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T R E N D L I N E S A p r i l 6 , 2 0 2 0 , I s s u e 1 3 3 9 W W W . T H E Z W E I G L E T T E R . C O M

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Engage the people at your firm and they will tell you all you need to know to recruit, retain, and utilize every employee. Employee engagement

I t can be tough to know exactly what people are looking for in a company. Work-life balance, flexible schedules, job security, stability, and 401(k) are among additional benefits people are interested in. When it comes to your firm, I would argue that there is no better way to find out what people want than by engaging your employees. Nobody knows your company better than they do. Find out what they like, don’t like, and are indifferent about, including those additional benefits your firm offers. Employee engagement surveys are a great place to start. Whether it’s administered through a third party or done internally, these surveys are a great way to engage everyone in your firm no matter what role they play. Getting 100 percent participation in the survey would be great, but the reality is this can be very hard to achieve, especially in a larger firm. You need to set realistic participation goals and encourage your employees to participate until you get there. Let your employees know how important it is that you hear from them and that this is their chance to have their voice heard. Asking the right questions is key to getting the best information from your employees. You can keep these general to get a broad sense of how people feel about certain parts of your company (mission, vision, goals, culture, benefits, etc.), or you can ask specific questions that may have to do with a policy your firm implemented recently. That is a good way to understand if that policy has provided the benefits your firm was hoping for. Having measurable questions is an effective way to track your progress. While hearing comments about your firm is great, it can be hard to quantify those results. Having the right mix of quantitative and qualitative questions is very important. Engaging your employees is the first step, but successful companies will go beyond that. They will utilize “people analytics,” using data gathered to put better policies in place, predict internal mobility, and identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, in addition to other HR data. A LinkedIn study recently found that half of those surveyed said “their company was good at collecting internal data but only 39 percent felt confident analyzing it. Using data to solve existing problems? Thirty-seven percent. And using it to solve future problems? A mere 29 percent.” There is a tremendous opportunity to use data beyond hitting sales numbers or for performance reviews. We can utilize it to make great places to work for employees and Zweig Group is working to help firms in the AEC industry better utilize the data they are gathering internally. While utilizing and acting on the information and data gathered is

According to Zweig Group’s 2020 Valuation Report of AEC Firms , we see the disparity in equity value per profit (EV/P) among valuations done on behalf of controlling owners (3.64) relative to those done on behalf of minority owners (3.48). Overall, valuations performed on behalf of the majority ownership resulted in value ratios that were ten percent higher than valuations performed on behalf of the minority of non-controlling owners. Participate in a survey and save 50 percent on any Zweig Group research publication. A&E Architects........................................6 CHA Consulting, Inc................................2 HKS......................................................10 JQ Engineering.....................................10 LEO A DALY..........................................10 Shive-Hattery........................................12 Ware Malcomb..................................8, 12 F I R M I N D E X MO R E A R T I C L E S xz MARK ZWEIG: The road ahead Page 3 xz Empowering people: Dusty Eaton Page 6 xz MITCHELL SHOPE: Adopt a growth mindset Page 9 xz RILEY MCLEOD & GREG KANZ: An open letter from your marketing staff Page 11

Kyle Ahern

See KYLE AHERN, page 2



DEADLINE: JUNE 1, 2020 The Best Firms To Work For award recognizes the top AEC firms in the U.S. and Canada based on their workplace practices, employee benefits, employee retention rates, and much more. Firms will be ranked according to their category based on a combination score comprised of 25 percent corporate survey and 75 percent employee surveys.

Driving Financial Results Webinar

Best Firms To Work For benefits: ❚ ❚ The largest employee survey in the AEC industry – more than 2 million data points gathered in 2018! ❚ ❚ Access to employee insight through their own words ❚ ❚ The most affordable employee survey in the industry ❚ ❚ Completely customizable options ❚ ❚ Great tool for recruitment, retention, and marketing! ❚ ❚ Benchmarking your firms against firms of similar size, disciplines, and region ❚ ❚ Recognition at Zweig Group’s ElevateAEC conference ❚ ❚ Incredible public relations exposure in press releases, in The Zweig Letter , and our Civil + Structual Engineer magazine ❚ ❚ Signs, stickers, trophies, plaques, and other collateral for your office(s) ❚ ❚ The Best Firms To Work For logo to use on all of your promotional material

New for 2020: ❚ ❚ Zweig Group will begin offering expert analysis of your employee survey results. This analysis will include a SWOT analysis as well as recommendations and a phone call to discuss the report with you. Let us help you analyze all of the data you get from this survey and use our experience to help you formulate a plan to make your firm a better place to work! This option starts at $1,500. Calls us to find out more! ❚ ❚ Participating in the award process is an effective and efficient way to gain employee insight. All participating firms receive a summary report of their employees’ survey responses. ❚ ❚ We will have an overall ranking of firms followed by sub-rankings (firm size, discipline, region). You only have to register once. There will be additional sub-category benchmarking reports available for purchase both individually or in bundles. To enter or learn more, visit or call 800.466.6275.


