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Design Firm of the Year: Crawford, Murphy & Tilly Inc.

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Employees typically are recruited following college graduation, then groomed to assume roles of greater responsibility. A decade ago, CMT founded a Young Professional Planning Group, the intent being to engage employees with three to 10 years of experience with the firm while ensuring lines of communication extend in both directions. Employees serve the six-member group for three years, then rotate out.

As a departure, CMT intends to look outside the firm for key hires when the occasion warrants, particularly when the practice promotes greater growth and diversity in regional offices.

"We really do grow our own," says Meckes, "but we also want to be sure we're presenting home-grown employees with new opportunities. It's been a point of discussion with our Young Professional Group. And they get it. They're excited about growing. We all are."

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