Page 1

VISION A High-Profile Publication

Investment in Employees page 23

Commitment to Sustainability page 26

Power of Design page 30

Future in Collaboration page10

Vol. 1 • April 2019




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COVER IMAGE: Fuss & O’Neill strategy session – photo by Jim Coon


photo by Sarah Sido

Publisher’s Note What is vision? It’s the why behind your actions. It’s the heart behind your company. It’s why your employees never leave, and why clients keep coming back. We all have vision. It just manifests itself in different ways.


This has been my industry for most of my professional life. The drive is fueled by passion and emotion and has allowed me to continue to create an evolving publication for the New England marketplace. HP’s VISION issue humanizes the A/E/C/O industry and spotlights individuals and organizations that are building a better industry: implementing mentorship programs, diversifying workforce, reaching out to the community and/or local students, integrating art into design, building sustainable workspaces, embracing emerging technology, and investing in education and training.



Sometimes vision includes bringing in experts to provide an objective viewpoint. This issue could not have come to fruition without the guidance of Fathom, the future design firm that helped High-Profile find its true mission, which is to provoke people to act on their vision to build a better world.


We would like to give a special thanks to those who submitted content and supported the pages of this issue! We would love to incorporate these types of stories into the monthly issues of HP and evolve VISION into a quarterly publication.


Let us know how you like the look and feel of this issue! Enjoy VISION! Warm Regards,



VISION A High-Profile Publication FOUNDERS: Michael Barnes and Kathy Barnes PUBLISHER Anastasia Barnes EDITORS: Ralph Barnes and Marion Barnes



ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES: Thomas D’Intinosanto, Mark Kelly, Betsy Gorman

ART DIRECTOR: Yvonne Lauzière, Stark Creative PROOFING EDITOR: Peggy Dostie

P.O. Box 7, Pembroke, MA 02359 Express Delivery: 615 School St., Pembroke, MA 02359 (781) 294-4530 | Fax: (781) 293-5821 |


No time to waste! Meet the people and companies most active in New England’s A/E/C industry. Participate in VISION. Reach out to for more information. Why keep a low profile?



StageCoach Improv at play with participants from

Power Up a Creative Flow-State by Rob DiNinni

Where are we and where can we go? The skyline is the storyline. Architecture tells a story “one story” at a time. (OK, I couldn’t help myself.) It conveys messages, evokes emotion, and leaves an impression. That floored me! Buildings tell stories from vision to creative design, foundation to rooftop garden, and people to imaginative meeting spaces (bagels and coffee optional). Overthinking choices and decisions can be detrimental to our creative flow. Think about it.

StageCoach Improv at play with participants from Hilton Back Bay This wasn’t the case when we were children in our imaginative Lego building world where there were no limitations or fear. Then our inner critic revealed itself when we became adults judging and controlling us. Our inner critic is the loudest voice in every room and tweet online. Your inner critic deceives you. You buy into it. You’re unable to move forward while it’s hosting its own fearbased TED Talk. It expresses frustration, criticism, or disapproval about our decisions or actions. “Really, are you sure?” “Why didn’t you?” “You should of . . .” “What’s wrong with you?” or “How did you let this happen?” The inner critic is a vehicle for coping with fear, shame, and navigating the unknown. It



gives us a false sense of control and stifles our ability to let go and profoundly engage our higher-self. Improv enables us to live in a judgment-free zone, build on what’s happening in the moment, and lovingly nudge our inner critic’s comparisons and judgments out of the way. It’s time for your inner critic to know it’s reign has ended. And scene! Neuroscience of improv: When we let it all go and not judge any of our impulses, this allows for more self-expression to light up in our medial prefrontal cortex and silences the inner critic in our dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Awareness is the first step to identify and let go of our inner critic. Identify the cause of our vulnerability and acknowledge those feelings will initiate change and progress. Improv will clear out the inner critic and energize our forward momentum. It encourages us to listen with all our senses and build on each other’s ideas one moment at a time. We acknowledge without judgment, ego, or planning ahead. Onward and upward! The tenet of improv is “Yes . . . and.” This principle provides a platform to share and build on ideas while eliminating judgment. Yes opens possibilities, while no or but shuts down collaboration and impedes progress. Leave the butts in the chair! On-your-feet experiential learning while laughing helps us better navigate the unexpected by checking our egos at the door. Our intention should be to cultivate a strong sense of self-expression focusing on what matters the most in each and every moment.

By completely surrendering to what’s happening and being aware of the environment and our emotional state, our chances of being deeply immersed in a flow-state (AKA being in the zone) increases — where performance, comedy, and creativity thrive. When we live in a mental state of flow, every thought, word, and action feels effortless. Our talent shines and time does not exist. Flow can elevate performance in a variety of areas including learning, coaching, presenting, athletics, and artistic creativity. It’s about giving yourself permission to reach the roof top one floor at a time. When we trust ourselves and completely surrender to our authentic voice while muting the inner critic along the way, we will truly live in a flow-state. Power up!

« Rob DiNinni is principal and founder at StageCoach Improv, a Boston-based firm delivering dynamic and interactive improv for business, training, and entertainment nationwide.

The 2019 Visionaries Forum:

Pioneers Shaping the Future of Design and Construction by Steven G. Haines On April 11, the Construction Institute will host the 10th annual Visionaries Forum, a place where we can pause from the day-to-day grind of our business to imagine what could be. What combination of cutting-edge technology and visionary thought can be brought together to transform our industry? The Visionaries Forum invites you to let go of what you know and imagine a future for our industry that seems to work just a bit better. A diverse group of thought leaders from throughout the industry — architects, engineers, contractors, software developers, educators, diplomats, and others — have introduced attendees to the concepts of BIM, augmented reality, additive manufacturing, laser scanning, drones, computational design, and much more. They have also posited ideas about how technology can transform our industry, make our collective lives better, and lead to a more sustainable and better-managed built environment. The Visionaries Forum has introduced groundbreaking technology as well as showcased practitioners who are walking the walk every day and pushing their organizations forward. There has been a fairly organic ebb and flow of the Visionaries Forum over the years. Some presentations have been more grounded in

the practical, and others have left us reaching for a connection. Regardless, the networking that follows is filled with conversation contemplating the pros and cons of working together in new and different ways. If you are like many of my colleagues or me, you have come away from past forums and subsequent discussions energized and inspired to bring these new tools and ideas into your practice or organization. The question often arises, “How can we use that tool or idea in our business?” or “How can that improve our process?” As I look at the firms I have worked with over the years, technological opportunities seem to be enabling meaningful incremental improvements and real gains in productivity. However, the overall process and the system we all work within remains fundamentally the same. Together with Nancy Greenwald, executive director of the Construction Institute, I recently presented a webinar to the American Bar Association’s Forum on Construction Law where we reviewed and discussed some of the inherent conflicts between how the contracts we work with every day ignore or are in actual conflict with the technology systems and processes that are in use. How can we close that gap? Given that, according to the real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle, there was just over $1 billion invested in construction-related technology firms in the first six months of 2018, the forecast would seem to indicate there will be no slowdown in new technology. A greater understanding

by all involved in the A/E/C industry will be critical, and complete reimagining may be required. To that end, the 10th annual Visionaries Forum will bring together another esteemed cast of industry experts. Chris Toomey of McKinsey & Company, Roberto Bicchiarelli of Permasteelisa, Fiona Cousins of ARUP, Jon Pickard of Pickard Chilton, and Fady Saad of MassRobotics, will engage in a far-reaching discussion of where we are today and where we might be headed as we continue to infuse our practices and processes with more and more technology. Please join us at the Construction Institute’s 10th annual Visionaries Forum. This hallmark event has become a premier gathering for the A/E/C industry. Learn from pioneers who are shaping the future of design and construction and changing the way the built environment will be managed in years to come.

« Steven G. Haines is director of technical operations at BVH Integrated Services.


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Finding your Heart: The Conversation of Architecture In June 2016, Barry Svigals retired from the Connecticut-based architecture firm he had founded 33 years earlier, leaving a distinct legacy of expressive sculptural artwork uniquely created for each commission. The question for Svigals + Partners, like many firms facing the departure of a visionary leader, was how to carry on a successful practice that was so deeply shaped and nurtured by the founder. Speaking with Svigals, along with Marissa Dione Mead, newly named director of art integration, and Julia McFadden, associate principal, we hear how they each found their commitment to a practice of architecture + art.

Barry Svigals

After matriculating with his architecture degree from Yale University — and a three-year stint in a local firm — Svigals followed a bit of wanderlust to live in Paris for two years. Immediately captivated by the sculptures of Rodin, within weeks he found himself totally abandoning drawing buildings and focusing solely on human figures. Around him, the world of European architecture and its rich tradition of sculptural motifs gave him a “kick in the eye” — a Japanese Satori concept for awakening — which consequently motivated him to attend the Ecole des Beaux Arts to study sculpture in the most rigorous atelier. The experience was transformative — and upon returning to the U.S., the stripped-down work of typical architecture firms was starkly unsatisfying. He launched the firm with the idea to pursue both architecture and art, and an early commission for Boston College allowed him to put that integrative approach into practice. His sculpture mentor, Maurice Calka, happened to visit during construction when they were removing a mock-up of one of the 12 heads custom-designed for the building, and he exclaimed, “See, see! You miss it!” Calka’s mantra had always been that the art has to be an essential part of the architecture, not just applied, nor easily forgotten if removed. Subsequent commissions gave the firm multiple opportunities to explore the joyful and humanizing integration of sculptural figures into the expression of the architecture: from a bronze likeness of Albert the Great, to figures walking amongst the letters of the “University of Connecticut.”