Solid financial management is crucial to the success of any company, and firms in the AEC industry are no exception. This short course provides an overview of business financial management – specifically tailored to our industry – to help firm leaders make informed decisions that drive results.


KYLE AHERN, from page 1

very important, companies still have to use discretion on which policies or benefits to implement. While many employees will suggest strong new benefits such as a new 401(k) program or ownership opportunities, other suggestions may not be as useful. We have seen ideas such as game rooms, nap rooms, and extra monitors so employees can enjoy Netflix in the background at work. While these might sound like fun ideas, firms need to decide whether or not these things will really make the overall culture better or if they’re just fringe benefits that don’t belong in the workplace. That is the line successful companies walk. Know what will truly make your company better and what belongs in the “Dreams” suggestion box. The next important part of engaging your employees is repeating the process. Whether it is bi-annually, annually, or however you choose, you need to make sure your employee engagement isn’t a one-off exercise. You need to be able to measure how your actions, from your first engagement, have affected your employees. There is no way to know if new programs have been positive or negative unless you reengage and re-analyze the new information. Don’t call it good after engaging with your employees one time. As data becomes a bigger and bigger part of our everyday lives, businesses, and business strategies, we have to think about how and what we are doing to utilize it. It starts with having an apparatus to collect it: Employee surveys. You then need to know how to utilize that data – people analytics – followed by implementation of new ideas, and then reengagement. Engage the people at your firm and they will tell you all you need to know to recruit, retain, and utilize each and every employee. KYLE AHERN is awards manager at Zweig Group. Contact him at

1200 North College Ave. Fayetteville, AR 72703 Chad Clinehens | Publisher Sara Parkman | Senior Editor & Designer Christina Zweig | Contributing Editor Liisa Andreassen | Correspondent Email: Online: Twitter: Facebook: 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 2020, Zweig Group. All rights reserved. Tel: 800-466-6275 Fax: 800-842-1560

© Copyright 2020. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

THE ZWEIG LETTER April 6, 2020, ISSUE 1339


The road ahead

“With social distancing in full swing and virtually everyone I know in the A/E business working remotely, the new reality of living with the coronavirus is just getting started.”

W ith social distancing in full swing and virtually everyone I know in the A/E business working remotely, the new reality of living with the coronavirus is just getting started.

and multiple refrigerators and freezers full of food, and make all of our meals at home. 2)Work will never be the same. All work I do today is accomplished via email, phone, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or some other collaboration platform. Aside “It’s not all bad. I have already lost five pounds. We are getting more ‘official exercise’ than we normally do. Our 120 lb. Great Pyrenees pup is happier than ever. We discovered we can still cook and make some pretty good meals.”

Reflecting on the present and looking toward the future, here are some of my thoughts: 1)This is the new reality. The situation will get worse before it gets better. Unless they develop a cure very, very soon – and make that available to anyone who needs it – I don’t see much changing in our daily lives for at least a couple months. We will be home every day and not seeing anyone other than neighbors we can talk to from either the deck off our bedroom or our front yard as they walk by. We aren’t seeing our older kids at all and only talk to them and other family members by phone or FaceTime. We severely restricted the social circle of my 17-year-old stepdaughter to one friend several weeks ago. We wash hands 50 times a day and spray or wipe down every package or anything that could have been exposed. We aren’t going out to eat. We have gotten take-out only once. We have a well-stocked pantry

Mark Zweig

See MARK ZWEIG, page 4

THE ZWEIG LETTER April 6, 2020, ISSUE 1339

ON THE MOVE CHA ANNOUNCES PROMOTION OF JAMES STEPHENSON TO CEO OF CHA HOLDINGS, INC. CHA Consulting, Inc. , a highly diversified, full- service engineering consulting firm, announces the promotion of James Stephenson to CEO of CHA Holdings, Inc. and president of CHA Consulting, Inc. Stephenson will succeed Michael Carroll, P.E., who will transition to chairman of the board for CHA Holdings, Inc. Stephenson joined CHA in May 2019 as executive vice president and chief strategy officer bringing more than 20 years of broad strategy, financial, and corporate development experience. Prior to joining CHA, he was the chief strategy officer at a top 20 ENR ranked company, where he was responsible for structuring a five-year strategic growth plan focused on executing acquisitive growth and strategic investments that helped position the company as a leader in innovation and each of their operating sectors. “This is the right time for a leadership transition and Jim is the perfect leader and strategist to take CHA to the next level,” said Carroll.

