Breuer Consulting Blog

Insiders’ Outlook

Our role in the design industry gives us a unique point of view. We see inside many organizations concerned about the built environment — identifying best practices, noticing trends, and anticipating what’s just around the corner.

  • What We’re Seeing – 2019

    As we talk with firms across the country, we are often asked, “What are you seeing out there?”   We thought our response to this question would be of interest to a broader group. So, in 2017, we began sharing our thoughts through periodic editions of “WHAT WE’RE SEEING”.


    In 2018 – as well as in 2019 so far, we are seeing caution and contradiction in the realm of recruiting for the built environment. Fairly robust demand for design services continues

  • Compensation for New Leadership Hires
    Compensation for New Leadership Hires

    A post-recession look at compensating design firm leaders: 2014-1018 to date


    About this report…

    As the recession waned, we began to see warnings about upcoming labor shortages in the AEC industry. The predictions have proven correct: we are experiencing a significant delta between demand and supply… especially for seasoned leaders. But this is not just a supply problem: attracting

  • What We’re Seeing

    For several years, the demand for experienced design talent across the U.S. has accelerated. A Building Design +Construction survey of AEC recruitment found that more than 81.5% of survey respondents experienced recruiting challenges in 2016. Of that total:

    With new administrations at the Federal and State levels throughout the country, 2017 will see an added layer of complexity:  market sector

  • Why Leaders Leave

    Few things in business are as costly and disruptive as departure of leadership talent, especially in an environment of constrained supply of qualified professionals. As an executive search practice working to find leaders for design firms throughout the United States and beyond, Breuer Consulting Group deals daily with the factors that influence talent acquisition. Occasionally, we also conduct informal, non-scientific research on issues that design firms consider important in the process of building their leadership team.


    We recently

  • Why Mid-Sized Design Firms Should Hire a Director of Operations

    The distinction between practice management and project management seems obvious, but in our experience, it is not often articulated. While project management is the subject of much attention and a popular training topic in larger firms, practice management is hardly mentioned. Most schools offer one course in a curriculum of two or three years at the graduate level. The well-managed practice is usually a lucky convergence of senior leaders who have embraced the operations of the firm and tackled

  • Hiring Leaders Without Design Experience

    My clients — architecture, landscape architecture, planning and design firms — often ask me whether they should seek leaders from outside the design community for senior, non-design positions. It’s a good question: infusion of new skills and experiences could enrich design firms’ perspective and business strategy. As Kathryn Sprankle, owner of Sprankle Leadership observes, design for the built environment is “still an insular industry”: she says that “overall, we’re too slow to embrace the business of the business”.


    Can a

  • What Good Consultants Know: 13 Basic Competencies Beyond Your Discipline

    Many people offering services in the design community – regardless of discipline — may be excellent technical professionals but often fail to demonstrate two competencies simultaneously:

    1. Technical expertise: Proficiency in your discipline — architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, graphic design, planning, etc. — that transcends “adequate” is a given: you won’t be successful without it. But success as a technical expert is not enough to be remarkable or memorable. It may not even be enough to get the project implemented!
    2. Excellent
  • Why Marketing People Fail

    In many firms, the marketing function is like a revolving door: a new director comes in; the coordinator resigns; the director stays for six months only to leave the AE industry. Two coordinators later, a new director is hired, doesn’t work well with the market sector leaders, and is asked to leave the firm. Pick up any “People on the Move” section in your local Business Times and there will inevitably be the smiling face of a new Marketing