A Global Journey With Milestones
He’s already done plenty of meet-and-greets and traveled many thousands of miles. That Matt Cummings, P.E., would journey across the world and connect with some of the AEC industry’s most talented people was a foregone conclusion when, in April, he was named presi- dent and CEO of T.Y. Lin International (TYLI) Group. Indeed, the United States, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe comprise the grand stage from which Cummings will spearhead his most ambi- tious project yet. Creating an affiliation of global infrastructure compa- nies, all of them under TYLI’s parent company, the Dar Group, that can compete with the world’s largest firms for the world’s largest projects. Simple enough, right? Recruited out of mega-firm AECOM, where over the course of more than 26 years he shaped both his technical and management expertise, Cummings said he’s invigorated by the en- trepreneurial spirit baked into the DNA of a smaller, privately-owned company. Plus, Cummings said he’s honored to have his hand on the reins of a firm like TYLI. Founded in 1954 by Chinese engineering prodigy Tung-Yen Lin, the firm does half its business in China and Southeast Asia, but is headquartered in California with offices throughout the Americas and Asia. The firm, old and prestigious, has a sterling brand, particularly in the field of bridge building. “That made a big difference for me,” Cummings said, referring to the firm’s global reputation for exceptional work. He likes to build collaborative teams, a must in the AEC world. Just as important, however, is the process of managing integration, something Cummings saw a lot of during his years at AECOM, and something he will have to do, and on a global scale involving thousands of people, in the years ahead. Emerging as the top candidate in a wide-ranging executive search, Cummings, a bridge builder himself, seems to be a natural fit for TYLI. In the press release announcing his hire, Cummings voiced his enthu- siasm for the new opportunity. “T.Y. Lin International has established itself as the go-to firm for solu- tions to the most difficult engineering challenges,” he said. “We are globally recognized for setting the standards for excellence, innova- tion, and incomparable technical solutions. I look forward to build- ing on our momentum and furthering the firm’s legacy of delivering remarkable infrastructure projects.” Matt Cummings, P.E., Leads T.Y. Lin International’s Efforts to Affiliate Infrastructure Firms Under Dar Group Umbrella By Richard Massey
The Samuel De Champlain Bridge, Montreal, Canada. Photo: Infrastructure Canada
He succeeds former President and CEOAlvaro J. Piedrahita, P.E., who transitioned to a new role as Chairman of the Board of Directors of TYLI Group. Cummings, who holds a bachelor’s in civil engineering from Lehigh University and completed the Wharton Management Program at The Wharton School, now finds himself at the top. But with more than 30 years in the business, he had to work for what he’s got. His recipe for success is pretty simple: “It takes perseverance, some good fortune, and a lot of diplomacy along the way. You don’t give up.” A Q&A with Matt Cummings C+S: After more than 26 years at AECOM, you were named President and CEO of T.Y. Lin International Group. What opportunity did you see at TYLI that you did not see at AECOM? TYLI has a storied brand and reputation in the marketplace. It’s a great opportunity that Dar Group represents, to tie the infrastructure pillar companies in an affiliated way and as a collaborative partnership. The companies include T.Y. Lin International, Landrum & Brown, Ross & Baruzzini, Integral Group, and GPO Group. TYLI is a smaller, private entity with real entrepreneurial spirit. This is a challenging opportunity to strike out in a slightly different way in the same industry. C+S: You worked for one of the giants of the industry for a quarter of a century. Still, TYLI is a big firm, an old firm, and a prestigious firm that has plenty of signature projects in its portfolio, like the elevated bridges in Taiwan, the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge, and the Eastern Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. What’s it like being the president and CEO of a firm with the brand value of TYLI? It’s really a privilege to work for TYLI and to build on the great brand. T.Y. Lin, the person, is an inspiration as an original innovator in bridge design. It’s a happy coincidence to land at TYLI as I am a former bridge engineer. I have a lot of respect for the professionals that build these beautiful structures.
csengineermag.com january 2020
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