“When Jim came on board earlier this year to oversee strategy and growth, we knew he was the right person to deliver exceptional value to our clients, effectively scale the business, and guide our staff to becoming the best firm in the industry.” “Mike is a true partner and has been instrumental in CHA’s transformation over the past five years,” said Jeff Quake and Mike Scardigli of First Reserve. “We look forward to working with Mike in his role as Chairman where he will continue to support the company in areas of strategy, organizational excellence and mergers and acquisitions.” “CHA is a great company with a rich history and exceptional staff, and I am honored to take over from Mike and build on his legacy. With support of a great financial partner in First Reserve, the company is in a unique position to accelerate growth and deliver value within our end markets. With three successful acquisitions this year and the largest backlog in our history, CHA is poised for continued growth and success,” said Stephenson. “I look forward to the opportunity to continue to work with the leadership team to propel CHA to be the most client-focused

and responsive engineering firm in the industry.” Quake and Scardigli said, “Stephenson is a perfect fit for CHA. He brings a wealth of relevant experience, strategic vision and proven leadership ability that will serve CHA well for many years to come. The company has made significant strides in organic growth, acquisition and talent initiatives and we have full confidence in Jim and the team to continue building on this momentum.” CHA Consulting, Inc. is a highly diversified, full-service engineering consulting firm which, along with its affiliates, provides a wide range of technology-enhanced planning and design services to public, private and institutional clients. CHA was ranked the 37th largest pure design firm in the United States in 2019 by Engineering News Record . With technical personnel and offices throughout the United States and Canada, CHA offers engineering, architectural, survey, project management, and other services necessary to complete projects on time and within budget.

MARK ZWEIG, from page 3

projects have finally gotten done by me versus hiring someone else. Our sliding screen door now works like it was designed to for the first time since we have lived here. Our pantry has new shelves and is organized to a “T.” I touched up all the interior paint. Our art and crafting stuff is now where we can use it. Our cat litter boxes are the cleanest they have ever been. The “Honey-Do” list is shrinking every day. All good stuff. 4)Most of our clients are struggling but remaining optimistic. I am hearing many stories of projects put on hold or clients stopping all work. But I am also hearing about quick responses to the problem with new remote work methods being employed, selective staff cuts, across the board pay reductions, bigger cuts or pay elimination for owners, and a lot more communication with the staff as immediate responses to the situation. While none of this is pleasant I am glad to see our industry responding quickly instead of foot- dragging as we normally do. 5)The future has to bode well for our industry. Going forward, A/E services will be needed now more than ever. Huge demand in health care, HVAC systems that don’t spread viruses, adaptive reuse of buildings that are no longer needed, and design changes to support social distancing and remote work situations, among all the other things we do that aren’t getting done now will drive demand for A/E services for a long time to come. The needs will not go away. They may change some but firms that are really tuning into their clients will find plenty to do. How are YOU and your firm doing through all of this? What do you see ahead? Let me know your thoughts at We are all in this together! MARK ZWEIG is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at

from the scheduled virtual meetings and conference calls, it’s easier than ever to work whenever you want to. Besides the home office I share with my wife (we each have our own desk), I am working from my kitchen breakfast bar, kitchen island, back porch, dining room table, bedroom table by a window, and even our garage workshop. I don’t subscribe to the theory that I have to go to the same place in the house at the same time every day to get anything done. But then again, I was already used to working like this before the virus to a great extent. I know a lot of A/E firm principals who read The Zweig Letter are working the same way because I communicate with them daily. “Most of our clients are struggling but remaining optimistic. I am hearing many stories of projects put on hold or clients stopping all work. But I am also hearing about quick responses to the problem with new remote work methods being employed.” 3)It’s not all bad. I have already lost five pounds. We are getting more “official exercise” than we normally do. Our 120 lb. Great Pyrenees pup is happier than ever. We discovered we can still cook and make some pretty good meals. Our AMEX charges are half what they normally would be. I have had some real quality time with my wife and little girls. My 8-year-old has finally learned to ride a bike with confidence. I have learned to ride an electric scooter and crashed only once in the driveway with no injuries. Small home improvement

© Copyright 2020. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

THE ZWEIG LETTER April 6, 2020, ISSUE 1339

Work From Home Learning Opportunities




OVERVIEW: The way we work, do business, and interact is constantly evolving and changing. Leaders are the first we look to when we need to adopt a change or under- stand how change affects us personally. You and your team must understand how to lead and adapt to an ever-changing environment.


OVERVIEW: Solid financial management is crucial to the success of any company, and firms in the AEC industry are no exception. This short course provides an overview of business financial management – specifically tailored to our industry – to help firm leaders make informed decisions that drive results.


OVERVIEW: Zweig Group’s research shows that recruiting and retention are the #1 chal- lenges AEC firms have faced in the last few years. This webinar discusses current data from exclusive industry survey results that can be used to effectively develop your firm’s recruitment and retention strategy in any type of job market. UNDERSTANDING KEY FINANCIAL STATISTICS IN THE AEC INDUSTRY WEBINAR PRICE: $39 OVERVIEW: This webinar highlights several key financial statistics, how they are calcu- lated, and what the industry trends for each measure look like over the last five years. Learn how to compare your firm’s performance against industry norms, comparable firms, and specific performance categories. THE ZWEIG LETTER PODCAST LEARN MORE

The Zweig Letter Podcast is back! With new episodes weekly, stay up to date with AEC trends in the TZL podcast hosted by Zweig Group’s Randy Wilburn


Zweig Group is an approved provider by the AIA & SHRM

THE ZWEIG LETTER April 6, 2020, ISSUE 1339


Empowering people: Dusty Eaton CEO of A&E Architects (Billings, MT), a firm that believes all disciplines can live together within any given project.


