In this episode, we talk with Andrew Leung, P.E., president and managing principal at YU & Associates, about the importance of integrity in leadership. He also talks about his management style, and innovations in geotechnical and environmental engineering.
***The video version of this episode can be viewed here.***
Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Andrew:
- Can you describe your management style as the president and managing principal of your company, and explain how it has contributed to the success of your firm?
- As a leader in geotech environmental services, how do you contribute to maintaining and evolving your firm’s culture and values?
- When considering geotechnical engineering, especially innovations like AI and machine learning, what challenges and advancements do you see in this complex field?
- For seasoned and new engineers, what key responsibilities and ethical considerations should they be mindful of in the field of engineering and engineering ethics?
- What are your thoughts on the fact that integrity isn’t tied to money, and you don’t need a formal education to possess it — either you inherently have it or you don’t?
- What advice would you offer young engineers aiming to make a positive impact in the field of geotechnical engineering?
Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About Navigating the Engineering Landscape with Integrity as Your Compass:
- When it comes to leading, the key is being flexible in a changing environment. Think of it like three training phases until you’re 21: growing physically, understanding emotions, and building up smarts. Different management styles, like coaching or being democratic, are used depending on the situation. Success means the team enjoys their work, realizing there’s no one-size-fits-all way to lead.
- As we go through our professional journey, let’s imagine a workplace that’s flexible and supportive, like an amoeba. We can make it happen by promoting partnership, respect, and sharing what we know. In geotechnical engineering, there’s always more to learn, especially with AI in the mix. Engineers with accurate and predictive modeling skills are in demand, showing our dedication to safety. Let’s work together to create a culture where we all flourish.
- Geotechnical engineering is complex, requiring adaptability and a new approach to challenges. With innovations like AI, there’s potential in predicting events such as hurricanes for safety planning. While AI has a future in some geotechnical aspects, it won’t completely take over, but rather play a detailed role in solving specific challenges.
- Is it true that in engineering, you can’t precisely model judgment and it comes from hands-on experience?
- Exploring what music and instruments younger folks are into shows how diverse and creative the art is. Music breaks boundaries, like when famous bands mix different things in cool ways. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach — it’s a mix of technical skills and artistic expression. British music’s impact is big, showing how art keeps changing. Talking about a famous band’s creative process drives home how art and innovation go hand in hand. In the end, it’s all about everyone enjoying the music.
- In a diverse career spanning engineering, project management, and team leadership, the crucial factor highlighted is integrity. The focus is on the foundational and increasing significance of integrity, which is particularly crucial for civil engineers with substantial responsibilities.
- There are things from our youth that aren’t liked, like acting like a clown. Offer more understanding to younger individuals and acknowledge their learning process. For more senior engineers, especially regarding integrity, a stricter approach is recommended, holding them accountable for any lapses.
More Details in This Episode…
About the Guest: Andrew Leung, P.E.
Andrew Leung, P.E., joined the firm in 2003 and has held positions of Senior Project Manager, Principal in 2004, and President / Managing Principal in 2015. Andrew has been instrumental in establishing YU as one of the leading firms in geotechnical, environmental, and site civil engineering services in the metropolitan New York / New Jersey area. He has P&L responsibility for managing the firm’s engineering consulting practice, providing leadership through change management to improve YU’s organization effectiveness and performance as well as expansion through long-range planning.
Mr. Leung has over 35 years of technical and project management experience in geotechnical and environmental engineering for the planning, design, construction, and rehabilitation of various infrastructure civil works. His experience includes the design and construction supervision of commercial and residential buildings, dams, instrumentation systems, and performance monitoring for landfill and underground structures, the design of shallow foundations and pile foundations for onshore and marine structures, and the analysis of slopes in soil and rock. His environmental knowledge encompasses all phases of hazardous and solid waste management projects, including remedial design, hydraulic evaluations, and geotechnical and geophysical investigations. Types of projects include land development and infrastructure design such as hotels, airports, ports, waterfront, sanitary landfills, dams, and residential and commercial buildings. His representative projects include the new Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, Kosciusko Bridge, New Jersey Turnpike Widening – Interchanges 6 to 9, Trans-Hudson Express (THE Tunnel), Bronx Parking Facilities at the New Yankee Stadium and East Side Access Projects.
Mr. Leung has earned outstanding recognition for his innovative business approach and commitment to client service. He was awarded the New Jersey Quality Initiative (NJQI) Award from NJDOT and was the recipient of the prestigious 50 Outstanding Asian Americans in Business award.
Mr. Leung received his M.S. degree in Geotechnical/Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois and his B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from University College, London.
Mr. Leung’s motto: “Motivation and inspiration energize people, not by pushing them in the right direction but by satisfying basic human needs for achievement, a sense of belonging, recognition, self-esteem, a feeling of control over one’s life, and the ability to live up to one’s ideals. Such feelings touch us deeply and elicit a powerful response.” This is a quote from John P. Kotter, renowned Professor of Leadership at the Harvard Business School and N.Y. Times best-selling author.
About the Host: Jared M. Green, PE, BC.GE, F.ASCE
Jared, originally from southwest Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, graduated from Syracuse University’s College of Engineering in 2001 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. He later went on to attain his M.S. in Civil Engineering (Geotechnical Focus) from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Campaign, in 2002. In 2003, he began working in the New York City office of Langan. He has since become a Principal / Vice President and is one of the owners of this international land development engineering consulting firm. After 15 years at Langan, Jared moved to the Philadelphia office and is one of the geotechnical practice leaders in that office.
Jared is a consultant and team leader who also enjoys mentoring young engineers and first-generation college students. He has been instrumental in increasing the number of pre-college students who are interested in STEAM majors and fields. He strives to make complex engineering topics relatable and understandable to people new to the field and to people who are completely unfamiliar with engineering. Jared and his family currently reside in Flemington, New Jersey. He and his wife have three energetic, inquisitive, and awesome children. You can connect with Jared here.
YU & Associates
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)
Hong Kong University
10 Career Learning Lessons
Connect with Andrew Leung, P.E., on LinkedIn
This Episode Is Brought to You by Menard
Menard USA is a specialty ground improvement contractor that works nationally providing design-build ground improvement solutions at sites with problematic soils. Menard works closely with civil, structural, and geotechnical engineers to minimize foundation costs for a wide range of soil conditions, structure types, and loading conditions. To learn more about Menard USA, or for help on your next project, please visit www.menardusa.com.
Please leave your comments or questions in the section below on how you navigate the engineering landscape with integrity as your compass.
To your success,
Jared M. Green, PE, BC.GE, F.ASCE
Host of The Geotechnical Engineering Podcast