The temperature is rising, and so is the Hot Firm List

Jun 29, 2016

234467LOGORegistration for the Best Firms To Work For Awards, Zweig Group’s ranking of the best workplaces in the A/E/P and environmental consulting industry, has come to a close, but entries to Zweig Group’s other awards are just starting to heat up. The Hot Firm List, now in its 17th year, is Zweig Group’s ranking of the 100 fastest growing firms in the A/E/P and environmental consulting industry. Firms are ranked on a combination of dollar growth and percentage growth over a three-year period. Applying to the list has major benefits. The Hot Firm List helps a firm benchmark their growth goals and also offers an opportunity for tremendous celebration of growth and success. Many firms have received significant press and media coverage as a result of Zweig Group Awards. In a recent podcast interview, Will Schnier, CEO of Austin-based BIG RED DOG Engineering | Consulting (Hot Firm #26 for 2015), says the award is a powerful motivator and a source of pride for all his team members. “They are working very hard, day in and day out, we all are. These outside awards, Hot Firm award in particular, is a great validation of these efforts," Schnier says. "When they can go home and tell their family members, tell their friends, and the people they went to school with: 'My firm was the 26th fastest growing engineering and architecture firm in North America' – that’s an incredible feather in their cap." The Hot Firm List has seen a major shakeup recently. Last year, 25 firms were new to the list. Twenty-nine firms were both Hot Firms and Best Firms to Work For. Merger and acquisition activity was partially responsible for large changes on the list, but 62 percent of last year’s firms grew organically during the three-year period. GATE, Inc. (Houston), has climbed the list by leaps and bounds over the past few years to hit the number one spot in 2015. LJA Engineering, Inc. (Houston), just made it onto the list in 2013, taking the number 100 spot, but steadily climbed the list over the next three years to land in the number two spot last year. Landpoint, Inc. (Bossier City, LA), number four on the list in 2015, has stayed near the top of the list after a climb from number 28 in 2013. The firm was narrowly edged out of the number three spot last year by O’Neal (Greenville, SC), a company that is no stranger to the top 10. From 2014 to 2015, the average growth rate increased from 108 percent to 115 percent, and median growth rate increased from 74 percent to 88 percent. Will the trend of increased growth rates continue for 2016? Our experts predict yes, but we won’t know until entries close on June 1. Last year, the Trifecta Award was introduced, an award honoring firms that win three separate awards: Hot Firm, Best Firms to Work For, and Marketing Excellence. Three firms, Maser Consulting P.A. (Red Bank, NJ), GARVER (North Little Rock, AR), and Westwood Professional Services (Eden Prairie, MN), were given this award in 2015. More firms are expected to win this award in 2016, and Zweig Group is offering a financial incentive for those that do. Winners of all the awards will be celebrated at the 2016 Hot Firm and A/E Industry Awards Conference held at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix on September 22-23. With an extensive educational agenda and networking opportunities in a beautiful setting, it’s an event that anyone who wants to learn about success in the industry cannot afford to miss! To register, click here.

Christina Zweig is Zweig Group's director of research and marketing. Contact her at

This article is from issue 1151 of The Zweig Letter. Interested in more management advice every week from Mark Zweig, the Zweig Group team, and a talented list of other guest writers? Click here for to get a free trial of The Zweig Letter.

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.