Thoughts from the President: Learning to Lead

I read a lot. I average about a book a week and I’m known to devour a few books while on vacation. My genres vary depending on my mood and the season and they range from intense topics to light and easy reads. In the summer, I typically read mindless beach books or stories about travelling. I find reading relaxes me and helps me escape.

However, this summer I’ve been entrenched in a series of books on leadership. We go to school to learn technical skills, and possibly management skills, but very rarely are we taught leadership skills. Some people may be natural leaders, while others may need to work a bit harder, but for most of us leadership is learned on the job, by trial and error.

So, what have I learned from all this reading? I’ve learned that management and leadership are not the same thing and that it takes time to nurture good leadership skills and they must be practiced. I’ve learned that sometimes human nature and vulnerabilities can get in the way of strong leadership. I’ve also learned that leadership is hard; it requires us to take risks, trust each other, make difficult decisions, and sometimes make mistakes. I’ve learned that leadership requires intentional and honest communication.

In this newsletter you will read about FHI managers who have stepped up to help lead various aspects of our growing company. You will also read about how FHI continues to establish itself as a leader in innovation and new technologies. You’ll be introduced to two new staff and you will see what our staff have been up to at industry events. We are proud to share that FHI led the public communications for two highly successful accelerated bridge construction (ABC) projects this summer. Finally, be prepared to get a kick out of the humorous side of those “people you see at every public meeting” and see where FHI’s Travelling Corkscrew went on summer vacation.

Now that FHI has a deepening bench of leaders positioned for our future, it’s time for me to turn to an easy-reading summer escape book… before the summer ends. Enjoy the reading.

Susan VanBenschoten, PE
Principal / President and CEO
svanbenschoten@fhiplan.com