Familiar Faces in the 2014 Architect 50

The Architect 50

We love seeing our members’ design clients on any premier list of architects. Scrolling through the brand new 2014 ARCHITECT 50 list from Architect Magazine, we’re excited to see several familiar names, including Brooks + Scarpa Architects and Mark Cavagnero Associates.

Each year, Architect Magazine strives “to compile a list that recognizes firms small and large, who are making their mark beyond just their ability to run a financially lucrative business. This year, [they] added a few new data points, capturing information on how firms are helping their interns gain licensure, both through financial incentives and culture. And [they] asked firms to submit a portfolio with an energy-efficient project that best exemplified their commitment to sustainability.” Read more about the methodology behind the annual selection of the Top 50 here.

More detailed lists of the Top 50 in Design, Top 50 in Business, and Top 50 in Sustainability are available on the Architect Magazine website, too. Congratulations to all the winners!

Measuring the Success of Your A/E Firm

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We recently stumbled upon Using Four Metrics to Analyze Performance of a Professional Services Firm, an article by June Jewell, President and CEO of Acuity Business Solutions.

An excerpt:

Sometimes the day to day demands of running a professional services business can be overwhelming, especially for creative and technical entrepreneurs and project managers that do not have a financial background. Trying to stay on top of administrative responsibilities, hiring and managing staff, and keeping clients happy can make it difficult to really understand how the firm is performing. Many leaders also struggle to understand and analyze reports and financial statements, and determine where to focus their attention to ensure success.

While there are many important metrics and reports that you can look at each month to gauge your company’s health and profitability, you can get a pretty good understanding of the performance of the business by looking at just four metrics – the Win Rate, Utilization Rate, Project Profit Margin, and the Average Collection Period (or Days Sales Outstanding). By looking at just these four key performance indicators, you can simplify the process of analyzing how projects are being executed and managed, and help your project managers and leaders focus their attention where it will get the most benefit.

Jewell goes into a brief explanation of each of these four metrics, so we invite you to visit her blog and read on. Some of the information might not be new to you, but it’s always good to get a reminder. Jewell is also the author of a new book: Find the Lost Dollars: 6 Steps to Increase Profits in Architectural, Engineering and Environmental Firms. You can download a free chapter on her website.

(Psst! This is anecdotal evidence that Twitter can be excellent resource for design professionals. Have you followed @aeProNet yet?)

structuralUsing a real-life claims scenario from “a structural engineer and senior partner in a small A/E firm that specialized in multi-family and commercial condominium projects”, William F. Dexter offers his view on the Top 3 Liabilities Facing Design Professionals in today’s increasingly litigious marketplace:

“Long after the construction documents have been published and permits issued, the architect or engineer flies into the Bermuda Triangle of construction phase services, which include review of shop drawings, payment certification and construction observation.   Let’s take a look at establishing solid guidelines to reduce the risks of these frequent situations by transferring liability back to the client and others who are always quite eager to let the design professional be responsible.”

Continue reading at the JDI Data website.

This week, 46 a/e ProNet members from 27 member agencies are expected to attend our annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois. Over the course of two and half days, twelve top-tier Professional Liability insurance companies will present to our membership. Each company will take this opportunity to announce policy form changes, new endorsements, and pricing expectations for the coming year; as well, they will alert us to industry trends surrounding claims and risk management.

Because a/e ProNet brokers are independent, that-is, not tied to any single insurance company, the insurance companies sending representatives to this event know that they are in competition for our business. It is in their best interest to make their programs as comprehensive and beneficial  to our clients as possible. The companies attending this event include: RLITravelersVictor O. SchinnererLibertyBeazleyCatlinHCCHanover, Navigators, Insight, All Risks, and AXIS.

Our Thursday night reception for members and insurance company representatives will be held at a new venue this year: The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Rotunda at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Our clients are architects and engineers, and we appreciate what they do today, as well as what they have created in the past. We chose the Chicago Cultural Center, opened in 1897, because it is “one of the city’s most popular attractions and is considered one of the most comprehensive arts showcases in the United States.” In other words, it’s beautiful! A Chicago landmark, located in the Loop, across Michigan Avenue from Millennium Park, the GAR Memorial consists of a large hall and rotunda in the north wing of the building. The hall is “faced with deep green Vermont marble, broken by a series of arches for windows and mahogany doors. The rotunda features 30-foot walls of Knoxville pink marble, mosaic floor, and a fine, stained-glass dome in Renaissance pattern by the firm of Healy and Millet.”

If you have questions about this meeting, or a question about a/e ProNet, don’t hesitate to contact us. You can also find your local a/e ProNet broker through our website.