Harris & Associates Inc. has had just two chief executives in its 36 years, and the departure, in 2010, of a designated heir apparent didn't help the California professional service firm in changing out its aging leaders. So, knowing it faced a tough market and tougher decisions ahead, the firm agreed to a new direction. "We couldn't just give lip service for succession planning," says outgoing President and CEO Guy Erickson. "Because of the economy, it was time to change the way we were doing business. It was time for a new wind to blow."The change hit the firm with
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.