On solid ground
URS wants skilled engineers with the attitude to excel
Through its acquisition of the Scott Wilson Group and Benaim in 2010, URS – one of the world’s leading providers of design, engineering, construction and technical services – is expanding its business and portfolio of professional services. Currently, the company is looking to hire a department head of water, as well as engineers for the highway and bridges teams.
“For the department head, we are looking for the ideal mix of someone who can lead a strong team in the expert delivery of engineering projects in the water sector, combined with an ability to effectively develop the business and grow our market share,” says Tony Pearson, director and head of infrastructure at URS.
“We recognise that this mix of skills is a product of both aptitude and experience, and hence candidates should have a significant depth of experience across most of the sub-sectors of the water sector,” he adds.
The head of the water department will be responsible for developing strategy and action plans for growing the size and capabilities of the current water team. They will report to both Pearson and the URS managing director for Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, Dr Mark Raiss.
“It is expected that candidates will be senior-level engineers with hands-on design experience and be willing to lead from a technical point of view, but that they also wish to move their careers onto the management of larger and growing teams. With success in the position, we would expect the new appointee to be on a shortlist to succeed more senior positions and possibly positions above that in the global URS business,” Pearson says.
There are openings for highways and bridge engineers at all levels. “We are looking for staff who can positively contribute to our study and design teams either technically, managerially or preferably both,” Pearson says. “We are particularly looking for a senior alignment engineer with experience in both highways and railways, who also has a broad range of experience and expertise enabling him or her to contribute in other areas of the infrastructure division.
“In all cases, candidates should have a good attitude with working on multi-disciplinary teams, a thirst for learning and applying new skills, and a determination to deliver a good-quality product,” Pearson says.
As a Fortune 500 company with offices in nearly 50 countries, URS is committed to providing its staff with opportunities to build bright careers. “We offer our staff a career, not just a job,” Pearson says. “As part of a global leader, there are a lot of opportunities for our staff to exchange knowledge and expertise with colleagues from different countries and work together to run global projects.
“We provide our staff with a supportive network to strengthen their professional skills and business acumen, and enhance their advancement in the company. Our global career planning programme provides our staff with a planning framework to help them to become fully engaged in their career development and realise their career potential.”
An HR aphorism at URS is “hire for attitude and train for skill” and the management of URS values staff with a good attitude. “Staff must be engaged in the work that they are assigned to do and willing to learn new skills, as well as willing and able to work in a multi-disciplinary, multi-skilled and multi-cultural team. We are looking for individuals who can lead, make quick decisions at the right time, be flexible and creative, and client-focused, with excellent communication, organisational, interpersonal and problem-solving skills,” Pearson says.
Principal engineer Lianna Tsui, who joined URS right after graduating from university, thinks it is an engineer’s dream to be working with URS on world-class urban development and infrastructure projects in Hong Kong.
“I manage a range of transport and urban infrastructure projects in Hong Kong, including reclamation projects, structural design of the Container Terminal Development, and planning and engineering feasibility studies for infrastructure developments for housing and recreational projects. I love the opportunity to work on different aspects of these engineering projects,” she says.
Besides opportunities for career development, Tsui has high praise for the company’s efforts in supporting the family life of its staff. “I feel very fortunate that URS allowed me sabbaticals when my daughters were born. URS recognises the important contribution of women in the workplace and the company can be flexible in finding work arrangements that benefit staff, as well as the company. When the time came for me to return to the office, URS allowed me to work part time, which gave me the time I needed to care for my family as well as continually keep my pace at work,” she says.
Tsui’s colleague Dante Tsang, who is also a principal engineer, says the company provided him with many valuable opportunities to enhance his career development, not just in engineering but also in developing management skills.
“I was fortunately selected to attend a three-day leadership training course in Dallas, Texas. This eye-opening experience helped me understand that technical knowledge is just a prerequisite to be a competent engineer, while strong leadership skills were crucial for advancement,” he says.