Marissa Dione Mead

Mead recounts childhood hours at her mother’s side, tinkering with bits and baubles — subsequently encouraged by her dad to pursue architecture at Notre Dame — and landing at Svigals where she resonated with the firm’s school commissions. She relished the community engagement process for a neighborhood school in New Haven, which spawned the idea for an expanded sidewalk utilized by food cart vendors. When a shopkeeper approached her to thank the team for this simple accommodation that added such a beautiful building to their neighborhood, Mead was struck by the ability of architecture to make people feel worthy and important — not just the inhabitants, but anyone and everyone on the street: the democratizing effect of public art. What seemed like a career setback — she was laid off in 2010 — led to the opportunity to expand Saint Albert the Great upholds the canopy entry at Albertus Magnus College. – Robert Benson Photography



her design thinking. Joining the Kent Bloomer studio, Mead leveraged those early tinkering skills to learn detailing and fabrication techniques for custom ornamentation and public sculptures. Upon returning to Svigals in 2014, Mead aimed to expand the process of art ideation through collaborations with a variety of artists and artisans, as well as deepening the firm’s public engagement process. Reflecting on the firm’s recent pro bono project to create a memorial garden for victims of gun violence, she notes that you can’t go too far with inclusion. Her design for the centerpiece sculpture was inspired by the intimate relationships fostered with the mothers who shared their loss of loved ones.

Julia McFadden

As the only girl in a ninth-grade woodshop class, McFadden designed and constructed a solid wood Parson’s table — but without encouragement, she didn’t pursue architecture in college. Instead, a major in theatre arts expanded her design repertoire to sets, costumes, and lighting. Returning to the University of Minnesota in her 30s to pursue a Master of Architecture, her thesis on Sacred Space and Place explored the idea that architecture can awaken and fulfill our human longing for spiritual connections with the landscape. After 10 years of practicing residential architecture in Minneapolis, the recession brought McFadden to Svigals in 2008. Formative experiences on large-scale school projects gave her the opportunity to explore the expression of the building and ground it in the geographic and social ecology of place. Following

Footbridges cross the rain garden along the front of the new Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn. – Robert Benson Photography

Architecture is the conversation we have with ourselves, with each other, and with the divine.

Rowe Center for Undergraduate Education at the University of Connecticut. – photo by Woodruff Brown

Mock-up of the “Generations” sculpture for a memorial garden to victims of gun violence – photo Svigals + Partners a study of the area’s watercourses, and the waterrelated definition of the “sandy hook,” McFadden rallied the design team for the Sandy Hook School commission to respond to water throughout the architectural expression. A rain garden spanning the entire front of the school collects roof run-off to ecologically filter it with native plants, while footbridges allow you to cross over it and enter into the safety of the school’s neighborhoodthemed layout. We are all looking for our place in the world. What these three share with others at Svigals + Partners is the commitment to utilize art as a reminder of our humanity. Architecture is the conversation we have with ourselves, with each other, and with the divine.

submitted by Svigals+Partners

Figures walk amongst the letters that comprise the “University of Connecticut.” – photo by Woodruff Brown



Breaking Down KBE’s Long-Term Strategy for Success When it comes to the construction industry, a company’s trustworthiness and reliability are on par with its ability to complete projects quickly and efficiently and the quality of work it delivers to its clients. Building a reputation based on these core values can be a predictor of success, and can be credited for KBE Building Corporation’s recent celebration of 60 years in the business. by Emily Langner

KBE is a commercial construction services firm that services clients in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic through its Connecticut and Maryland offices. The firm is part of the KBE Companies, which includes New Valley Construction, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, and KBENY, located in Manhattan. Together, the KBE Companies have a staff of more than 200 preconstruction and construction professionals, and have a reputation for providing high-quality services in virtually every commercial market. While many companies in its position often decide to rest on their laurels with tried and true beliefs and practices, KBE has chosen a different approach. Mike Kolakowski, president and CEO of KBE, considers the aforementioned companies “dinosaurs” and believes that continuing to rely solely on practices and traditions that have sustained a company makes it far too easy to become



Mike Kolakowski complacent. Kolakowski has been with KBE for 34 years, and in 2007, acquired the company along with Eric Brown, senior vice president of operations, and Simon Etzel (now retired). Ten years ago, the company embarked on a journey of focused strategic planning that has

continued to pay off to this day. Kolakowski says the biggest reason to have a strategic plan is to keep the company “fresh, focused, and on top of our everchanging surroundings.” In a world and an industry that is changing every day, he says evolution is a must. KBE’s journey began by engaging a facilitator who has helped the company effectively execute its strategic plan and who has worked with KBE from the beginning of its journey. Every three years, a new plan is created and implemented, after reviewing the success of the previous plan and incorporating any goals which may have gone astray. The company holds a planning conference once a year and follows up with quarterly update meetings to make sure they continue to stay on track. In addition, managers meet with their teams regularly to discuss what they need to be doing to support their goals. For Kolakowski, strategic planning is critical to survival in the construction industry’s fast-paced, time-driven culture. “In our business, everything is urgent, always urgent. Because of that, it’s easy for

One of the 2018 leadership teams with their team name poster. (l-r) Meghan Murphy, Ron Rinaldi, Jonathan Coccorese, Jenn Luckert, Will Telesca, and Glenn Swanson

people to become distracted and focus on what is pressing at that moment, rather than the big picture.” He says having a strategic plan “enables us to focus on what’s most important to our future and to have an overall vision. Even though we still get distracted and need to tend to our daily responsibilities, we have processes that allow us to step back and make sure that we continue to keep at the forefront what we all agreed as leaders and as individuals within our company to focus on,” and that has made a big difference. As part of its current strategic planning, KBE has identified five key areas of focus, which include identifying and carrying out the company’s culture, smart and strategic growth, guiding and facilitating the professional growth and advancement of KBE employees within the company, training existing staff and recruiting new staff members to support the company’s growth, and continuing to incorporate the things they know they do well into their everyday operations. The company also hosts a week-long leadership challenge each year, which is attended by 14 to 16 staff from all levels of the various business entities. Led by the strategic planning facilitator, the intensive program focuses on building culture, teaching soft leadership skills based on emotional intelligence, and problem-solving challenges that teach participants to work with differing personalities and learn the power of teamwork in achieving goals. “One of the key takeaways from the leadership

challenge and from the strategic planning meetings is that we have all learned a common language around how to communicate with each other, as communication is the biggest factor in our ability to succeed,” Kolakowski adds. Kolakowski says some of the greatest results of the company’s commitment to strategic planning is better alignment among all of the KBE companies, successfully developing better leaders within the company, and a more laser-focused approach to everything they do. He says that it has also helped staff realize how important their relationships are and that “the overall decisions that we make on a project are directly tied to our long-term relationships.” In other words, the results of committing to and carrying out a successful strategic plan, including a focus on KBE’s employees and an accountability for their actions, positively impacts the percentage of repeat business the firm receives. Additionally, the commitment to setting and achieving the company’s goals year after year has given KBE an opportunity to expand its locations and partnerships, growing the company and providing additional services to its clients. Kolakowski also notes that having a clear vision is another way to show KBE’s employees that the company is invested in their professional journey. He says, “Without a vision, people can wonder what’s going to happen two months from now, two years from now. By creating a vision for the company, it assures our employees that the company has a plan and there is something in it for them, and that the company will be here for years to come.” That confidence in knowing the company has their back inspires its employees to make a greater investment in the KBE family for the long term. “The key focus of our vision is that we are committing to our employees that we are going to provide training,

“Without a vision, people can wonder what’s going to happen two months from now, two years from now. By creating a vision for the company, it assures our employees that the company has a plan and there is something in it for them, and that the company will be here for years to come.” – Mike Kolakowski mentoring, and support so that our staff can reach their best potential,“ Kolakowski says. Kolakowski believes in treating KBE’s clients the same way they treat their employees. By honoring their commitments, being transparent and straightforward, and investing in their clients, a trust is developed that is felt in every project KBE takes on. He feels strongly that in order to achieve the success that KBE has had, it takes more than just having good intentions. The most important thing is following through. He says, “What has worked for us is constant follow-up, constant focus on what we all agreed to, and we’ve seen some great results over the years. If you believe in something and everyone within your group is focused on it and you develop and execute the plan, I think the sky’s the limit.“

Emily Langner is the associate editor for High-Profile Monthly.

At the annual leadership challenge, senior marketing coordinator Meghan Murphy and project superintendent Jonathan Coccorese deliver their team’s solution to the real-world business challenge assigned to them.



