TZL 1405 (web)

T R E N D L I N E S A u g u s t 2 3 , 2 0 2 1 , I s s u e 1 4 0 5 W W W . T H E Z W E I G L E T T E R . C O M

Formal marketing plan

It’s important for firms in all stages of growth to invest in marketing and continue to plan for the future. A new era for marketing

T here’s a stark difference between the way AEC firms looked at marketing during the midpoint of 2020 (confusion, cessation of usual activities, budget cuts) and the way they are approaching marketing spending this year. Business development is one of the top areas of AEC business management impacted by COVID-19. Latest figures from Zweig Group’s Impacts of COVID-19 on the AEC Industry Report show that the vast majority (72 percent) report the virus will (or has) impact(ed) their business development activities. A lack of traditional opportunities – such as networking events, tradeshows, conferences, and other chances to get face-to-face with potential clients – drove marketing spending down. Zweig Group’s 2020 Marketing Survey Report states that in 2020, just 34 percent of AEC firms said they planned to increase spending on marketing. While AEC firms spent a median of 6.2 percent of net service revenue on marketing in 2019, this dropped to the lowest level in almost a decade, 3.6 percent, last year. While firms remain cautiously optimistic to spend, a pivot in activities such as increased use of online marketing and the return of some in- person events have led to 53 percent of firms reporting a spending increase in this area, according to the 2021 Marketing Survey Report . It’s a new era out there and successful firms are not employing the same tactics they did a decade ago. We took a closer look at the data to see what practices and structures in 2021 help create a great place to work, growth, and award winning marketing. All good things begin with a solid plan. To start off, fast-growth firms are much more likely to have a marketing plan – this special group of firms are twice as likely to have a plan in place than their counterparts who are shrinking in size and revenue (80 percent vs. 40 percent). Marketing staff who are working with clients and on client projects in a variety of capacities are another key to overall firm success. Successful firms have marketing staff working on billable projects and it pays off with not only better firm metrics, but also better marketing outputs. The trend is clear, 100 percent of Marketing Excellence Award winning firms said their marketing staff also work on billable projects. By growth rate, 79 percent of fast growth, 68 percent of slow growth, and 67 percent of stable firms have staff working on billable projects – at firms with a declining growth rate, this is just 50 percent. This practice increases department efficiency, keeps marketing staff closely

In Zweig Group’s 2021 Marketing Report of AEC Firms , firms were asked about their general marketing strategies and planning. For the overall sample, about three out of every four firms said they had a formal marketing plan, covering items such as marketing budget and revenue, plan by market or region, and firmwide goals. The chart above shows the breakdown of this question down by firm growth rate in revenue and/or staff size. Growing firms were more likely to have a marketing plan than stable or declining firms. Participate in a survey and save 50 percent on the final or pre- publication price of any Zweig Group research publication. F I R M I N D E X Dewberry ................................................2 Haley Ward . ............................................6 Neumann Monson Architects ................10 Urban Engineers. ....................................4 Ware Malcomb ........................................4 Winstanley Architects & Planners . .........10 MO R E A R T I C L E S xz CAROL MARTSOLF : Investing in enhanced qualifications Page 3 xz Empowering: Denis St. Peter Page 6 xz TIM SCHROEDER : Creating a team-oriented environment Page 9 xz MARK ZWEIG: You can create a real brand for your firm! Page 11

Christina Zweig Niehues




ON THE MOVE DEWBERRY WELCOMES DANIEL MEDINA TO RESILIENCE SOLUTIONS GROUP Dewberry , a privately held professional services firm, has announced that Daniel Medina, Ph.D., PE, has joined the firm’s resilience solutions group as a senior project manager in the Fairfax, Virginia, office. Medina brings more than 30 years of experience in water resource projects, including water security, flood risk management, water supply, sanitation, watershed restoration, climate resilience, and green infrastructure for stormwater management. He has led more than 200 projects in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Middle East. “We are thrilled to have Daniel join our firm,” says Dewberry Vice President Jean Huang, PE, PMP, CFM. “His background in climate resilience of water resource systems will be instrumental in identifying projects to improve resilience in coastal Virginia communities, as well as support several contracts for clients like the Federal Emergency Management Agency.” Medina has authored more than 80 publications,

presentations, and workshops on urban watershed issues. He earned a doctorate degree and master’s degree in hydraulics and hydrology from Cornell University and a bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from Universidad de Los Andes. Medina is a member of the Urban Water Resources Research Council of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Society of Adaptation Professionals, and the Water Environmental Federation. 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.

