Interview with Stephen J. Hickox, PE, BCEE
New CEO shares thoughts on state of the industry and vision for the firm
What changes do you see the industry facing over the next 3 to 5 years?
We’re in the business of solving our clients’ problems. That’s not going to change; however, the type of services and how we deliver them will continue to evolve. I believe we will see an even greater demand for innovative and integrated solutions, with a focus on energy efficiency, resource recovery and green results, as well as alternative project delivery approaches.
What do you find most exciting about this field?
The work that we do is fundamental to the quality of life for people around the world. Making that kind of difference in the lives of others is extremely inspirational—whether you are just starting your career or a seasoned expert solving the most complex challenges. How many other industries can say that?
What is your vision for CDM Smith?
We will continue to reinforce our reputation of being client centric— always putting the client first—and delivering the best technical solutions, while growing our global markets and geographies. We will be where the best and brightest in the industry want to work, offering them exciting and challenging opportunities, career growth and a chance to contribute to solutions that make the world better.
How is a global workforce and client base reshaping client service?
Serving a global client base requires cultural awareness, language fluency and knowledge of local rules and regulations. To do that well we need to leverage local talent. We also need to ensure that our culture of exceptional service and our unwavering adherence to our core values transcend geography.
What inspires you?
The people of CDM Smith inspire me—their dedication to success, their commitment to each other, and their passion for continually improving the way things are done. I have been with the firm for a long time. It is a significant part of who I am, and I am honored to take on the role of CEO.
What advice do you have for young professionals beginning their careers?
Strive for balance. I believe successful people have three well-developed dimensions to their lives: work, family and personal time. It’s only natural that some days—even weeks—one of these areas may dominate your time and attention, so you’ll have to step back and recalibrate. You cannot get everything you need in life from just one dimension.