It’s a sunny day in La Grange, Texas, and the sky overhead is clear and blue. We’re at a tranquil piece of land alongside the Colorado River, and although it’s known as the Lazy Q Ranch, today’s guests are hard at work. There are 20 Mears Group employees going through an inventive leadership academy to develop management skills and take their careers to the next level.
Over two separate one-week periods, participants will receive high-level training on business fundamentals, financial management, customer service, communication, and leadership before competing in teams to bid for a mock project.
Vivek Arora and his colleagues created the program to develop future leaders from within. “Our leadership academy is like a mini-MBA but done in the context of our organization,” explains Arora, who is the executive vice president, chief administrative officer, and general counsel. “We’re using it to help people thrive where they are and to see where they can go next.”
Investing in these meaningful workforce development programs is one way Mears can strengthen the company from the inside, and they are a natural fit for Arora, who completed his own MBA at Rice University and graduated from Columbia Law School. He joined Mears’ parent company Quanta Services Inc. as a labor and employment attorney in 2010.
Previously, Arora worked in a large DC-area firm’s labor and employment practice. Now at Mears, he is responsible for several administrative functions that impact 6,500 employees across 9 business units.
Mears brings energy infrastructure engineering, construction, and maintenance services to customers in a wide variety of industries. Doing so requires modern equipment, specialized services, and skilled workers. But project volumes are high and workers are scarce. Robust workforce development initiatives are critical because they enable Mears to attract and retain employees in a competitive landscape.
“The old industry model of recruiting our current employees’ friends and family just won’t cut it in this modern era where projects are bigger and more complex,” Arora says. “We have to develop talent from within and find alternative sources for recruiting and retention so we can build our own competitive advantage.”