Our Mission

Why do we do what we do? We want to educate as many Design Professionals as possible on risk management so they can protect and grow their Design Firms. How? By providing simplified, engaging training and consulting services. When Owners and Principals learn our practical strategies they then help their design teams impact the A/E world!

At Black Swan, we act as advisors for Architecture and Engineering Firm Owners. Through our consulting services and educational programs, we help them scale rapidly, improve business operations, and create more job satisfaction. Stress less on risk, and focus more on design.

The Story Behind Black Swan

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black swan /ˈblak ˈswän/ an unpredictable event with potentially severe consequences; event is characterized by extreme rarity, severe impact, and the widespread insistence it was obvious in hindsight.

Black Swan Risk Management launched in 2020 as an risk management consulting company exclusively for architects and engineers. Our name was inspired by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a finance professor and former Wall Street trader, that wrote about the idea of a "black swan event" in reference to the financial crisis of 2008. We believe that effective risk management practices can offer Design Professionals protection if a black swan event were to occur.

Our Core Values

Our goals for all our Black Swan clients:

  • No more directionless leadership inside your company
  • No more second-guessing every decision
  • We want what you want … a thriving Design Firm!

Our core values drive and filter every decision:

  • Do the right thing without reservation
  • Prioritize helping people over closing the deal
  • Honest and clear communication

Meet Our Founder


As the founder and CEO of Black Swan, Zach Waters always ensures our clients are looked after. He takes the time to listen and make sure clients feel safe and secure with their insurance and risk management strategy.

He is an active Board Member of The Architectural Foundation of San Francisco, a non-profit with a mission to educate and empower young folks interested in a career as a Design Professional. He also hosts The Leadership Blueprint Podcast on the secrets to running a great design firm.

Zach lives with his wife and daughter in Northern California. He enjoys cycling and Crossfit and is a die-hard Cal football fan.

Click here for Zach's LinkedIn!

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