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tied to opinions and needs of clients, and allows firms to staff up their marketing department with a wide range of individuals. While sitting around waiting to respond to RFPs is far from a solid strategy, neither is in-your-face advertisements. Survey respondents listed their most successful marketing techniques, and most included some form of generating quality content. Just a few of the tactics mentioned on this theme included webinars on research, content marketing on the firm’s website, and using an in- house content writer to develop lead generating white papers to gain conversions and establish project leads. Building a marketing department with in-house or trusted partners to provide resources such as photography and video production is quickly becoming a necessity. Investing in the tools necessary to efficiently develop business – such as a CRM or inbound marketing platforms such as HubSpot and Pardot, are other important investments that quickly pay for themselves. No matter what happens over the next 12 months, it’s important for firms in all stages of growth to invest in marketing and continue to plan (even if it’s short- term) for the future. CHRISTINA ZWEIG NIEHUES is Zweig Group’s director of research and e-commerce. She can be reached at .

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2021 MARKETING REPORT OF AEC FIRMS Zweig Group’s 2021 Marketing Report of AEC Firms is a benchmarking and advisory guide to industry firm marketing activities, budgets, marketing department organization, staffing levels, compensation, and investments in marketing systems and infrastructure. This report also has statistics on proposal activity, hit rates, and other useful analytics. Click here to learn more.

Published continuously since 1992 by Zweig Group, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA. ISSN 1068-1310. Issued weekly (48 issues/year) $250 for one-year print subscription; free electronic subscription at © Copyright 2021, Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




I n today’s (almost) post-pandemic world, the meaning of being a “competitive company” when recruiting and retaining staff has undergone a massive makeover. Companies have to find ways to stand out to keep top talent and attract new talent more than casual work attire, non-existent commutes, and easy access to snacks. What better way to show top talent that you care about their futures than to invest in those futures? Investing in enhanced qualifications

Carol Martsolf

Employees are now looking to their employers to prove why they should stay. During the past year, our world has changed and the line between work life and personal life has blurred even more. Because of the pandemic, people are realizing what really matters to them. Employees want to feel valued; they want to have the opportunity to stretch and learn through their assignments, and they want to be involved with projects and endeavors that matter. Allowing employees to pursue the Project Management Professional certification can successfully set them up for career advancement and the ability to be involved even more in projects that matter. Giving employees the opportunity to move up within the firm and enhance their careers provides opportunities to learn and grow – exactly what employees are looking for. What better way to

show top talent that you care about their futures than to invest in those futures? Within the AEC community, it is common to support advanced certifications and licenses. For staff, one certification that is becoming more of a necessity is the PMP. In fact, it’s showing up more and more as a requirement for government proposals. The PMP certification demonstrates to employers, clients, and colleagues that a project manager possesses project management knowledge, experience, and skills to bring projects to successful completion. When you encourage employees to earn the PMP, it shows your firm cares about their career advancement. The PMP provides many benefits for the individual and for the companies they work for.




ON THE MOVE WARE MALCOMB ANNOUNCES BRIAN KOSHLEY JOINS FIRM AS REGIONAL DIRECTOR IN SAN DIEGO Ware Malcomb , an award-winning international design firm, announced Brian M. Koshley, AIA has joined the firm as Regional Director in the San Diego office. In this position, Koshley is responsible for the growth and overall management of the San Diego offices. As a licensed architect, Koshley brings more than 35 years of industry experience to the firm. Before joining Ware Malcomb, he held various senior level roles at international design firms and focused on business development, architecture and interior architecture. Throughout his career, Koshley has managed projects across industries and specializes in adaptive reuse, building repositioning and workplace design. He has worked closely with public and private sector clients and is committed to empowering people through business intelligence-based design. “I am pleased to welcome Brian to the team. He brings a tremendous amount of experience and vast regional knowledge to Ware Malcomb,” says Matt Brady, Executive Vice President of Ware Malcomb. “We look forward to his future success and contributions at Ware Malcomb.”

