Climate change, mentorship among key topics for ENR National Top 20 honorees
IMEG Client Executive John Costello of Minneapolis (pictured at left), one of ENR magazine’s 2022 National Top 20 Under 40, recently joined the other honorees for a conference and conversation on the AEC industry’s top issues. John talks about the experience in the following Q&A.
Q. What was it like to be part of this distinguished group of Top 20 Under 40 professionals from the AEC industry?
A. Being part of this group was as humbling of an experience as I’ve had in my career. My peers in this group are some of the best and brightest from around the country, and it was an honor to be recognized alongside of them.
Q. Besides the honor you all shared, were there other career or personality traits the group had in common?
A. I would say the biggest trait we shared is our recognition that we have all had great mentorship and guidance to get where we are today, and with that we all pledged to provide that same type of mentorship to the next generation of leaders in our industry.
Q. Climate change was a one of several key topics discussed at the conference. Was there consensus on priority actions the AEC industry should be taking?
A. We talked at length about various city/state requirements to get to net zero, something our Minnesota staff are doing on public state-funded Minnesota projects by 2030. We also discussed the evolving importance of reducing embodied carbon—something IMEG as a whole has committed to for both structural and MEP design, joining the initiatives SE 2050 and MEP 2040.
Q. What other topic of discussion did you find particularly enlightening, and why?
A. We talked about leadership and mentorship, which really sparked the group discussion as we all have our own story about how we got to where we are today. It was interesting that although each of us comes from a different background, company, and geographical area, it was universal that good mentorship and leadership have been pivotal to why we were chosen by ENR for this year’s Top 20 Under 40.
Q. Did you share any IMEG initiatives for the benefit of the group?
A. I was able to share IMEG’s recently created Senior Director of Innovation position, held by Mike Lawless, and its importance to the long-term success of the firm. I explained that Mike will be focusing on leading IMEG’s vision of everything innovation, specifically change that will be transformational in nature, to keep us at the leading edge of the industry.
Q. What key take-away did you bring back from the conference that will have an impact on your work at IMEG, either internally or with clients?
A. I’d say the biggest take-away for me was our unified opinion about the critical nature of attracting and retaining the best possible people to our teams.
Q. Any advice for future engineers who aspire to one day be a leader in the industry?
A. Find a mentor, be curious, ask questions, and always be willing to grow outside of your comfort zone.