E aton is a Montana State University alumnus. He has experience in a wide range of architectural disciplines and has had lead roles in many of A&E’s most complicated projects. He was featured as one of the Billings Business “40 under 40” winners. “The founders of our firm learned valuable lessons many years ago about being over-committed to one client or sector when a recession hits,” Eaton says. “We’re fortunate to have our two founders still serving as invaluable mentors to me and our leadership team.” A CONVERSATION WITH DUSTY EATON. The Zweig Letter: How has COVID-19 impacted your firm’s policy on telecommuting/working remotely? Dusty Eaton: As the COVID-19 situation was quickly evolving in the beginning, I knew it was critical that we be innovative in how we approached it with our team. Over the past few weeks, we’ve had most of our staff working

remotely and we quickly invested in the resources needed to accommodate that. I’ve continually reminded our team that the way we respond to this collectively will define us going forward. Our leadership team and staff have stepped up and we’re managing this situation successfully, and for the most part, remotely. It’s worked incredibly well and we’re continuing to meet deadlines, manage projects, and present to our clients throughout this challenging time. TZL: How much time do you spend working “in the business” rather than “on the business?” DE: I spend about 60 percent of my time working “in the business” and 40 percent “working on the business.” I find this time split to be an increasing challenge as I seek to remain a designer doing what I love and building client relationships, but also focusing on our practice and setting a vision for the future. Since 2016, we have grown from 32 people to 70, so there’s an increasing need to shift more of my time toward “on the business” work. As part of some recent strategic planning facilitated by Jamie Claire Kiser


experience, and innovation and/or recruiting to find qualified resources? DE: A&E works closely with Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. Our firm is made up of many MSU graduates and we continue to stay connected to the School of Architecture and the larger university. We serve as guest lecturers, adjunct professors, members of the advisory council, and are strong financial supporters. We’ve been fortunate to also maintain a strong working relationship with the university, designing many of the largest and most complex buildings on campus over the last 30 years. We recently completed the Norm Asbjornson Hall that serves as home to the College of Engineering and Honors College. It is the first LEED Platinum facility on campus and proving to be the most energy-efficient building across the state. It’s an innovative facility, unlike anything else, and has set a new design standard across the campus. The significance of striving for unprecedented innovation is how it can be leveraged as a teaching tool for students. We partnered with architecture and engineering students throughout the design and construction to collaborate on explorations such as daylight studies, energy modeling, and a wide range of construction monitoring. We learned as much from the students as I hope they did from us. “A critical part of my role is to empower others to achieve what they didn’t think possible – to truly strive for greatness.” TZL: What measures are you taking to protect your employees during the COVID-19 crisis? DE: The health of our company starts with the health of our employees. While we followed the CDC recommendations and encouraged remote working, I also found that it was critical to address each employee’s needs, individually. Everyone has a different situation and it quickly became apparent that what may work for one person is not ideal for another. We’ve worked incredibly hard to respond and adapt to everyone’s unique situation to ensure they could still work while also managing family and health obligations. TZL: Ownership transition can be tricky, to say the least. What’s the key See EMPOWERING PEOPLE, page 8

and the Zweig Group team, we outlined specific goals for our leadership team’s time allocation and management. That planning has been exceedingly helpful in not only identifying our highest and best use for the firm, but also empowering each other to achieve our goals. “Our leadership team and staff have stepped up and we’re managing this situation successfully, and for the most part, remotely.” 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? DE: Creating a culture of empowered leaders is at the heart of our firm. A critical part of my role is to empower others to achieve what they didn’t think possible – to truly strive for greatness. Empowering others to lead and take A&E to new heights means we need to intently and genuinely listen to every person who works for us. In order to do that, we built a comprehensive strategic plan that was shaped by every employee – their goals, aspirations, and vision for A&E is reflected. Building a management team that understands the value we place on everyone’s role is critically important to our success. When our entire team feels heard and valued as an integral part of crafting where we go next, I believe that’s key to keeping people not only happy and productive, but continually inspired. TZL: What novel approaches are you bringing to recruitment, and how are your brand and differentiators performing in the talent wars? DE: The most exciting development I’ve watched in the last few years is our brand serving as a recruitment tool. We’ve put incredible focus on building a powerful brand that people associate with two key things: an extraordinarily high level of design and a great culture. Those two elements alone drive everything else. When people seek us out because of the quality of our work or the culture they’ve heard about, I know we’re building our firm the right way. TZL: Does your firm work closely with any higher education institutions to gain access to the latest technology,