Designing a Future of Trust, Collaboration, and Prosperity by Emily Langner

In the A/E/C industry, the results of planning, hard work, and follow-through are immediately evident in the work that is produced. The success of any business in this space has much to do with its ability to create a tangible product: an office building, multifamily residence, or school, to name a few, but it is the intangible that likely plays a greater role in a company’s ability to grow, evolve, and succeed in an industry that often depends on the strength of relationships to get things done. Brent Robertson, partner at Fathom, a future design firm helping manufacturers, architects, builders, and engineers go beneath the surface to reconnect people with what gives their work meaning and drives unprecedented performance, says that most often the biggest mistake a company or organization makes is “putting too much energy into reacting to the symptoms they are experiencing like falling margins, flaccid employee engagement, and commoditization, while still hoping for growth, expansion, and increased profitability.” He says they often react by “investing in some new ‘thing’ like a new website, employee engagement program, or new process or team, hoping for a silver bullet.” But these “things” almost always fail to make the difference because none of them are designed to address the underlying condition causing the symptom.



Fathom’s main objective is to help organizations establish a clear vision for the future, help them realize their full potential, and put into action the goals and causes that will grow their businesses and positively influence the world around them. They do this by focusing on building and strengthening

relationships and helping people better relate to each other and their work. According to Robertson, “We help our clients focus on the relationships most vital to their success, identify them, understand their condition, and ultimately develop them to be more meaningful and productive.”

The entire team at Svigals + Partners collaborates to decide what’s next for the firm. – photo courtesy of Fathom

Brent Robertson (left) and Matt Reiniger (at whiteboard) running a Fathom Future Design Day workshop in Hartford. – photo courtesy of Fathom Matt Reiniger, associate partner at Fathom, says, “Fathom works with companies to understand what a successful future looks like, and what it will take to create conditions that will have it be true. That involves acting in ways that build authentic cultures that invite contribution, and have teams trust each other. It also involves elevating the state of relationships with clients and partners — so they see you as essential to their future.” It is for this reason that companies like Tecton Architects, Svigals+Partners, and Fuss & O’Neill have chosen to work with Fathom to take deep dives into their own companies and streamline their own visions. Fathom worked with the team at Tecton Architects to better engage and empower their employees, creating a “whole team” approach. This has inspired

Brent Robertson facilitates a recent executive workshop on creating meaningful profitability for 2019 for 80 leaders of A+E firms at the Haworth Showroom in NYC. – photo by Edward Caruso the firm’s bold new approach to their work. Melissa Roy, associate and director of business development at Tecton Architects, says: “Designing and holding the space for our own potential has pushed us to find new ways of doing, thinking, and interacting as we work together to meet the needs we know and awaken hidden opportunities. This has pushed us to challenge traditional choices and take more risks with greater confidence, which has translated into getting the work that we want.” Robertson also believes that, although often a taboo subject in the design and construction industry, profitability can and should be high on a company’s list of goals. He says: “What we at Fathom have demonstrated is that there are cultural attributes that, if established and cultivated within an organization, the ability to create profit increases, in many cases, dramatically and at the same time, strengthens relationships between the members of the firm, and their relationships with clients, partners, and the marketplace itself.” This was true for the team at Svigals+Partners, who recently saw their most profitable year in their

The Tecton team celebrates after a long day of intense conversations. – photo courtesy of Fathom 35 years of business after working with Fathom. Barry Svigals, partner emeritus at Svigals+Partners, says: “What we needed and what we got from working with Fathom was not a blueprint for an extrapolation of the present. We were schooled in a capacity to imagine and re-imagine our future. Most importantly, it was a future that we cared deeply about, and one that has continued to motivate all of our endeavors.” The team at Fuss & O’Neill worked with Fathom to identify and define the company’s culture, and the firm has grown by 20% since implementing its vision. According to Kathy Nanowski, CPSM, vice president and director of marketing and business development at Fuss & O’Neill: “Fathom facilitated a discovery session that brought to light the fact that it is important to our employees that we work on projects that make a difference in the communities in which we live and work. Engineers and scientists want to work at a firm that values and appreciates them, not only by providing good benefits and salaries, but by having them work with clients who challenge them. As a result, we look for projects that will truly benefit a community or organization — exciting projects that keep people engaged.” In January of this year, Fathom also helped the team at High-Profile Monthly clearly define our vision to “provoke people to act on their vision to build a better world.” So far, that vision has led our

commitment to be a platform where our readers can engage with the people and companies that are changing the industry for the better, starting with our brand new Build Better Podcast and HP’s first ever Vision issue. Reiniger says the most rewarding transformation he sees in companies they work with is “people trusting each other more and more, and then seeing the amazing things that come out of that trust,” and Ben Callaghan, associate partner at Fathom, considers Fathom’s role for companies to be that of “guides, facilitators, coaches, designers, communicators, conveners, instigators, and overall unwavering advocates for our clients’ potential.” So what is Fathom’s own vision? According to Robertson: “It is a world where people and organizations use more of their humanity to serve more of humanity. We believe that people have the infinite capacity to contribute to what matters to them, and have proven that unprecedented business performance can be realized when every member is acting together on behalf of a future bigger than they are. We are on a mission to create as many examples as we can, so a new standard for organizational design is embraced.”

Emily Langner is the associate editor for High-Profile Monthly.

Mentoring is a huge part of the culture at Fuss & O’Neill. – photo by Jim Coon



Former New England Patriots player Joe Andruzzi with PROCON’s field team

PROCON — The Culture Behind the Buildings by Carol Duhart

For more than 84 years, PROCON has delivered hundreds of projects in nearly every commercial sector across the Northeast. From Maine to New Jersey, there are aviation, industrial, manufacturing, mixed-use developments, corporate office, educational buildings, and hotels standing as a testament to their success. More so, in an industry where architects, engineers, and construction management are typically separate, this company has managed to hone them as a single productive entity under one roof. This begs the question — what type of people are behind the buildings? To understand PROCON’s ecosystem, you have to start with the company’s CEO, Mark Stebbins. At the helm for over 37 years, Mark’s effervescent personality is infectious. It is not unusual to hear laughter in the hallways as he calls out greetings to employees (whom he knows by name), along with a witty comment. His apparent regard for relationships, a strong work ethic, and sense of fun, trickle down into PROCON’s economy. What follows is a leadership team of approachable executives spurring on a melting pot of industry experts, who are ready to craft buildings with a vested interest. First, according to a 2018 survey by Robert Half, job hopping is on the rise in today’s workplace and it hovers at about 33% in the A/E/C industry. But somehow, this design-build firm has managed to keep its turnover at an incredible 6% with an average employee tenure of 10 to 15 years. So how do they achieve this?

Great buildings follow great culture

The firm’s culture is intentional. It is styled to promote camaraderie while celebrating projects and the people who design and build them. Much of their in-house motivators revolve around strategic perks and unique benefits tailored to fit the PROCON environment. In an era where 401K-matching, bonuses, and consistent pay raises are often old relics, PROCON believes that employee appreciation still gets top billing, monetarily and otherwise. The company backs this up with input from the marketing, human resources,



and recruiting team. As the in-house planning committee, they collaborate and discuss ideas that enhance the employee experience through shared activities that bring the company together: PROCON Perks. On the monetary side, there are surprise extra paychecks and company wide annual bonuses. But on the fun side, there are plenty of large and small events designed for collective engagement. Imagine arriving at work to discover a personalized thank-you card on your desk with a keepsake expressing appreciation from your leadership team? Or, how about feasting on gourmet melt-in-your-mouth cupcakes for Valentine’s Day? And, what about new project announcement pizza parties? But some events are random. One example of this was 2017’s Solar Eclipse Day. The leadership thought it would be fun to enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime event together. Thus, on a warm August afternoon, the office (and field teams), equipped with NASA-approved viewing glasses, and bagfuls of spaceinspired candy, gathered to watch the eclipse unfold. Larger get-togethers include the annual celebration and the corporate meeting. But smaller events are scattered throughout the year, such as catered barbecues for national holidays, or the Officer’s Labor Day Breakfast where the executive team makes and serves breakfast to all the employees.

The firm’s culture is intentional. It is styled to promote camaraderie while celebrating projects and the people who design and build them.

The truth is, happy employees pay dividends in the form of strong relationships with clients, partners, subcontractors, and finally, in over-the-top customer service.

Additional perks include the anniversary wheel (which employees spin for prizes), Summer Fridays, numerous health and wellness initiatives, and more. Then there are family fun days that include the spouse and/or the entire family (including grandchildren). Recent trips have included Canobie Lake Park and Charmingfare Farm.

And, the firm does not forget its hard-working field teams, good-naturedly known as Supermen in the Field. They have enjoyed trips to Fenway Park featuring a meet n’ greet with a retired Red Sox player, time on the field, and lunch. Gillette Stadium welcomed PROCON’s field team with their names on the Jumbotron, a motivational speech by a former New England Patriots’ player, a behind-thescenes tour, and lunch.

Work hard and give back

It is an ethos four generations deep, passed down from Mark Stebbins’ grandfather to the present day. For more than 60 years, the company has supported organizations to include United Way, Easterseals, the YMCA, Waypoint, and the Boys and Girls Club, to name a few. Altogether, millions of dollars have been raised via the Stebbins Family and Corporatematch donations, worksite campaigns, SleepOuts, holiday shopping, and payroll deductions.

