5 Questions With An Expert: Harry Patel

February 15, 2023

1. Starting with some background about yourself, can you share how you got started in this field, and what inspires you most in your work?  
I am a licensed professional engineer and started my career back in 1986. I remember seeing broken roadways and poor infrastructure in my early school days. I questioned the reasoning behind the poor quality of work and upkeep. Those questions inspired me to pursue a civil engineering career and understand all that goes into providing safe, resilient infrastructure. 
I’ve held various positions in the field, including as a lab technician, field technician, inspector, staff engineer, project engineer, and now as a manager. I am committed to getting the job done and overcoming challenges. My work often requires out-of-the-box problem-solving by remaining calm and focused on the outcome. I most enjoy working with public agencies because our work serves the public by providing quality infrastructure. 
2. What is your role at HVJ, and what is your favorite type of project/work, and why? 
I worked as a field and lab technician at HVJ early in my career. I returned to work at HVJ in 2015 as the Construction Materials Engineering & Testing (CoMET) Department Manager. I am also part of the business development team, so I spend much time supervising and developing proposals.  I invest time mentoring and developing my team; it’s my job to empower them and ensure they have the tools and information they need to do their best work. 
I most enjoy the large-scope projects that impact and help the community. I frequently work on projects with TxDOT. One recent example was in a rural area of West Texas, where the project schedule was very demanding. Budget constraints necessitated us to provide multiple services simultaneously without adding additional technicians. We met the need with a single technician through our team’s collaborative problem-solving and expertise-sharing. 
3. What are the common types of problems that your customers are trying to solve? What do you think draws them specifically to HVJ?  

Clients come to us with a wide range of needs, but the common thread is that they trust us to ensure the project’s success. They trust that our team has the technical expertise and wide range of experience to handle the job. We also go the extra mile to make the experience stress-free for clients. We understand that clients are under tremendous pressure and need us to own the solution. We consider ourselves successful when clients return to us again and again because we have earned their trust. 
4. One of HVJ’s promises is a commitment to ongoing learning. What resources or training opportunities have you found to be most helpful? What tips do you have for keeping up to date with ongoing education? 
Our ability to “go the extra mile” on projects requires continual learning in areas related to both technical expertise and leadership. HVJ prioritizes supporting and developing all employees to realize their full professional potential. They provide many continuous learning opportunities, and we celebrate one another’s achievements. 
HVJ’s leadership has been very supportive of my professional goals. Their mentorship program allowed me to develop my management and leadership skills under the guidance of senior leaders. They also encourage and support me to participate in professional business seminars and conferences. 
5. What would you say is most important in a successful project? What are the common risks and barriers that you need to overcome? 
I want clients to trust us not just for the required technical expertise but also for guidance and collaboration as part of the team. Success means using my many years of expertise to provide recommendations or alternative approaches. The risk is that the project outcome suffers if we are not detail-oriented or strong communicators. Our role as experienced innovators makes all the difference.  

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