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 email@example.com.
❚ ❚ 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
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THE ZWEIG LETTER OCTOBER 18, 2021, ISSUE 1413
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