both recurrence and quality). A couple of years ago we launched a training initiative (aka JSE University), whereby our leaders prepare and facilitate educational content via recorded video combined with live Q&A sessions. These are conducted in-person and virtually. Our HR department keeps us on task with scheduling the sessions and logging employee participation. While our work is never done in this area, we believe that we’ve created an easily repeatable process that we hope will boost the development and engagement of our employees. “Engineers are smart people, but they become most trusted by delivering prompt responses to matters that are time- critical.” TZL: How do you anticipate COVID-19 permanently impacting your firm’s policy on telecommuting? TM: Our experience over the last year will have a lasting impact on our policy for teleworking. We will soon launch an updated policy intended for the post- pandemic era and it will allow for much more flexibility (in-office and home working) than pre-pandemic. TZL: How much time do you spend working “in the business” rather than “on the business?” TM: I’ve always enjoyed being “in the business,” meaning the engineering work itself in coordination with co-workers and clients. I wasn’t certain that I would like stepping away from the technical side of what we do, but now that most of my time is spent “on the business,” I’m certainly glad that I enjoy it. TZL: Trust is essential. How do you earn the trust of your clients? TM: There are a lot of words that can be used to answer this question, but the one I’ve heard most consistently is “response.” Engineers are smart people, but they become most trusted by delivering prompt responses to matters that are time-critical. TZL: What role does your family play in your career? Are work and family separate, or is there overlap? TM: Our company is not family-owned, so in that sense, work and family are separate. Like many other careers, families sacrifice
togetherness when our employees work (and travel) long hours consistently. Our leaders strive to observe and control causes that bring long hours upon our employees. TZL: What type of leader do you consider yourself to be? TM: A collaborator. TZL: When you identify a part of your business that is not pulling its weight in terms of profitability or alignment with the firm’s mission, what steps do you take, and what’s the timeline, to address the issue while minimizing impacts to the rest of the company? TM: I’m proud of our staff’s alignment to our stated vision and mission. However, profitability of a team or office fluctuates for many reasons, most notably a regional slowdown. Our leaders routinely monitor their backlog and report to one another on a monthly basis. We’re fortunate that technology improvements allow for work to be shared and produced between offices with little problem. TZL: How often do you valuate your firm and what key metrics do you use in the process? Do you valuate using in-house staff or is it outsourced? TM: We valuate our company on an annual basis, with metrics including assets, liabilities, and earnings (profits). We recently have decided to outsource this task. “One of my business partners is fond of the phrase ‘building a career.’ We certainly want this to be such a place for all our employees.” TZL: You’ve been with the firm since 1993. What did you start out doing and what’s the most significant change you’ve seen during your time with the firm (i.e., technology, project evolution, etc.)? TM: I was hired to be a lead electrical engineer, and for approximately five years, I spent much of my time designing the electrical systems for Home Depot retail stores, mainly for projects in the southeast U.S. The advancement of technology has been tremendous in our field since my younger days. When I was a co-op student, I produced the work product via See COLLABORATOR, page 8
HEADQUARTERS: Norcross, GA NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 300 YEAR FOUNDED: 1953 NUMBER OF OFFICE LOCATIONS: 7 SERVICES: ❚ ❚ Electrical engineering ❚ ❚ Residential construction ❚ ❚ Commercial construction ❚ ❚ Energy, green building designs ❚ ❚ Audio-visual design systems ❚ ❚ BIM/REVIT ❚ ❚ Building commissioning ❚ ❚ Communications systems design ❚ ❚ Electrical engineering ❚ ❚ Mechanical engineering ❚ ❚ Plumbing engineering ❚ ❚ Security systems deign ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE US TO KNOW: We work in an industry where a rewarding lifetime career can be attained. We take pride in our depth of knowledge, our teamwork, and the very tangible result of our efforts to our communities and environment.
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LY 26, 2021, ISSUE 1401
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