TZL 1344 (web)


TZL: What type of leader do you consider yourself to be? MS: I am a good administrator and, given my background of “rising through the ranks,” I have the respect of staff that some of my managers do not. I am a “lumper” rather than a “splitter.” I recognize the skill set that both of these broad personality types offer. I feel that I am an approachable leader who has the best interests of both company interests and staff interests in mind. At times, I have allowed myself to be less assertive, but have seen positive gains for the company when I am more assertive. I have managed to be more assertive by instituting manager accountability systems rather than dealing one-on-one with multiple staff persons. 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? MS: We struggle with this. Having “inherited” the group of employees that developed work habits under my predecessor’s lax accountability structure, it has been difficult to change the managers’ work habits. I have increased the frequency of manager meetings and have emphasized the interpersonal skills that I feel each manager needs to succeed with their teams. However, I have no “great” people managers. We manage to succeed by keeping groupings small; this is simply a necessary strategy for me given current staff and their historical freedom in managing their work. 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? MS: No, we do not. I personally sit on an advisory council to my alma mater’s science department, and regularly interact with higher education institutions via a professional organization I have been a member of for many years in order to stay connected, but these efforts are essentially advisory at this time. I have made these efforts in order to allow for pursing the experience and/or recruiting in the future, but time does not allow for expansion on this at present. With no other managers seemingly interested in outside interaction, we are limited in what benefit we can gain from such contact. TZL: How has COVID-19 affected your business on a daily basis? See APPROACHABLE LEADERSHIP, page 8

duties now mostly consist of guidance to managers, some client communications, and marketing. TZL: How far into the future are you able to reliably predict your workload and cashflow? MS: About 18 months. TZL: How much time do you spend working “in the business” rather than “on the business?” MS: I reduced my target billing utilization from 60 percent to 30 percent in early 2019, although it has been difficult to extract myself from historic involvement in project work. I am currently spending approximately 50 percent to 70 percent of my time “on the business.” “Shield is a very family-oriented company, and considerations have been given to both owners and staff to accommodate family concerns.” TZL: What role does your family play in your career? Are work and family separate, or is there overlap? MS: I have a son who works for the company and he has assumed primary management of the projects I have historically brought to the company. Shield is a very family-oriented company, and considerations have been given to both owners and staff to accommodate family concerns – at times to the extent that it could be viewed as detrimental to profits. TZL: What measures are you taking to protect your employees during the COVID-19 crisis? MS: Social distancing, daily disinfection of the office and all field vehicles, providing hand sanitizer and latex gloves, restrictions on field work, limiting vehicle occupancy to one person per vehicle, and mandatory use of masks when working outside of offices with doors. Masks must also be worn in the field. TZL: Since you’ve been managing principal, what has been a top challenge? MS: Motivating managers to hold staff accountable for meeting utilization goals and training staff to learn the marketing skills necessary for succession to sustain future work.





❚ ❚ Lexington, KY

❚ ❚ Louisville, KY 40243


❚ ❚ Air permitting

❚ ❚ Drilling

❚ ❚ Re-development

❚ ❚ Due diligence

❚ ❚ Emergency response

❚ ❚ Hazardous waste


❚ ❚ Industrial compliance

❚ ❚ Remediation engineering

❚ ❚ Site assessment

❚ ❚ Stormwater management

❚ ❚ Tank management

❚ ❚ Wastewater treatment

MISSION: Strive for respect,

honor and discipline; seek

solutions of distinct value; and

serve clients and community.

© Copyright 2020. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

AY 11, 2020, ISSUE 1344

Made with FlippingBook Annual report