Mergers, Acquisitions Have 'Plain Truths'

Feb. 12, 2006
NOTEWORTHYMergers, Acquisitions Have 'Plain Truths'Industry experts indicate that merger and acquisition activity is expected to remain strong throughout 2005 for architecture, engineering and environmental consulting firms—but the process of acquiring or merging with another firm is rarely a simple task. There are a number of "plain truths" that firm leaders need to acknowledge as they enter into the merger and acquisition progress. In a recent editorial in The Zweig Letter, Publisher Mark Zweig, vice chairman of ZweigWhite, shared his thoughts on those truths:Critics will always take the position that every problem in the current operation must be fixed before considering acquisitions. "You will never have
everything perfect, and if this is your attitude," Zweig warns, "you will never be able to buy another company."

The process of buying or selling is a real distraction, and the rest of your business will suffer in the process. "One way to minimize that distraction, speed up the process and do it right is to have one person in the company who is in charge of the entire buying or selling process and then let that person do their job," Zweig suggests.

Pending deals may attract "vultures" (former employees, vendors, etc.). "There's nothing like a wrongful termination lawsuit while a seller is in the throes of a transaction," notes Zweig. "Those unsavory types who sense an opportunity often realize that defendants will want to settle any lawsuit quickly so their buyers don't get cold feet and their entire trans- action (isn't) jeopardized."
Everything takes longer than it should. "Landlords in cities where you have a branch office may not understand your sense of urgency in getting lease assignment. Negotiations over employment agree - ments with key staff
members may be difficult to bring to a close due to travel schedules. There will be delays," Zweig says, "and despite everyone's best intentions, the original schedule is rarely met."
For a complete version of Zweig's editorial, contact Mark Grady at [email protected].
CCIDC Adds List of ID ProgramsThe California Council for Interior Design Certification (CCIDC), the organization responsible for administering the requirements of California's Certified Interior Designers Law, has added a new feature to their Web site (—a comprehensive list of all schools, colleges and universities in the state that offer an interior design program. The list is broken down by county and includes a link to each school's Web site, which will be maintained and updated on a regular basis."Over the years we have fielded requests for referrals to interior design programs," says Lynda Gould, CCIDC president. "Since there is no other statewide list available, it makes sense for the CCIDC to provide this useful information."Under the Certified Interior Designers Law, certified interior designers are qualified by the CCIDC upon evidence of a combination of educational and/or experience, and passage of designated examinations. Certified interior designers, as mandated by the state of California, have met high standards of qualification and have agreed to uphold a strict code of ethics and conduct. The CCIDC backs these standards by providing consumers with detailed information about why to hire a certified interior designer, available in brochure or online formats. In addition, the CCIDC accepts complaints about certified interior designers and works with the consumer and the designer toward swift resolution. There are currently more than 3,500 certified interior designers in the state of California.Solutia Awards to Recognize Glass DesignMarking an industry first, the Laminated Glazing Interlayers division of Solutia Inc. will bring the design talents of both architects and automotive designers to one competition. The Solutia International Design Awards, now in its seventh year, is a global competition that pays tribute to architects, interior designers, automotive designers and laminators who have used laminated glass liberally in their design.  Entries are now being accepted for the awards, which will recognize projects that demonstrate innovative uses of any of Solutia's architectural glazing products, which include Vanceva® and Saflex® laminated glass interlayers and KeepSafe® brand families. This year, the program will also recognize automotive designers and engineers for the use of laminated glazing in automobiles.  The projects will be judged by an international jury of celebrated professionals in both the architectural and automotive industries. This year's winners will receive an original work of art by noted American glass artist Laurel Fyfe. Last year's winners spanned the globe and represented architectural and interior work, as well as an artistic installation.Entries are due by June 30, 2005. For more information about entering architectural projects, contact Janet Ryan, program coordinator, at (314) 822-8860 or [email protected]; or contact Solutia's Architectural Glazing Solutions Centre at (877) 674-1233. For more information about entering automotive projects, contact Rick Williams, program coordinator, at (248) 740-0483. Entry forms are available online at Launches Design Search EnginePrintsource New York, a leading trade show for textile and surface design, recently launched a new online surface and textile design search engine, the Global Design Database (GDD). The GDD is the first online tool that allows buyers of surface and textile designs to search for design studios, freelance designers, agents and trend forecasters, among others. Buyers are able to view online portfolios, and have direct links to Web site/e-mail addresses and contact information for textile artists worldwide. Design studios are able to use the GDD as a tool to promote their designs and design services to an international audience reaching multiple industries, including fashion, paper goods and packaging, home textiles and wallpaper, among others. The database is open to all textile and surface design professionals worldwide, and is independent from the company's New York trade shows. To view the Global Design Database, visit Spotlight 'Good Design'The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design recently announced the winners of the museum's annual GOOD DESIGN Awards for 2004, won by more than 300 of the world's most prestigious industrial design firms and manufacturers in more than 20 countries. The awards publicly acknowledge and elevate the best and finest new design and design innovation for products and graphics designed and manufactured between 2002 and 2004. This year's categories include: electronics, sports equipment, children's products, furniture, office products, industrial equipment, medical equipment, fabric/textiles, automotive/transportation, urban furniture/architecture, tabletop, kitchen and bath, household appliances, household products, lighting, hardware/tools, personal products, and graphics and packaging—sure to influence the environments and the ways in which we live, work and play around the world and in the new millennium.