Koshley holds a bachelor’s degree from University of California, Berkeley. He is active in commercial real estate industry organizations as a member of American Institute of Architects, Urban Land Institute and National Association of Office and Industrial Properties. Koshley joins the company as principal, Tiffany English, departs Ware Malcomb to join longtime firm client, Qualcomm, as senior director of architecture on their Global Real Estate team. English spent more than 20 years at Ware Malcomb contributing greatly to the growth of the Northern California and San Diego markets, as well as the interior architecture practice firmwide. “I am so proud of the growth and design excellence the San Diego teams have achieved, and I know Brian will successfully lead the Ware Malcomb team in this dynamic market,” English says. Ware Malcomb has been operating in the San Diego region for more than 37 years. Recent notable projects completed in the area include Cubic Corporation’s Balboa office campus, the Westmont Encinitas multifamily development and Samumed’s office and laboratory facility. “Tiffany certainly left her mark on Ware

Malcomb. This transition of leadership to Brian has been seamless and is a true testament to both of their characters and work ethic,” Brady remarks. “We wish Tiffany the best in her future endeavor, and we look forward to working with her in a new capacity.” 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.

CAROL MARTSOLF, from page 3

cornerstones of project management, are no longer the only drivers of successful projects. According to PMI’s 2020 Pulse of the Profession , organizations are placing an almost identical priority on leadership skills. People skills are now more important than ever and proficient project managers will be well equipped to handle these new challenges. ❚ ❚ Decrease micromanagement. Whether someone is a planner, accountant, engineer, marketing professional, or another specialist in the AEC field, project management is an expertise all on its own. Project professionals are in every department of the business. Empowering employees and providing them with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive reduces micromanagement and increases productivity. When employees know what to do, they are able to take action instead of waiting around for direction. It is more challenging to recruit and retain talent these days and employees at AEC firms appreciate having their career advancement considered an investment. Encouraging staff to enhance their qualifications with a PMP certification shows you want them to succeed. As someone who has gone through the process and achieved the PMP certification, it was an investment in myself and my career, and I was happy to have the support of my firm in this achievement. Working for a company that invested in me keeps me investing right back into my company. CAROL MARTSOLF is a vice president and the chief learning officer at Urban Engineers. Contact her at .

❚ ❚ Save time and money. Learning project management separately from an engineering background helps to be a better project manager in all aspects of an employee’s career. Projects are more likely to finish on time and within budget. In a study conducted by IBM, employees were 12 times as likely to leave a job if the company was not helping them advance in their career. Talk about losing money! The cost of replacing an employee can reach double that of the employee’s annual salary. Cost savings isn’t just found in the projects being completed on time and on budget, but also in the avoidance of losing those motivated and high performing employees. Investing in certifications for employees can save money in the long run and contribute to your bottom line. “It is more challenging to recruit and retain talent these days and employees at AEC firms appreciate having their career advancement considered an investment. Encouraging staff to enhance their qualifications with a PMP certification shows you want them to succeed.” ❚ ❚ New emphasis on leadership skills. By earning the PMP, employees will have competencies and skills that are transferable to any project endeavor. The pandemic has shown that scope, schedule, and budget, although

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.


Over 40 speakers. Up to 30 credit hours. All free and accessible from the comfort of your own home or office over the course of 4 weeks. The incredibly popular and value-packed Virtual ElevateAEC Conference & ElevateHER Symposium takes place between Sept 13 and Oct 7. General learning sessions will cover a wide range of topics that address all aspects of an AEC business, including recruitment & retention, tax credits, marketing strategies, and more. Through the carefully curated mini series, attendees will also get to sample our highly-regarded seminars including: The Principals Academy, Elevating Doer-Sellers, Project Management for AEC Professionals, and Leadership Skills for AEC Professionals. The ElevateHER Symposium brings together leaders in the AEC industry, Zweig Group’s ElevateHER 2021 cohort members, and keynote speakers on topics related to recruiting & retaining valuable employees, and fostering a diverse and equitable workplace. Project teams from Zweig Group’s 2021 ElevateHER cohort will also be presenting their project findings, offering tangible, actionable solutions to firm leaders to combat biases in the industry.

With much excitement and an abundance of precaution, Zweig Group is thrilled to restore the full annual in-person conference this winter; presenting the highest level of curated thought leadership, purposeful networking opportunities, and the iconic black- tie awards gala celebrating all our 2021 Zweig Group Award winners. The in-person conference is designed with safety in mind - the space and experience will adapt to the local health officials’ guidance at that time in order to keep attendees and staff safe while allowing for an unforgettable in-person experience.

REGISTER NOW FOR $1,995 PP NOV. 3 - 5, 2021 DENVER, CO


For group registrations and discounts, or any other inquiries about the two conferences, please contact Or visit for more details.



