & Environmental Engineering Department and are involved at Fresno State University and University of California at Irvine. We use these as opportunities for finding interns, entry-level hires, and for partnering with faculty on projects as opportunities arise. “Technical expertise, communication skills, and the ability to motivate and organize others are all necessary for success, and I aspire to improve my abilities in all these areas.” TZL: Have you had a particular mentor who has guided you – in school, in your career, or in general? Who were they and how did they help? MN: My first boss and mentor was a water treatment engineer at a consulting firm in Blacksburg, Virginia. He was an excellent mentor and routinely redlined my work, provided constructive feedback and detailed guidance, took me out in the field, and gave me a strong interest in treatment. I had a great experience See GUIDE AND SUPPORT, page 8





❚ ❚ Arroyo Grande, CA

❚ ❚ Irvine, CA

❚ ❚ Oceanside, CA

❚ ❚ Bakersfield, CA

❚ ❚ Newhall, CA

❚ ❚ Fresno, CA

❚ ❚ Ventura, CA


❚ ❚ Infrastructure

❚ ❚ Treatment

❚ ❚ Planning and hydraulic modeling

❚ ❚ Program management

❚ ❚ Construction management

MKN’S PROMISE: From planning to design to construction, the MKN team goes above and beyond to add value to clients’ projects, and make their water resource system a reality. MKN knows that conserving water is critical for California, which makes it critical that its clients’ projects succeed.

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

OBER 18, 2021, ISSUE 1413


ON THE MOVE WARE MALCOMB ANNOUNCES PROMOTION OF KATE LYLE TO DIRECTOR, INDUSTRIAL COLD & FOOD Ware Malcomb , an award-winning international design firm, announced Kate Lyle has been promoted to Director, Industrial Cold & Food in the firm’s Irvine, California headquarters office. In this role, Lyle leads the growth of Ware Malcomb’s Industrial Cold & Food Studio across North America. A licensed architect in the state of California with over 16 years of experience, Lyle specializes in complex project types, including cold storage, food processing and manufacturing. Other project types she is well versed in include industrial, office, retail and government. “Kate has brought great momentum to Ware Malcomb and is a demonstrated thought leader in the cold building industry, on both the regional and national level,” said Greg Spon, Director, Architecture of Ware Malcomb’s Irvine office. “We look forward to her continued contributions, especially as the industrial cold and food sector continues to grow across the country.”

Lyle joined Ware Malcomb in 2019 as Senior Project Architect and was promoted to Studio Manager, Industrial Cold & Food in 2020. As a sought after thought leader, she has authored many articles and contributed to multiple publications related to cold buildings. In addition, she has spoken on the topic of cold buildings at numerous regional and national conferences, including the 2021 NAIOP I.CON West and the 2020 NAIOP CRE.Converge conferences. Lyle holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley and is an active member of the Controlled Environments Building Association. Ware Malcomb is an industry leader in cold building projects, a unique and highly specialized sector that includes cold storage, food processing and production facilities, cold laboratories, and cold medical and pharmaceutical facilities. The firm has developed an innovative speculative cold building design prototype creating a new asset class of commercial real estate. Ware Malcomb combines this knowledge with the latest developments in technology, trucking, rail, automation and third-party logistics to

innovative buildings and sites that are highly functional. 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, Ware Malcomb 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.

GUIDE AND SUPPORT, from page 7

working with him and learning how he managed projects and clients. TZL: While I understand you do not have a crystal ball, what are the greatest challenges you see ahead? How do you plan to meet them? MN: I think the greatest challenges ahead for all of our industry’s firms is the increased demand in the water resources infrastructure market coupled with competition for staff in California. We continue to pursue innovative strategies to recruit and retain staff. We’ve been aggressively recruiting to stay ahead of our clients’ needs, implementing staff referral bonuses, highly competitive benefits such as wellness stipends and education reimbursement. Additionally, a little over one year ago, we began employee engagement programs to entice and retain team members. “I think the greatest challenge we face is climate change; it will affect water supply and wastewater facilities across the state. The impact on wildfires and drought conditions has already been significant.” TZL: How many years of experience – or large enough book of business – is enough to become a principal in your firm? Are you naming principals in their 20s or 30s?