The payoff

Among the company’s industry accolades is perhaps its most revealing one to date — the Business NH Magazine’s “Best Companies to Work For” award where PROCON’s employee’s anonymously voted on their culture. If two consecutive wins are not a sufficient indicator of their in-house values, then let a 95% repeat business tell the rest of the story. The truth is, happy employees pay dividends in the form of strong relationships with clients, partners, subcontractors, and finally, in over-the-top customer service.

« Carol Duhart is the creative writer for PROCON Inc.

PROCON’s other compelling attribute is its commitment to giving back in the local community.




The Haynes Group Vision by Kait Kingman

Every company has a vision, a statement or idea about the company that inspires and establishes the framework for future strategic planning. At the Haynes Group, our vision is more than that — it’s who we are. According to The Marketing Blender, “Your vision statement should be an audacious dream of a future reality based on the work you do. Your vision should require people to dream.” Our vision statement doesn’t just require us to dream, it requires us to act. For over a decade, Haynes Group has perfected a unique industry concept, the “complete solution.” It is the process of combining quality customer service with a form of personalized relationship building. Our complete solution isn’t just a process or even a vision statement; we go above and beyond to ensure we deliver our complete solution to every client, regardless of the job or task at hand. We do everything from helping clients find a space to build their business, to getting pouring permits for our brewery clients and everything in between. Our vision statement isn’t just what we do, at Haynes Group — it’s who we are. It’s what makes us different from any other construction management firm. We have experience working effectively with

Mighty Squirrel storefront Celebrating the grand opening (l-r) from Haynes Group: Jim DeSimone, superintendent, and Patrick Andrews, project mgr; with Henry Manice, Mighty Squirrel co-owner; Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, and Naveen Pawar, Mighty Squirrel co-owner

14 VISION 2019

Mighty Squirrel bar and retail area: a view of the taproom and retail space

and delivering value to brokers, architects, owners, developers, bankers, landlords, and tenants. We understand the balance required to plan, execute, and deliver on all sized projects while maintaining the same level of service for all of our stakeholders. We become your trusted advisors during every project. It is our mission to provide unsurpassed levels of personalized service and customer satisfaction while maintaining an unrelenting commitment to project quality. Our entire team focuses on a successful and timely project close-out with a project and a relationship that is built to last.

ÂŤ Kait Kingman is marketing associate at the Hayes Group.

Mighty Squirrel game area



The Softer Side of Surveying by Michael Feldman From the moment we moved into our new location at 152 Hampden St. in Roxbury, it was our objective at Feldman Land Surveyors to invest in local, diverse talent in Roxbury and Dorchester. When I first looked out my window at Orchard Gardens, I immediately envisioned a way to engage local talent so that people could start a great career in their own neighborhood and literally walk across the street to come to work. Two years later, our firm is well on our way to making that vision a reality. After we moved in and got settled, we reached out to Madison Park Development Corporation to help us find two summer interns: Adobe Okwerekwu from West Roxbury and Dana Bowman from Dorchester. Adobe performed administrative duties in our offices, while Dana worked on our field crew. When Dana returned for a week over Christmas, he proudly showed us the car he bought with his summer earnings. In 2017, we also reached out to Madison Park Vocational High School to see if they knew of any high school graduates in need of work. We were fortunate to find a new team member: Sam Oquendo from Dorchester.  In 2018, we reached out to our friends at the Orchard Gardens Resident Association and found Francisco Rosario from Roxbury. Although neither possessed any surveying experience, we brought them in and put them through our in-house training program. Now, they’re both operating as survey field crew members on high-profile sites throughout Boston and interestingly, Francisco lives right across the street from our offices and walks to work every morning. In addition, this past summer, we invited four youngsters from Orchard Gardens Boys & Girls Club of Boston, all between the ages of 10 and 12,

Nicole Barbagallo (from Wentworth Institute of Technology’s co-op program)



Feldman Land Surveyors filled 130 backpacks for students at the Henry L. Higginson Inclusion School in Roxbury, Mass. to our offices. When we gave them a tour of the facility, they were amazed at the modern interior, since they’d expected a more traditional look to match the building’s exterior. To give our guests a taste of what land surveying is all about, we showed them pictures of our projects and talked about the technology we use. Afterwards, they asked a lot of insightful questions, including what happens if someone arrives late for work. At Feldman, we are also dedicated to promoting gender equality and diversity in our field. For this reason, we work closely with the co-op program from the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Roxbury to offer positions to female engineers. To date, we’ve welcomed six talented professionals to our team: Brooke Paradis, Alexis Stickelman, Nicole Barbagallo, Liz Gunning, Kawtar Raitam — who’s originally from Morocco — and Pegah Parsafar, who’s originally from Iran. While investing in local talent is, in large part, about offering young people with the right aptitude the opportunity to pursue a career in land surveying, it’s also about giving back to the community we serve. Because when young people understand that they can be a part of something meaningful right here in their own neighborhood, they begin to take deep pride in their community. And in the long run, this pride is critical to this wonderful neighborhood’s further development and advancement. One of the most important things we’ve done was to drive the renovation of a semi-vacant, rundown structure and turn it into a building that our community can be proud of. As a result of our efforts, there has been a $4.2 million combined investment in our building and property. We performed extensive renovations and upgraded the building’s interior and exterior, then we placed trees and plantings with holiday lights around it to enhance the streetscape. We also installed exterior lights to illuminate the building and sidewalks for increased safety. Moreover, we formed a task force focused on getting some of our industrial neighbors to improve the air quality in the neighborhood. Shortly after we moved into our new headquarters, I noticed that local students were

waiting on Hampden Street as early as 5:30 in the morning for the bus to take them to their school in the suburbs. I realized this must be hard for them, especially during the harsh New England winters, so my team put a plant together to provide more than $3,000 worth of winter jackets and hats to Orchard Gardens kids at Christmas time. Now, when those same students are waiting for the bus, they’re better protected against the cold.

Dana Bowman, a former Feldman summer intern Similarly, last September, we purchased and filled 130 backpacks for students at the Henry L. Higginson Inclusion School in Roxbury. Afterwards, Principal Marie E. Mullen sent us a letter, saying: “We truly appreciate all your team did for our staff and students. The students were thrilled when they opened their backpacks to see all of the fun stuff they got” On a daily basis, the employees at Feldman, myself included, are working hard to build a solid connection between business and the community. That’s what makes our vision a journey.

« Michael Feldman is the president and CEO of Feldman Land Surveyors.

Keeping it Real: Sustaining Vision While You Clear the Paper Jams by Nancy Greenwald

I’ve been thinking a lot about vision lately. Your company’s values and mission explain what you do and why you do it. A vision is loftier. Your organization’s vision sets a forward-looking goal, capturing what you hope to achieve. To attain your vision, every person who is a part of your organization and every aspect of your organization’s operations needs to be in alignment with your vision and values. Sounds great, but how do we make it work? Maybe we need a new word. When you use the word vision, you tend to think of something external to you that you are looking at. But a company’s vision should not be something you look at passively. A company’s vision should inspire action. It should create energy and the will to make change happen. It should empower everyone within the organization, no matter what their position. A good vision helps organizations maintain focus. A good vision helps a company and its employees navigate complex projects, and it buffers employees through stressful situations, because

they understand the goals and their purpose and role in helping to achieve goals. A good vision becomes an internal compass. How do we communicate vision within an organization? We create tradition. Your company’s vision should be a part of interviews, employee training, and meetings. Your vision can have an online presence on your website and social media. You need to keep tying back to it. Is communicating a sense of purpose valuable to your employees? Yes! A recent report from the World Economic Forum found that a sense of purpose in work is the second most important criteria for Millennials considering a job, after salary. How do we weave vision into our day-to-day activities at work, even when we are clearing those annoying paper jams? I highly recommend the book “Traction,” by Gino Wickman. “All over the world, business consultants frequently conduct multiday strategic planning sessions and charge tens of thousands of dollars for teaching what is theoretically great. The downside is that after making you feel warm and fuzzy about your direction, these same consultants rarely teach how to bring your vision down to the ground and make it work in the real world.” Traction gives you a plan for making it real every day. It is a practical, straightforward plan for transforming your business’ vision from something external to something you sense, feel, and do every day. The vision of the Construction Institute is: A network

of visionary leaders and skilled professionals. Our mission is: To provide resources and forums for crossindustry collaboration. Our signature programs — the AEC Leadership Conference, the Women Who Build Summit, and the annual Visionaries Forum — arose from the mission and vision of the institute. Our professional education programs align with our vision and mission. The focus is on leadership, communication and collaboration, and multidisciplinary conversations. That means the institute is nonhierarchical, with diverse professions represented, and professionals in diverse career stages in leadership positions, including young professionals on the board of directors. The power of our vision is something we create, contribute, and do. Our member logo allows our members to identify their commitment to the vision and mission of the institute. Our vision has inspired us to make significant changes and create new value for our members and for the industry. Our first book, “The Future of the Design and Construction Industry,” explores a vision for the future of our industry. Join us! Become a part of the next chapter.

