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July 07 Businessexcellence 77 some 300 homes around 60 to 100-foot cliff walls and minimizing roadway steepness. The firm is currently working to reclaim brownfields land in the Meadowlands area that will be re-used for mixed-use projects including golf courses. PS&S can handle such projects because of its diversified, multi-disciplined approach, one developed from the early days of the company. More recently, in 2000, PS&S was bought by a unit of Keyspan, a major provider of natural gas services in the Northeast United States. That purchase has helped the firm enhance its reputation in the energy services field, where many clients are seeking ways to tap alternative energy sources and build more energy-efficient and environmentally conscious ‘green’ projects. Gennaro believes that because of its multidisciplinary approach, PS&S can meet deadlines more effectively, a key consideration for developers with massive projects on the line. “When you can walk to the office next door to ask about how another discipline on a project might be affected by a change, that can really improve the service flow,” he adds. “When you are a developer with a 40 or 50 or 100 million dollar project, you can’t afford delays when you have contractors waiting to go and suppliers ready to deliver materials.” The ability to handle a range of design and engineering functions in-house is what brought Cadbury Schweppes to PS&S recently. First, the beverage maker asked the firm to help locate a site for a new research and development facility and once that was completed, the company asked PS&S to take on the entire design function for the 150,000-square-foot complex. PS&S has expanded its geographic footprint in recent years, often following clients, such as large biotech firms that are seeking to move operations to lower cost areas. Beyond its Warren, New Jersey headquarters, the firm has offices in New York, Pennsylvania, Boston and San Francisco as well as an affiliate in Puerto Rico. The scope has helped raise PS&S into the upper echelon of firms in the US, often competing with billion-dollar firms created through a period of significant consolidation in the industry. Engineering News Record ranks the firm in the top 150 of the 500 biggest design shops in the US and The Zweig Letter has named PS&S to its Hot Firm List. The expansion also brings challenges, including the need to keep the immediacy of communications at regional offices as strong as it is in the home office. Though there have been missteps along the way, Gennaro says the firm now has a strong information technology backbone that through file servers, high-speed connections and customized software can allow for collaboration across any distance. “We found that as we opened offices that anything less than having the appearance of somebody virtually being in the next room is an impediment,” he says. “We had some growing pains, but we’ve learned the lessons and we are convinced the investment in technology is an important part of how we grow.” Another constant challenge is the regulation that PS&S clients face, one where the level of regulation is constantly changing. “It seems like there’s always a pendulum swing from one extreme to the other,” he says. “Everyone— government, environmentalists, engineers, developers, contractors—needs to be better at understanding each other’s point of view.” PS&S aggressively monitors regulatory requirements, participates in multiple forums to discuss pending regulatory amendments and develops design standards for regulatory compliance, he added. The firm also has to deal with the heightened litigiousness of the development world, where contractors and developers often swap lawsuits, with engineering firms sometimes caught in the middle. The PS&S approach to minimize that risk is to foster strong communications and to use tools such as 3-D design to help better explain projects and their challenges up front. “The best projects we’ve been on are projects where there has been a climate of cooperation from the beginning, where there are not unrealistic expectations on anyone’s part,” Gennaro says. “We are always striving to do our part to make that happen.” PS&S “Owners often come to us with their difficult sites because we have a history of successfully permitting them and getting them built”

Businessexcellence July 07 78 Urbitran Group has done a great deal to make city transport systems work better over the past 34 years. It’s now following a strategy of growth by acquisition to take it to the next level, Michael Horodniceanu revealed to Ruari McCallion Slicker cities Known to many as Dr. H, Michael Horodniceanu’s name should be familiar enough to New Yorkers: he was the city’s traffic commissioner from 1986-90. “As a professional, how could I pass on the opportunity to run the most challenging traffic and transit system in the world?” he said. The opportunity arose from his involvement with Urbitran Group, of which he is CEO. The company began in 1973, offering expertise in transportation planning and traffic engineering. “We [the founding members] were all university professors, and they aren’t noted for being well-paid,” he said. “We looked for consulting opportunities to help us make ends meet but we were different from others, in that we did so in an organized fashion.” Urbitran’s advantage was that it was able to offer clients better services, faster. “Our university’s computer back then occupied 13,000 square feet. It probably had the power of one of today’s desktop PCs but it meant that we could offer clients high-speed simulations, which others couldn’t.” Urbitran began with just four people; Horodniceanu was able to leave the university and work full-time in 1980. It now has over 200 staff. It’s been a story of evolution, innovation and insight. “We were selling our intellectual strength and innovation,” he said. “What we realized was that