The South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District selected MKN in February 2019 to provide project management services for the Wastewater Treatment Plant Redundancy Project.

MN: While many of our principals are in their 40s and older, we have principals in their 30s too. We aren’t tied to an arbitrary experience level – I look for leaders in either operations or technical practices who can operate independently, meet clients’ expectations, and are excellent outside representatives of the firm. TZL: In one word or phrase, what do you describe as your number one job responsibility? MN: To guide and support my team, so they can support our clients.

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




Collaboration consideration

Implementing strategies to enhance collaboration can lead to better projects, better productivity, and better profits.

C ollaboration: What jobseeker doesn’t mention a passion for collaboration? Engineering professionals talk about collaboration within teams and with clients, subconsultants, agencies, and partners. But do we really collaborate or are we just using a buzzword to attract and impress?

Matt Hoying

Collaboration is a culture and a choice. Some firms and individuals don’t view a collaborative environment as a crucial tool for achieving success. However, for those firms that have built a culture around collaboration, it is vitally important to get that collaboration right in every aspect of the business to be as successful as intended. When collaboration is key to a company’s culture, it permeates through all aspects of the business: strategy, leadership, people development, business structure, and organizational performance. Therefore, getting it right is important. Saying collaboration is collaborative is one thing, but making that collaboration effective is something

else entirely. This is the difference between collaboration as a buzzword and collaboration as a differentiator. TEST FOR COLLABORATION. So, is your team truly collaborating or just talking about it? One simple litmus test for understanding the collaboration within any organization is to listen for “we” and “our” in conversations about projects or initiatives versus “I” and “my.” A collaborative mindset will create a team-based, shared responsibility for the success (or failure) of a project and this will show up in conversation. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with the “I/my” mindset in many cases, but if you want to cultivate collaboration, it’s a

See MATT HOYING, page 10



BUSINESS NEWS URBAN CATALYST SUBMITS FORMAL ENTITLEMENTS FOR ICON/ECHO TOWERS IN DOWNTOWN SAN JOSE Urban Catalyst announced it has submitted its Site Development Permit and Vesting Tentative Tract Map for its Icon/Echo project, slated to bring new office space and residential units to downtown San Jose. Located at 147 E Santa Clara Street in the heart of downtown, Icon/Echo will create more than 300 multifamily apartment units and 420,000 square feet of Class-A office space.

The development encompasses about two acres of land and is catty-corner with City Hall and within one block of a future BART station. The transit-oriented development is part of the federal Opportunity Zone tax relief program. In addition to this key milestone, Urban Catalyst has completed the conforming rezone process for the project to align with the City’s General Plan, and has received approval of the initial Tentative Map for the project land. Urban Catalyst has purchased two of the four parcels needed for the development and is

under contract to purchase the remaining two. The project is being designed by WRNS Architecture in coordination with Studio Current . WRNS Studio works with today’s most transformative organizations to steward their brands with exceptional architecture. Studio Current is an urban design and architecture firm focused on creative infill projects and reinventing the urban environment.

MATT HOYING, from page 9

and people weren’t as comfortable going over to the next cubicle or rolling their chair over to their neighbor to discuss an idea. However, the solution to creating effective collaboration in today’s environment is, at its core, the same as it was pre-pandemic: Be intentional. Be committed to the goal and vision of collaboration. The vehicle in which we get there may be a little different, but whether you take a boat, a plane, or a car, if you end up at the beach watching the sunset does it really matter? If you don’t feel like your environment is as collaborative as you would like, some tools/tips that can be effective to further develop that environment include the following. ❚ ❚ Improve communication. Without communication, true collaboration can’t happen. Train your team on how to lead powerful conversations, suspend judgement, and give and receive feedback. When the team can communicate effectively, they can begin to collaborate effectively. If there is an individualistic mindset (“I/my”) and individuals view feedback as an attack, there isn’t true collaboration. Feedback needs to be viewed as an attempt to make the project or team better. Everyone must be willing to give and take constructive criticism to benefit from collaboration. ❚ ❚ Provide time to collaborate. Collaboration at the end of a project may still be useful, but keep in mind that last-minute changes and rushed fixes are no one’s idea of fun and can lead to poor quality. If it’s a priority, collaborate early and often. ❚ ❚ Take an aerial view of your workspace. If you could hover above your workspace and observe where people are sitting, how they move about, and who they interact with, what would you see? Look at how your workspace is set up. Are you arranged in departments where all transportation engineers sit together, or is your transportation engineer sitting next to a site designer and shares a cubicle with a landscape architect? Do your senior-level people sit in one corner and your entry-level co-workers sit in the opposite corner? Consider intermixing your team. Don’t underestimate the power of “learning through osmosis” and having a project benefit from creating an environment where it is easier to join the conversation, even if you change nothing else.