❚ ❚ Bozeman, MT ❚ ❚ Kalispell, MT ❚ ❚ Missoula, MT ❚ ❚ Seattle, WA

SERVICES: Architecture, historic preservation, interior design, and graphics VALUES: People, passion, and purpose. RECENT PROJECTS: ❚ ❚ The Missoula Airport – architecture, branding, and interiors ❚ ❚ Yellowstone Bank – interiors and architecture ❚ ❚ Mystery Ranch – branding ❚ ❚ Old Faithful Inn – architecture and historic preservation ❚ ❚ Missoula Public Library – architecture and interiors ❚ ❚ MSU, Norm Asbjornson Hall – architecture ❚ ❚ Ben Steele Middle School – architecture CULTURE: Its culture goes beyond happy hours and ping pong tables. For A&E, it’s a blending of its people, passions, and purpose. (Note: It may have an office with a pool table.)

© Copyright 2020. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

ril 6, 2020, ISSUE 1339

BUSINESS NEWS WARE MALCOMB EXPANDS TO LARGER OFFICE LOCATION IN ATLANTA Ware Malcomb announced it has expanded and relocated its Atlanta office to a new, larger space located at 3520 Piedmont Road, Suite 290 in Atlanta. The move accommodates the firm’s growing client and employee base in the region. Ware Malcomb has been operating in the Atlanta market since 1999 and opened an office there in 2016. Ware Malcomb has completed more than 200 projects throughout the Atlanta metro area and Georgia for clients including Prologis, McCraney Development, Charter Spectrum, Honeywell, and Medline. In its work in the region, the firm has provided planning, architecture, interior design, and branding services to clients in various industries including healthcare, multi-family, retail, aerospace distribution, logistics, cold storage, manufacturing, and science and technology. “We are excited to move into a new office

in the Buckhead business district that will enable our team to continue to grow while providing a strong base from which to serve our clients,” said Jason Dooley, AIA, principal of Ware Malcomb’s Atlanta office. “Ware Malcomb’s incredible growth in Atlanta and the Southeastern market would not be possible without the hard work of our immensely talented and dedicated team members.” Ware Malcomb’s new Atlanta office location incorporates the latest in interior design trends, as well as the firm’s own design standards. The entry to each Ware Malcomb office conveys a hospitality feel, providing an open and inviting welcome punctuated with iconic pieces of furniture. The color palette, finishes, and materials reflect the Ware Malcomb brand colors of vibrant orange with white and grey accents. The work environment fosters collaboration while also allowing for privacy and heads down work when needed. It includes desking stations with adjustable desk

heights to provide a variety of work options and cater to every individual’s work preference. In addition to implementing the firm’s design standards across its offices in North America, Ware Malcomb’s in-house branding studio also incorporates a unique design flair in each regional office that reflects the local community and surrounding area, as well as the office’s client base. Established in 1972, Ware Malcomb provides planning, architecture, interior design, branding, and civil engineering services to commercial real estate and corporate clients. With offices throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Panama, the firm specializes in the design of commercial office, corporate, industrial, science and technology, healthcare, retail, auto, public/educational facilities, and renovation projects. Ware Malcomb is recognized as a Hot Firm and Best Firm To Work For by Zweig Group.


great mentor once tell me to “rip off the rear-view mirror because you’re not going that way.” Get up, move forward, and let your team know you’re behind them to fail fast and move on to the next one. TZL: In one word or phrase, what do you describe as your number one job responsibility as CEO? TZL: Diversity and inclusion is lacking. What steps are you taking to address the issue? DE: We continue to focus on the diversity of our team at both staff and leadership levels. It’s important to me to be intentional and transparent about increasing diversity in our firm. We’ve had numerous staff-wide discussions about the value of diversity and bringing different perspectives to the table. One of my most important objectives is for everyone at A&E to know they have a genuinely equal opportunity to be successful and achieve their goals. I have a young daughter and I’ve told my team many times that I want to build the kind of business where she could be just as successful as her male counterpart. In addition to simply doing the right thing, I also believe diversity is good business. You miss out on tremendously valuable perspectives and insight if everyone making the decisions comes from the same background with similar experiences. TZL: A firm’s longevity is valuable. What are you doing to encourage your staff to stick around? DE: One of the metrics that I’m most proud of is our retention rates. We have almost no voluntary turnover and I believe it centers on our culture. If we treat people well, value their work, and reward them accordingly, we can keep people committed to A&E for their whole career. If someone leaves our firm, we do a lot of self-reflection to understand what we can do better next time. DE: Set the vision, empower people, and build the culture

