Quest is an international transfer program which connects Arcadians from all over the world. Quest is sponsored by the Lovinklaan Foundation. Every week we are highlighting one of the stories of an employee who went on an exchange. In this blogpost we cover the Quest story of Aaron Capelouto who traveled from Atlanta in the US to Bangalore, India.
Why did I apply for a Quest
My name is Aaron Capelouto and I am a water resources engineer working at the Arcadis US office in Atlanta. When I was in school applying for full-time jobs, I always felt Arcadis’s three international programs, Quest, Global Shapers, and Shelter really set Arcadis apart from the other engineer consulting firms. Once I started my professional career with Arcadis, it was one of my goals throughout my first year to apply and ultimately be accepted for a Quest. The only question that remained was where the destination would be. I eventually focused on a GEC (Global Excellence Center) location because Arcadis has made a concerted effort to leverage the GEC’s talents on more projects across the globe. I wanted to interact directly with GEC staff and discuss ways interactions can be improved between Arcadis North America (ANA) and the GECs.
Later this year, I am planning to begin an evening Master in International Business. I was fascinated to learn the business behind how using the GEC at a higher rate can help Arcadis win more projects. Ultimately, I selected Bangalore because there is a large contingent of GEC Environment and Water staff. Experiencing the rich cultural heritage of India in my free time was also a bonus of the Quest.
Highlight of my Quest experience
The highlights of my Quest were giving two separate presentations (one to the GEC Water – Civil team and the other to the GEC Environment team) about my work in Arcadis North America. Staff asked detailed questions and were excited to figure out who in Arcadis North America is working on projects that capture their interests. Networking and having casual conversations with GEC staff about their project experiences and ways they believe the GEC program can be improved were invaluable.
Learnings and experiences
While in India, I learned just how talented the local staff are. Simple ways to foster improved collaboration between the GEC and Arcadis North America are to include the GEC at the beginning of projects and provide greater context to how their contributions are critical to the overall success of the project. Too often in the past, tasks are provided in a piecemeal fashion which does not improve long-term communication. Quarterly calls with regional resource managers that discuss current and upcoming projects will also help the GEC allocate their resources more efficiently. GEC staff are eager to advance their careers beyond project work. I plan to make a concerted effort upon returning to the United States to pass along any journal articles, online news sites, and conference programs to GEC project managers to distribute to any interested staff.
I believe every Arcadian should apply for a Quest to fully understand the abilities and interests of our staff across the world. After this Quest, I plan to make an office-wide push to share my story and lessons learned. Conversations with office and regional leaders will hopefully lead to the GEC becoming more involved on projects throughout the beginning of the project lifecycle.
The international transfer program Quest, which connects Arcadians from all over the world, is sponsored by the Lovinklaan Foundation.