simple observation to understand whether it’s currently happening. Collaboration can also be observed in a firm’s environment. Are people sitting at their desks all day and keeping to themselves (sometimes disguised as “being efficient” or “getting work done”)? Or are they up from their chairs in another cubicle or actively engaged in communicating with co-workers from another office? We certainly don’t want to encourage a constant social hour, but erring on the side of those conversations being collaboration and accepting some “unproductive” time will be more beneficial to employees and their work than the converse: Discouraging real collaboration, stifling creativity, and hindering the quality of the product. Other places to look for effective collaboration is in company meetings, gatherings, and general conversation. Do people from one department/ team/group tend to only sit and congregate with each other or are your co-workers all intermingled regardless of role? Finally, when truly collaborating on a project, a team benefits from input from people with different backgrounds and from other areas of the organization during the design process, not just in a QA/QC review. The meticulous survey crew, the young energetic designer, the mid-level project manager, and the gray-haired QA/QC reviewer may all be effectively contributing – but are those team members stepping in to do their part of the project and then stepping back out, or are they all actively engaged throughout the process? ENHANCE COLLABORATION. When the pandemic started, one of the unintentional consequences of making sure our co- workers and clients were safe was creating environments that were more naturally difficult in which to achieve effective collaboration. Beyond the inherent difficulties presented by the virtual world, a lot more meetings were happening to ensure separation, desks were further apart, “When truly collaborating on a project, a team benefits from input from people with different backgrounds and from other areas of the organization during the design process, not just in a QA/QC review.”

Without a committed, intentional mindset and environment, collaboration is just a buzzword.

Implementing strategies to enhance collaboration can lead to better projects, better productivity, and better profits. Is it time you put your firm to the test? MATT HOYING is president at Choice One Engineering. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




Seven good reasons to look at implementing a market sector-based organization structure in your firm. Market sector-based organization structures

I have long been an advocate of market sector-based organization structures. Susie Peden introduced me to the idea of market sector-based organization structures when I was working at Carter & Burgess’s Fort Worth headquarters back in 1986. We hired her away from another local firm, Freese and Nichols, as our marketing manager and she immediately had a positive impact.

Mark Zweig

At that time, Carter & Burgess was way too dependent on land development-related work and needed to quickly diversify into other market sectors, including transportation, aviation, U.S. Postal facilities, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, industrial, etc. In her first weeks on the job, Susie came up with a new scheme to do that, and organized all of our marketing efforts along market sector lines. She created a unique graphic icon to represent each sector and then developed market sector-based marketing and promotion plans for each, working with someone as a lead technical or design professional from one of our three offices and many discipline-based departments. The results were fantastic. Over time, the line (production) organization reflected the client-

facing, market sector-based marketing structure. And while there were most certainly a few hiccups along the way, such as assigning the wrong person to head up a particular sector, or defining a sector that didn’t really have buyers with common wants and needs, the firm became very successful, growing over a couple decades from what was then a 250-person company into a more than 3,000 person company that was eventually acquired by publicly-traded megafirm Jacobs. And while we at Zweig Group (then Zweig White) worked with Carter & Burgess over about 15 years to help them recruit hundreds of people and buy a number of other companies, I credit the market sector-based marketing approach with being fundamental to their incredible success.

