Due to its ability to track national market trends, Syska was able to pull its resources together and understand where the market was heading before the downturn, therefore aligning the company with growing markets to stay strong throughout the past five years.
"Don't get me wrong," said Bill Larwood, a senior vice president who leads Syska's western region. "We felt the downturn like everyone else, but it was our ability to anticipate and make good decisions in how we approached it that kept projects in our backlog." Looking at what it has accomplished over the past five years demonstrates this. Projects include the San Diego International Airport's Terminal 2 West Expansion and the renovation of Terminal 2 East, a new courthouse in Phoenix for Maricopa County, UCSD's Structural Engineering and Nano Materials Buildings, and a major expansion to the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage.
With so many years in this market, Syska's breadth of experience allows it to add value to various project types and access deep resources within the firm. "We're at the table with our clients, working with them to provide sustainable solutions as well as understanding their market drivers" Larwood said. "Our follow-through, knowledge of the project from start to finish plus staying involved has provided us success in a challenging economy."
One asset Syska focuses on is employees. "Finding people who are motivated and driven as well as dedicated to their career and industry is key, said Robert Fagnant, senior associate. "We definitely have a work culture that fosters individual growth, fresh ideas and everyone has an opportunity to work with all the different leaders in the firm at multiple capacities." Integrity and the desire to collaborate with clients and co-workers is another important quality Syska looks for in employees because it's important that the firm not only delivers what they've promised the client, but also become partners in their success.
When asked the reason for longevity and success in this marketplace, the answer is multifaceted. "We've been part of the San Diego fabric since the mid-'80s; the original San Diego Convention Center and its expansion are likely the most visible projects, but there are many more," Larwood said.
"Personally, I've been in San Diego most of my life, as have most of the people in our office," Fagnant said. "We have a vested interest in how our community is shaped and how it responds to changing demands for buildings, energy conservation, and sustainability. To be part of that dialog is a big part of why we do this."
Their ability to be flexible and respond to market changes adds to their success. "For a while health care dominated our workload in San Diego. Now, we're working on several hospitality projects like the renovation of Marriott Hall at the Marriott Marquis and Marina," Fagnant said. Syska is part of the design team for Convention Center current expansion plans and doing more hospitality projects such as repositioned and redesigned hotels, and new ground-up hotels.
Being directly involved and connected to the community is top of mind for Syska Hennessy. Each year, employees are involved with organizations close to their hearts, including Ride for a Cure, Habitat for Humanity and more.
Today, they're drawing from their rich legacy of experience and looking with an eye toward the future. The next step is to continue to use more technology in the building process. "We want to develop the automated design process to utilize technology to a greater extent in the engineering design of buildings through the use of BIM (building information modeling) while still retaining the creative edge of design that embraces social responsibility in the workplace and in their design practice," Larwood said. "Let's make this a more sustainable world by designing buildings more effectively, using our knowledge and technology to make buildings more efficient by using less power and water. As engineers, we're partnering with architects and building owners to reach these goals."
9665 Granite Ridge Drive | San Diego, CA 92123 | (858) 244-0360 | www.syska.com
By Jada Thomas, The Daily Transcript