Press Release: July 15, 2011
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (July 15, 2011) –With only $1000.00 in start-up capital, Mark C. Zweig started Mark Zweig & Associates on a card table in the back-room efficiency apartment of his house in Natick, Mass., on July 13, 1988. This past Wednesday, July 13, 2011 marked the 23rd anniversary of the firm’s founding!
Zweig got off to a fast start working for his former employers such as Carter & Burgess (now gone), and The Pickering Firm. He also worked for VHB on a year-long contract and for a fee as editor of PSMJ and a publication called AE JobMart. He quickly expanded and created more new products and services to sell, adding people as he could afford to. With the addition of Fred White, Mark Zweig & Associates eventually became Zweig White & Associates, Inc, which was later shortened to just ZweigWhite.
Absolutely determined to make his business a success, Zweig says of the early years, “we lived frugally, watched our cash carefully, and sold like mad. Every year, things got better and better.”
Zweig prides himself on having built ZweigWhite, in large part, by doing the opposite of those who were his initial competitors. Things like selling stock to key employees (including many young ones), practicing open-book management, having a rigorous business planning process and always looking for unfilled niches to provide a service or product for, were just a few of his strategies.
“We did not do the same things as everyone else. For example, all newsletters back then were monthly. We published ours twice a month. Everyone who did a survey did one on financial performance. We instead did our first survey on valuation,” says Zweig.
By 1995, ZweigWhite was on the Inc 550 List of Fastest Growing Privately Held Businesses, a designation they were awarded in the following year as well.
“We weren’t afraid to be contrarian. We declared TQM as dead when some of the largest firms were still spending millions a year on it. That created a stir—a buzz—and it was (is) good to be talked about!” says Zweig.
The firm was sold to Cardinal Growth in 2004. First, it grew to an even larger size through a combination with Mercor Media (the original owners of CE News and Structural Engineer Magazines) and Cornerstone Exhibitions. Greg Lindberg rescued the company from the brink in 2009. Mark Zweig returned as CEO of ZweigWhite, about one year ago.
“Our products and services are a whole lot better than they were a short time back, our systems are improving, and the potential for this business is better than it ever has been!” says Zweig.
Claire Keerl, the firm’s longest standing employee joined ZweigWhite in August of 2000 to help plan the first annual The Zweig Letter Hot Firm Conference, which celebrates the fastest-growing A/E/P and environmental consulting firms. “Working with leaders of these successful firms on The Zweig Letter Hot Firm Conference over the years has allowed me to get to know what being an entrepreneur is all about. I see the same passion and creative energy that defines leaders of Hot Firms reflected in Mark Zweig and the enthusiasm he has for everything he does, including always looking for ways to help firms cut through the BS and get to the heart of what will really improve performance,” she says.