Opportunity abounds in new role as publisher

What a difference a year makes. In April 2018, I was president and CEO of Zweig Group. While the title hasn’t changed, plenty of other things have. The headliner is that I’m now the firm’s majority owner. And, in my expanded role as the head of a growing AEC management advisory firm, my list of obligations has predictably increased. I’ll save you the details, but as it pertains to Civil + Structural Engineer magazine, it means I’m now the publisher. That title – which comes with a multitude of high expectations – signifies an important development in my career, a development I’ve gladly embraced.

Instead of just contributing a column every month, as I did for about two years, I’m now involved in all facets of the magazine’s operations. But rather than micromanage, I’ve empowered a skilled media team to do what it takes to produce the industry’s finest AEC publication. This means ad sales, customer service, sponsored advertorials, graphic design, web design, and, of course, original editorial content. I also had to consider the nexus between readership and revenue – that all-important metric called circulation. As I mentioned in last month’s column, we decided to cancel our print publication in favor of an exclusively digital magazine format. The move concentrates our resources, allows for deeper focus, and saves a lot of trees.   

Still, even if the market told us that the move to all-digital was the right thing to do, it was not an easy decision to make. We had to consider the reaction from advertisers. Personnel was realigned. The business model was reconfigured. And that’s publishing in a nutshell. It isn’t easy. The numbers are intimidating, the pitfalls are deep, and there’s a million things that can go wrong when you produce 50-plus pages of content every month – and then send it out to thousands of very intelligent people to consume. However, the challenges, and overcoming them, are what invigorate me and my team.

This is also where C+S Engineer dovetails into Zweig Group’s larger mission to Elevate the Industry. Our firm’s new focus demands that all of us Celebrate, Promote, Diversify, Change, and Educate. Together, we can use these five tenets to push awareness of the AEC industry, and the positive impact it has on the world, into the mainstream. When this happens, we’ll all reap bigger rewards, both personally and professionally. This magazine, as the premiere showcase for what’s happening in our field, will play an important role in achieving that aim.

But we also know that nothing happens overnight. And we don’t jam square pegs into round holes. The magazine will remain what it has been, a platform for what’s going on in management, technology, construction, surveying, sustainability, water resources, and training. Even in a time of great change, the magazine will not be allowed to drift from its mooring. When the opportunity comes to better serve the readership through delivery, the customer experience, or content, however, those opportunities will certainly be taken. In other words, C+S Engineer is going to elevate.

A magazine, like an AEC management consulting firm, is a living thing. It has its seasons. It is powered by people. The ability to change, and to serve a higher purpose, is innate. As a newly minted publisher, I now see the parallels in vivid color. Along with my media team, I am energized by the possibilities on the horizon. I want you, the reader, to share in my enthusiasm.


Chad Clinehens, P.E., is Zweig Group’s president and CEO. Contact him at cclinehens@zweiggroup.com.