to ensuring a smooth passing of the baton? What’s the biggest pitfall to avoid? DE: I’ve watched so many great firms completely vanish over the years because of not having a plan in place. We’ve taken the position of building a long-term transition plan that is managed and updated on a regular basis. No matter how young our leadership team is, we forecast retirement dates and how far before that we will begin selling down our share of the ownership. One of the simplest, and most important, things you can do is be clear about the structure of your firm with your entire staff. Everyone should know the basics of how the company is structured and how stock (or leadership) transfer occurs. It’s simple, but it lets people understand how it works so they can strive for those future opportunities. The biggest pitfall to avoid is senior leadership waiting too long to transfer stock – essentially choking out the firm. The best thing you can do is give ownership opportunities to young, eager leaders and let them grow the practice. “I have a young daughter and I’ve told my team many times that I want to build the kind of business where she could be just as successful as her male counterpart.” TZL: They say failure is a great teacher. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve had to learn the hard way? DE: Don’t let failure drag down the morale of your whole team. We implemented a staff-wide “wins, losses, and why” section to our weekly Monday morning meeting. We use this opportunity to tell the entire staff about our project pursuits and why we win or lose a particular project. When we have a loss, I use it as a chance to reflect on the takeaways and how we can improve next time. I had a

© Copyright 2020. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

THE ZWEIG LETTER April 6, 2020, ISSUE 1339


Adopt a growth mindset

W hether it’s an article about self-improvement, honing leadership skills, receiving feedback, or increasing efficiency, there’s consistently an underlying and pervasive message throughout: adopt a growth mindset. While almost every lesson includes this bullet point, few explicitly demonstrate exactly what a growth mindset is or more importantly how to bring it into practice. Simply put, a growth mindset is a worldview centered around continual learning and relentless development. Learning to learn, praising the process, and reflecting on your progress all point your mind toward the common goal of persistent development.

Mitchell Shope

Indeed, while most AEC firms will wholeheartedly embrace “growth” and “development” of their employees as core values and top priorities, few effectively excel at embedding these tenets into their cultures. Creating a self-perpetuating growth culture requires buy-in and individualized effort from all levels of an organization. Following these steps can help both you and your coworkers foster a supportive atmosphere and develop a persistent, growth-centered mindset. 1)Praise process, not intellect. Whether it’s to members of your team or internally to yourself, praising the process is infinitely more important than praising an outcome. Dr. Carol Dweck, the godmother and creator of the term “growth mindset,” demonstrates in several studies that students praised for strategy, effort, and progression

fare significantly better long-term compared to students praised strictly for performance. Those routinely praised only for their output develop defensive and reactive tendencies seeing poor performance as an attack on character and not as an opportunity for growth. Because of this tendency, testing raw intelligence and performance of individuals is a lose-lose. A perceived loss can be devastating to confidence while a win teaches entitlement and emphasis solely on natural ability. Positioning individuals to “learn to learn” instead of “learning to solve” is paramount to long-term success. Operating within a deadline and service-driven industry, AEC firms are particularly at risk for


THE ZWEIG LETTER April 6, 2020, ISSUE 1339

ON THE MOVE ELLEN MITCHELL-KOZACK JOINS LEO A DALY AS CHIEF SUSTAINABILITY OFFICER LEO A DALY , the global planning, architecture, engineering, and interiors firm, announced that Ellen Mitchell-Kozack, AIA, LEED BD+C, WELL AP, SEED, has joined the firm as vice president, chief sustainability officer. In this role, Mitchell-Kozack leads LEO A DALY’s strategic initiatives in sustainable design worldwide, including environmental social and governance, alignment with the UN Global Compact and Sustainable Development Goals, carbon footprint assessment and social impact. She is based in the firm’s Dallas, Texas, design studio. Mitchell-Kozack is a nationally recognized voice in sustainability and public interest design. As senior vice president, director of sustainability at HKS , she led the firm’s DesignGreen studio and founded Citizen HKS, an impact initiative focused on leveraging sustainable design to address growing humanitarian needs of communities around

the world. She has managed certification of more than 60 LEED projects worldwide, totaling $2.8 billion in construction, including 50 United Nations Plaza in San Francisco and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland. Mitchell-Kozack is co-chair of the American Institute of Architects’ Large Firm Roundtable Sustainability Group. She was named one of several “Heroes and Mavericks” by Boutique Design in 2018, a BD+C 40 Under 40 winner in 2015, and has won Emerging Leader Awards from AIA Dallas (2012) and the Design Futures Council (2013). Her work has been featured in Dezeen , Fast Company , Architectural Digest , and Designboom . She has spoken at Greenbuild (2018), NeoCon (2018), AIA National Convention (2017) and SXSW Eco (2015). “I’m excited to welcome Ellen Mitchell-Kozack as chief sustainability officer. Ellen applies a humanitarian and environmental lens to architecture that will benefit our clients, the

communities we live in and the future of our planet,” said LEO A DALY President Steven Lichtenberger, AIA. “As designers of the built environment, we have a responsibility to address the environmental and social impacts of our work. LEO A DALY is committed to deepening our commitment to the world’s most pressing environmental and social issues. I’m excited leverage the firm’s integrated design expertise to affect positive change,” said Mitchell-Kozack. LEO A DALY is a leader in the design of the built environment, offering planning, architecture, engineering, interior design, and program management services all over the world. Since 1915, the firm has had an unyielding focus on design excellence to create exceptional spaces that enhance and enrich the human experience. LEO A DALY’s award- winning, diverse portfolio includes projects in a wide range of markets in more than 91 countries, all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

