No one could have imagined the severe impact that COVID-19 would have on businesses at the start of this year. One area where firms had to think outside the box was in their recruiting and hiring practices. “The first few months of the year are usually our busiest in terms of recruiting and hiring; however, we had to pause our efforts in March and then get creative as time passed to keep Primera running smoothly,” says Kendahle Artis, HR Director.
In addition to helping current employees transition to working remotely, Kendahle and her team quickly implemented widespread changes to Primera’s hiring process as well. Relying on video-conferencing tools, phone calls, social media, and the firm’s generous employee referral program, Primera was still able to tap into a qualified talent pool and cut the firm’s open positions by nearly half by the end of the year. In addition to some key hires, many of Primera’s current employees pushed through the adversity we all saw in 2020 and stepped into leadership roles. Here is a quick look at some of our key moves this year.
- Ron Hudson and Steve Moulton both joined Primera early in the year as Senior Aviation Project Managers. Each come to us with over 30 years of experience in planning, design, construction and project/program management of airport projects. Both Ron and Steve will also play key roles in expanding our transportation aviation practice, as well as supporting our efforts in the new $8.5 billion Chicago O’Hare International Airport’s O’Hare 21. Ron and Steve join our Aviation Group Manager, Joseph Avram, (who was recognized as a 2020 Rising Star in the AEC industry) in our quest to deliver unparalleled client service to aviation partners across the Country.
- Anthony Bryant joined Primera in June, as our new preliminary engineering and municipal group manager, with more than 20 years of civil engineering experience in the transportation and municipal field.
- Another significant addition to our Transportation division this year was Kevin Siksta, our new Construction Department Manager. Kevin joined Primera with over 20 years of experience in the installation of utilities, street reconstruction and resurfacing, as well as managing various capital improvement projects.
- This year, we saw key moves in the Mid-Atlantic as well. Chris Stasiunas was promoted to Vice President and Tricia Cox was promoted to Consulting Group Manager. Both have demonstrated a strong commitment to Primera’s core values and been instrumental to our utility clients across the Mid-Atlantic region. They will lead their teams based out of our bigger, permanent office location in Chadds Ford, PA (post-pandemic).
- While 2020 introduced our entire team to remote working, it’s nothing new for our two Denver, Colorado-based experts – husband and wife Dennis and Elizabeth Odegaard. Project Manager Elizabeth Odegaard was recently promoted to Project Delivery Group Manager. After managing projects and client relationships for us since joining the firm in September 2019, she now leads our Utilities division’s project management group and works tirelessly to continuously improve our project delivery processes for electric and gas utility clients. Dennis Odegaard joined Primera earlier this year as our Distribution Department Manager, leading, managing, and mentoring our electrical distribution engineering group. Dennis oversees a team of more than 30 engineers and designers and continues to push the firm’s distribution efforts as we expand our service offerings to utilities nationwide.
- One of our most significant additions this year is Trevor Leeds, who joined Primera as Vice President & Consulting Division Manager. As a member of our executive management team, Trevor leads our growing business consulting division with 25 years of experience providing innovative solutions for complex client situations.
- This year, we also welcomed a new Chicago headquarters office location. The transition to our new space with our entire staff working remotely during a global pandemic would not have been possible without the talents of our amazing corporate team, which includes our newly-promoted Director of IT, Omar Torres. His commitment to Primera over the last 13 years and 20-plus years of experience are invaluable to Primera as he continues to ensure maximum security across the firm’s expanding IT infrastructure.
We are proud of all our employees for weathering an extremely difficult year with grace. During tough times, our unwavering commitment to client service remained a constant. Thank you to all of our staff for your flexibility, discipline and resilience in maintaining the high level of service our partners have come to expect.
Congratulations to the individuals mentioned above and all Primerans promoted in 2020.
Founded in 1987, Primera is a full-service, woman-owned engineering design and consulting firm dedicated to developing meaningful client relationships that allow us to provide best-in-class client service. Primera offers a wide range of business consulting and professional services in the buildings, transportation and utility environments, including: mechanical, electrical, plumbing (M/E/P), civil, structural and telecommunications engineering, as well as commissioning, energy, architecture, sustainability, life safety, lighting, project and construction management.