In this episode, I talk with Ram V. Iyer, an engineer with a business degree, an MIT grad, who realized that his engineering and business education were inadequate to succeed in business or to attain executive positions in business. It took him a stint as a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley and four startups to figure out that business thinking is the one missing ingredient. He will discuss what business thinking is and how you can develop these business thinking skills, and he will also talk about the techie mindset and how it can help and hurt us.
In episode 109 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I talk with Nils Gransberg, MS on topics related to Construction Engineering. Nils also tells us about the research he is conducting into negotiated bid contracts, and about his military background and experience.
Here are some of the questions I ask Nils:
- Tell us more about the discipline of Construction Engineering?
- Why did you decide to get your PhD?
- Tell us about your research on negotiated bid contract delivery in public projects?
- Can you talk about what it was like being a civil engineer in the military?
Here are some key points discussed in this episode about construction engineering:
Most engineers I know are interested in achieving a relatively high level of productivity in their professional and work activities. Since most are working long hours, they aren’t interested in spending time on none-value added activities. Those who are successful in optimizing their productive time, do so through focusing on developing a plan of action.
Productivity is associated with creating value. While you can feel productive attending project meetings, reviewing designs, or obtaining closure on a long-standing issue, it may or may not result in value beyond making you feel productive. In my mind, productivity (a.k.a. creating value) comes only in achieving movement towards the accomplishment of a defined goal.
With this concept in mind, let’s unpack how to get from focus to productivity in your engineering career.
In episode 105 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I speak with Lindsay O’Leary, PE, LEED AP about her career path from a civil engineer to now working full-time as the Executive Director for the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Texas Section where she is helping civil engineers to achieve success on a daily basis.
Here are some of the questions I ask Lindsay about how she went from being a civil engineer to helping civil engineers on a daily basis:
- How did you go from being a civil engineer to Executive Director for the ASCE Texas Section?
- Do you think you would be able to do this job successfully if you weren’t a civil engineer?
- What are some of the challenges the organization is facing that you have to deal with?
- What were you dealing during the Hurricane Harvey disaster?
Here are some key points discussed in this episode:
In this episode, I talk with Paul Axtell about something all engineers are involved in, which is meetings. Not just the “M-word”, these are the individual and team interactions that make projects happen, and Paul provides us with some great take-aways you can use to take your meetings from ordinary to extraordinary.
Here are some of the key points discussed about effective meetings:
In episode 094 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, which is 4th episode in our 5-part series on infrastructure, Chris Knutson interviews Kate Harris, President, and CEO of Stanley Consultants about harnessing innovation in engineering leadership. Kate gets into future trends of the industry and how we can prepare for them. She also discusses public- and private partnerships, an important aspect of infrastructure projects.
Here are some of the questions asked of Kate Harris on Harnessing Innovation in Engineering Leadership:
- You left university with a degree in quantity surveying. Did it prepare you for where you are today, CEO and President of an A/E firm?
- What were some of the notable milestones in your career which indicated that senior leadership positions might be a real possibility?
- What do exceptional A/E firms get right?
- Can you give advice to young professionals looking to work better with clients and improve their communication skills?
- What changes have you witnessed during your 25 years in the civil engineering industry?
- What are your thoughts on private/public partnerships?
- How do you decide what the most important task to work on is for any given day?
- Share with us your thoughts on how an engineer can approach looking at the future?
Here are some key points discussed in this episode on harnessing innovation in engineering leadership:
- Having a degree in Quantity Surveying gave me an appetite for creative problem solving and build-ability.
- Throughout my career, I have tried many new things to get a broad view of our industry. I feel that this is important in trying to understand what matters to people. When you can understand what is important to other people, you will understand what questions to ask them.
- Exceptionally good A/E firms understand that business success is in servicing clients and client experience. We need to be partners in terms of harnessing innovation in business thinking, management skills, giving advice, and we certainly need to be technically capable and creative.
- It’s very important that companies understand what they are bringing to their clients, and not just what they are bringing to their constituents and their shareholders.
- The key to working with clients is to listen actively to what they need, and to not just concentrate on what you want to say next.
