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Blog > Leading by Doing: The History of Leadership at Acentech June 12, 2019 |

Leading by Doing: The History of Leadership at Acentech

The practice of acoustic and vibration consulting is deeply rooted in science and engineering practices of the past three centuries. These practices of acoustics and vibration study were born from very human experiences: We were capable of hearing and feeling vibrations in the air and materials surrounding us, and we began to ask why. We began exploring the mathematics surrounding these phenomena, and, over the centuries, numerous observations and breakthroughs established the repertoire of acoustics and vibration knowledge we have today. Acentech is intimately familiar with this repertoire and has developed a successful and reputable business model exploring these topics. We work in pragmatic applications of these centuries-old studies as they apply to buildings, structures, and spaces we utilize every day (whether we are aware of it or not).

How is Acentech able to balance technical expertise while providing accessible and applicable services to their community and around the world? Through great leadership. I was lucky enough to sit down with three people who have called themselves, or still go by the title of, President of Acentech: Carl Rosenberg, Chris Savereid, and Jeff Zapfe, and ask them about their role in turning Acentech into the company it is today.

These three Presidents came from a variety of backgrounds to be leaders of an acoustic consulting firm. Carl became interested in acoustics from an early age using a light and a tuning fork to visualize sound waves. Chris was interested in theater and performing arts at the start of his career, which he soon realized is fused with room acoustics. Jeff was working on wing flutter in target drones when he discovered how important understanding vibrations are in everyday life. A key aspect of Acentech’s culture is that the company draws from such a diverse set of backgrounds, and its leaders are able to provide excellent mentorship to focus efforts on the common goal of good acoustics and vibration practice. The mentor-mentee dynamic is alive and well throughout all consultant levels at Acentech, as evident in the management structure of the company.

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Presidents of Acentech have always been practicing consultants before, during, and after their tenure as company premier. This leading-by-doing mantra is handed down to the three major consulting groups at Acentech: Architectural and Mechanical Acoustics, Noise and Vibration, and Systems. Like the presidents, each consulting group leader is a practicing consultant. Having management that can easily put themselves in the shoes of their employees helps to keep the company grounded. There is a positive synergy between the technical aspects of the work being done by consultants and the managerial tasks being done to ensure the work is productive and profitable. One of the primary goals of a management position is to give consultants the tools they need to be successful.

As the company has grown, management and consulting remain intertwined. Management has taken on more responsibility and key administrative positions such as CFO, an entire Marketing department, and a Human Resources manager have become critical partners in helping steer the Acentech ship. Part of the president’s and group directors’ responsibilities now are to translate and find a balance between the technical aspects of consulting and the practical concerns of management. The orchestration of all these responsibilities maintains strong project management within the well-oiled machine that is Acentech, outputting high-quality work for clients. And thus a cycle is established. Good work creates satisfied clients, which creates more work to be done in a quality manner. The technical expertise serving as the foundation of Acentech’s work would not find its way into this cycle without the impetus of great leadership.

I would like to thank Carl Rosenberg, Chris Savereid, and Jeff Zapfe for taking the time to discuss their roles as leaders at Acentech.

Author: Tyler Tracy

“I enjoy the wide variety of projects I work on as an acoustic consultant. Many people would be surprised at how much acoustic consulting applies to: from architectural work in…

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Acentech is an employee-owned company, majority-owned by its employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).