This is the third article in a four-part series offering strategies for future-proofing your architectural practice.

The looming mass retirement of the Baby Boomer generation is “one of our industry’s most pressing challenges right now,” says Michael Strogoff, FAIA, principal of Mill Valley, Calif.–based Strogoff Consulting, which advises design firms. He sees many owners who, after decades in practice, are more than ready to get out of the game. “They put off their plans during the Great Recession and probably a few years after,” he says. “So a lot of them have waited a long time.”

The Baby Boomers have long been driving the business world, while later generations have typically been the underlings. “Over the next 10 years, it’s going to be dramatic how quickly a large proportion of leaders will be gone,” says Stephen Epstein, a management consultant at Strogoff. “And the problem is that the next generation in line—they’re just not prepared. They are more risk averse, they’ve been employees most of their lives, and they’re good at doing the work. But they haven’t been exposed to running a business.”