- We are all going to have to look to the future and figure out what the word “value” will mean tomorrow, rather than what it means today.
- It’s not so much about what we know in our industry, it’s about what we know in our world, and what is going on outside of our industry, that is important for young engineers to know. Young engineers should get curious, be fearless and get educated on what is happening outside of the field.
- Being technically competent without the ability to inspire others limits you in your career as a leader. A leader needs to be able to identify and support great talent. If you are planning on becoming the chief engineer of your company, you need to learn how to communicate with others in a way that inspires them to follow their dreams.
- The key to communication is not what you want to tell people, it’s about figuring out how people assimilate information and what matters to them. You then have to allow them to understand what you are telling them. To do this, you need to change your style to match the way they think and listen.
- It’s absolutely fundamental for project managers to know what success looks like for a business, and not just for a project.
- Your job as a CEO is to find great talents, set direction and provide support. You need to carve out time to do all three of these things to be successful in your career.
- Connect, communicate, listen and be very curious as an engineer.
More details in this episode…
About Kate Harris
Kate Harris, President and CEO of Stanley Consultants, has 25 years of international experience in the construction, engineering and consulting industry. Stanley Consultants provides engineering, environmental, and construction services at over 30 offices worldwide. Founded in 1913, the firm has completed engagements in all 50 states and 110 countries, and is ranked among the largest engineering companies in the United States – very impressive.
Kate Harris graduated with a First-Class Honors degree in Quantity Surveying from the University of the West of England in 1993. She has also completed the Advanced Management and Intellectual Property programs from Harvard. Harris has a broad range of contractor, client and consultant experience encompassing strategy development, risk management, building high performing teams, developing client relationships and profitably growing businesses. Most recently Harris provided board and executive advisory services following her global Commercial Officer role with MWH Global (now part of Stantec). During her 17-year tenure with the firm, she is credited with integrating service lines and setting global policy, performance measures and business practices. An active advocate of talent development, she continues to mentor upcoming generations of leaders.
This episode is brought to you by RedVector. The team at RedVector believes knowledge is the most powerful tool available for helping people enrich their lives and meet their professional goals. To find out more about RedVector continuing education, visit www.RedVector.com.
This episode is also brought to you by Danfoss. Smart energy systems, efficient buildings, and raising construction sites are just a couple of areas where you can experience how Danfoss is part of the sustainable development of strong infrastructure, visit www.city.danfoss.com
Please leave your comments or questions in the section below on harnessing innovation in engineering leadership.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success
In this episode, I talk with Andrew Hoover of UW Continuum College about how to evaluate which professional certificates can boost your career. Andrew has a lot of experience in education, especially learning and gives some very insightful advice which can help you identify the credentials that can boost your engineering career.
Here are some of the key points discussed in this episode in regard to professional certificates:
In episode 083 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I talk with Mel Lester, Management Consultant from BizEdge, about how civil engineers can create added value for clients. Mel gives some very specific strategies that you can start implementing right away in your career to create added value for your clients.
Here are some of the questions I ask Mel:
- Why is it so important to create added value for your clients?
- Can you talk about developing a client centered perspective?
- How do you deliver business-driven results?
Here are some key points discussed on how you can create added value for your clients:
In this episode, I talk with Jen Bunk, architect of the People Stack® – the network of people, places and things that help tech managers build better teams. Jen provides strategies that tech managers can use for building effective teams. Jen also talks about how, in order to be an effective leader, you must commit to leadership and also consider seeking coaching and guidance in your own career.
Here are some of the key points discussed on building effective teams within an organization:
Q: How can I request financial assistance for training from my engineering company?
Welcome to Episode #21 of Engineering Career TV. The topic for this episode is requesting financial assistance for training.
I will spend most of the Engineering Career TV episodes answering questions that have been submitted from engineers around the world on how to rapidly advance their careers and live the lives they want to live.
You can submit questions for the show by clicking here.
Let’s jump into today’s topic: Requesting financial assistance for training, which is based on a question from Kyle, who asks the following: [Read more…] about Requesting Financial Assistance for Training – Engineering Career TV Ep. 21