Insights from WM: Perspectives and the Horizon
A unique aspect of Ware Malcomb’s culture is the long tenure of many of our leaders. We want to share some of their unique stories, highlighting the qualities they possess that have led to their career success at WM and the growth opportunities the firm avails.
Principal, Los Angeles
Joined Ware Malcomb in 2001 as Drafter
RB: Tell me about what your life was like when you joined the firm.
RM: I was born and raised in Syria, where I received my bachelor’s in Architecture and later moved to United Arab Emirates to pursue my career. I had worked my way up to Senior Technical Designer in four years. During a family vacation in California, a friend told me about WM and that the company was hiring. I wasn’t looking for a job or to move to the U.S., but after a really long, two-hour interview using my limited English, I was hired. I returned to Dubai, packed up my stuff, gave notice, and moved to the U.S. in 30 days to join WM.
RB: Share any particular challenges and milestones that stand out during your 19+ year journey with the firm.
RM: Upon my request, I actually started as a drafter in the firm’s resource group in the Irvine office. I knew I had a lot to learn, adjusting from Metric to English units, learning local and U.S. codes, learning various construction types, not to mention learning the language and culture. I innately knew I would have to work harder than my peers to catch up, so I really threw myself into work. I worked an average of 60 hours a week, volunteered to work overtime including weekends, asked a ton of questions and took on all opportunities offered to me. This immersive approach accelerated my growth and as a result, I was promoted faster than was typical several times during my tenure at WM.
In 2007, I was given the opportunity to move to Los Angeles, as a Senior Project Manager. I of course took it, along with additional operations responsibilities. I was promoted into leadership a year later. I learned so much about building client relationships and business development from other senior leaders. This is something highly encouraged at WM. This ultimately led to me learning the business side of the practice, which has been so foundational to my growth as a leader. In 2012, I took over the LA office and the lessons continued and still do, to this day.
RB: Why did you decide to stay at WM for 19 years?
RM: I really like the culture and how we care about people. Leadership is very approachable and supportive. I felt like I could walk into the CEO’s office and have a conversation any time. The company hosts all sorts of social events and make effort to connect with staff during these times.
Ware Malcomb is growth oriented and focuses on growth of its people. The firm provides endless opportunities to grow which was important to me. What I love about WM is that I am always learning something new and encouraged to establish new goals, which keeps me motivated.
RB: If you were to share your tips for success to others, what would they be?
RM: Always be clear on what your goals are and the timeframe you want to accomplish these goals. Share these goals with leadership and develop a plan to get there. Find the rights mentor and help along the way. Build strong relationships. Invest in your career and personal development. Put in the hard work yourself. Don’t wait for the acknowledgment, it will come.