MITCHELL SHOPE, from page 9

While many leaders recognize the value and practice of personal reflection, few also extend the same offering of time to their constituents. Within a workplace driven by results and performance, individuals are rarely allowed time to analyze their processes and strategies toward their work. This shortsightedness ironically results in limited output and performance due to inefficient processes. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening my axe.” Allowing yourself and your constituents even one hour per week to think critically about how they do their job, instead of just doing their job, will expose an abundance of implementable ideas and foster more flexible thinking. “Instilling this mindset into the culture of your firm can pay endless dividends as new ideas and more efficient processes create excitement and potential, instead of resistance and pessimism.” A growth mindset serves as the foundation for effective learning and a powerful career in any industry. Learning to learn, praising the process, and reflecting on your progress all point your mind toward the common goal of persistent development. Instilling this mindset into the culture of your firm can pay endless dividends as new ideas and more efficient processes create excitement and potential, instead of resistance and pessimism. By following the steps above and allowing employees the flexibility to expand their mindsets as well, you may find that your next idea will be met with a “great, how do we do it?” in lieu of an “oh boy, another change.” MITCHELL SHOPE is a senior project engineer with JQ Engineering in Dallas, Texas. He holds a master’s degree from MIT in structural engineering. Contact him at

monitoring results over process. Even if underperforming, employees working excess hours each week are rarely working because they have nothing better to do. Breaking the cycle of an underperforming employee requires careful monitoring and praising of mindset over output. 2)Understand the learning curve. In lieu of reducing skills and competencies to a binary (“you either know it or you don’t”), reinforce the nature of the learning curve as a continuum by adding “yet” to your vocabulary. While you may not pick up tasks the first or even fifth time, emphasizing and measuring incremental growth over speed or autonomy allows you to recognize that intentional repetition and rehearsal ingrain the process of learning more strongly than simply completing tasks. Within her research, Dr. Dweck labels this dichotomy as the “Power of Yet” versus the “Tyranny of Now.” Maintaining a growth mindset requires understanding that incomplete knowledge of a task should be labeled as “I don’t know how to do that yet” instead of “I don’t (and will never) know how to do that.” Through multiple meta-studies, fixed-mindset individuals’ actions after experiencing failure on a challenging test were dramatic. Some indicated cheating on following tests, others targeted someone else who performed more poorly as a shifting of negative attention, and many simply vowed to not try something so challenging again. Within a growth mindset, encountering difficulty just means “not yet” instead of “no.” 3)Provide opportunities for reflection. Perhaps most important to the development of a growth mindset is reserving dedicated time for reflection and development of self-awareness. Assessing and measuring individual progress requires careful and intentional introspection to identify areas of both strength and weakness. Soliciting genuine feedback from trusted advisors and coworkers will help to inform this reflection. Only by taking a discrete step away from the whirlwind of day-to-day output can you observe and record personal growth.

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THE ZWEIG LETTER April 6, 2020, ISSUE 1339


D ear Principal, We know you’re busy, so let’s make this quick. As much as it pains us to admit, we know marketing may not always be top of mind. Through a few decades of combined AEC marketing experience, we’ve identified internal strategies to assist our organization in effectively and efficiently retaining the best talent, providing unparalleled client experience and inevitably reaching the firm’s strategic growth goals. For firm leadership, marketing may not always be top of mind. For your marketing staff, it is. Make sure they have a seat at the table. An open letter from your marketing staff

Riley McLeod

❚ ❚ A rigorous go/no-go process. The firm continues to be selective in client pursuits. Our employees are building relationships for the long haul through a differentiated client experience. These pursuits will lead to growing backlog while economic conditions remain stable. ❚ ❚ Employees are very busy – of course, the best time to market. Let’s continue to focus on business development activities to create future value. The seeds planted today will sow opportunities later this year into 2021. This investment will be critical as markets ebb and flow with economic forces beyond our control. ❚ ❚ Appropriately leverage marketing staff. It may be time to add another marketing staff member to

complement current staff skill sets. As we recruit, it’s important to educate candidates on how the AEC industry gives them the opportunity to influence direction and strategy. You get a comprehensive marketing role in the architectural and engineering business and can affect meaningful change through proposals, advertising, strategy, and pursuits at a fast pace. ❚ ❚ Marketing and leadership alignment. This begins with continuing to have marketing report directly to leadership with “a voice at the table.” As the Society of Marketing Professional Services says, “Marketing is the umbrella to house all things involved in the process of creating firm awareness; building and

