– By Mike Konzen, principal and chair
Here in Saint Louis, we love our baseball Cardinals. In fact, this year we will open a project that is a true labor of love – a new Saint Louis Cardinals Museum and Hall of Fame. The project is part of the “Cardinal Nation” development next to Busch Stadium.
Our project research introduced us to “The Cardinal Way,” which is the team’s player development system. The Cardinals have the first and best farm system in the major leagues. Rather than always buying the best players, they have remained competitive by “growing their own.” This is how a rookie like Michael Wacha comes on at the end of last season and wins the MVP for the National League Championship!
PGAV has a long tradition of growing our own best people as well. I am one of several of our firm’s leaders who started in the 1980s and are still here; we are all products of PGAV’s “farm system.” I’m very proud to say that we continue to develop excellent planners and designers.
This all came into focus for me last August when we took our entire company plus some spouses and friends – 160 people in all – to Central Florida to visit two projects that we opened in 2013: SeaWorld’s Antarctica, Empire of the Penguin and Space Shuttle Atlantis at Kennedy Space Center. During the trip I was blown away by the energy and talent of our staff. And I committed to myself that we would continue to invest in all of them.
What could possibly be more important than growing the creative potential of our team?
After some research, we’ve implemented something new this year: an allowance of up to $1,500 per employee for self-directed learning. We’ve given it the name: PGAV GO!
I believe that a self-directed program makes sense, as it’s always been a key part of our culture; PGAV has always been a place that favors self-starters. Through the years, our self-directed staff has pursued their own interests, resulting in many unique forms of expertise, such as sculpting themed rockwork, ride planning, and show technologies. Who knows what new capabilities will grow out of this new program?
With our broad range of creative disciplines, PGAV GO! offers lots of flexibility. Our staff has become amazingly diverse with artists, architects, industrial designers, graphic designers, planners, interior designers, exhibit designers… and many more. No one approach would work with such a group.
Finally, like the Cardinals’ farm system, it has to be sustained for the long term. Along with PGAV GO!, we’ve incorporated a mentoring system that guides our people towards making good decisions. Advisors meet with each employee as they plan their Growth Opportunity, making suggestions and offering advice. At the end of this year, we’ll evaluate the outcome and make any necessary tweaks.
Our beloved Cardinals have operated their farm system since 1920. I’m excited about this new program, and the results that it will yield in the years to come.