importance. As a 100 percent employee- owned firm, we all succeed when our employees succeed. We offer mentorship programs and professional development opportunities for all employees to build their careers and collaborate across the organization on meaningful projects. I know this firsthand. TZL: What do you enjoy most about your current position? Why? SM: Interacting with our Psomas team. I’ve been around the industry for longer than I’d like to admit, and I can confidently say that we have some of the brightest minds in engineering and construction. My goal is to help Psomas’ employees at all levels feel empowered to make decisions because they know firsthand what’s best for our clients and culture. I’m also blessed with an unmatched leadership team. When I was appointed CEO, Psomas also hired a new CFO and general counsel. Little did we know that a pandemic was right around the corner. From what I’ve seen, it often takes years for a leadership team to gel, but that wasn’t the case for us. We are a high functioning, effective, nimble, and cohesive team that’s built on respect and trust. Amid the pandemic, Psomas reached record- breaking results in 2020. “From what I’ve seen, it often takes years for a leadership team to gel, but that wasn’t the case for us. We are a high functioning, effective, nimble, and cohesive team that’s built on respect and trust.” TZL: Have you had a particular mentor who has guided you – in school, in your career, or in general? Who were they and how did they help? SM: I’ve had several, but one really stands out as being instrumental early on in my engineering career, and that’s Tim Psomas. Tim’s father was George Psomas, who started Psomas 75 years ago in 1946. When I was hired as an intern, Tim was the CEO. He was well-known and active in the industry and highly respected, nationally. I admired him. I will never forget the day that I was working in my cubicle and Tim popped his head in to say hello. He asked me a few questions, including what classes I was taking in school. He took a real personal interest in me, even though I was
an intern. A few months later, he popped his head in again. He knew my name and he also asked me how my calculus class was going. I was blown away that he even remembered me, let alone what class I was taking. It was obvious to me that he was a kind, caring person who put people first. Now that I’m CEO, putting people first comes naturally, probably because Tim impactfully imparted that on me. “Employees see Psomas as a place where they can build their careers – from a first job through retirement, and all stages in between.” TZL: Your company’s “Howwe work” section states that the “finishing details make all the difference.” Can you illustrate this point with a recent example? SM: Details matter. Whatever phase a project is in, whether it’s the permitting process or the final stages and approvals on a project. Because we are detail obsessed, our clients trust that we will do our best to get the job done right. The Wilshire Grand Center is one example of the importance of performing with the highest degree of accuracy and care. In 2013, the 60-year-old Wilshire Grand Hotel was demolished and replaced by the mixed- use Wilshire Grand Center. Completed in 2017, the $1 billion, three-and-a-half acre redevelopment is a world-class, 73-story skyscraper that houses the 900-room InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown Hotel, restaurants, and businesses. The Wilshire Grand now stands as the tallest building west of Chicago. Our survey and geospatial team performed construction surveying. Due to the complexity and scale of the project, every detail mattered. Psomas also provided land use entitlement services including a flexible development agreement, Transfer of Floor Area Rights, conditional use permits, and airspace subdivision. Approvals created the first Class “A” office building erected in downtown Los Angeles since the late 1980s. TZL: Who are you admiring right now in the AEC industry? Where do you see thought leadership and excellence? SM: I admire our employees and their
HEADQUARTERS: Los Angeles, CA NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 700+ YEAR FOUNDED: 1946 OFFICE LOCATIONS: 13 MARKETS: ■ ■ Transportation ■ ■ Water and wastewater ■ ■ Facilities ■ ■ Land development
■ ■ Energy ■ ■ Federal SERVICES: ■ ■ Construction management ■ ■ Engineering ■ ■ Surveying and
■ ■ Environmental consulting.
PSOMAS TODAY: In 2020, Psomas reached record- breaking revenue and continues to have a full project pipeline despite the effects of a global pandemic. Over the last year, Psomas priorities included building a flexible and safe remote work environment for all employees, supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives, while innovating and providing clients with the most sustainable and environmentally sound engineering solutions.
See PUTTING PEOPLE FIRST, page 8
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PRIL 4, 2022, ISSUE 1435
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