The Enovate Team had a team get-together this summer while responsibly socially distancing in a local park.
REACH NEW LIMITS, from page 7
TZL: What skills do you rely on most now that you gained from previous leadership positions? AO: I came to the U.S. as an international student. The high bars of expectations in the courses that I took, as well as continually being surrounded by a collaborative work environment, set me up for my career ahead. Additionally, I was studying engineering while being a full- time student-athlete playing Division I Basketball during my time at NJIT. This helped create a strong structure of discipline and time management, which engrained in me the importance of limited time and efficiency. This proved invaluable as I moved through a succession of progressive leadership roles beginning as a field engineer and moving on to project manager, chief engineer, vice president, and CEO of the engineering arm of a large, privately-held construction firm, and then as owner and CEO of Enovate. “Providing employees freedom to excel and advance without the confines of precedent is a great motivator and a great way for people to reach new limits.” TZL: Are you naming principals in their 20s or 30s? AO: We’re a young company. Having started in this business as an intern and becoming a young vice president and CEO, I see tremendous value in brilliant, but not necessarily experienced, young minds. I very much have this approach with Enovate. This mindset has won our company and employees multiple awards including: ENR National 2018 Top 20 under 4, ENR New York 2018 & 2019 Top Young Professionals, Building Design + Construction, Class of 2018 40 under 40, and more. Providing employees freedom to excel and advance without the confines of precedent is a great motivator and a great way for people to reach new limits. TZL: In one word or phrase, what do you describe as your number one job responsibility as CEO? AO: People – or taking care of our people.
of the crisis makes it hard to anticipate next steps – our focus is on being proactive and having a plan in place for all possible outcomes. Our newly formed Crisis Management and Response Team has been extraordinary in helping navigate things to date. TZL: It is often said that people leave managers, not companies. What are you doing to ensure that your line leadership are great people managers? AO: I believe empowering employees is the best way to create longevity within the company. We’re structured so that each line leader has their own cost center and are responsible and accountable for their own budget, hires, new work, and managing existing work. This “mini- business” of sorts, within the larger framework of Enovate, creates and sustains great leaders and proficient managers. Leadership is empowered to make decisions that affect their business unit enabling them to act and react without bureaucracy. This approach then translates to the employees within the business line, and managers are very aware that the success of the business line is dependent on the great people that we have. TZL: Does your firm work closely with any higher education institutions to gain access to the latest technology, experience, and innovation and/or recruiting to find qualified resources? AO: Yes. I sit on the Industry Advisory Board of the NJIT Civil & Environmental Engineering Department and remain actively involved with the Albert Dorman’s Honor College mentorship and STEAM programs. This involvement allows me to see, often in real time, the latest developments that are coming out of NJIT. NJIT is an R1 Research University, giving it the highest rating for a research university it can achieve. They are very much on the forefront of research across all industries, often partnering with large private sector corporations. Knowing this, I can see the latest innovations and often see where the industry is trending. Of course, the university also has some fantastic students, many of which have either interned for us or worked full-time for us over the years.
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THE ZWEIG LETTER NOVEMBER 30, 2020, ISSUE 1369
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