The Level Design Podcast

With your hosts, Scott Zurn, P.E. & Murray McBride, P.E. 

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Welcome to The Level Design Podcast with Scott Zurn, P.E. Professional Engineer with over 3 decades of experience and Founder of Level Design Partners, a for-benefit Company striving to bring prosperity to the design professional. Check out what they are up to at Leveldesignpartners.com

This Podcast will be exploring the in’s and outs of the design industry, bringing new thinking to outdated systems, and aiming to restore value and honor to the unique people who choose to be designers, engineers, and architects.

We’ll be discussing how you can thrive in this industry by creating more freedom, flexibility, and financial security as a design professional, regardless of your current situation.

This podcast is in part a foundation for open conversation regarding the A&E industry. In future episodes we will discuss the realities of the industry today and what the future may look like.

It is our belief that positive change for Architects & Engineers is not the obligation of the industry, but rather your choice to reimagine how we work together. We invite you to join us in creating a world in which Design Professionals thrive.

Get involved by Joining our email newsletter where you’ll get information not found anywhere else. Go to leveldesignpartners.com to sign up.

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Episodes

Latest episode first. Listen here by clicking the play button or listen wherever you listen to podcasts. Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, StichterPocket Casts.

EP 15: Bridge Engineering & Infrastructure Challenges with Ben Kenney, P.E. Owner of Engineering Operations

617,000 bridges across the United States.

Currently, 42% of all bridges are at least 50 years old, and 46,154, or 7.5% of the nation’s bridges, are considered structurally deficient, meaning they are in “poor” condition.

Ben Kenney, P.E. owner of Engineering Operations joins Scott and Murray to discuss some fascinating topics

  • Corporate barriers
  • Bridge Inspection
  • Price of a bridge
  • Some serious mistakes we’re making with bridges and other infrastructure
  • Infrastructure challenges we currently face
  • Potential solutions
  • A diving story that will make you claustrophobic
  • And much more

https://engineeringoperationsco.com/

https://engineeringoperationsco.com/about/benjamin-kenney/

Source: https://infrastructurereportcard.org/cat-item/bridges/

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EP 14: Wait, but why? (flipping the business model on its head)

Join Scott Zurn and Murray McBride as they discuss:

– Update on LDPI
– Flipping the business model on its head
– Outsourcing and the race to the bottom
– Entrepreneurship
– Personal growth and success
– Collaboration
– Peace of mind
– $2 Trillion infrastructure bill
– What’s right for our community?
– The zero-emission marketing lie
– And much more…

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EP 13: Long-term care of our built environment (most important + least celebrated)

In this episode, Scott & Murray discuss:
  • Environmental consciousness
  • Half of our environment impact is just “building stuff”
  • Let’s take a conscious look at what we’re doing
  • Is money always the driver for the design community
  • Free, independent & flexible thinking
  • Picking up where we left off in the early 1500s
  • Climate change
  • Greed and power, taking the land vs existing with the land
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EP 12: Are Architects & Engineers going extinct?

Can we maintain our human conveniences and have less adverse impact on our planet? Are Architects & Engineers going extinct? What do we need to revive in our industry?

Join Scott Zurn and Murray McBride as they discuss:
 
  • The human convenience
  • Cost of infrastructure
  • Communication challenges today
  • Why we need more Architects & Engineers.
  • How we can improve the way we pay for and build our infrastructure
  • Getting involved locally
  • How Engineering, Architecture, and construction relates to your tax dollar
  • 57% of our Engineering community quits, why and how to change that
  • The one activity in our infrastructure that produces 7% of carbon emissions into our atmosphere
  • What the hell happened in Texas

 

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leveldesignpartners.com/podcast/

 

EP 11: Brilliant Infrastructure of the Indigenous people

Sixty million Indigenous People lived throughout the Americas before European expansion.
 
In a short amount of time, 90% of those people were lost to European disease and violence. An estimated loss of 55 million people; a 10% reduction of the world’s population at that time.
 
What happened to the infrastructure of each of these ancient people and what can we learn from it?
 
Join Scott Zurn and Murray McBride as they discuss what went wrong when the Europeans settled the Americas. Instead of learning from the Indigenous People and their way of sustainable living, old European ideas were brought here and repeated the same mistakes.
 
Also, enjoy a new segment where Scott and Murray discuss current events, like the Texas storms that left dozens dead and millions without power over several days.
 
In this episode, they discuss:
 
  • an LDPI update
  • Continued: The history of infrastructure
  • the importance of the A&E community’s knowledge and our planet’s future
  • the struggle between political forces and the public interest on infrastructure
 
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EP 10: Our current infrastructure was shaped by deer

There is an impact to our world for every human convenience. Those conveniences are built around our infrastructure, but it’s not in the public’s consciousness.

Why should we care?

Because infrastructure is the most important thing in our world. Our economy, quality of life, and the future of humanity and our planet is intricately tied to infrastructure.

Join Scott Zurn and Murray McBride as they discuss how we arrived at our current infrastructure and why throwing it away for a new one will be devastating for our planet.

They discuss:

  • Who planned our first roads
  • Think of our world: We must be respectful of the fact that this planet has a finite amount of energy we can use and how we manage our infrastructure knowing that
  • Is there an alternative or a better way moving forward

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EP 9: Empowering A&E Women with LDPI Owners Anya Zurn & Karen Ashworth (Women’s History month)

 

Engineers are traditionally men. Why?

