What was the best advice you ever received and how did it shape the way you manage?
Answer: One of my mentors and my predecessor was John Molloy, and one particular piece of advice, while maybe insignificant at the time, really stuck with me. Whenever we were driving together, he would listen to news radio in his car and I always listened to WFAN in mine. One day, he told me that as a business leader, I can still listen to sports radio as a pass time, but I also needed to be very well informed about everything going on around us. By being well aware about the broader issues, locally, nationally and globally, I would become a more effective business leader. He was right. I do a really good job everyday making time to be connected to the news. I feel confident in my awareness of what can affect all H2M employees as Americans and Long Islanders, while keeping a broad perspective in my approach to business for our employees, our clients, and our projects.
Is there a mistake in your past that was a teaching moment in your achieving the success you have? If so, can you please tell us what that was and why it was important to you.
Answer: I was the Project Manager for a new 160-foot elevated water storage tank. There were numerous project site iterations and the topography of the final site used an assumed site elevation very near to what would be expected as the actual site elevation. Three-quarters of the way through the project, we realized the tank had the wrong elevation. After conceding to myself that there was no easy fix, I went to John and told him of the mistake. He then brought me with him to attend the client meeting to explain the situation. Since we were forthcoming with the error, by the end of the meeting the client was suggesting other remedies to the tank to avoid having to re-build it. We did the right thing by the client and H2M assumed the cost of reconstruction. I tell this story to our new hires all the time. We all make mistakes. Be open and honest and ask for help if you need. It’s not the mistakes we make that define us, but rather how we respond and react with integrity to those mistakes.
How would you describe your company’s culture to a new employee?
Answer: H2M’s culture is extremely balanced. We focus highly on work, life, quality, design, client satisfaction and client relations with a commitment to community and charity. No one intention is greater than the other. We establish a culture of success and encourage entrepreneurship. Whatever an employee’s goal, H2M’s goal is to provide the opportunity for our employees to be as successful as they can be at H2M. We are committed 100% to providing every opportunity for our employees, and I tell each and every one of them that if their goal is to retire here, with the proper dedication and commitment, they can.
In the overall scheme of things, how important would company culture be and why?
Answer: Culture is extremely important to a company’s success. We need to create the right culture for employees to thrive and see opportunity. Employee engagement and satisfaction is bred by the right culture. With the right environment of collaboration and innovation, and the ability for employees to share a voice and share in the direction of the firm, we strive to create a culture that makes employees feel they are working for a company that is first in class. We have a lot of leaders here at H2M and finding the balance between satisfaction and the drive to succeed causes us to grow and thrive.
Name one person who influenced your life and why?
Answer: My father. He worked for the postal service for 38 years until retirement and has been a volunteer firefighter for over 50 years. Loyalty, ethics, integrity, and commitment are the values I inherited from him. He always worked hard. He never expected anything unless he put due work into something. I got that from him. He told me that true success was being a part of building something. You have to roll up your sleeves, dig in and work harder than everyone else, and you never get something for nothing. I could have bounced around to step up the ladder faster or make more money, but I didn’t. I was brought up to think that if a company does right by you, you should do right by them. Put the good of the group ahead of the good of yourself. I have a phrase I often use that a real friend is someone you can call at 2:00 AM when your car has broken down and their only thought is “are you ok, where are you and how can I help?” That’s my father.
About Rich Humann
H2M is a regional leader in the delivery of professional design, construction and environmental services in the Northeastern United States. Under the leadership of Mr. Humann, H2M has grown by 40% over the past three years, boasting a staff of 370 professionals in seven office location and operating at net revenues of nearly $50 million. H2M’s capabilities have grown to include a full range of professional services such as architecture, planning, sports development, civil/site engineering, survey, structural engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, plumbing engineering, environmental engineering, interior design, water supply management, wastewater management, full environmental services, industrial hygiene, solid and hazardous waste management and GIS/mapping.
Mr. Humann is also responsible to drive the corporate mission, vision and values of the firm, as well as create a working environment at H2M that promotes employee engagement and positive culture. H2M’s mission of “building sustainable communities” is shepherded by Mr. Humann in how he motivates and encourages all employees to make sustainable design the foundation of the firm. To him, our work is our legacy, and sustainability our responsibility. In establishing H2M’s vision to be a nationally recognized leader in the integrated delivery of A/E services, Mr. Humann is actively engaged in evaluating the firm’s technical capabilities and service offerings, calling for the effective investment in the growth and diversity of H2M’s skills as professionals.
Mr. Humann is a licensed professional engineer in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, and sits on several charitable, business and academic boards. He is a Nesconset resident where he has lived for 20 years with his wife Patty and their two daughters.