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5 Questions With An Expert: Mike Hasen

August 24, 2020

Profile_Mike Hasen
Mike Hasen
Executive Vice President

1. What type of work do you do at HVJ, and what do you find most interesting about it?
I focus on making the organization better and providing value to my customers and clients. I enjoy variety and doing new things. Herb Johnson, our CEO, has allowed me to work in areas I truly enjoy.

My current focus is:

  • Strategic Planning and Execution - working with our executives to anticipate stakeholder needs and proactively preparing to address them
  • Development and Expansion of our Franchising System - currently focusing on branding, marketing, and eLearning
  • Value Delivery - building our expertise and skills as an organization to generate trust by making and keeping promises, sensing possibilities, and making valuable offers
  • Technical Leadership – in Geotechnical, Construction Materials, Civil, Pavement, and Environmental Engineering Services on Public Infrastructure Projects
2. What are the common types of problems that your customers are trying to solve? What do you think draws them specifically to HVJ?

We work with government sector clients and private firms that are working with those clients. While HVJ does both vertical and horizontal projects, we have deep experience with horizontal projects such as roadways, water supply, ports and navigation, aviation, and flood control. It is also worth noting that the expectations and processes in the government sector are unique from most private sector projects. Based on many years of experience we have developed processes tuned to the government sector which provide a consistent, reliable experience throughout the organization. The priority is making sure we have good agreements that provide value.

3. HVJ describes itself as being built on service. What does client service mean to you, and what keeps clients coming back to HVJ?

Clients are drawn to HVJ because they consistently have a positive experience with our team and they are confident that they will achieve high-quality outcomes. We track service levels through regular surveys using Client Feedback Tool and actively address any concerns. We’ve received the PSMJ Premier Award for client service satisfaction multiple times, and have one of the highest Net Promoter Scores in the industry. 

So how do we do it? Our team members have the required skills and knowledge, which is expected – but the more challenging part of client service is successfully developing alignment through team conversation and coordination. An example is how to make a promise that we can keep; it is simple in theory but complex in practice. We’ve found there are ontological principles and specific conversational moves to making and keeping good promises. By studying and training these concepts our organization becomes more powerful.

4. What have you found to be most important in a project being successful?

Sincerity, competence, reliability and involvement are foundational practices that allow us to build trust. Our team is highly trustworthy, becoming obviously so when added value matters most. Rather than limiting ourselves to a narrow technical niche, we come to the table with a wide range of viewpoints and perspectives. We ceaselessly develop our team’s ability to listen carefully to our stakeholders, look for blind spots, anticipate breakdowns, and make good, reliable promises.

5. What are the benefits of the franchise system?

The HVJ Associates® franchise is a revolutionary and unique platform to build a successful engineering business. Most engineers have extensive education and practical engineering experience but little to no knowledge of how to run an effective business. Unfortunately, there are many talented engineers that invest their life savings starting their first business only to either fail outright or never achieve their full potential. By providing proven business systems, we leverage the owner’s technical knowledge and professional network into a thriving business. We provide an established successful business development platform and brand reputation, with a well-established network of business relationships. Our franchises are trusted and have won numerous, profitable multi-million dollar engineering contracts which is unheard of for firms only a few years old.

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