« Nancy Greenwald is the executive director of the Construction Institute. Learn more about the Institute at

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From Vision to Reality by Pete Schermerhorn

As the University of Hartford gears up for its 10th annual Visionaries Forum this April, I find myself thinking about the word “visionary.” To me, a visionary doesn’t just have a grand image or idea about what the future will look like but proactively works to make that vision a reality. A visionary thinks big but is also acutely aware of the smaller steps that are required to get there, which in my experience requires both a keen understanding of how things are done today as well as a willingness to get into the field (or onto the jobsite) and ask how things can be done better. For the construction industry, which is still at the beginning of its digital journey, this is a particularly relevant and important concept. As I’ve written about before, after decades of lagging technology adoption, construction contractors are turning to cutting-edge tech (wearables, equipment sensors, drones, and other connected devices) to streamline processes and unlock new efficiencies.

As the Visionaries Forum so astutely highlights, each one of us has an important role to play in driving the construction industry towards a smarter, safer, more sustainable future. And while tremendous progress has been made, there is more work to be done. Being a visionary involves more than simply having an idea or vision of what the future could be like, and similarly, innovation is much more than a one-time initiative/ exercise before returning to business as usual. True vision and digital transformation challenges leaders and organizations to look within themselves and to establish the tools, processes, and frameworks necessary to unlock new insights, act upon those insights, and drive change.



True vision and digital transformation challenges leaders and organizations to look within themselves. – photo courtesy Triax Technologies So, what does this look like in practice? In my experience in the construction industry, the most successful companies start their innovation journeys by bringing different stakeholders to the table to have a conversation. What does their future jobsite look like, and what challenges or limitations prevent that from being a reality today? What assumptions or ideas do they have about that future that new data could confirm or disprove? By taking their larger vision — such as one platform for project data — and breaking it into smaller chunks — determining what data is important and how they can capture it — they can set attainable goals and take concrete steps towards making it a reality. For example, the ultimate vision of zero workplace incidents not only requires an understanding of the safety challenges faced today (limited visibility, manual processes, ineffective tools for communication, etc.) but a plan for enabling and maintaining a safer workplace. What is standard practice today and what risk-reducing/safety tools are available that aren’t being used? How can safety behaviors and practices be measured onsite? How can project teams better prepare for emergency scenarios or encourage workers to stay vigilant and report hazards? Asking the right questions and assessing the available tools/solutions is the first step in a larger innovation journey that requires a willingness to review — and if necessary, change — corporate culture and governance. Yes, that initial

idea or solution is important, but it’s equally as important to remember the people and processes that will support it. Ultimately, a visionary is about more than his/ her vision, just like innovation is about more than technology, and technology is about more than the product itself. A visionary requires foresight and creativity, as well as the wisdom to know that change doesn’t happen alone or overnight. As the Visionaries Forum so astutely highlights, each one of us has an important role to play in driving the construction industry towards a smarter, safer, more sustainable future. From executives willing to champion change to project teams willing to test new solutions to industry partners shining a spotlight on all that’s happening in the industry, each of us plays a crucial role in shaping construction’s future and new digital identity. That’s the reminder and inspiration I take away from this event each year, and I hope you will too.

« Pete Schermerhorn is president and CEO of Triax Technologies, Inc. and an active member of the Construction Institute, University of Hartford.

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The Future of Architecture is Here by Marc Margulies

Design of the built environment is changing radically for three fundamental reasons: improved technologies, improved products, and improved processes. These transformative drivers have revolutionized all facets of the construction industry and every aspect of how and what we build.

Improved technologies

Gone are the days of delivering a set of drawings to a contractor who builds according to the plans and specifications. The distinction between design and delivery has progressively been dissolved. Contractors and subcontractors now participate in the design phase through a variety of delivery methods and contract types, including design-build, design-assist, and component-assist. Previously, architects and engineers illustrated their intent in 2D representation. Now, all design documents are in 3D, and most components are downloaded in 3D from product manufacturers, complete with parametric data on performance, maintenance programs, and infrastructure requirements. While this allows designers to take advantage of the detailed expertise of product manufacturers, it can

Through the collaboration of architects with contractors, subcontractors, and manufacturers, buildings and interiors can now be fully constructed virtually.

(Above and right) Using BIM technologies allowed the project team to coordinate a technically complex project. – BIM image courtesy of Gilbane also prejudice their selection based on the quality of the available downloads. Through the collaboration of architects with contractors, subcontractors, and manufacturers, buildings and interiors can now be fully constructed virtually. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies can create immersive environments as convincing as those used in the gaming industry, blurring the lines between visualization and documentation. Manipulation of scripted mathematical algorithms to autogenerate complex forms allows the exploration of every possible solution, not just the few that designers and contractors can sketch. Multiple schemes can be tested for appearance, fit, performance, and cost. Documentation is now dynamic, with the static sheet of drawings replaced by computers, iPads, headsets, and other

electronic supports that permit builders to view, query, and coordinate such that conflict and waste can be eliminated. Implications for architects include the expectation that subcontractor shop drawings will arrive electronically, prepared by those most knowledgeable about and responsible for their trade. The vastly more complex products and systems require expertise that no single source can provide, and collaborative technologies (BIM 360 and others) allow each professional to refine this marvelous building model in advance of beginning actual construction. Improvements in innovation, communication, cost control, risk reduction, and outcomes assurance will be momentous.

Improved products

Modularity is increasingly sweeping aside field assembly. Traditionally, buildings are constructed piece by piece, brick by brick — regardless of rain, snow, or temperature. Would you buy a car built that way? Of course not; the quality would suffer too much. More and more of the components of a building are being delivered to the construction site ready for placement. These components range in size and complexity from light fixtures and unitized exterior building façades to whole buildings. Improved technologies also facilitate CAD/ CAM production directly from the design drawings. Sprinkler piping, for example, instead of being measured and cut in the field, can be shop fabricated to the precise dimensions and delivered to the exact intended location for installation.

Designing in virtual reality let Home Base build enthusiasm and support for their new outpatient clinic early in the design process. – photo: Warren Patterson Photography

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Photo: Warren Patterson Photography

CNC machines, essentially robotic manufacturers, produce cabinetry ready for final assembly and require limited human intervention for production. Modular housing is built in a factory efficiently and safely, delivered complete with finishes, appliances, plumbing fixtures, HVAC, and sprinklers fully tested to unequalled quality standards. Factories can actually sequence and assemble differently than what’s possible in the field, altering traditional responsibility-by-trade paradigms.

Materials will be 3D printed more often as printers and printable products evolve and designers discover more opportunities. The use of mass customization is on the cusp of becoming routine practice. Why must all bricks be rectangular? Instead of using rectangular molds, what if molds could be easily and inexpensively created via software/robot interface such that bricks could be any shape we want? Materials will be 3D printed more often as printers and printable products evolve and designers discover more opportunities. Building mass was previously part of how material performance was measured; now lightweight, highly engineered assemblies and materials are crafted according to highly specialized characteristics at a nanotechnology level. Building integrated photovoltaic glazing (BIPV), which transforms entire surfaces of buildings into solar energy collectors, is an example of the highly integrated multidisciplinary nature of materials that now combine the characteristics of transparency, insulation, waterproofing, building protection, and electrical integration in ways that simpler materials never did.

Improved processes

By its very nature, the traditional model of designbid-build tends to cultivate mistrust. Today, clients want to work with building teams focused on delivery of the best product for the best price. More innovative contract models, such as integrated project delivery (IPD), create a relationship where the owner, designer, and contractor are all legal clients of the project, sharing liability and reward. There are many other team formats — designbuild or design-assist, for example — that establish relationships that are highly collaborative and mutually respectful. While the architect used to be the “master builder,” the ubiquity of the owner’s project manager (OPM) now means that traditional roles have been upended. Some companies will even assume responsibilities for everything from leasing of premises to delivery of furniture, IT, and AV in addition to design and construction. New FASB accounting rules dictate recognition of construction costs far earlier than previously done. The response by corporate tenants (who represent 50% of building users) has been to negotiate that building owners assume responsibility for design and construction through turnkey deals that further blur the lines of direct accountability. If the relationships between industry professionals are contractually different, altered processes must result. Architects wonder about the future of the profession. The adoption of innovative technologies, incorporation of specialized products, and embrace of more-collaborative processes can either help the discipline flourish or relegate designers to the junior position of façade decorator. Creating unique, oneof-a-kind buildings can be inefficient, risky, and expensive, yet construction is one of the greatest and most noble creations of humankind. How will we choose to build in the future?

Modular construction allows for high-quality, energy-efficient buildings at a lower price point and faster schedule. This conceptual residential building, designed for the Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance (MHSA), will be constructed as nine boxes, sized to fit on flatbeds and stacked onsite in a day. – photo by Margulies Perruzzi

– photo by Margulies Perruzzi

« Marc Margulies, FAIA, LEED AP, is a principal and senior partner at Margulies Perruzzi, one of New England’s top architectural and interior design firms.