Empowering: Denis St. Peter President and CEO of Haley Ward (Bangor, ME), a 100 percent employee-owned technical consulting firm, offering a range of engineering, environmental, and surveying services.


S t. Peter divides his time between management of the company and project-related duties. He provides technical supervision for environmental projects and ensures appropriate resources are available to meet project goals and objectives. “With my first job after college as a project engineer, I experienced both controlling and empowering leadership approaches,” St. Peter says. “I enjoyed my job much more and was much more successful under the empowering leadership. I found that a controlling approach minimized learning, interfered with progress, and resulted in less employee engagement.” A CONVERSATION WITH DENIS ST. PETER. The Zweig Letter: You led the acquisition of Summit Environmental Consultants in 2013 and play an integral role in the growth of Haley Ward. Any strategic growth

plans in the works now (i.e., organic, geographic, services)? Denis St. Peter: After I became president, Summit Environmental Consultants was the first firm we acquired. Since then, we’ve successfully executed five more acquisitions. Strategic acquisitions are a major component of our growth strategy. We’re focused on acquiring companies that fall within our professional services of engineering, environmental, and surveying consulting; that expand our geographic footprint; that have a similar client- and employee-focused culture; that have a need for an experienced ownership and leadership transition team; and that want their clients and employees to continue meeting or exceeding their goals post-ownership transition. Another element of our strategic growth plan is the recent company name change and rebranding. Our company



has outgrown the original name of Civil Engineering Services (or CES). We do much more than civil engineering now. With our significant growth into new areas of expertise and geographically into other states (Massachusetts and Florida), we have encountered many other CES- named firms which has caused brand and name confusion. We typically acquire the names along with the firms, and we really liked the 123-year history of one of our recently acquired firms, Haley & Ward, Inc., which provided us the ability to trademark and protect our brand moving forward. We’re also dedicated to organic growth. This generally involves performing quality and responsive professional services for our clients, so that we have repeat business and referrals, but also involves expanding our areas of expertise. For example, we’ve recently hired employees who have MEP engineering and design expertise; we added a survey-grade unmanned aerial vehicle or drone to complement our survey capabilities; and we’ve hired a talented employee with industrial hygiene expertise to supplement our environmental professionals. TZL: Trust is essential. How do you earn the trust of your clients? DSP: Our team works hard to understand our clients’ goals and to define the scope of work, required schedules, and realistic budgets. We understand that building trust may take several successful projects, but losing trust can happen quickly by failing just once to adhere to an authorized scope, not meeting their schedule, or exceeding their budget. We strive to retain the trust of clients by not overpromising on these. TZL: What skills are required to run a successful practice? What do you wish you knew starting out that you know now? DSP: When I was a project engineer and a project manager, my job responsibilities involved learning and applying the practice of engineering, developing scopes of work, preparing schedules, and assembling budgets. When I had the opportunity to transition into more of a leadership role as a principal and then president, I did a lot of independent reading about leadership. I believe that quality leadership leads to overall company success. I also needed to enhance my business/financial management skills

and used services, training, tools, and resources from companies like Zweig Group. My transition from project engineer/ manager to principal/president was very quick and felt urgent at the time. One of my mentors made a joke about how I was always moving too fast. At the time, this was frustrating because I felt I needed to move fast for the clients – getting things done on schedule and within budget. This mentor was reducing his hours and working toward retirement when he made this joke, which only added to my frustration. I was also working long hours to fulfill the responsibilities of two positions. I now know that many aspects of management, ownership, and leadership transition should be planned and implemented over a longer timeframe. Time and patience can help solve problems. TZL: What type of leader do you consider yourself to be? DSP: I believe I’m an empowering leader. With my first job after college as a project engineer, I experienced both controlling and empowering leadership approaches. I enjoyed my job much more and was much more successful under the empowering leadership. I found that a controlling approach minimized learning, interfered with progress, and resulted in less employee engagement. TZL: What benefits does your firm offer that your people get most excited about? DSP: Because we’re an employee-focused company, we try hard to offer great compensation, bonuses, 401(k) matching, health, disability, and life insurance and more. We purchase salary and benefits surveys from companies such as Zweig Group that specialize in the AEC industry to make sure we’re meeting this goal. We’ve recently become an ESOP which provides some additional benefits to our employees. However, the benefit that I hear the most excitement about is “flexibility.” Our employees understand that they have time commitments to the company and to each other, as well as deadline commitments to our clients, but we provide a great deal of flexibility to their work schedules, workplaces, and tools needed for their work. This helps create a family-friendly, flexible culture within our company. See EMPOWERING, page 8

