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ON THE MOVE DEWBERRY WELCOMES THREE ARCHITECTS TO CALIFORNIA OFFICES Dewberry , a privately held professional service firm, announced that design professional Jason Chao has been hired in the Pasadena office, while senior project manager Sue Akiyama, RA, and project architect Edgar Reyes, AIA, have joined the Sacramento office. Chao brings more than 10 years of experience to his new position and has a strong technical background in commercial architecture. He has worked on a variety of projects, including commercial and retail, mixed-use, hospitality, housing, and healthcare facilities. Chao holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from California Polytechnic State University. Akiyama brings more than 35 years of experience to the firm. Prior to joining

Dewberry, she owned her own firm that supported public-sector clients with program and project management. Akiyama has also spent the last five years teaching architecture at State University of New York, Alfred. She will use her diverse background to cultivate relationships and deliver projects for public- sector clients. Akiyama earned a master’s degree in architecture from the University of California and a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Miami University. Reyes has worked on a variety of transportation and infrastructure projects in California and the Pacific Northwest. He brings deep Revit knowledge and participation in design-build procurement. He earned a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Idaho and is licensed in California.

“We are pleased to welcome Jason, Sue, and Edgar to Dewberry,” says Dewberry Associate Principal Erica Nelles, AIA, LEED AP. “The wealth of knowledge and varied experience they bring will be a huge asset to our growing California architecture practice.” 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 3

no one else in your shadow can shine because the spotlight is always on you. You don’t want to create a firm full only of those who are good order takers and willing to always take a back seat to your will. It’s not the way to grow something that will eventually allow you to exit because it can stand on its own. “There are many different forms that a business plan can take. There’s no one best way to do business planning. But regardless of that fact, developing a plan may be the best way to design your business.” 9) Remember every bad thing that happens to you – every setback – has a lesson for you. If you learn those lessons you will find these negative events can lead to something positive. This is so important. Bad things will happen and what determines your ability to survive and prosper after those events is how you respond to them. Do you let them crush you? Or do they make you stronger because you are learning? 10)Don’t sweat the small stuff. You can’t let every little thing bother you. We were talking a couple weeks ago at a client business planning session about the firm the founder of our client company used to work for prior to starting his business. The guy was so wound up – such a control freak – he would lose his temper if employees used what he deemed was the wrong color paper clip on something going out to a client. If that is the way you operate, no one good will want to work with you and you will be very unhappy most of the time. Not good. I could go on here, but hopefully the point is made that whatever you want your firm to become has to be the result of conscious planning and very specific actions. You can “design” your design firm just as you design projects for your clients. So what are you waiting for? MARK ZWEIG is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at

always costs more to get a new client than it does to keep an existing client. 4) Be relentless self-promoters. Forget the idea that “word of mouth” is the best advertising. If no one ever works with you, they cannot say anything good about you. You need to be your own best advocate. Get involved in the client associations your clients belong to. Send out a weekly press release. Write a blogpost every week. Get your people writing blogposts. Start a podcast. Build a client and potential client database. Do marketing emails. Make calls. I have been talking about this stuff for 40 years. It works. 5) Take less out of the business than it earns. If you ruin the business by draining all of its working capital because you can’t control your personal spending you will kill the goose that lays the golden egg. This is much more common in design firms than it should be. I can’t tell you how many discussions I have had with firm owners over the years where I have had to tell them they cannot take as much money out of the firm as they are. They always tell me about their personal “needs,” often that includes their overhead from having kids in Ivy League colleges and vacation homes. I have had to remind people they will have zero income at some point if they constantly drain their firms. 6) Hire for character, train for skill. You cannot change someone’s character, but you can teach them how to do something. If you want to build a business that is not entirely based on what you can do personally, you will need people who are good communicators, ethical, know how to work with other people, and are conscientious. Those qualities are not the same things that you will see listed as the typical employee search criteria which are based on education, registration, and years of experience. 7) Take really great care of the people who work for you. Show appreciation. Pay them well. Keep them informed on how the business is functioning. Solicit and listen to their concerns. Promote them to the outside world. Don’t make them feel they have to leave you to have a decent career. Give them that in YOUR firm. 8) Be a great leader, but don’t let your ego run out of control. There’s nothing wrong with being charismatic and inspirational – unless, that is, your ego is so dominant that

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