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22 VISION 2019

Empowering Your Workforce

IESC crew at work

by Luiza Mills

Not too long ago, it was common for managers in the corporate world to run their companies from the top-down. You could step into a meeting and watch a manager hand over a list of tasks to his or her employees and dictate the exact way each one needed to be performed. This approach allowed leaders to be crystal-clear on goals and expectations, but it also lowered morale and stifled creativity. Today, you’d be hard pressed to find a successful company operating with a top-down management style — or to find employees who enjoy working in one. At Interstate Electrical Services, we have never approached our management style from the top down, but we also recognize there’s always room for improvement. We constantly ask ourselves, “How do we make this process even better for our next customer?” In 2010, we embarked on a journey to run the company using Lean Construction ideology. In short, the idea is to manage a project through shared

Wire spooling room

Panel installation knowledge and common goals, and the emphasis is shifted from monitoring results to “making things happen.” This shift allowed us to empower our employees at all levels even more than before, to help us identify smart solutions to the problems or inefficiencies they faced in their daily tasks. The result is reflected in the feedback we’ve received from our customers and partners. We have all these powerful voices in our organization who develop amazing ideas, and strategies that they feel good about, and that creates a domino effect of positivity that translates into a better experience for everyone at the company and everyone we work with. You can step into any department at IESC and see that spirit of collaboration at work. One of our BIM coordinators, Nadine Robinson, models our projects in advanced 4D software. She collaborates directly with the project supervisors and electricians, ensuring the process stays as smooth as possible. With a segregation of office and field, it is easy for design teams to think, “This conduit needs to go from point A to point B because that’s how it’s going to fit according to my plan.” However, our coordination team determines the best design for installation through efficacious communication and even take visits to the jobsites, helping to understand completely the needs we need to meet. Elsewhere in the company, you can see the results of our employee empowerment at work. Previously, when we started a project, there would be three

different people in three different departments (project management, finance, etc.) collecting the same data and recording it. Through internal feedback from the employees who deal with this data every day, we were able to identify these redundancies and streamline the process. The input from the finance coordinator, saying, “We actually have this information already but it’s not easily accessible,” was invaluable to improving this process and would have been overlooked if we hadn’t given her a voice. We firmly believe that our employees should be empowered to identify what needs to be done on a given day. Interstate’s workforce has the freedom to say, “We can do this a little bit differently,” or, “We want to try something new.” Even if the suggested change makes their job 5% easier, they know their input is recognized and valued. Not every experiment is successful, but we only get stronger by evolving our thinking, examining each process, and assessing the end goal. It’s rewarding to see our employees rise with us.

« Luiza Mills is VP of human resources at Interstate Electrical Services, Inc.



Art and Technology:

Creative Partnership

Past exhibition “Light Traces” featuring artists-in-residence Ian MacLellan and Jenn Wood.

by Sasha Parfenova Nearly a decade ago, J.C. Cannistaro invested in the Plumbing Museum with a mission to preserve the heritage of the plumbing industry and build community. Since opening its doors in Watertown, the museum has made significant strides in living up to its founding mission, finding success in new and interesting ways. Today, the attendance has more than doubled to a thousand visitors annually, attracting audiences from a diverse range of sources. Over the past few decades, art and technology have become more intertwined than ever before. As a result, exciting opportunities for collaboration and creativity are popping up in many places, and artists are taking full advantage. Today, cutting-edge artists partner with local tech businesses to utilize commercial technology and create innovative works that push boundaries of traditional media. In 2016, inspired by the John Michael Kohler Arts/ Industry program, the Plumbing Museum launched an innovative fellowship for local artists: the Manoog Family Artist-in-Residency program (Manoog Family AIR). Named after the founding family of the Plumbing Museum, the primary goal of the program is to support and invest in emerging artists and provide them with opportunities to utilize industrial materials and equipment. Participating artists

24 VISION 2019

receive full access to a studio workspace, fabrication and welding resources, exhibition opportunities, and a stipend for supplies.

“Sword of Damocles” marble and steel sculpture by former artist-in-residence, Joshua Ruder

The demand for artist residencies that provide artists with time and space to create new works is on the rise. Today, there are roughly 500 artist residency programs in the states, while the number of applications for these programs in North America exceed 80,000 annually. Programs that combine art and technology are especially rare. Developing, launching, and running the Manoog Family Artist Residency required investments of time and energy, but that effort was significantly rewarded as the residency was making a big difference not only for the professional development of emerging artists, but also for the museum and Cannistraro. The art exhibition projects provide visitors with new insights and perspectives into the museum’s collections and exhibits as well as opportunities for unique learning experiences. For Cannistraro, committing to the arts lets people inside and outside the company know that it values and promotes innovative thinking and a creative culture. To date, nine local artists have successfully completed the residency program creating new artworks in photography, sculpture, video, and mixed media installations. The residency has had a significant influence on

“You + Me” mixed media installation by former artist-in-residence, Jenn Houle.

Former artist-in-residence, Jenn Houle, leads a group of students in one of the Plumbing Museum’s signature children’s art classes.

involving the local community with new exhibitions, attracting a more-diverse mix of visitors, and cultivating community partners. For example, the museum has become a popular spot for local homeschool field trips. In Massachusetts, there are approximately 30,000 kids that are home schooled, and many families join local homeschool communities to attend group field trips and other extracurricular activities. Responding to the demand, the Plumbing Museum proposed to design a series of extracurricular art and music activities for the homeschool visitors in an effort to increase community outreach. The proposal was submitted to the Watertown Community Foundation, and the museum was awarded an Institutional Support Grant. Children’s art classes and music events emphasized creative problem-solving and experimentation and included activities in drawing, painting, sculpture, and mixed media. The outcome of this grant project exceeded expectations. The Plumbing Museum engaged strong participation in all the project activities and proved itself as an adaptable venue for diverse community programming. The long-term strategic plans are to continue building relationships with peer organizations, organizing and hosting special events, and developing the Plumbing Museum as a place for discovery, inspiration, and learning.

« Sasha Parfenova is the museum program manager at The Plumbing Museum located at J.C. Cannistraro’s headquarters in Watertown, Mass.

Visitors looking at pinhole and cyanotype prints at the exhibition opening of “Light Traces” in the Plumbing Museum.

Former exhibition “Industrial Nature” featuring artists-in-residence, Jenn Houle and Joshua Ruder.



Best Practices in Sustainable Office Development by Bradley Cardoso If you’ve driven along Route 128, then you know construction activity is at an all-time high. According to the Boston office of Cresa, flex product in the suburban 128 market remains tight, as tenants’ need for clear height and highway access continues to gobble up viable alternatives. Class A, amenity-rich properties and office parks will continue to command high rents as tenants’ willingness to pay premium numbers persists. Current sites under development along suburban Route 128 include: 1.79 million sf of permitted development; 1.25 million sf of nonpermitted development; and 795,000sf under construction. Since 1952, Hobbs Brook Management has developed and managed Class A office buildings in Waltham, Mass., and beyond. In fact, we were the first to build an office building on Route 128 in 1954, and today we own and operate 14 buildings comprising two million sf in Waltham alone. Enticing financially strong companies into a building — and keeping them happy — is a top priority for developers and property managers. After almost 70 years, we’ve learned much about developing sustainable office buildings to meet tenants’ needs.

Developed by Hobbs Brook Management, 225 Wyman Street is a 500,000+sf new office and lab development in Waltham. When complete, the new building will be the largest contiguous Class A office building available along Route 128. – rendering courtesy of Gensler

Build it and they will come

We recently announced plans to replace the buildings at 225 and 235 Wyman with a 500,000sf new office and lab development located immediately off Route 128 in Waltham. When complete, the five-story building will be the largest contiguous Class A office building along Route 128. Designed by Gensler to meet LEED Silver certification by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), it will be lab-capable to satisfy both laboratory/ research and development, and traditional office needs. The site offers direct access to Route 128/95 via the Wyman Street on-off ramp and will include food court-style dining facilities, an onsite gym, and a conference center. JLL has been selected as the exclusive leasing agent for the property. The site’s landscape plan, designed by OJB Landscape Architecture, will include both paved and permeable walkways, seating areas and walking trails in the beautifully landscaped Western Courtyard, as well as an arrival courtyard at the entrance to the building. To complete the existing walking trail that runs through the Hobbs Brook Office Park, an additional 1.8 miles of trails and three acres of outdoor activated space will be added adjacent to the new building at 225 Wyman Street. The project will also feature a new fivestory parking garage with 1,500 spaces, including electrical vehicle charging stations, plus 221 surface spaces. Construction should begin in the second quarter of 2019 with the building ready for interior fit-out by the end of 2020.

