Many companies achieve success. A few achieve great success. But none seem to be able to sustain success for a long period of time. And too many fail. The numbers reveal a dismal story: 75% of venture-backed startups fail, and the failure rate of all U.S. companies after 5 years is over 50%, and over 70% after 10 years. In this lecture, we examine the factors that cause this decline; specifically, the critical role of leadership and culture. We also emphasize the importance of ethics and corporate social responsibility in business. We draw our conclusions from lessons learned in hopes of helping to improve the chances of becoming most successful as future leaders of engineering firms and delivering superior sustainable performance.
Dr. Paul F. Boulos, BCEEM, Hon.D.WRE, Dist.D.NE, Dist.M.ASCE, NAE
Chief Executive Officer, Digital Water Works, Inc.
Dr. Boulos is a highly dynamic engineering and technology business leader and philanthropist. He is currently serving as Chief Executive Officer of Digital Water Works, a global innovator of digital twin solutions for smart wet infrastructure. He previously served as President and Director of MWH Global (until its sales to Stantec in May 2016), one of the world’s leading environmental engineering and construction firms, with more than 7,500 employees in 35 countries and annual revenues of $1.5 billion. The company has long been considered one of the world’s top three experts on power, water and wastewater issues. He also founded and served as Chairman and CEO of Innovyze, and led its ownership transition and sale to a private equity firm in 2017. He is a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Society’s highest honor; and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, the highest professional distinction accorded to an engineer.