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
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UST 23, 2021, ISSUE 1405
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