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As the Vice President of Business Development at HVJ Associates®, Sanjeev Sanjeevan leads the BD&M team and develops the business strategy. In this post, Sanjeev shares what inspires him and enables his team’s success in the highly competitive, ever-changing world of public infrastructure development.
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 have always been fascinated with engineering and all that goes into challenging infrastructure projects, so studying Civil Engineering for my B.S. and M.S. was an easy decision. I find it inspiring to contribute to infrastructure development that improves the quality of life for over 30 million Texans. Civil engineers’ work surrounds us daily, in almost every aspect of life.
In looking for the right fit for a company, I sought a team that values innovation and provides opportunities for employees to grow. I found both of these qualities at HVJ and continue to be impressed by our team’s commitment to excellence in outcomes and continual expertise-building.
In my current position of leading the BD&M team, my primary role is to be the face of HVJ. I develop our business development strategy and lead the team to discover market intelligence, grow relationships with clients through obtaining an in-depth understanding of their needs, deliver statements of qualifications, and ultimately win projects. I enjoy listening to the problems and challenges faced by clients and delivering innovative solutions. I enjoy winning high-profile infrastructure projects and seeing successful outcomes at the end.
2. Can you tell us about the types of problems that your customers are typically trying to solve? What do you think draws them to HVJ?
Customers want confidence that their selected partner is invested in the entire scope of the project and delivers on promised results. This field is inherently high-pressure and unpredictable, and people get blamed when things go wrong. That’s why many companies are hesitant to undertake complex projects, which are considered impossible or too risky.
Customers are drawn to HVJ because we are incredibly successful at doing complex things; we know how to solve problems and have the expertise to anticipate and plan for complications. Past customers return because they appreciate that we are collaborative, communicative and genuinely own the solution. I believe an integral part of our continued success and customer satisfaction is that we approach problems as opportunities and work together as a team to solve them.
3. You previously mentioned that early in your career, you sought a company that provides opportunities for employee growth. What resources or training opportunities have you found most helpful at HVJ? What tips do you have for other professionals to continue growing their expertise and keep up to date with ongoing education?
In this dynamic and rapidly changing business climate, ongoing growth and improvement is the only way to stay ahead. Regardless of someone’s position and experience, they will quickly fall behind if they are not keeping up-to-date with learning. HVJ regularly invests in training that supports employee growth, including developing their skills in management, leadership, and collaborative problem-solving. I appreciate that HVJ invests in its employees and encourages them to make their voices heard. I have also benefited from continuing learning and professional development through the Institute for Generative Leadership and Tony Robbins Business Mastery University.
4. Can you briefly describe one of your recent projects and what you found most exciting or rewarding? What was the most significant achievement that came out of the project?
A recent project that I found interesting was for Port Houston, which had been experiencing significant growth in container ships post COVID-19 as the global supply chain continued to experience substantial challenges. The increase in container ships triggered an immediate need to construct a new wharf at Port Houston Bayport Terminal. My role was to perform cost-effective and innovative geotechnical design in a short schedule so Wharf 7 could be built quickly within the available budget.
An immediate challenge to overcome was significant increases in the cost of construction materials resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. This demanded extreme innovation for a more cost-effective design that would increase capacity in the least amount of time. The wharf required about 400 deep drilled shaft foundations to support the proposed heavily loaded structure and ship-to-shore cranes. Drilled shafts designed by the standard theoretical practice are historically known to increase construction costs for such projects, which would have threatened this project.
I performed an innovative drilled shaft design based on the Osterberg Load Cell test. This load test enabled us to minimize construction costs and expedite the construction process. Developing this solution was gratifying because it is an innovative resolution that will ease the hardship experienced by Texas households due to supply chain issues.
5. Lastly, for businesses looking to start a new engineering project, what advice would you give them about choosing the right partner?
The success of infrastructure projects rests on the character of the people involved, and I would advise them to choose a partner who invests in the entire project team’s success and the project’s full scope. They should ask how the team works together to understand the needs and challenges at hand and how they ensure timely and effective delivery of results. Technical expertise and past accomplishments should be evident, but it is also necessary to assess a partner’s willingness to take ownership of the results – and that is essential to choosing the right partner.