Leaders of Today, Inspire the Future of Arcadis – An Interview with Keith Goldberg

20 September 2018

By Lakin Daynorowicz

Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Keith Goldberg and discussing the Global Shapers program and the theme for Generation 2018, “Future Cities.” Keith Goldberg has over 25 years of professional experience in the construction industry. He continues to have a strong, positive influence on the Arcadis community as the Senior Vice President of IIPD (Industrial Infrastructure Project Delivery). I chose to speak with Keith Goldberg for his years of experience and success as a top leader in the construction industry. We discussed his thoughts on the theme for 2018 “Future Cities” and I received some insight from Keith on how to motivate and inspire this year’s generation of Global Shapers.

Describe your most memorable, early career position. How do you think it influenced you to become the professional that you are today?

“I originally started out in the construction field with a mechanical background. In this particular position, I was a Project Manager on a high rise project and it was about my second or third company out of college,” Keith explained. The building Keith worked on was a post-tension concrete building that required him to spend countless hours on site in the construction field. He said in the beginning he would spend a lot of time observing his mentor, Ben*, who opened his eyes to various aspects of being on a construction site. Keith continued to explain his mentality as a young professional in the high-rise industry and his ambition to finish the project on time or ahead of schedule.

One day Keith said to his mentor, “Ben, what am I missing?” Keith explained how his mentor taught him key lessons about management that he never really considered prior to that position at the early stages of his career. He elaborated on how he quickly learned and realized that a good manager must be educated on how to do the job correctly on his or her own. Keith said, “I knew nothing about roofing, but I quickly learned that a manager’s words are more powerful when he or she is knowledgeable about the work.” Keith credits his success of understanding the construction project he was working on, to that of multiple educational streams, stating, “I originally knew nothing about roofing rails, but I observed, read books, and learned from the workers.” He stated, “It was great when I learned enough, I could finally have conversations with the roofers on site.” “By knowing and learning, you gain credibility.”

Are you Involved in any professional organizations, if so, what are they?

“I am involved in the Connecticut Chapter of CMAA, Construction Management Association of America. I was Director of the Board from 2017 to 2018.” CMAA is a professional organization that promotes construction management and utilizing qualified construction managers on projects and programs.

When you think of this year’s Global Shapers Theme “Future Cities,” is there an Engineering, Architecture or Sustainability concept that comes to mind? Describe an example.

Keith stated, “The importance of linking engineering and sustainability together on a project. You cannot have one without the other,” as he began to describe an Arcadis Project Management contract on a railroad terminal redevelopment. During this major infrastructure renovation, the general contractor was ready to complete the design when Arcadis Project Managers quickly noticed they had missed opportunities for energy optimization, such as using solar panels and changing out utility gas for electric. Arcadis Project Managers promptly evaluated the design and requested the general contractor re-evaluate the inefficient design. Throughout the design change, they kept a conscious mind around sustainability to optimize the engineering implemented into the new design. “We adjusted the critical path to avoid delays after the design changes,” Keith added about this drastic engineering modification that came from not being both mindful of sustainability as well as engineering.

What is the most abstract engineering concept that you have heard of recently, involving the theme “Future Cities”?

Cities utilizing their own natural energy came to Keith’s mind. Cities are beginning to use the natural energy that it produces day-to-day to power the cities themselves. Harnessing the wind created from skyscrapers, using kinetic energy recovery, capturing the sun with solar power panels, and utilizing piezoelectric technology on walkways and dance floors are some of the many ways that cities are starting to capture their own energy. He continued to explain examples that have been implemented in Abu Dhabi and their goal to become a sustainable city that captures its own energy for power. Currently, Abu Dhabi uses solar power and wind-capturing technology and requires LEED certification on most buildings as well as follows other firm guidelines. “Harnessing the environment of a city for energy is an intriguing concept,” Keith concluded.

If you could give one piece of advice to the early-career professionals of Arcadis, what would it be?

“Be open minded and understand that you do not know everything.”


*names in the article have been changed to keep identities anonymous