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WIPP Member Spotlight - Nancy Aber Goshow

Posted By Laura Berry, Friday, May 1, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Nancy Aber Goshow
Nancy Aber Goshow Partner
Goshow Architects
WIPP Member Since 2003

 

Join us for the May Community Connection webinar on May 20 at 2 PM ET to hear Nancy’s discussion with WIPP President & CEO Candace Waterman.

Mission and Vision:

 

Goshow Architects is one of the largest woman-owned architectural firms in New York City. We design healthy, sustainable energy efficient buildings and spaces for the public good and positive social impact for communities and individuals. Our mission is to create architecture that inspires people, collaboration, sustainability and innovation by building for the public good and designing for the future.

Goshow Architects has four specialty design teams: 
education, infrastructure, housing, and transportation. 

  • High schools, community colleges, universities;
  • Water supply and wastewater treatment facilities;
  • Market rate and supportive housing;
  • Ferry and rail terminals.

You are based in New York City. Tell us about how you’re handling the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. 

Right now, our education and housing projects are on temporary pause, 77% of our revenue sources are shut down, 60% of our active projects paused. 

Thankfully our infrastructure and transportation projects are increasing in number and moving forward. We are architectural design subconsultants to six large international engineering firms and two large transportation engineering firms, so these second-tier opportunities will keep us busy until our prime contract projects start up again. 

The US Postal Service has stopped delivering mail to our entire midtown Manhattan office building. As a business that depends on payment checks sent through the US mail, my once a week visit to the post office has become a nightmare. I can only go once a week, between 1 and 3 p.m. I stand in line with 40 others, for 45 minutes to request our office mail for the past 7 days, then I wait again for another 30 minutes while our mail is retrieved from a remote storage room in the building. The air conditioning is not on, so everyone is masked and sweating. The post office and my office is only a 3-mile round trip walk from my home. I walk to my office twice a week. Taking a taxi, a bus or the NYC subway is not an option I would consider.

Our design work has continued without interruption because we are very experienced and efficient working remotely. Our design work is produced by cloud-based collaborative software, and it’s more efficient for our clients. Having an office in New York City has forced us to develop remote working solutions to get us through prior events like Superstorm Sandy, extended snow days, and subway strikes. But those events only lasted a little more than a week.

Working remotely is not a challenge for our staff. It’s the duration of the New York City pause and the physical separation of our collaborative teams that is beginning to wear on all of us. We miss working with each other on a daily basis. We hold weekly All Company Team, (ACT) Meetings on Zoom. Seeing each other helps to fill the person-to-person interaction we miss most in our collaborative design process. We are also holding Zoom cocktail parties as another way to connect our staff.

 

Goshow Architects is celebrating 40 years of business. WIPP will be celebrating 20 years next May. What led you to join WIPP in 2003?

I met WIPP co-founders Barbara Kasoff and Dr. Terry Neese while we were trying to move the Women's Equity Contracting Act forward in the early 2000s. I am a successful WBE and DBE government contractor for New York State and New York City and joined WIPP to learn about how to qualify, find, and win federal government contracts as a woman-owned business. At that time, WOSB firms were winning less than 3% of the federal spend [of the 5% goal]. 

 

Can you tell us any stories about what it was like to be part of the founding membership at WIPP?


It was very exciting and thrilling to walk into congressional hearings to give relevant testimony and actively participate in federal policy hearings. It was even more exciting and thrilling to see legislative outcomes we initiated and language we contributed.


Early on, I testified to a Congressional committee on size standards for federal contracting, which at the time had not been changed since 1976. I went to Capitol Hill and the American Institute of Architecture (AIA) was against changing the standards because, of course, there were other firms that stood to profit from keeping the standards the same. We ended up moving the standards for architecture from 3.5 million to 7.5 million. 


I also love that WIPP is truly nonpartisan. In 2008, we sent WIPP delegations to the Democratic and Republican party conventions. I remember attending a convention with WIPP Chief Advocate Ann Sullivan as well as Barbara Kasoff and Mary Schnack, who have both since passed away. We were all watching the live broadcast of Chris Matthews. All of a sudden, there he was with a microphone in my face asking me what I thought about Sarah Palin. Thankfully, I had been taught by Mary how to do a PR interview pivot, and I answered that “At Women Impacting Public Policy Public we are nonpartisan. Anytime a woman is running for office, that’s a good thing.”

 

As a long-time WIPP member, what is your favorite part of being involved in the network?


Working with other like-minded business owners in the ongoing fight for increased procurement opportunities for women-owned businesses. After 12 years of pushing the federal government to promulgate the rules for the WOSB/EDWOSB program in the SBA, we finally achieved our goal. I am a proponent of the program; however the EDWOSB designation has not helped me to win any contracts. We still have a long way to go to get our fair share of the federal spend. 

Through WIPP, I also learned all about how to receive an 8a designation. I won two 5-year IDIQ Contracts with the GSA and USACE as an 8a architecture firm. I ended up presenting for the ChallengeHER program, helping other women-owned businesses learn from our challenges.

 

What advice would you give to a new member looking to be engaged in the WIPP network?

Particularly for federal and state contractors, join at a WIPP level that offers you opportunities to join the Procurement Committee. Attend various industry day events at agencies and represent WIPP at those industry days.

As someone who has been in business as long as I have, I tell all businesses who become certified as a WOSB, EDWOSB, DBE to develop a sound marketing strategy to leverage their certification.


Any other advice for women-owned businesses in the current challenging climate?

This too shall pass. This is the worst we’ve been through, but in the 40 years we’ve had the firm, we’ve survived more than seven downturns. The bad part is we’re on the downturn. But the good part is that when the upturn kicks in, profitability will run ahead of expenses. Once expenses start to increase and catch up, profitability will be more difficult to maintain. So we all need to be ready to take the best advantage of the economic growth that will come after the pandemic is over.

 



Goshow Architects

Learn more about Nancy and her team at Goshow Architects at https://www.goshow.com.

 

Each month, WIPP highlights a member who has leveraged WIPP membership to grow their business, engage with elected officials, and/or elevate the mission of WIPP and the visibility of women-owned businesses.

 


Tags:  leadership  membership  spotlight 

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