HEADQUARTERS: Bangor, ME NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 120 and hiring! YEAR FOUNDED: CES, Inc. in 1978 (Haley & Ward, Inc. in 1897) OFFICE LOCATIONS: ❚ ❚ Bangor, ME ❚ ❚ Presque Isle, ME

❚ ❚ Machias, ME ❚ ❚ Waterville, ME ❚ ❚ Lewiston, ME ❚ ❚ Saco, ME ❚ ❚ Maynard, MA ❚ ❚ Fort Myers, FL SERVICES ❚ ❚ Architectural ❚ ❚ Civil engineering

❚ ❚ Structural/MEP engineering ❚ ❚ Environmental engineering ❚ ❚ Environmental sciences ❚ ❚ Environmental compliance ❚ ❚ Environmental investigations ❚ ❚ Natural resources ❚ ❚ Industrial hygiene ❚ ❚ Surveying ❚ ❚ Services library MARKETS ❚ ❚ Project examples ❚ ❚ Energy ❚ ❚ Industrial ❚ ❚ Institutional ❚ ❚ Land development ❚ ❚ Municipal and county ❚ ❚ State and federal government

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

UST 23, 2021, ISSUE 1405

8 TZL: It is often said that people leave managers, not companies. What are you doing to ensure that your line leadership are great people managers? DSP: During our internal ownership and leadership transition approximately 14 years ago, we identified a need to improve communication between management and employees. We work hard at reminding each other of this responsibility. My senior management team meets monthly so that we cross-communicate between the different functions (technical staff, finance, human resources, and marketing) of our company. Each member of the SMT and their supervisors are responsible for effectively communicating with their team. The communication between the members of the SMT is expected to be open, respectful, honest, cooperative, and is intended to identify conflicts and encourage resolutions to those conflicts. We also conduct formal internal and external training for our supervisors, project managers, and principals. Much of this training includes a component of people management skills. Our formal training has also included personality and behavioral assessments and training. I have encouraged and assigned leadership reading when I come across a book that I find useful and relevant (i.e., The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni). Establishing an empowering culture within the company fosters the need of our line leadership to continuously improve their people management skills. Also, after giving employees management opportunities and helping them to improve their performance, we must adjust or re-organize when these people management skills can’t be developed. TZL: Responsiveness is one of your core values. Can you share a recent example of how Haley Ward solved a client problem/challenge? DSP: We work with several clients that purchase new properties, buildings, or other businesses. These projects typically involve several key items that need to be completed within short timeframes between the offer acceptance and the final closing. Some of the key items may include environmental site assessments (Phase I and II ESAs), obtaining landowner liability protections, natural resource delineations, American Land Title Association surveys, MEP assessments, and/or structural and civil engineering evaluations. We have the ability to perform all of these work items with professionals who are outstanding at working together, have the ability to adjust their work schedules to meet the more urgent deadlines without interfering with other clients’ schedules, and can address the often overlapping scope of work in-house to save on schedule. 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? DSP: For 10 years after college, I was a project engineer for the federal government. When I transitioned to the consulting business, I really had to re-train myself. Fortunately, I had a great mentor – Shawn Small – who was one of the two co-founders of CES, Inc. We shared a similar EMPOWERING , from page 7

A former papermill property in Bucksport, ME is being redeveloped to house a land-based aquaculture facility. Haley Ward is providing a range of environmental and engineering consulting services.

practice area. Not only was he an excellent engineer, he was an outstanding consultant who understood the importance of working for our clients, building their trust, communicating with the project team, and offering effective solutions to the projects. I tend to learn from observation, so seeing Shawn in action meant he was the right mentor at the right transition period in my career. I also had the opportunity to learn more about the business operations and finances of the company from the other co-founder, Jim Parker. He had great business and financial judgement. He processed information differently than I did which made me work harder to learn to manage the company’s business operations and functions. Jim also demonstrated his huge heart in relation to a personal issue I had. It really made an impact on me and that’s why maintaining our family-friendly culture is so important to me. TZL: Ownership transition can be tricky, to say the least. What’s the key to ensuring a smooth passing of the baton? What’s the biggest pitfall to avoid? DSP: Take time to make a plan. Plan on a 10-year horizon for internal transitions. This is one of the reasons we implemented an ESOP. It allows us to address the financial components which can be difficult for individuals to afford as well as the continuous evaluation of who should be shareholders. In addition to addressing the planning aspects, it provides significant tax advantages, provides all employees an ownership stake and allows our company to improve our financial performance. For external acquisitions, there are several keys and pitfalls that will determine the success of the ownership transition. It starts with a good assessment of the company that wants to be acquired. When the two companies are not the right fit for each other, you can do everything else right, but it most likely won’t work out well. We remind ourselves that one out of 10 companies may be the right fit. Walking away from the wrong fit is just as important for both companies as moving ahead with the right fit.