Green is good

In today’s competitive real estate market, a commitment to sustainability can set your office building apart and be the deciding factor for

26 VISION 2019

The 335,000sf two-building complex at 175-185 Wyman Street in Waltham offers large floor plates, tenant-focused amenities, and a landscaped courtyard that provides a quiet campus setting. The design aesthetic of the buildings played a significant role in achieving LEED Gold certification. – Warren Patterson Photography

The five-story, 315,000sf Class A office building at 275 Wyman Street in Waltham features a full-service cafeteria, landscaped green roof courtyard, and a 1,050-car parking garage in an office campus setting. The building was awarded LEED Gold certification. – Warren Patterson Photography

attracting and retaining tenants. We have been incorporating energy efficiency and sound green building practices in the construction and renovation of our properties for more than three decades. Owned and operated by Hobbs Brook Management, a 335,000sf two-building complex at 175-185 Wyman Street was designed by Margulies Perruzzi, and built by Columbia Construction Company. In 2010 both buildings were certified LEED Gold. From project inception in 2008, when economic stressors caused many developers to put sustainable building features on hold, the goal of the 175-185 Wyman Street project team continued to be the achievement of LEED Gold certification, and close attention was paid to the guidelines throughout the design and construction process. Our devotion to sustainability is evident through project aspects that include an integrated green cleaning program, mature landscaping, highreflection roofing, preferred parking for hybridvehicles, and shower facilities for bicycle commuters. A state-of-the-art stormwater quality treatment system was incorporated into drainage and uses a pond that doubles as a landscape feature to clean water before it heads to the Cambridge Reservoir, while additional stormwater runoff collected onsite will be used to irrigate the landscaping. We always aim to build the most energy-efficient

buildings possible. Not only does it benefit the environment, but it greatly reduces costs for our tenants. For example, at 275 Wyman Street designed by Margulies Perruzzi and built by Commodore Builders, both the base building and interior fitout achieved LEED Gold certification. The use of a unitized metal and glass curtainwall system for the building’s envelope provides high thermal efficiency and allows daylight to filter deep into the building’s interior. A 561-kW solar array installation on the covered parking structure will generate about 673,000 kwh of power per year. Our philosophy regarding development has always been to build the highest quality and most sustainable office buildings. As we maintain these buildings ourselves, it just makes sense to leverage the most sustainable construction methods currently available. We design and construct buildings we’d want to work in ourselves, and in fact we do. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

« Bradley Cardoso, AIA, is principal architect, Hobbs Brook Management.

Making Bold Choices to Attract and Retain Top Talent While Managing Change by Jenny Drescher and Ellen Feldman Ornato Have you ever heard someone complain that company change is top-down, that leadership is setting visions but not realistically accounting for how employees will execute? Disengagement and cynicism happen when people receive mandates for change or improvement but lack the skills and resources to create the desired results. Pair this with human nature that resists change and the unknown, and the implementation of strategic, mission-driven work is at risk if behaviors and mindsets don’t shift towards the desired visions.

and proactively identify broader opportunities, ask more-effective questions, and become less reactive in challenging situations. They lightened up, started adapting, and began viewing themselves as profitcenter leaders, not just managers. Bonds developed between participants, many of whom had only known each other as peers at meetings. Across the organization, teams report a higher level of cooperation, more productive relationships with their direct reports, a willingness to share best practices, and a desire to continuously support each other. These relationships stabilize the company’s regional stronghold and position it for future growth and success. Senior leadership participated with their people, learning alongside them and cultivating trust. The company has started the essential journey of bravely reshaping their culture to take it into the future.

Case study

How does a nationally recognized leader in electrical parts distribution build rapid, sustainable capacity so that employees can and will embrace change and tackle new challenges? Sales and management associates’ skills of this regional powerhouse lagged behind the competition. Team members focused on transactional versus relational selling and were described as “old school” by leadership. With change afoot throughout the industry, the company recognized a pressing need to develop their organization’s client-facing teams, to strengthen existing client relationships, retain market share, and build capacity within its employee groups. The leadership team took a deep breath, realizing they needed to think differently about developing their people and their culture. They took a hard and sometimes uncomfortable look at their processes and environment. What they discovered was the effects of rapid change that had spurred growth but left its workforce feeling overwhelmed and distrusting of leadership. Employees were waiting for the next operational, technological, or promotional change to come from on high, and too often found themselves unable to execute these changes effectively. The bold move leadership made was simple: to see themselves through honest eyes, instead of blaming employees, and start trying on fresh solutions to engage, develop, and, ultimately, keep their talent. Enter the skills of improvisation. In the theater, improvisers practice a variety of skills through play to create performance. These same skills are at the heart of leadership and teaming, innovation, and client care, including such areas as: • Intense and intentional listening. • Seeking value in others’ contributions, building agreement. • Creating a productive relationship to risk and failure. • Spontaneity, flexibility, and situational awareness. • Elevating others and collaborating to create. • Lightening up and having fun.

These abilities and principles are essential to leading and developing a customer-focused team that can handle both technology and people at the same time. They’re also keys to building a culture that grows individuals, makes a difference in the world, and creates community. This is critical for attracting the next generation — a diverse workforce of people who have a desire to thrive and work hard in a culture that invites it and will readily depart one that doesn’t. The Bolder Company created a development program for the teams. The goals were to: • Improve relational skills with customers and colleagues. • Drive sales and increase profit margins. • Retain top talent and improve employee satisfaction. • Increase leadership and ownership mindset and activities. The program blended active skill-building with core content in a fun, improvisation-based learn-it, do-it, own-it format, including topics like delegation, personality type, people reading, emotional intelligence, conflict management, and presentations. The results were amazing to watch as team members listened and communicated better than they ever had before. They learned to speak up

“Improvisation frees us from being perfect, being in control, thinking ahead, and secondguessing. It can feel like jumping into the abyss at first, but once you jump, fear turns into excitement, and your imagination kicks in.” – Linda Naiman

Jenny Drescher and Ellen Feldman Ornato are founding partners of The Bolder Company in West Harford, Conn.



Chasing Perfection, Catching Excellence by Brent Maugel

What if your organization focused on employee empowerment and aspirations? Not only in their career, but in every aspect of their life? What if your organization coached, mentored, and provided a safe haven for the important things in life: family, friends, faith, finances, health, and career? Creating greatness with a culture of empowerment

In 2008, amidst a precipitous industry downturn, Maugel Architects took a long, hard look at ourselves and changed our view of the world and our place in it. We decided to disregard the poor economic conditions and the negativity in the industry. We focused on the future and took a proactive, impassioned commitment to be exceptional in all aspects of our business, from employee empowerment to the bottom line. We embarked on a journey to transform from a good company to an exceptional one. Along the way, we discovered that becoming exceptional is born from the empowerment of people: Hire selfmotivated people aligned with the vision, mission, and values of the organization, give them authority, promote habit change, convert disciplined thinking

“If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures . . . Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.” – Martin Luter King Jr into disciplined action, and, most importantly, dream big. Nothing is impossible with a positive attitude and a team of purpose-driven collaborators. When circumstances challenge our dreams, I am reminded of Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1967 talk with a group of Philadelphia junior high school students, in which he was asked about his life’s blueprint. He

28 VISION 2019

said: “If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures . . . Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.” Notice he did not say a good street sweeper; he said a great street sweeper. That’s what we strive to be — exceptional. Always.

What we believe

We are big believers in measurables and metrics — they serve as a baseline from which we launch ambitious goals and measure our progress. But we are wary of industry standards because they are the blueprints of mediocrity. Imagine a company whose highest aspiration is to be “as good” as their competition. We do not want to act as the industry expects. Our approach is to do what is right, innovative, disruptive, challenging — and again, big and bold. Clients need, want, and deserve advisors who bring something bold to the table.

A best-self philosophy

In 2017, we made a commitment to empowering our people to become their best selves by offering a myriad of wellness, enrichment, and educational programs: work force training, lunch-and-learns, social offsites, company retreats, charity activities, generous benefits, fitness experts, financial consultants, life coaching, and relationship and team building. As a result, many employees changed their lifestyles to include more meaningful and impactful activities. In the 2018 Boston Globe “Top Places to Work” issue, office manager Maureen Hopper and COO John Lawlor were featured in an article highlighting Maugel’s best-self program. The article focused on how Maureen prioritized time to help her son prepare for college, joined a Pilates class, and improved her diet. She is now less stressed, with more energy and a renewed enthusiasm for her career.

Take the long view

It takes a significant investment of time and resources to build a culture of empowerment — and even more effort to sustain one — but it is essential. To stay the same is to fall behind. There is no avoiding change, and organizational sustainability can only

be achieved by embracing change in the context of the vision, mission, and values of the organization. If you never lose sight of your core values, making the right decision is easy. Just ask: Is the considered path taking the company toward the dream or away from it? Once answered, the direction is clear. Sustainability is all about embracing positive change and thirsting for constant improvement

Sustainability is all about embracing positive change and thirsting for constant improvement toward the dream and perfection, as a team. toward the dream and perfection, as a team. I was a Green Bay Packer fan growing up in Ohio and remember the famous Packer coach Vince Lombardi being a big proponent of sacrificing individuality for the team. One of his many popular quotes is: “Perfection is not attainable, but if you chase perfection we will catch excellence.” In our business, we shape excellence in our designs, but only when we sustain the desire to improve. We continue to prove that creating an exceptional organization starts with empowering others to be their best self. We have enjoyed this journey and look forward to the winding path ahead. As you evaluate your path, consider the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald: “I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”

« Brent Maugel is the founder and president of Maugel Architects, a Harvard, Mass. firm that recently celebrated its 25th year.