A distinguished jury of recognized experts in the corporate and design worlds selected more than 300 products and graphic designs. The competition is organized and curated by Christian K. Narkiewicz-Laine, director/president, The Chicago Atheneum.
A list of the 2004 awards can be found on the museum's Web site at The deadline for the 2005 Awards program is July 1, 2005. Application forms are available online or by contacting the museum's curatorial office.
Limited-EditionMcDonough Essay availableThe J. Willard Marriott Library's award-winning Red Butte Press announced the release of Something Lived, Something Dreamed: Urban Design and the American West. This precedent-setting essay by celebrated architect and designer William McDonough is published in an unusual limited edition with letterpress monoprints by Washington state artist Christopher Stern.  Entirely handmade, Something Lived, Something Dreamed represents the first time that William McDonough's comprehensive philosophy on sustainable design has been published. Something Lived, Something Dreamed examines the complex relationship between natural and urban landscapes in western American cities. In keeping with the message of the essay, the paper was made without chemical additives. The covers are made from a single sycamore tree reclaimed from an urban construction site as well as recycled aluminum, donated by Alcoa Technical Center. Given the natural variations in the wood element of the binding, each book is unique. All of the books contain three letterpress monoprints, each one inked by hand using up to six colors. The type was cast and composed from hot metal. More than 35,000 pieces of type were set by hand.The essay was printed by hand on an 1846 Columbian press at the Red Butte Press, and each book will be bound by hand in a modern Coptic-style binding. The edition, which is limited to 125 copies, will be completed in March.Green Tech U Spring Semester Under WayThe spring semester of Green Tech U recently began at the Chicago Center for Green Technology. Located at 445 N. Sacramento, the Chicago Center for Green Technology is the first renovated structure and government-owned building to earn a Platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED™) rating from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The Chicago Center for Green Technology is one of a handful of buildings in the country to receive this prestigious certification.The concept for Green Tech U's new certification program was developed to provide structure and learning objectives in this growing field of green building/green design and sustainability. All of the programs that the Chicago Center for Green Technology offers are free, and they are open to the public regardless of experience. There are also partnerships with some professional organizations that give continuing-education credit to their members for attending the programs; these include the AIA (architects) and ASHRAE (engineers). By taking a series of six courses (out of many choices) during a 12-month period, participants can earn certification in architecture, building and construction management, DIY (do it yourself) green, engineering, green business, interior design and landscape design.

The Green Tech U spring semester runs through May 26. The Chicago Center for Green Technology also offers other free educational programs and tours. To register, or for more information, visit

Hardwood Flooring Shipments Highest Since 1966Hardwood flooring shipments reached nearly 673,000,000 board feet in 2004, the highest level for shipments since 1966, according to NOFMA: The Wood Flooring Manufacturers Association. The 2004 shipment level (672,805,000 board feet) reflects a steady upward trend in flooring shipments that has been ongoing since 1991.

NOFMA attributes the strong numbers to enduring popularity of wood floors and the continued strength of new home construction and residential remodeling.
NOFMA also believes the trend toward sustainable building practices has helped fuel demand for wood. More and more consumers, designers and architects are using hardwood flooring because of its environmental attributes. Like all wood products, hardwood flooring comes from a renewable resource, making it inherently sustainable. Wood flooring is also a significant contributor to improved indoor air quality and reduced allergens.

As demand for environmentally certified building products grows, flooring manufacturers are working to fulfill it. Third-party certifying agencies, such as the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (FSI) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC),
attest to the environmental claims of product manufacturers and distributors, and establish guidelines for the responsible management of forests and systems for tracking wood products derived from such forests through the manufacturing and distribution system.

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