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




By focusing on teams, you could deepen employee engagement, enhance communication, and improved your firm’s agility. Creating a team-oriented environment

I n 2012, Neumann Monson Architects began transitioning from a founder-led to a purpose-led culture. With this change, we overhauled our organizational model and created an agile, team-oriented environment. Rather than separate principal-led teams, we used resource planning software to build project teams around individual strengths.

Tim Schroeder

As we established crucial initiatives, another layer of teams emerged: Design quality, quality assurance, sustainability, and client experience. Each team became an opportunity for staff to engage in leading and managing our practice while involving themselves in all our project work. This approach produced remarkable results. Today, most of the staff are engaged in at least one of these teams, as well as their own projects. The overlap between these teams and the project teams creates a cross-weave of communication, enhancing the quality of our work. Since adopting this approach, we have increased employee engagement and elevated our position in the industry in terms of design excellence and client experience. These results, however,

developed after years of incremental change and experimentation. We learned that transitioning to a team-oriented environment takes time and patience. LISTENING TO OUR TEAM. Before 2012, our firm looked much different. We divided our team into six separate studios that rarely interacted; the principals oversaw day-to-day decision-making and client relationships, leaving the staff with a limited perspective. Our new structure evolved gradually after our 2012 retreat. The staff planned and organized the event, providing a decisive opportunity to elevate their voice. At the retreat, the staff called for an increased focus on design

See TIM SCHROEDER, page 10



ON THE MOVE WINSTANLEY ARCHITECTS PLANNERS APPOINTS LEEJUNG HONG, LEED AP, TO PRINCIPAL Winstanley Architects & Planners has announced that Leejung Hong, LEED AP, has been appointed to principal of the firm. In her role as principal, she will direct and oversee the design studio’s projects and manage the day-to-day operations of the firms’ two design workshops. & She was previously the studio director and has been with the firm for 12 years, working on various projects such as master planning and building designs for both academic institutions and private developers. Lee has always tackled complex responsibilities smoothly and effectively in both architecture and various planning assignments. Her work ethic is extraordinary and organizational skills are unmatched, and the Winstanley’s team cannot be more confident that she will provide much needed value in her new role as principal in the company. Throughout her career, Lee has demonstrated her interest in sustainable and resilient projects.

She has also led some of the firm’s most crucial and complex projects as team leader, such as the Old Dominion Boat Club, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Mullins Hall, Wolfgang Puck’s Cut at the Rosewood Hotel, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association and much more. Lee’s knowledge and expertise in academic planning, infrastructure and historic preservation has given her the opportunity to lead the Stone Ridge School Master Plan and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Master Plan projects. Some of the current projects on the boards include: ❚ ❚ 1300 King Street – a mixed use development integrating two historic structures. ❚ ❚ King and Henry – four buildings across two sites in the heart of old town which features an automated parking garage. ❚ ❚ Torpedo Factory Art Center – re-

envisioning the complex with a broader and more inclusive vision that better aligns with the diversity and interests of the city. ❚ ❚ Parcel 15 - Interim Retail – collaborating with Adjaye Associates on delivering a community hub in St. Elizabeth’s East, DC with Emerson Collective and Redbrick as the developers. ❚ ❚ Floating Community – a special interest research project on resilient water-based living. Winstanley Architects & Planners is an award- winning architectural and planning design studio specializing in projects of distinction from a design, cultural, environmental and political perspective. With design workshops in Washington, D.C., and Miami, the firm is renowned for its ability to seamlessly integrate planning, architecture and interior design in projects across the academic, civic, commercial, hospitality, mixed-use, renovation/ historic preservation, and residential sectors in North America and the Caribbean.

