by John Stearns | Hartford Business
Peter Grose, president and CEO of Manchester engineering firm Fuss & O’Neill, is on the homestretch of a 39-year career with the company that will culminate with his June retirement.
Retirement is for the birds, at least partly. Grose, whose hobby is birding, looks forward to hopping in his car to chase rare birds without work constraints. He and his wife also plan more travel and Grose, 64, said he’ll give back through nonprofit involvement.
As CEO, Grose, an environmental engineer, oversaw a major acquisition of CLD Engineers last August, adding four offices to the Fuss & O’Neill roster. The firm now has 10 offices, nine in New England, and 318 employees.
Grose took over as CEO in 2010 as the firm was increasingly feeling the delayed impacts of the Great Recession. After a low point in 2012, revenue and profitability steadily improved, with total revenue for its core consulting business rising from $34 million to $51 million over his CEO run.
Grose was energized by work that focused mostly on planning, designing and constructing wastewater projects. In recent years, he enjoyed leading the firm’s evolution, establishing a new vision for Fuss & O’Neill and gradually changing the firm to align with those goals.
What project do you consider the highlight of your career?
Working with Newtown to plan and implement their first sewer system, with an advanced wastewater treatment facility. We had a lot of public interaction and used some innovative tools.
If there were something you could do over in your career, what would it be?
I wouldn’t change much, other than more business training in advance of becoming CEO.
What advice would you give fledgling engineers?
Follow your passion and put your energy into making a difference in the world. Don’t wait for mentors to find you; seek them out.
What’s the biggest opportunity and challenge Fuss & O’Neill faces?
We’re poised for growth throughout New England by taking advantage of the synergies provided by our recent acquisition, particularly in the transportation and climate resiliency markets.
Recruiting and retaining engineers and scientists is a challenge, particularly given the limited number of recent graduates and economic climate in Connecticut. Budget uncertainties at the state and federal levels, particularly for infrastructure investments, are also a concern.
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