Kimley-Horn and Associates is a highly innovative engineering design firm that specializes in residential, retail, and mixed-use land planning, urban development, environmental development, and transportation systems. Kimley-Horn’s numerous projects include parking and runway work at the nation’s busiest airports.

Founded in 1967 by two transportation engineers, Kimley-Horn remains a private company. In fact, Kimley-Horn is owned by about 15% percent of its employees, and no one person owns more than 6% of the firm.

Kimley-Horn ranked #20 on Fortune Magazine’s June 2015 list of 100 Best Workplaces for Millennials.

According to HR Director Barry Barber, “Our core purpose is providing an environment for our people to flourish…not make it so everybody flourishes, but (allow) those who are self-starters and relationship-based by nature to seize the opportunity and thrive…We need folks who are obviously very technically competent and very creative in their problem-solving, but also have strong relationships.”

This self-starter approach is reflected by Kimley-Horn’s refusal to assign mentors, which it considers an “unnatural” way to build relationships. However, it trains its senior executives in mentoring skills, and at the same time gives newer staffers “free lunch” coupons that let them take experienced execs of their choice out for meals to pick their brains. Barber favors this approach because it’s “organic,” and allows a Millennial to reach out to a variety of mentors who can help him or her grow in different ways.

CEO & President John Atz added that the latter is consistent with his company’s Millennial-friendly philosophy of individual choice. “We don’t really have one career path…A lot of organizations are very hierarchical…(we’re) much more focused on giving people the freedom to pursue the things that are of interest to them. We tend to see a lot of our younger staff gain experience at a very fast rate…because we’re a little more free in allowing them opportunities to explore the things that they have passions for.”

In This Episode:

Guests: John Atz, CEO/President and Barry Barber, Human Resources Director

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