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5 Questions With An Expert: Fadi Faraj

June 3, 2020

Fadi Faraj
Fadi Faraj
Vice President - Dallas/Fort Worth

1. Starting with some background about yourself, can you share what type of work you do at HVJ and how you got started in this field?
I’ve been at HVJ since 2002 and during that time have pretty much done it all.  I started on the technical side doing testing in the lab and on the field. I later moved up to management and am currently the Vice President of our North Texas franchise. In this leadership role, I give direction and support to our staff and make sure that all of our projects achieve the highest standards of performance.

I got started in this field through a combination of family history and personal interest. Several members of my family are engineers, and like them, I was gifted with a little skill in math and physics. I started working on geotechnical engineering projects through internships and found the work to be very impressive and interesting. For example, I helped to build a runway on reclaimed land in which there was an incredible amount of dirt being moved and compacted. Another time I was working on a Lift Station project by the Mediterranean Sea. There were so many challenges to overcome with sandy soil and groundwater. I saw how geotechnical engineers got involved in these problems and it spiked my interest in focusing my career on this type of work.

2. You’ve been at HVJ for almost 20 years and have had a wide variety of roles during that time. What do you like most about being part of the HVJ team?

I appreciate that HVJ is a learning organization. We are always getting better and learning something new. We have grown so much since I first joined. This growth is because we care about our reputation, and clients keep coming back to us year after year. At the North Texas office that I manage, we started with 17 employees, and now we have more than 50.  We trust staff and provide them with flexibility, which they appreciate. Our focus is managing commitments and results.

HVJ’s growth means that employees also have much room to grow. Whether a team member wants to continue growing into new roles or if they are happy what they are doing and want to stay in that role, there is a place for them at HVJ. I’ve noticed that at some larger companies, it seems like you’re a drop in the ocean and it’s hard to get noticed for doing good work. At HVJ, if you are a good performer, then you get recognition and opportunities. It’s easier to make an impact, to share ideas for how to make the processes work better, and for learning. That’s what has kept me at HVJ for so long and what excites me about our continuing growth.

3. What are the common types of problems that your customers are trying to solve? What do you think draws them specifically to HVJ?

I have seen that clients come back to HVJ over and over again because they learn that our quality is the best. Of course, we follow industry standards, but we go beyond that – we have our own standards that are even higher. Our staff have a deep level of experience and can be trusted to get the job done well and on time. We have often worked with owners on past projects, so we get to know them more specifically what they want and can plan projects around that.

4. What have you found to be most important to a project’s success?

Owners have a budget, and it’s essential that they are not surprised if there is a change order that would require them to pay more than was allocated. So they consider it successful if it’s done right and on budget. Uncertainty is an inherent part of geotechnical engineering. However, with our knowledge of geology and the area, we can help them avoid surprises. For example, we know how to look for human-made changes in the area, such as if they have added or moved materials. We make the best use of all information available to help owners avoid surprises.

5. One of HVJ’s promises is a commitment to on-going learning. What resources or training opportunities have you found to be most useful, and why?

I have found that HVJ’s culture of learning is robust and a unique benefit for both employees and clients of HVJ.  

For employees, there is room for creativity. If someone comes up with a good idea, we support them in exploring and developing that idea. We are always looking for ways to improve our processes. We bring together all staff in a meeting to discuss what we can do better, to identify ways that we can learn from each other, and to determine new initiatives. For example, recently, a staff member came up with an idea for how to streamline our process of manually logging data. We have a group of people working on this and are in the process of making it easier to enter data directly from the field and in the lab.  This will help our customers to get their test results far more quickly, especially on remote location projects.

For customers, they can have confidence that HVJ is always up to date on the latest and greatest options available. We are flexible based on what the owner needs for a given project. If the owner needs a more conservative study to get a quick answer, we can deliver. If they want to go into more detail, to go deeper with the analysis and do something unique, we can do that too.

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