A Unique Skillset Guides Concord Engineering to Top of Energy and Engineering Industry
“High-class results begin with high-class people,” shared Michael Fischette, Founder and CEO of Concord Engineering, a multi-disciplined engineering and construction management firm with extensive knowledge in designing and developing mechanical and electrical systems for several industries.
“I don’t just look for employees with great cognitive skills. Character, personality, and great communication skills are all just as important to me as an engineering acumen. When you put someone with these attributes in front of a client, you are almost guaranteed success.”
With over 100 engineers and designers—many who have over 30 years of engineering experience—Concord Engineering can deliver turnkey services on large multi-million dollar projects while maintaining the personal attention required by clients.
In an exclusive interview with BOSS Magazine, Fischette was fast to provide little gems of insight into his leadership style. For example, everyone at the company is counted on for playing to their strengths, not being consumed by their weaknesses. He also touted the diversity of employees’ expertise as a key factor of the company’s success
“We’re intentionally not, a one-stop shop company,” Fischette said. “But to be as diverse as we are is unique for a company this size, and if our strengths match up to the client’s needs, which often does, it’s an amazing success.”
Concord’s Project Portfolio
Because of this diversity in skills and expertise, Concord Engineering is able to offer more clients more services on big, multi-million dollar projects. Currently the company—which is headquartered in Voorhees, NJ, and also has offices in Philadelphia and Atlantic City—has a wide project list that is a direct result of its diverse DNA.
A sampling of current projects indicates that diversity: design of a 170-megawatt gas-fired power plant for a Pennsylvania utility, design of a large industrial manufacturing facility project for Holtec International, as well as several casino renovations for the hospitality/gaming industry.
Holtec International is heavily entrenched in the nuclear industry by supporting plant owners in the storage of spent fuel—the company creates and helps implement innovative solutions for the storage of waste from nuclear fuel, as well as manufacturing heat exchangers for the power industry. Holtec was looking for a multi-disciplined engineering firm that had the capability to support heavy manufacturing as well as commercial office facility design. As the project developed, the added benefit of 69KV substation design experience proved to be invaluable to Holtec.
“Concord has a unique affinity for Holtec,” said Fischette. “My background (in mechanical engineering, and time spent working on the design of nuclear plants) as well as the solutions our business could provide matched perfectly with the needs Holtec had. We understand how to provide engineering and design for facilities and utility grade electric distribution, and that’s exactly the expertise they are after.”
As another example of diversity, Concord designed and built an on-site utility plant owned by NRG at the University Medical Center for Princeton—this is one of the company’s standout efforts. The plant provides efficient electric generation on site, as well cooling and heating for the medical center.
“If there is another hurricane like Superstorm Sandy in the area, this plant would be able to provide its own electricity if the grid was down,” commented Fischette.
Concord Engineering provided the full range of services on this project, from design through construction.
“Few engineering companies have embraced the risks of taking on construction in their industries. We were confident if we took the risk on something we were very accomplished in, it would be a success.”
Mentorship Program: Growing Future Employees
Fischette’s diverse experience in the energy industry has been an incredible asset to Concord Engineering, and has also helped him identify upcoming trends. Fifteen years ago, he noticed a large age gap developing between existing, experienced engineers and midlevel, young graduates. Fewer and fewer graduates were interested in joining the power and facility design industries, which Fischette attributed to the massive “brain drain” due to the explosion of technology innovation.
“Everyone wanted to be Bill Gates in the ’90s, and we lost a lot of potential talent in the industry because of it,” he said.
Concord Engineering instituted a mentorship program during this time that helped ease this “brain drain” and set the foundation for innovative recruitment strategies and employee retention going forward. Fischette focused on character development and technical training for the recruits, and matched each one with an experienced engineering mentor.
“We found that the experienced engineers were happy to teach and maintain their legacy,” said Fischette. “Now, these 20-somethings are in their late 30s and early 40s, and the fruits of Concord’s vision have paid off. The company now has a mature, high-energy group of managers that have a great understanding of the industry, and have a better feel for the next wave of engineers coming in.
“We’re lucky the industry has changed back, drawing more interest and talent from engineering students. They are very focused and mature as well as computer savvy, and like what Concord has to offer.”
The key to this interest has been a partnership with a few local universities like Drexel University in Philadelphia and Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ. Concord has established engineering scholarships and a steady flow of engineering cooperative positions, which allow under graduate students to work with the company for six months at a time. One of Concord’s vice presidents, and a director, started as undergraduates from the original co-op program at Drexel University.
Fischette and the company are expecting the company to grow organically, but the timing has to be right on the growth. He believes the industry is poised for energy infrastructure growth, which capitalizes on the strengths of the company.
“We’ve been cultivating a unique set of services for decades,” he shared. “There is also a large pool of untapped resources, which I see us taking advantage of in the future. We want to move into design-build services and construction management. Engineering will always be our strength, but if you can construct what you design, it’s a cherry on top for our clients.”
Concord Engineering is a full-service engineering, energy consulting, construction management and commissioning firm. Concord was established in 1989 by Michael Fischette and other investors. As a former employee of a large architect-engineering firm specializing in the design of nuclear and coal-fired electric power plants, Mr. Fischette was experienced in the execution of large, multimillion-dollar projects. This knowledge provided the framework for the development of a new company that could deliver turnkey services while maintaining the personal attention required by savvy clients.
Headquartered in Voorhees, NJ with other offices in Philadelphia, Atlantic City, New York City, and Wilmington, Concord employs over 100 engineers and designers. Concord Atlantic Engineers was established in 1996 and is well versed in designing and developing mechanical and electrical systems specializing in the casino and hotel industry nationally. Collectively, our staff has over 130 years of engineering experience.