Keep the celebration going

Dec 09, 2019

As we look to 2020, let’s reflect on the last year and celebrate all that this industry has accomplished.

As we at Zweig Group continue with our mission to Elevate the Industry, my focus has been on one of the major tenets of that mission: Celebrate. There has been a lot of momentum for celebrating after Zweig Group’s biggest ever conference wrapped up in October with more than 350 people gathering to celebrate the best in the industry. I don’t want the celebrating to be limited to just one night a year though. We need to be celebrating everything good from this industry as often as we can. I want to take a look back at some of the data and trends from the 2019 award winners that deserve to be celebrated as we wrap up this year.

  • Hot Firms. Let’s start with celebrating one statistic in particular from our 2019 Hot Firms. The average Hot Firm added 100 employees between the end of 2015 and the end of 2018. That’s 10,000 good, high paying jobs just among the 100 fastest growing firms in the industry. This is a serious number that needs to be celebrated! It also shows the kind of opportunities this industry has to offer.
  • Best Firms To Work For. The ratings for our Best Firms To Work For were up across the board in 2019, which means firms are working hard to improve themselves for their employees. Best Firms To Work For paid out more than $281 million in bonuses in 2018. We should celebrate firms that recognize and reward the hard work of their employees! Half of all Best Firms To Work For indicated that medical insurance premiums would not increase for their employees. With health care being such a hot topic in our country, it is great that the best firms in the industry are helping their employees. Best Firms continue to invest in their employees by offering new or enhanced training programs. This is something that employees are vocal about wanting more of, so it’s great to see firms answering the call to provide opportunities and invest in the growth and development of their people.
  • Marketing Excellence Awards. At Zweig Group, we have an entrepreneurial mindset and we always want to celebrate growth. One of the best ways we know firms can grow is by investing in marketing. It seems as though firms are embracing that idea as well and wanting to celebrate their marketing. We easily had a record number of entries for our Marketing Excellence Awards this year. We had more than double the amount of entries than our previous record. This is something we have been celebrating as it involves another tenet of the mission: Promote! Nearly all of our MEA winners, 97 percent, planned to spend as much if not more on marketing this year than last year. CEOs of MEA winning firms embraced marketing and BD as they spent an average of 29 percent of their time on these activities. Sixty-one percent of winners are high or very high profit firms and 47 percent are fast growth firms. All of these number are worth celebrating as firms embrace the promote tenet!

As 2019 comes to a close, we don’t want to be the only ones celebrating all the good this industry has achieved. I encourage each firm to reflect on the last year or two and celebrate all that you have accomplished. No matter how big or small, there is always something worth celebrating! Let’s keep the momentum going and embrace celebrating as a key part of Elevating the Industry!

Kyle Ahern is awards manager at Zweig Group. Contact him at

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.