TIM SCHROEDER, from page 9

feedback from the principals, as well as a cross-section of their peers. The success of this system inspired us to increase our level of client feedback. We utilized the Client Feedback Tool, which tracks stakeholder expectations throughout a project’s lifecycle, and created a team to oversee its use. “Since adopting this approach, we have increased employee engagement and elevated our position in the industry in terms of design excellence and client experience.” PROVIDING LEADERSHIP. Our initiatives and staff-led teams developed over time. With each team, the principals were heavily involved in the early stages to provide crucial leadership until the teams could operate with minimal oversight. Our 360-reviews also facilitated the process. By receiving feedback from a group of their peers, the team became more coachable and learned how to work together. Today, our firm sustains a non-hierarchal culture amid the necessary hierarchy, and each team continuously seeks new learning opportunities that evolve our firm with the industry. By creating a team-oriented structure, we deepened employee engagement, enhanced our communication, and improved our agility. These changes occurred over a decade, demonstrating that change is not immediate. In his 1996 book Leading Change , John P. Kotter argues that transformation is a process – not an event. Our story is proof. TIM SCHROEDER, AIA CDT LEED AP is president with Neumann Monson Architects. Contact him at .

excellence. The principals, however, wanted to increase the staff’s engagement with clients. Although changes were not immediate, the retreat resulted in two major steps that furthered the staff and principals’ goals. First, we used resource planning software to organize teams around individual strengths and deepen the staff’s involvement with each project. Second, we began our design quality initiative. FINDING A NEW STRUCTURE. Initially, the design quality initiative consisted of two principals reviewing projects and leading critiques. Although it may seem hard to believe, this was the first time we started a formal firm-wide process for reviewing our work. Implementation was disruptive at first. The project reviews slowed our internal processes, frustrating both clients and staff members. We shared the staff’s interest in design excellence and continued refining and developing our system. As we evolved, we invited staff to the team, which set the stage for the design quality team, now a staff-led initiative. Other initiatives evolved alongside design quality. Good design relies on good documents, so we helped seasoned staff form the quality assurance team. This team sets standards for construction documents and design specifications and reviews all projects before groundbreaking. Our preexisting sustainability initiative gained new momentum as other teams emerged with a newfound level of empowerment. Lastly, our client experience team evolved through an internal culture of feedback. In addition to rethinking our management structure, we implemented a new system for employee reviews. Rather than annual top-down reviews, we began 360-peer-reviews where everyone receives

© Copyright 2021. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




While there are no doubt some costs associated with making a brand for your firm, a lot of it just boils down to a little work and some discipline. You can create a real brand for your firm!

I think a lot of people who own and manage AEC firms think they cannot create a real brand for their business that would allow them to better compete with larger national/international firms. They’ll say, “We’re too small,” or, “We’re just a local business,” or, “There’s no way we can afford to do that,” or, “That’s impossible.” None of these things are true!

Mark Zweig

While there are no doubt some costs associated with making a brand for your firm, a lot of it just boils down to a little work and some discipline, and voilà – you will have a brand! Some people may ask why it’s important to have a brand that is known and recognizable? Hey – if you don’t want to get better fees for whatever you are selling, don’t want to grow your business, and don’t want a stream of good people trying to get jobs with you, don’t worry about creating a brand! If, on the other hand, those do sound like good things, then here is the way to make it a reality: ❚ ❚ Consistency. It’s amazing how many firms in this business do not have complete consistency in the name and colors they use. Many times, names of companies are turned into “alphabet soup,” when

“Johnson, Jones, and Smith” is referred to both inside and outside the company as “JJ&S” because the real name is deemed too long to write out. The next thing that happens is “JJ&S” becomes “JJS,” because the “&” is deemed by someone to be unnecessary. Before you know it, the company now looks like it is operating under three different names. It gets even more confusing when the people in one office decide they like a “pretty maroon color“ because those are the colors of the college football team in their town, instead of the red color the firm originally used for its logo. Then, someone in an office in another city decides that grey is a better color than the corporate red, and when they get a new sign for their new office they use their grey color for the logo. Oh yes, they may also change the font slightly so the sign, in the judgement of

