A tale of two pictures

Mar 21, 2021

Let’s take all the support we’ve been unable to show over the past year and fire up businesses impacted by COVID.

A week ago, on March 12, Zweig Group did our own strategic planning retreat for our company. I started out the retreat showing a picture from exactly one year ago.

It was a picture of the final day of our in-person Principals Academy in Dallas and would be the last in-person event Zweig Group would conduct for the year. The following Monday, one year ago today, our staff started working from home and the shutdown of America commenced.

Toward the end of our retreat Friday, I noticed a stickie note place by one of the sinks of the facility we were renting for the event. It said, “It’s been a crazy year, I’m glad you’re here.” It was obviously left by one of the staff members of the facility. The note really impacted me. We were one of the first groups to rent space in TheatreSquared, a new facility that was completed as COVID hit a year ago. The 50,000-square-foot campus unites two theaters, rehearsal space, a three-level commons and café, outdoor gathering spaces, production workshops, offices, and artists’ apartments. It was the winner of the 2020 American Architecture Award, the AIA New York State Honor Award, and an Interior Design Best of Year Award – and it’s a cultural landmark in Northwest Arkansas, where our company is proudly headquartered.

I share this because the note was a reminder of the devastation this pandemic caused those in the performing arts world. The artists, set designers, lighting designers, stage crews, and beyond were just one of the many groups deeply affected over the past year. As we are able to get back to renting spaces like TheatreSquared, let’s not forget what an enormous part of our society has endured over the past year. Let’s take all the support we’ve been unable to show over the past year and do what we can to fire up these businesses. We are so fortunate to work in the AEC industry, the industry that designs and constructs the backbone of society. As many of us were considered “essential services,” many firms were able to continue strong through this, and overall, we did much better as an industry than our brothers and sisters in the hospitality and entertainment sectors, to name a few. That note impressed upon me that every industry is an “essential service.” In 2021, I’m excited to get back to enjoying the amazing facilities the surveyors, planners, engineers, architects, interior designers, and contractors have built. But we need the artists, set designers, lighting designers, stage crews, and event coordinators to make things like TheatreSquared work. They are going to be glad to see us, and we are going to be glad to see them.

Chad Clinehens is Zweig Group’s president and CEO. Contact him at cclinehens@zweiggroup.com.

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About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.