  • 30% of women who have left the engineering profession cite organizational climate as the reason.
  • Only 30% of women who earn bachelor’s degrees in engineering are still working in engineering 20 years later. Source


We need to empower A&E women if we want to build a thriving industry and future.

We must evolve our organizational climate.

To celebrate Women’s History Month, we’ve brought on two amazing women, Anya Zurn & Karen Ashworth, co-owners of Level Design Partners.

Our motto: LDPI is freedom of independence; power of organization.

We give our independent design professionals the business education and support to overcome their fear of leaving a traditional firm behind.

Join Scott Zurn and guests Karen Ashworth and Anya Zurn as they discuss why every design professional is welcomed and can thrive in LDPI’s unique business model

They discuss…
✅ Their business backgrounds
✅ The gig economy
✅ LDPI’s culture of communication with clients and how it’s leading a front-line change to help the environment through the A&E industry
✅ The need for mentorship for design professionals
✅ How A&E women can thrive in LDPI’s model

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EP 8: Engineers are fleeing the industry at record numbers

Engineers are fleeing the industry at record numbers, unhappy with the status quo…so what? Why should we, and everyone else care?

The bulk of human convenience relies on the intellect of the A&E community.

But there’s a gap. A gap between the unique genius that goes into our infrastructure by A&E professionals, and the general public.

In this fascinating episode, join hosts Scott Zurn and Murray McBride as they discuss why this is happening and what we’re doing about it.

They discuss…

✅ how design professionals can thrive outside of the traditional corporate model

✅ character qualities needed to succeed as an entrepreneurial A&E professional

✅ the three founding articles of LDPI as a for-benefit company

✅ environmental impacts of our throw-away culture

✅ how we can create prosperity for design professionals, the industry, and the world.

EP 7: How you can keep a bigger piece of the pie

With a combined 70 years of design experience under their belts, Scott and Murray discuss a few common paths that design professionals have today and the future of our industry.

In this fascinating episode, they cover…

✅ Environmental changes & our responsibility
✅ What’s currently available as far as design career paths today
✅ The business model we’re building with Level Design Partners
✅ Entrepreneurship
✅ The voids that often come with independence
✅ Mentorship (we need mentors in our industry)
✅ Why many design professionals struggle to retire
✅ Creating your own destiny

EP 6: We’ve gotten lazy. What we can do moving forward.

Most of our modern human conveniences are designed and produced by a community of brilliant but unseen professionals, and the public doesn’t know it. Why?

Join Scott Zurn and co-host Murray McBride as they discuss their professional backgrounds and why communication and trust are imperative to understanding our failing infrastructures, and how the A&E community can lead the way in solving our global issue.

We welcome the new year with a new, revamped and reborn, Level Design Podcast. We’ve got a lot in store for the year including special guests, a new co-host, top-notch podcasting equipment, and a team to help us get this message to as many design professionals as possible.

In this episode:

✅ We introduce Murray, our new co-host

✅ We discuss the state of Engineers and Architects

✅ We discuss the state of infrastructure and the public

✅ We talk about the best path forward as a country and as a design pro

✅ We talk about what’s changed since COVID-19

✅ We cover taking risks and making mistakes in our field

✅ We talk about why many are losing motivation to go into Architecture or Engineering

EP 5: The Future of Employment

I believe we are in an employee and employer revolution. I think we are in a place where there’s disillusionment from both parties about the other.

Disjointed expectations between the two. The last time this happened at the scale was after the depression. So what’s the solution to this problem? Let’s explore.

EP 4: Organizational Change – Restoring Purpose

Innovative business structures are emerging. B-Corporation (For-Benefit) that are legally required to make business decisions based on profit, people, and the planet. In today’s episode we explore how these new models can impact you and the old models are outdated and broken. It’s time for a change.

We are shifting our thinking so that Architects and Engineers can thrive in this industry.

✅ The pros and cons of the current business model within most A&E firms.
✅ How For-Benefit Corporations are changing the industry and the world.|
✅ How the For-Benefit business structure allows you to thrive.

EP 3: Modernizing our industry for the benefit of the Design Professional

The modernization of the business of A&E is going to happen, and needs to happen. In fact, it is happening as we speak. In this episode we look at technology and new business structures that are changing the way we work, collaborate, market, buy, sell and live.

We are shifting our thinking so that Architects and Engineers and thrive in this industry. We take a look at exponential change in other industries that quickly put behemoth companies out of business in a matter of years. Why couldn’t they pivot? Why didn’t they embrace technological evolution?

EP 2: The Industry Isn’t Going to Increase Your Fair Market Value

How much of your Fair Market Value are you keeping? Based on conversations with architects and engineers across the country of all different disciplines and ages, we have a pretty good guess.

We’ve looked at the past 40 years to project the next 40 within the design industry. In this episode Scott discusses the past, present, and future of your fair market value. How can we keep more of it? If you feel like you’re not keeping much of your Fair Market Value, be sure to listen to this episode in its entirety.

EP 1: Are You A Commodity

In our conversations with architects and engineers across the country of all different disciplines and ages, we have started to hear a common theme. The business of A&E has diverged from the practice of A&E.

Is today’s episode, Scott explores the history of our industry, how we got here and what the future holds. If you are an A&E professional feeling more like a commodity than a valued design professional, be sure to listen to this episode in its entirety.