See MARK ZWEIG, page 12



ON THE MOVE DEWBERRY’S DAN PLEASANT NAMED BOARD CHAIR OF THE VIRGINIA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP Dewberry , a privately held professional services firm, has announced that Chief Operating Officer Dan Pleasant, PE, has been named chair of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s board of directors. VEDP was created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1995 to encourage, stimulate, and support development and expansion of the Commonwealth’s economy. In his role as board chair, Pleasant will be responsible for overseeing the 17-member board of directors, which works with VEDP staff to develop, implement, and update strategic and marketing plans for the Commonwealth and an operational plan for VEDP. Pleasant has been with Dewberry for more than 40 years and served in a variety of

capacities throughout his career. The firm employs more than 2,000 staff across more than 50 offices nationwide. As COO, Pleasant is responsible for Dewberry’s acquisition strategies, including the firm’s two most recent acquisitions, Dewberry | Hydro and Dewberry | Edmonds. “As a long-time resident of southern Virginia, I have always had a strong interest in supporting our regional clients’ economic development programs,” says Pleasant. “When the opportunity presented itself 10 years ago to be appointed to the VEDP board, I was excited to continue my advocacy for economic development at the state level. In these 10 years, I have seen a lot of changes at VEDP. Today, I am proud to say that the VEDP organization is a high-functioning organization with great leadership. Additionally, we have a very engaged board of directors that supports

VEDP’s leadership and advocates for support of the organization and programs that cover the entire state, including rural Virginia, promoting economic expansion, and maps out successful strategies for businesses to find the resources they need to thrive in Virginia.” 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

your people and your projects everywhere you are. ALWAYS using huge and prominent project signage is one example. Painting your offices inside and out with a particular color scheme is another. Having all company vehicles painted or wrapped in the exact same color scheme is yet another. I have never been able to understand why any AEC firm would have company vehicles in different color schemes or worse, ones with no company name on them. The company is paying for those vehicles! They can either be a rolling advertisement for the firm or be nothing that promotes recognition of the company. And one more thing – the colors you use should be memorable and recognizable. The introverted design and technical professionals who make up most of the ownership and management of AEC firms gravitate to white and silver vehicles, so when you see a job site with various firms represented, everyone’s vehicle looks pretty much the same. That is crazy. I can tell you with my design/ build/development/construction firm (not Zweig Group), we always had black vehicles, and we had the only black company vehicles in town. We also kept them super clean. I got more comments about our vehicles than you would believe. Ditto for our project signage. Instead of white with black lettering, we had black with white lettering. We also got regularly named the best developers, remodelers, and builders because of that brand recognition that larger companies in our area did not have. Critics of this article will write in and tell me none of this matters, and that corporate values such as a certain level of service, quality, creativity, and other intangibles are far more important than this other stuff when it comes to establishing a brand. No doubt, those things ARE important. The performance of the company has to match the image projected. But those things – as necessary as they are to work on – are not mutually exclusive to the other aspects of creating a brand covered above. Work on what you can control most easily first. That’s usually a good way to go! MARK ZWEIG is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at .

the office manager, is more readable driving by at 50 miles per hour. You get the idea. Before long, everyone uses the name, colors, and font of their choice, and the brand is greatly diluted. I was once an outside director on the BOD of an engineering firm, and when I suggested they order all of their company-branded shirts in their company color scheme, I was laughed at as if that was the craziest idea anyone had ever heard. Anyone could order whatever they wanted. This stuff is important! ❚ ❚ Repetition. With the same name, colors, and logo design, this needs to be used everywhere ALL of the time. Every vehicle, project sign, title block, business card, letterhead, email signature, office sign, website, technical paper, social media post, company “swag” items, and more, needs to be using the same name, logo, and colors. It should be put on everything and used constantly. Look at how consumer product companies do it. This is the only way people outside the company will become super familiar with the company, which reduces the perceived risk of hiring you and creates a “larger than life” image for the firm. ❚ ❚ Brand ambassadors. Every employee of the firm is a “brand ambassador,” for a lack of any better way to describe it. Those of us who are old-timers remember when there was a certain standard of dress for IBM employees. They all had white shirts or blouses. This became the “IBM look.” And today, with social media, the stuff your people post will either enhance the brand of your firm or take away from it. What do they put out there? Are there certain causes they promote? Do they show the work of the company? Or do they get on certain polarizing political topics and complain about their jobs or workplace? Do they promote the awards, accolades, and accomplishments of the company and its people, or do they not talk about their work and company and instead bait controversy? This is far more important than you think – and no doubt not easily managed. But you should constantly be bringing it up and talking about it with all of your people so they understand the importance of putting the right stuff out there. ❚ ❚ Working visibility. This means that the world can spot

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