Greg Kanz


THE ZWEIG LETTER April 6, 2020, ISSUE 1339

ON THE MOVE WARE MALCOMB ANNOUNCES NEW CIVIL ENGINEERING MANAGER IN NEWARK OFFICE Ware Malcomb , an award-winning international design firm, announced Edward Wilkes, Jr. has joined the firm as a civil engineering manager in the Newark, New Jersey, office. In this role, Wilkes is responsible for the growth and management of civil engineering services for the Northeast market. “With a strong background in both engineering and business management, Ed will be instrumental in expanding Ware Malcomb’s civil engineering services across the Northeast market,” said Chris Strawn, Ware Malcomb principal, civil engineering. “We look forward to Ed’s contributions to our civil engineering team as we continue to grow our services across North America,” added Tom Jansen, Ware Malcomb principal, civil engineering. Jansen and Strawn are responsible for the leadership and expansion of civil engineering services firmwide. Ware Malcomb’s civil engineering team specializes in land development projects, with a focus on efficient design practices to deliver successful project outcomes. The team has worked on office, industrial, healthcare, public, institutional, retail, restaurant, mixed-use, multi-family, residential, and subdivision projects. “Ed is the perfect choice to lead the expansion of civil engineering services here in New Jersey and across the Northeast,” said Michael Bennett, principal of Ware Malcomb’s

Northeast region, including offices in Newark, New Jersey, Princeton, New Jersey, and New York, New York. “His expertise and leadership in civil land development will be an excellent addition toWare Malcomb’s robust architecture and interior design services, enhancing our reputation as a full-service design firm in the region.” Wilkes brings more than 14 years of experience in the civil engineering and land development fields to Ware Malcomb. Previously Wilkes served as a senior project manager for ground-up commercial real estate projects across the industrial, office, residential, retail, self-storage, and senior living asset classes. Wilkes’ expertise includes site feasibility studies, conceptual planning and site layout, grading and drainage design, hydraulic and hydrologic modeling, erosion and sediment control design, utility design, regulatory permitting, and construction oversight. Wilkes has also served as an expert and appeared on behalf of clients before planning/zoning boards and other regulatory agencies throughout the region. Wilkes holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from The College of New Jersey, and an MBA degree from Rutgers University. He is a licensed professional engineer, a member of the National Association of Office and Industrial Parks (NAOIP) and currently serves as President of the American Society of Civil Engineers – Central Jersey Branch.

In 2019, Ware Malcomb expanded and relocated to Newark, New Jersey, in a new, larger office space located at 110 Edison Place, Suite 303 in the iconic Ironside Newark building. The firm’s move to Newark was driven by the growth of its local employee and client base, as well as the opportunity to be closer to clients in a vibrant growth market. Ware Malcomb also maintains offices in the region in Princeton, New Jersey, and New York, New York. Established in 1972, Ware Malcomb is an international design firm providing planning, architecture, interior design, branding, civil engineering and building measurement services to commercial real estate and corporate clients. With office locations throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Panama, Ware Malcomb specializes in the design of commercial office, corporate, industrial, science and technology, healthcare, retail, auto, public/educational facilities and renovation projects. Ware Malcomb is recognized as an Inc. 5000 fastest-growing private company and a Hot Firm and Best Firm to Work For 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 30 interior design firms in Interior Design magazine’s Top 100 Giants.

RILEY MCLEOD & GREG KANZ, from page 11

managers should not worry about added costs to the project!) Understanding and clearly communicating why the client is investing in the project will help motivate each team member to create a client experience second-to-none. Along the way, we’ll collect project data (perhaps pre- and post-occupancy surveys) that will be valuable for future pursuits. If the project team needs help with client presentations, we’re happy to assist. We’re here to make you look your best. Through consistent communication and coaching we can continue to build on our momentum. Marketing’s mid-year review will compare our firm’s aspirations with results through June. (Note: We are hitting on all cylinders: Net services revenue is up 8 percent, nine months of backlog, and our win rate is above 50 percent.) You focus on the fun stuff: Developing new and nurturing existing client relationships, mentoring staff, and growing a business that will continue after we retire to Florida. Sincerely, Your marketing staff RILEY MCLEOD is a creative strategist for Shive-Hattery’s West Des Moines office. GREG KANZ is marketing director for Shive-Hattery, a 425-person architecture + engineering firm. Contact them at rmcleod@ and

differentiating the brand; driving business development activities; and identifying, anticipating, and satisfying client objectives to achieve profitable business goals.” “Through a few decades of combined AEC marketing experience, we’ve identified internal strategies to assist our organization in effectively and efficiently retaining the best talent, providing unparalleled client experience and inevitably reaching the firm’s strategic growth goals.” ❚ ❚ Engage marketing staff within your internal initiatives. Beyond pursuits, marketing can add immense value playing a part in initiatives like employee engagement communication and all-staff celebrations. These are prime opportunities to recognize our people and engage with staff we may not otherwise. ❚ ❚ Integrate marketing with project delivery. Continue to invite marketing to project kick-off meetings. (Project

© Copyright 2020. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

THE ZWEIG LETTER April 6, 2020, ISSUE 1339

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