TZL 1403 (web)



Striving to grow: Kumar Buvanendaran President and CEO of PRIME AE Group (Baltimore, MD), a firm that creates vibrant communities by connecting people and conserving culture and the environment.


W ith a background in bridge design, and after spending time with several well-known engineering firms, Buvanendaran decided to start his own firm. His passion for engineering and solving clients’ challenges was clear. Today, PRIME AE has seen substantial growth and top rankings in national industry publications. As president and CEO, he supports a work culture that centers on client satisfaction and employee retention, and often spends time in each of the firm’s 17 offices. “If you don’t grow, you die,” Buvanendaran says. “We’re trying to build an enterprise to be the employer of choice – clients love us, employees want to work here, and we deliver quality deliverables. So, when I say ‘grow,’ I mean it both quantifiably and behaviorally. I want employees to grow as humans, professionally and personally, and to be the best versions of themselves. If we aren’t striving to grow, what are we working toward?” A CONVERSATION WITH KUMAR BUVANENDARAN. The Zweig Letter: Your online bio says you have a

“hands-on management style” and are able to recruit top talent.” Can you elaborate on this a bit more? How do you recruit talent? What do you look for? Where? Kumar Buvanendaran: It’s taken a long time to figure out how to recruit top talent. I spend a lot of my time networking at conferences, events, and meetings. When I attend certain events, I have a different agenda than my team. I am going to gain intel and find potential recruits based on reputation, experience, etc. It usually takes me months to make progress in “dating” (as I like to call it) this individual and sometimes it works out, and sometimes it does not. I tap into my network to request warm introductions on these identified prospects and am never afraid to make the ask. I consult heavily with my senior management team for input and feedback on candidates and never make these key hire investments alone. One of my recruitment strategies is to follow our business plan, align the talent with it, and lay out how they will play into that plan. Sometimes I recruit quicker than


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