Smart executives know that if they hire the right person and do everything to keep him or her happy, fulfilled and engaged, they will never need to replace that employee, except when he or she moves up the ladder.
Amit Patel learned that lesson at Turner Construction Co. in the U.S. and has put it in practice now that he is the company’s branch head for Vancouver.
After working for the company in the U.S., he moved back to Vancouver in 2011 and has built Turner’s Vancouver branch from a single person – himself – into a 90-person office.
The Vancouver native took a mechanical engineering degree from the University of British Columbia and was hired by Turner in 2005. Turner is a large construction general contractor that builds everything from baseball stadiums to office towers.
The company moved Patel to Seattle, where he became a project engineer who worked primarily in corporate office interior construction. But after his wife gave birth to their first child eight years ago (they have two children now), she suffered from postpartum depression, so the couple decided to move back to Vancouver.
“Turner was so supportive,” Patel said. “They said, ‘Look, we were always looking at starting an office in Vancouver. If you’re willing to, we’d move up our plans to do that now so you and your family can move back.’
“They also said, ‘If you’re not up for it, if you just wanted a new role, we know construction companies up there – we’d help you get a job.’”
So, at the age of 30, he became Turner’s point man in Vancouver, a role in which he served in the capacity of senior project manager. He was also the only employee.
“I was literally working out of my dad’s house for the first six months until we won our first project,” Patel said.
He is now vice-president and general manager for Turner’s Vancouver office, one of only two branches in Canada, the other being in Toronto. Turner’s Vancouver office now handles roughly $80 million in work annually and has the contract for a new $40 million hockey arena in Coverdale, among other projects.
Where you live now: Burnaby
Highest level of education: Bachelor of applied science, mechanical engineering, University of British Columbia
Currently reading: The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business by Patrick Lencioni
Currently listening to: “Good Old Days” by Macklemore
When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up: Play in the NHL
Profession you would most like to try: Executive coach
Toughest business or professional decision: Leaving Turner’s Seattle business unit to start a new business unit in Vancouver
Advice you would give the younger you: Learn to enjoy the journey, as time will pass you by
What’s left to do: Make a positive impact on the lives of my family, my colleagues, my clients and the construction community as a whole
Join us to celebrate the 2018 Forty under under 40 Awards January 24, 2019, at the Vancouver Convention Centre. For tickets and event info visit https://www.biv.com/forty-under-40