Build Better Podcast: Above and Beyond: How One Man’s Vision is Transforming Lives Earlier this year, the Associated General Contractors of Massachusetts (AGC MA) held a summit in Boston titled The Opioid Epidemic: Crisis in the Workplace. Over 170 representatives from the construction industry came together to learn more about the challenges of, and the solutions to, the epidemic that affects so many in the industry. One of the most impactful presenters at the summit was David Argus, director of operations at Karas & Karas Glass Company Inc., based in South Boston. Recently, Argus joined Anastasia Barnes on High-Profile Monthly’s Build Better podcast to talk about the unique program he created at Karas & Karas to help recovering addicts pursue careers in the construction industry. Argus’ journey began several years ago when his own family member was struggling with addiction. As Argus became more aware of the rehabilitation and counseling services available, and met the people providing these services, he was moved by their selfless approach and their passion for providing addicts with a second chance. Argus says he learned that people in this line of work were “working for a greater cause than themselves” and “doing what they loved regardless of the compensation” to give addicts a pathway for recovery. In 2014, he created the program at Karas & Karas, now called the Boston Phoenix Foundation, to do just that. He first met with Shawn Nehiley, business manager of the Ironworker’s Union Local 7 in Boston, and John Murphy, chief of staff of the New England Carpenters Union, to make it possible for participants in the program to become union members and eligible for apprenticeship programs and employment in the industry. So far, around 15 recovering addicts have been hired and are now part of the team at Karas & Karas. Not only are they developing necessary job skills and contributing to the company’s success, but they are also taught things like how to do their taxes, open a bank account, and other life skills that many of them

missed out on earlier in life as struggling addicts. Argus says the results of the program have been phenomenal. He emphasizes that it is the participants themselves who will ultimately determine if they will be successful at turning their lives around, including his own family member who is also a part of the program and has been at Karas & Karas for two years now. Argus says the program merely gives them a lifeline and the resources to make that success happen. When an addict has decided they are done and that they want to make a change, he says, it is providing a supportive environment and the structure to succeed that David Argus really makes the difference. As a result of the program, Argus says the culture at Karas & Karas has also changed. The mindset has shifted from that of judgment to a true desire to help promising, talented, and hardworking people continue to succeed and overcome the disease of addiction. His goal is to make sure that when someone is ready to get sober, there are resources and people available to help them succeed. Argus will be at the Building Trades and Recovery Week from April 29 to May 3, an event put on by the Building Trades Employers’ Association. He will be holding workshops to help spread awareness and to educate people on how to best work together to combat the epidemic. For more information, visit

To listen to Build Better with Anastasia Barnes visit: • available on itunes and SoundCloud •

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Design Thinking Prepares Kids for a Complex World by Polly Carpenter Boston is an old seaport city facing major challenges that include housing shortages, climate change, sea level rise, aging infrastructure, and escalating carbon emissions: challenges that can be addressed using design solutions. The Boston Society of Architects/ AIA and the BSA Foundation (the BSA) recognize that the scale of these challenges ensures that they won’t be solved quickly or easily, and will ultimately be managed by the next generation. So how can we be sure that the next generation will be up to the task? The BSA, which has its headquarters at BSA Space in Fort Point Channel, believes that by giving kids design skills, they will be empowered to analyze conditions, envision solutions, advocate for, and work on the creation of safer, healthier, more resilient, and equitable communities. Training kids to think like designers teaches them critical skills such as how to evaluate, synthesize, collaborate, and how to use creative problemsolving when confronted with real-world dilemmas, including those they’ll encounter in school and in the 21st century workforce. KidsBuild! was launched by the BSA at the Museum of Science in 1992 to do just that. At that first event, volunteer architects surrounded by a pile of recycled materials from their offices led hundreds of children on an adventure that resulted in the construction of a kid-sized city. But KidsBuild! has never been just playtime. KidsBuild! presents young designers and their families with the opportunity to work through real challenges and real processes. Young designers start at the building department where a volunteer architect assists them in choosing a site from a city map and selecting a building type; then the volunteer grants them a building permit. Next, children visit the city layout — which for the last seven years has been in the atrium adjacent to BSA Space — and begin drawing their buildings.

A proud KidsBuild! designer – photo by Mike Lawrie

30 VISION 2019

The KidsBuild! Construction Zone in action. – photo by Mike Lawrie The city is color-coded by zone — residential, commercial, public, industrial, and recreational. Kids are given an opportunity to complete a Green Building Challenge, which rates their design on five criteria including location and linkages, sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, and innovative design. Designers are awarded a special badge when their buildings give more than they take from the environment. This is important because The KidsBuild! city reflects the same urban challenges faced by the real Boston, and by asking kids to consider these factors today we are preparing them to think through solutions for their communities tomorrow. Next is a visit to the Materials Yard where kids choose materials for their design. Everything from recycled printing tubes to fabric remnants to mosaic tiles and shoeboxes can be transformed into doors, windows, canopies, and columns. Who knew that old fabric swatches could become designer dresses in a cardboard boutique? Or that packing peanuts, with a little ink and imagination, become firefighters who can slide down discarded paper towel rolls? In the Construction Zone, which is the next stop for our budding city builders, children begin to construct their visions. This process involves collaboration, overcoming challenges, and complex problem solving — all crucial work and life skills for 21st-century citizens. The volunteer architects roam the room giving design critiques, offering advice, and checking out new construction with a height standard measuring stick to ensure buildings don’t exceed that zone’s height limitations. But because this is the “real world” — if a structure doesn’t fit? The kids can apply for a variance. Once the construction is complete (or still standing) it is placed on its site in the city layout. Designers must request a building review from the city building inspector, who engages them in conversations about their design intent and how they felt while creating the work. The project is then granted a certificate of occupancy. Real skills used during these processes include developing a flexible communication style, negotiating with others, and advocating for ideas that they believe will result in a better community — skills not often developed by kids who are only exposed to standard K-12 curriculum. KidsBuild! is a blast. It’s an opportunity for

architects to share their unique skills with kids and it’s a chance for kids to learn directly from people working in a field that might not otherwise be presented to them. The BSA believes in the power of design to solve problems, and in the power of young people to make great choices for the future. It’s a complex world they are growing into, but by sharing the power of design, we are preparing kids to meet their challenges. KidsBuild! took place April 6 and 7 at BSA Space. It was a sold-out event that was bustling with over 700 K-12 kids and their families and guided by 70 volunteer architects.

A parent and child design together at KidsBuild! – photo by Mike Lawrie Also in 2019, KidsBuild! goes on the road, visiting two community locations so more children throughout Greater Boston can be served. Boston Properties and HMFH Architects are lead supporters of youth design education through their “Provoking Change” membership of the BSA Foundation’s Legacy Circle. KidsBuild! On the Road is sponsored in part by Eastern Bank. The Boston Society of Architects is the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The BSA Foundation is a 501c3 charitable organization. To learn more, including dates for KidsBuild! on the road, visit

« Polly Carpenter, FAIA, is the director of Public Programs at the BSA Foundation.

How SCI is Empowering Companies to Build Smarter Sustainable Comfort, Inc. is a green building and energy efficiency consulting and construction firm based in Worcester, Massachusetts. It helps developers, architects, contractors, and residents achieve healthier, resilient, and sustainable multifamily buildings through better construction practice and management and by providing clear, concise, and value-focused consulting on sustainable, energy-efficient, healthy housing. SCI has vast experience with green building and energy efficiency programs, and specializes in Energy Star Homes, LEED for Homes, Enterprise Green Communities, Passive House, HERS Rating, State Incentive Programs, and Code Compliance. It’s important for a company like SCI to maintain a strong central vision, and it is that vision that will be important in protecting and preserving the earth and the environment in the future. SCI’s vision is to move the multifamily market to conscious development and management, resulting in the creation of sustainable buildings that support the people who build them, call them home and the communities that surround them. SCI is doing that by adhering to four guiding principles:

Show up

Do what you say you will do. Be present. Nothing builds a relationship faster than face-to-face, and nothing destroys it faster than failing to deliver on a commitment. If you commit to a networking organization, be consistent in your attendance. Spend time with your colleagues.

Never let them see you sweat

Have a sense of urgency

Return phone calls and emails faster than expected. Recognize that nothing reduces a client’s stress like a deliverable that arrives early. Move like there are a limited number of hours in the day. Think about what is the most important thing for you to do next. Do not procrastinate.

Be curious

Ask questions. Read a lot. Be open and humble. Contemplate problems. Have interesting conversations with clients, colleagues, and the person next to you on the plane. The design-build field is a place where curious people thrive.

Pressure makes diamonds, but let’s be honest; no one cares how diamonds are made. Everyone is busy and stressed — the best make it look easy. SCI’s focus on a collaborative approach to energy-efficient design and construction helps create buildings that maximize the value of the building for the owner and the quality of the environment for the occupant. SCI takes responsibility for the incentive process and leading the project team through the implementation of energy-efficient construction.

submitted by Sustainable Comfort, Inc.

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32 VISION 2019

Profile for High-Profile

HP Vision, Volume 1  

This VISION issue humanizes the A/E/C/O industry and gives a spotlight on the individuals and organizations that are acting on their own vis...

HP Vision, Volume 1  

This VISION issue humanizes the A/E/C/O industry and gives a spotlight on the individuals and organizations that are acting on their own vis...