Industrial Market Q&A: Building relationships is key
IMEG Industrial Market Leader Kelly Altes talks about the challenges facing the industrial sector and related topics in the following Q&A.
Q: What’s one of the biggest challenges in designing for the industrial market?
A: One of the largest challenges that I see in working with clients is what I like to call “speed–to–market.” Owners want to wait until the last possible moment to make business decisions, simply because it will have such a high impact on what they’re doing. Capital improvements take a long time to implement, so we’re always pushing for more information, and they’re always waiting. So, our team operates with a mentality of what information do we have to know today, and what information can we push off until later? This allows our clients the flexibility to be able to hold off and get maybe a bit better view of what’s in their crystal ball.
Q: What’s the first step to being able to meet a client’s needs and goals?
A: Getting to know an organization, their facilities, their people very, very well so that when we’re looking at projects, we’re not just looking at a one-and-done type deal. I think this gives our clients a better level of service because our engineers and our team members are actively thinking, “Is this good for the client in the long run?”
Q: What are some of the niche markets in which your team has unique expertise?
A: We have pockets of industrial expertise all over the country. Our Phoenix office, for example, does a lot of work within the semiconductor industry. Our Portland office has a real niche expertise within the aerospace industry. Our Detroit office works with the automotive companies on R&D facilities. We try to bring that unique expertise that may be locally driven to a broader client base. Vice versa, the broader client base has access to local resources in many different locations.
Q: Overall, what drives your team to achieve success on projects?
A: Most importantly, it’s really the passion to learn about what our clients do. You can go out and you can provide a solution – a technical solution – but, in reality, it’s much more fun for us as engineers to learn: What does the client produce? How do they produce it? How do our solutions fit in with what they’re making? And how does that make their product better? Make them more profitable? Having that focus on function, as opposed to form, has just really been an interesting opportunity for me and for the team that I work with.