ZMM Architects & Engineers: Creating a beautiful state one building at a time

Jul 15, 2019 | Positively West Virginia

Robert Doeffinger is the President of ZMM Architects & Engineers, based in Charleston, West Virginia. ZMM is an integrated, award-winning design firm providing professional services throughout the Mountain State. Doeffinger is a professional engineer and a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He settled in Point Pleasant, West Virginia at a young age, graduated from West Virginia University with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and also graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a Master of Science in Architectural Engineering.

Through  his leadership, ZMM has designed many significant building projects including more than two hundred and fifty pre-K through twelve schools throughout West Virginia, the West Virginia Regional Jail system, more than three hundred million dollars in National Guard projects, the engineering for the King of Prussia Mall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and most recently the one hundred million dollar redesign of the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.

Doeffinger talked with Jim Matuga, host of The Positively West Virginia Podcast, about his business and how he is excited for what is to come here in the Mountain State. 

How did you get started in this line of work?

“I was always good at math and science and I went to school primarily to be an engineer. Then, I became fascinated with building and architecture and I wanted to meld the two ZMM Architects & Engineerstogether, both the architecture and engineering. That’s when I found Penn State my last or so year at West Virginia University,” said Doeffinger. “The firm that I run is an architectural and engineering firm. There is a lot of businesses out there that are purely architects and there are a lot of businesses that are purely engineering. They join up on projects, but we do everything in-house. Ninety-five percent of what goes into a building, we design. Structural, mechanical, electrical, full MEP.” 

How many employees do you have?

“We have about forty employees and we are divided probably about two-thirds architecture, one-third engineering but we are getting a little bit heavier in engineering now because of the hospital work. A lot of hospitals are twenty years of deferred maintenance. That is primary in infrastructure and mechanics side.”

What is the thing you’re most excited about for your organization?

“The thing I am most excited for right now is all the work in West Virginia. We have more work than we ever have had. We have a diverse portfolio now and I see West Virginia coming back. Believe me, the Civic Center was two blocks down the street so to find one hundred million dollars two blocks away, I mean that was like a gift to us. But now the whole of West Virginia is coming back and we are getting calls every day and I’m just really excited about the business atmosphere.”

What is the one thing you do every day that contributes to your success?

“I try to set my priorities and the one thing I do is return phone calls and return emails. I do not let them sit,” said Doeffinger.

What are the keys to effective leadership?

“One thing I think is doing what you say and the one thing you need is to get respect from your fellow employees,” said Doeffinger. “The other thing is I try not to do anything emotional or react at the moment.”

Doeffinger was a guest on The Positively West Virginia Podcast. Listen to his full podcast here


  • RECOMMENDED BOOKS: The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli and Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley.
  • RECOMMENDED RESOURCE: Revitor/Autocad for business and Outlook Calendar for the whole team of ZMM 
  • PIECE OF ADVICE: “Number one is persistence. Persistence to learn, it’s persistence to continue on if you get knocked down you get back up and you keep going. Then the other thing that I tell people is to get good accounting and legal help,” advised Doeffinger. 



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