Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Backstage at the 2013 A/E/C Industry Summit

Interview with:
Linda Lannen
Chief Information Officer & Senior Vice President

“Diversity Matters:  Why and How You Should Achieve Diversity in Your A/E/C Firm”

What are some of the points that you’ll be touching on in your presentation regarding the importance of diversity in the A/E/C workplace?
Competition for Talent goes beyond the AEC industry.  Current predictions are that folks coming out of college today will have 6-8 CAREERS, not jobs.  This means they are not limited to AEC even though they may have that type of degree.  As an industry, this is an issue we need to take seriously before we lose the best and brightest minds to other more diverse and interesting industries.. Talent resides in many places; if we place industry experience as a ‘screening criteria’ or absolute then we are excluding talent with a proven track record of success in the competencies and abilities that we are truly need. Those that can manage change, demonstrate managerial courage, communicate and influence at multiple levels within an organization will often be worth more in the long term to the diversity of thought and experience our firms need.

Why is this a topic that the A/E/C industry, in particular, should take to heart?

Our clients in municipal, state and Federal organizations "look" more diverse than we do; how do we really know that we truly understand their perspectives in solving our country's infrastructure challenges?  Having a more diverse workforce not only gives us more credibility on this point, but it helps us develop better solutions for our clients and communities we serve.

What is your firm doing differently from other firms to ensure diversity in the workplace and what have the results been?

What is Kleinfelder doing differently? We are looking past the old conversation that it's an industry problem that we can't solve by ourselves. Expanding the conversation to broader circles, involving executives with observations, correcting behavior, and a move to collect and analyze data are all underway here at Kleinfelder which is a broad leap from our recent past with more progress expected.

Linda Lannen serves as Chief Information Officer & Sr. Vice President of Kleinfelder, a full-service civil engineering firm headquartered in San Diego and with locations across the US, Australia and Canada.  In this capacity she is responsible for all information technology initiatives and services for Kleinfelder’s nearly 2,000 employee-owners and 55 technology professionals.  Ms. Lannen is also the Executive Sponsor for Kleinfelder’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program, including Diversity, Sustainability, Volunteerism and Disaster Relief initiatives.   

Click here for more information on the 2013 A/E/C Industry Summit 

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