Executive Vice President & Region Executive
for a multibillion dollar international A/E/C firm

Our client is a global architecture, engineering, and construction [A|E|C] firm, and the Executive Vice President & Region Executive role is critical within its senior leadership structure. They sought an accomplished executive who could be a change agent and transform their business and culture. The selected candidate spent his first several months focusing on the key objectives of his role, which are addressing the company's operational and deliverable challenges and performance issues. The strategy he developed with his executive team has been highly successful and has already begun to generate the desired results, including having a significant positive impact on quarterly earnings.

The Executive Vice President & Region Executive [EVP] position is critical within our client’s senior leadership structure. During initial discussions with our client, they shared their aggressive 6 – 24 month organizational goals. They expressed their expectations and objectives of the EVP role and how it would play an integral part in their strategies. It was obvious from those conversations that they needed to secure an extremely relevant and talented individual who would have the ability to immediately perform and provide strength to their executive team.

Ideally, they sought an accomplished professional with a minimum of 20 years of experience in operations management within the engineering and construction industry. The individual needed to have demonstrated success in leading and growing a business unit in excess of $300M in a dynamic market environment. Due to our client’s goals and organizational culture, he/she had to be a visible model of leadership, managerial excellence, and integrity with the ability to collaborate across business lines and regions in a balanced matrix organization.

Working in partnership with our client’s Chief Executive and Senior Vice President of Human Resources, we developed a comprehensive strategy to ensure that we would identify all potential candidates within the industry while keeping the process highly confidential. Our recruiting effort was focused nationally on a variety of A|E|C firms with national and global reaches in a broad range of infrastructure, environmental, and energy markets.

We targeted individuals who would possess significant profit and loss responsibility with diversified business units within a large geographical location. The individuals who were approached were in roles such as President, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President. We leveraged our conversations with these candidates by not only qualifying them for the EVP role but also by gathering market intelligence and referrals of key executives within the industry.

As we began narrowing the search to final candidates, our client was interested in one particular professional who was in a parallel industry and would bring fresh ideas and approaches to significantly re-engineer their business. The individual was highly qualified for the role and employed with a leading industrial, process, and energy company. A potential issue was that he came from a very different corporate culture than that of our client. While its organization has more of an architectural / engineering culture, the candidate had been trained within an engineering / construction culture which would be considered more of a risk-oriented, fast-paced, self-performance, and operationally-driven environment. Therefore, we had lengthy and candid discussions with both our client and the candidate about the cultural difference, which would impact how the business unit would be managed under the candidate’s direction.

After much consideration, our client selected this candidate because they were looking for someone who could be a change agent to transform their business and culture, and the individual has proven skills in strategy development, business transformation, and collaborative leadership. He has served in the engineering, construction, and maintenance industry for more than 20 years, holding senior level officer roles. He has a strong business development background and is experienced and skilled in new market entry, increasing business top line revenues, and enhancing profitability.

Being from the same geographical market, the professional has a deep-rooted understanding of the region’s various dynamics, challenges, and cultural intricacies. He is also diversified in his market experience which positions him to fuel additional growth in new markets outside of our client’s traditional core business lines.

The candidate spent his first several months focusing on the key objectives of his role, which are addressing the company’s operational and deliverable challenges and performance issues. The professional and his executive team identified 50 critical projects across the region that needed to be managed aggressively. Some of these projects were identified as having the ability to generate cash and higher profit margins for quality results. Other projects were identified as having the potential to cause financial drain if not contended with in a proactive manner. This entire program was successful and generated the desired results, including having a significant impact on quarterly earnings. As well, it has brought cohesiveness to the management team that is spread out within a 10-state region, and demonstrated the ability to mobilize and generate results through effective planning and execution.

With the success of this effort being well received by the firm’s senior management team, a corporate management program has been developed to effectively leverage resources and intellectual capital for the betterment of the entire business region. As part of this, the professional has incorporated a reading program among the executives of the various business units. This program requires them to understand various best practices and to generate innovative ideas on how to improve the overall operations and management of the entire region.

View PDF
The new Executive Vice President’s strategies quickly created cohesiveness within the management team that is spread out within a 10-state region, and demonstrated the ability to mobilize and generate results through effective planning and execution.
Tom Helbling, President

Learn about Helbling’s search process