Editorial: Growing by Acquisition …

Mar 03, 2011

By: Mark C. Zweig On Feb. 16, ZweigWhite closed on the acquisition of the engineering media assets formerly owned by Stagnito Media. Some of these assets include the print and eMedia versions of Structural Engineering & Design (www.gostructural.com) CE News (www.cenews.com), and Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure (www.rebuildingamericasinfrastructure.com); eMedia vertical channel HubDOT.net (www.hubDOT.net); and events and eMedia assets AEC Technology Strategies (www.aectechstrategies.com), Best Firms To Work For (www.bestfirmstoworkfor.com), IPD Channel (www.ipdchannel.net), and more, including an extensive webcast series and a unique PDH course series available through print and online. Best of all, we got some great, experienced people who are passionate about the readers, clients, and markets we serve, and have put them up in a new, expanded office in downtown Chicago in the heart of the action. If these publications and events being part of ZweigWhite sounds familiar to you, it’s because they were at one time. When we sold our company in 2004 to a Chicago-based SBIC (small business investment corporation) and I “retired” to be a college professor, real estate developer, and investor/outside director for a number of engineering, design, and construction companies, ZweigWhite was merged with the then-publishers of CE News and Structural Engineer, Mercor Media. Due to a variety of factors, the former Mercor firm was never really integrated with ZweigWhite (I wasn’t there directing the show or I can assure you it would have been!). It was then split off from ZweigWhite in 2009 as a part of an SBA order, after they decided that our SBIC had too much money invested in one company. After yet another ownership change occurred at ZW, I was redrafted to run the firm in 2010. I re-upped with a new investment in the company in late 2010 and am now the owner of ZweigWhite, along with an amazingly entrepreneurial fellow named Greg Lindberg, founder of Eli Global, and our mezzanine lender, BIA Digital. With a revised capital structure and entrepreneurial spirit, along with a whole host of new team members who are creating and launching unique new product and service offerings, we have solidly turned around ZweigWhite and are entering into our next major growth phase. I’m really excited about these publications and events. Of course, we won’t rest on our laurels, because “good” is never “good enough” as far as we are concerned. CE News has always been a valuable magazine and we are going to make it better with a renewed focus on the tagline, “For the business of engineering.” I think we can make it much more like an engineering-firm version of Inc. Magazine, something that will give us a unique niche. Structural Engineering and Design is also a good publication and one that we will rename Structural Engineer (as it was once called) and refocus it on promoting, supporting and celebrating the unsung heroes of the design and construction world: structural engineers. Our PDH series has been very successful— it is something that allows the participant to take a course, packaged along with one of our magazines, online— and get PDH credits for it. And our Best Firm to Work For Conference and A/E/C Technology Strategy Conference have each enjoyed a unique niche for our industry. We’re going to make them bigger and better, too. I could tell you about all of the wonderful synergies we expect between the former Stagnito Engineering Group and the new ZweigWhite, as we expect there to be many. You, however, as practical, pragmatic and skeptical design and construction professionals, have heard these promises many times before. Maybe you have made them yourselves if your own firm has gone through a merger, acquisition or sale. “There will be synergies. We will bring more capabilities to you— our clients. We will have more resources than we ever had before to better serve you.” But the fact is it will all just be a bunch of B.S. and empty promises UNTIL it becomes a reality. So, the onus is on us. If you’d like to let me know what you would like to see from us in CE News or Structural Engineering and Designor any of our other product and service areas for that matter— drop me a line at mzweig@zweigwhite.com, or call or text me on my cell at 508-380-0469. I’m all ears!

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.