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Introducing Century West Engineering’s New Values: A Conversation with Matt MacRostie, EVP

At Century West Engineering, the essence of our work lies not just in what we design but in how we design it and the values we uphold along the way. Recently, we’ve taken a significant step forward by formalizing our core values: Caring, Creative, and Collaborative. These are not merely words on paper but guiding principles that shape our culture, operations, and interactions with clients and communities. We sat down with Matt MacRostie, Executive Vice President, to delve into the essence of our established values and what they mean for the future of Century West.

What does the value of “Caring” mean to Century West Engineering and its employees, clients, and communities?

One of the characteristics that we press is our responsiveness. Internally, we are very methodical about teaching employees to keep in communication with clients. We asked ourselves, what’s a better way to define what we mean by that, and what are we doing with it? And that’s how we came to Caring, which we believe is an all-encompassing take on what it means to be responsive. Because it’s about more than just responsiveness; it’s about demonstrating genuine investment in the success and well-being of our clients, our team members, and the communities we serve. To trust that when we respond, it’s going to be of high value to them. Whether it’s ensuring timely and substantive communication with clients or fostering a supportive work environment internally, we want our commitment to caring to permeate every aspect of our operations.

In what ways do you envision the value of “Creative” influencing the approach Century West takes toward solving challenges?

Our bread and butter work consists of designing roadways, runways, taxiways, and utilities. Civil engineering can be somewhat standardized, and trying to be inventive without incurring higher costs to our clients can be challenging. Creativity is our key to unlocking innovative solutions. We encourage our team to think beyond convention to explore new approaches that add value to our clients and communities. We can discuss with our clients that there are certainly tried and true methods, and we can look at those, but we also want to present other ways we can do it that might provide more value to their specific needs. By offering alternative perspectives and solutions, we empower our clients to make informed decisions that align with their objectives and priorities.

And generally speaking, when I say client, a client is whoever we are delivering work to. It could mean external clients like a public agency. But it also means if you’re an entry-level engineer, your client could be your project manager, or if you’re a billing specialist, your client could be the senior accountant. A client is whoever you are delivering work to because these values are meant to be held inside and outside of Century West.

Could you elaborate on how the value of “Collaborative” will be demonstrated within the company?

Years ago, we made the decision to review our company’s operating structure and determine how we could achieve a more collaborative environment among our eight offices. Each office used to be its own profit center within the company. We decided to get away from that – as we found it can create competition between offices, and we didn’t want that to happen. We wanted to work as one team to be able to meet our goals together and to share in successes and tackle failures as a team. We’ve found that by fostering a culture of cross-office teamwork and knowledge-sharing, we can leverage the expertise of our entire team to get exceptional results. This is especially true with our mentorship program. We purposefully pair mentors and mentees who are not in the same office; we encourage collaboration between offices and for individuals to get to know everyone in the company to be able to learn from them. We know that our collective strength is greater than the sum of our individual efforts.

How do you plan to ensure that the critical action of “Listen and Engage” is consistently upheld in all aspects of Century West’s operations?

Listening is the cornerstone of effective communication. And I think it starts at the top. We have to lead by example. By actively listening to our clients, stakeholders, and team members, we gain valuable insights that inform our decision-making process and allow us to tailor solutions to meet their needs and expectations. I see missteps when we go in and start telling clients what they need – without listening to the problem. If we are actively practicing listening and engagement, talking about it consistently – with our clients and the people we work with or supervise – they’ll see the benefits and our commitment and use those tools as well.

Again, when I say client, that can be internal too. An engineering intern as an example: I want to train them to understand why it’s important to listen to what tasks they’re being requested to do, to understand what the success factors are, and what is going to be deemed successful by the project manager once they’re done with that task. If they learn that early, then it’s going to be second nature for them to do that as a project manager with a client.

How does Century West intend to encourage employees to embody the critical action of “Take Action”?

Taking action means being proactive in identifying and addressing challenges. Some of this comes naturally for people; some need motivation or training. We want to empower our team members to be assertive, propose ideas, ask questions, and seek solutions. If you’re sitting at your desk and feeling stuck, it’s time to take action, ask questions, and discuss solutions. We want people to engage with their teammates, supervisors, and project managers. We want to provide the framework and incentive for people to be a part of the solution. Whether it’s attending conferences to broaden their knowledge or actively participating in industry organizations, we encourage a mindset of continuous professional development.

How will the value of “Deliver Your Best” be instilled within the company?

Delivering our best means taking ownership of our work and holding ourselves to the highest standards of quality and professionalism. If our leadership is displaying this value, consistently communicating the need for it, that’s the best way we’re going to instill it. We can’t just say, This is what we need to do. It needs to be a daily practice for leadership and managers.

Considering the critical actions outlined, how will Century West Engineering ensure that these values are not just aspirational but integrated into everyday practices?

That’s the key to this. We spent time researching the topic of defining company values to provide the framework for values that our staff can believe in, and we feel that company leadership practices daily. There were multiple examples of companies that attempted to define core values and missed the mark because the values were not practiced by leadership. If leadership, supervisors, and managers are practicing these every day, then it’s easy for other staff to also buy in. It’s a very classic lead by example.

How will you measure the success of implementing these values within Century West Engineering?

There are a number of ways. Client success and retaining staff would be key metrics; financial performance is another, but that’s not the only thing we’re going for here. We want to see positive career development with our staff, successful training, repeat client work, referral-based client work, and maintaining the number of lifetime clients we’ve held; those are all key metrics to know we’re on the right path. There was a lot of thought put into this. What I love is that they’re things that you can really get behind and believe in. For example, our previous values were defined by single words like honesty and integrity, with no definition of how to implement them. They were all important and necessary to our daily work, no doubt about that, but we felt that they were and should be inherent. We decided to move in a direction that could provide more definition and get to the heart of the culture we’re trying to promote.

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