“Thornton Tomasetti embraces challenges and says: ‘You know what? The riskier projects are generally the more interesting ones, and potentially with a greater return.’ ”

Did any of our values resonate strongly for you?
The thing that struck a chord with me was, “We see opportunities where others see only risk.” I got that essence from Thornton Tomasetti [when I was] a collaboration partner with them. Where others may say, “Oh, that’s not the type of project we want to go after, because we see that as being risky” or “Working internationally may be risky,” Thornton Tomasetti embraces those challenges and says: “Well, you know what? The riskier projects are generally the more interesting ones, and potentially with a greater return.” And we’ve got such a talented staff here that really looks forward to taking on those challenges of some of the riskier projects.

When you first came to Thornton Tomasetti, was there anything about the culture that surprised you?
Before I came to Thornton Tomasetti, being a collaboration partner, I did get to know people throughout the organization, from senior management to project engineers and design engineers. Whenever I would meet one of the managing principals at some of the industry functions, they were fully aware of everything that was going on in the collaboration even if they weren’t part of it. So it was clear to me that information is shared at a very high level, that the managing principals all speak with each other, and that generally they’re on the same page. I was very impressed with that across the board, that for a firm that does the kind of expansive projects that Thornton Tomasetti does, that they really were pretty well versed in the minutiae of the company and what the collaboration partners were doing.

If I came to Thornton Tomasetti mid-career, what do I need to succeed at the firm?
I would encourage you to come here with a vision. What is it that you like to do, or what is it that you’ve been unable to achieve in your existing firm? Because we really do challenge other people to grow, and the best way to do that is in doing something that you love. So if there’s something that you’re passionate about in engineering, in structures, in architecture, in building performance, whatever the case may be, if there’s something that you’re passionate about, bring that with you.

How is success defined at Thornton Tomasetti?
When I did come onboard, I met with Gary Panariello, and we had some long discussions on what the opportunity was here at Thornton Tomasetti. And his reply was, “Well, that’s basically up to you. What do you want to make out of it?” And I was like, “Well, you know, I’d like to be a leader in kinetics and bridges.” But I asked him: “How will I know what success looks like? How will I know when I’ve been successful to the satisfaction of Thornton Tomasetti?” And he said: “Well, that’s really up to you. What satisfies you? If it satisfies you, then chances are we can make it grow.”

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