See MARK ZWEIG, page 12



ON THE MOVE JON MILLER JOINS DEWBERRY TO SUPPORT TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS ACROSS FLORIDA Dewberry , a privately held professional services firm, has announced that Jon Miller, PE, has joined the firm as an associate and senior project manager based in Orlando, Florida. With more than three decades of experience, Miller brings a broad range of experience on major and minor transportation design projects, including serving as the project manager and engineer-of-record for projects in Florida Department of Transportation Districts 2, 3, 4, and 5, and Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise. These projects included new alignments, interchanges, widenings, milling and resurfacing, local agency program, and

design-build projects. In his new role, Miller will be responsible for FDOT project pursuits and supporting large-scale infrastructure projects across the state. “Jon brings a strong background of design- build and traditional design-bid-build project experience to our growing team of transportation professionals,” says Dewberry Vice President Don Hammack, PE. “He has served as PM and EOR on a number of outstanding and landmark projects, including I-95, I-75, and Wekiva 7B, the final connection of Central Florida’s Wekiva Parkway to I-4.” Miller earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Lehigh University and is a member of the American Society of Civil

Engineers, American Society of Highway Engineers, and the Design-Build Institute of America. 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 11

marketing plan for a single sector is much, much easier than for the firm overall. Just ask anyone who has done it. 4)You will not end up with individual offices or departments accidentally competing with each other for the same project. This can happen and does happen in firms where their geographic offices or technical disciplines are profit centers and treated largely as stand-alone small companies. And when it does occur, it looks bad and is damaging to your reputation. No one can afford that. 5)It better facilitates selling all of your service lines to a single client. Because the same person is responsible for a multi-discipline/multi-location group of people who can do it all for a client, you don’t have the problem of having to buy someone else’s services internally to sell to “your” client, nor the risk that that group won’t perform to the standards you feel will be acceptable to that client. This is a large and recurring problem with firms in our industry. 6)You will be better able to apply the best talent to the client’s projects no matter where those people may be physically housed in your company. If someone is located in an office 500 miles away you can more easily use that talent when they are part of the same business unit you are in. This, again, is critical. It improves the quality of work that you do for your clients and helps make the company more efficient and more profitable. 7)You create more than one good job for your business- and marketing-oriented design and technical professionals to go into. Instead of people striving to become office managers or department heads, market sector leader jobs are some of the most powerful roles in the company. These jobs allow design and technical professionals to build specialized businesses under the auspices of the primary company, and have well-rounded and gratifying roles in the business where they can be recognized for what they accomplish. Everyone wins. So there are seven good reasons to implement a market sector-based structure in your firm. I could probably come up with seven more, but how much more justification do you need to take out a clean sheet of paper and try to figure out if this idea could work in your firm? MARK ZWEIG is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at

So, here we are near the end of 2021, and there are STILL companies in the AEC business that don’t understand why they probably shouldn’t just operate as geographic and/ or discipline-based firms. While it is hard to understand the resistance of some firm owners to this idea, I do understand that not everyone has the same perspective that I have acquired after studying and working with literally thousands of firms in this business over the last 40 years. So here are some good reasons to look at implementing a market sector-based organization structure: 1)Clients predominantly hire AEC firms based on their experience working with other similar organizations to their own. I think most people in this business will accept this statement as the truth. If not, why do so many RFPs and RFQs ask for that kind of information? Clients don’t want their professional service providers learning about their business or industry on the client’s dime. Clients know that service providers that have worked with the same issues and problems they are facing are bound to do a better job for them. So that is a huge factor in deciding who they work with. 2)It makes it easy to identify who you are trying to market to. If you define a market sector as a group of clients with common wants and needs, then to figure out who you are trying to reach all you have to do is find every one of those organizations within whatever is a reasonable geographic proximity to your firm (in some cases that could be a specific city and in other cases it could be the entire world), and identify everyone in those organizations who could hire you or influence the decision to hire you. Now you know exactly who you are trying to reach, and can design a program to reach them using a variety of tactics. 3)You can do marketing and promotion plans for each market sector that are customized to the sector. Everyone clearly doesn’t want the same thing. That’s why you are marketing this way. You can use unique colors, logos, different media, show different things in photos, highlight market sector-based research done by you or from secondary research sources, talk about different kinds of problems solved or opportunities capitalized on, put the spotlight on different people in your organization, and much more. Working on a

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