MH: We are typically pretty comfortable looking at six to eight months out. Over the last 20-plus years, the only time that this has not been the case was 2008, when things seemed to turn negative overnight. Our challenge is that we seem to be facing a lot of situations where we have three or four proposals out for major projects – all of which could be successful. We could also lose all of them. That is when forecasting and planning are most difficult. TZL: How much time do you spend working “in the business” rather than “on the business?” MH: It’s about 35 percent “in” and 65 percent “on.” TZL: What role does your family play in your career? Are work and family separate, or is there overlap? MH: It is huge for me. I am very lucky that my wife is also a principal at GH2, and we have worked to grow the firm together – with the other principals and firm leadership. Working together each day has been a blessing for us and has allowed us to have flexibility when needed for our family. “We’re already asking ourselves bigger questions about what we really need in terms of traditional office space moving forward.” TZL: What measures are you taking to protect your employees during the COVID-19 crisis? MH: The safety of our team members is our number one priority. We are on a remote work protocol, and actively practicing social distancing recommendations. We are limiting in- person meetings and setting limitations on site visits. We have put a halt to all travel unless it’s related to critical or essential projects identified by our government clients. TZL: Are you using the R&D tax credit? If so, how is it working for your firm? If not, why not? MH: We are and it has been fantastic. The time we invest is minimal compared to the return which is really a bonus that goes straight to the bottom line. We will continue to use this and try to maximize it as long as it is available to us.
TZL: What novel approaches are you bringing to recruitment, and how are your brand and differentiators performing in the talent wars? MH: We are trying to broaden our recruiting base by getting in front of prospective employees as soon as possible, even years before they might enter the profession. If high school or middle school students want to visit or hang out at the GH2 office, the answer is an emphatic “yes!” Any time our team members can participate in special programs at local schools (many of which are our clients), the answer is “yes!” We have an excellent retention rate from our summer internship program. It truly puts students in the middle of fast-paced project teams and real firm situations. One summer I realized that when our interns were about to return to school that we never did any orientation meeting; they were engaged from the minute they walked in the door. They all wanted to return to GH2 as soon as possible. TZL: Does your firm work closely with any higher education institutions to gain access to the latest technology, experience, and innovation and/or recruiting to find qualified resources? MH: This is definitely the case with recruiting. We try to maintain connections to the design schools in our region by participating as guest lecturers, serving on advisory boards, and participating in project critiques. TZL: What financial metrics do you monitor to gauge the health of your firm? MH: We try to keep this simple (and these aren’t complex metrics with acronyms). We look at overall profitability with our mix of projects, knowing that a healthy mix of project and client types will have various profitability levels, but will also add strength and sustainability as we move forward. We focus on: 1) Keeping our base costs to run the office down; 2) Keeping the net fee that GH2 keeps on projects at a high percentage of the gross fee; and 3) Keeping net revenue per team member at a high level. That does it for us and has put us on Zweig Group’s Hot Firm List several times. See WORKING TOGETHER, page 8
HEADQUARTERS: Tulsa, OK NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 71 YEAR FOUNDED: 1973 NUMBER OF OFFICE LOCATIONS: 3 PROJECT TYPES: Hospitality, education, equine, historic preservation, government, healthcare, public safety, transportation, office buildings, animal welfare, retail, municipal, conference centers, athletic and wellness, arenas and event centers, veterinary, residential SERVICES: Due diligence, site analysis and selection, feasibility studies, master planning, existing facility evaluation, architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, cost estimating and control, project management, permitting, construction procurement, construction administration, building information modeling, ADA compliance, sustainability, renderings and animations, project marketing, preservation planning, bond issue planning THEIR APPROACH: Flexible, engaging, and fun. AVERAGE WEEKLY CUPS OF COFFEE: 436
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ch 30, 2020, ISSUE 1338
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