Insights
8 min read

Questions and answers with AECOM's future leaders

Rob Larkin
Sustainability & climate change mitigation consultant
Kat Brown
Graduate consultant, stakeholder engagement
Jennifer Routhier
Air quality engineer
Ioana Price
Structural engineer
Hazel Cheng
Project environmental consultant
Emma Hulse
Corporate responsibility advisor
Devon Waters
EHS compliance and management specialist
Barker Fariss
Associate vice president, global indigenous engagement practice
Abdallah Najia
Urban planner, design + planning and economics

We asked some of our future leaders how AECOM can help clients meet their ambitious decarbonization, net zero and sustainability priorities.

The Future Leaders group represents our next generation of sustainability leaders, nominated from across the business because of their potential technical knowledge, enthusiasm and engagement. These young people, representative of all our regions, are core to development and achievement of our Sustainable Legacies strategy. They sit on our ESG Global Council with our most senior leaders and all associated working groups, contributing to company-wide initiatives.

How are you delivering sustainable legacies?

Ioana Price

I’m working on developing new systems that will enable us to deliver low-carbon buildings and assess their whole-life carbon through a holistic lens.

Devon Waters

I am helping our clients to manage the environmental impacts associated with construction of infrastructure in Canada through the development and implementation of environmental management systems. I also facilitate design that integrates considerations for sustainability during construction and operation.

Aneesh Karlekar

My goal is to deliver sustainability through energy conservation. Throughout my time at AECOM I have worked on various projects to delivery energy conservation recommendations to the client helping them save energy. I am currently working on a project to build a system that is conditioning digester gas (gas produced from bio waste) into pipeline-quality natural gas to be used in homes. This is estimated to be saving the equivalent of 19,000 cars worth of carbon emissions each year!

Emma Hulse

I am helping to embed social impact outcomes into infrastructure projects across Australia and New Zealand so they deliver social benefits such as the employment of diverse groups or programs for the community. I also manage our charitable partnerships, such as providing education to students experiencing disadvantage, focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics to address the STEM skills shortage.

Rob Larkin

I am helping public- and private-sector organizations develop cutting-edge solutions that advance climate change mitigation.

Kathryn Brown

I am challenging practices that do not result in a sustainable outcome. All change, no matter how big or small, makes a difference.

Barker Fariss

Through our global Indigenous Engagement practice, we infuse the seven generations planning principle into our business pursuits and corporate goals. As Elder Oren Lyons, faith keeper of the Turtle Clan for the Onondaga Nation and member of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, explains: "The Peacemaker taught us about the Seven Generations. He said, when you sit in council for the welfare of the people, you must not think of yourself or of your family, not even of your generation. He said, make your decisions on behalf of the seven generations coming, so that they may enjoy what you have today."

Jennifer Routhier

I am one part of a large team of professionals delivering on environmental assessments for major transportation projects in the Greater Toronto Area, in Ontario and in Canada. I’ve had a small part in building a better, greener network of public transportation within my country and my home province.

Abdallah Najia

As an urban planner my job is to deliver cities and developments that are livable and that promote a high quality of life. During current times, planners are required to innovate and consider new ways to meet the needs of a growing global population. Sustainability is therefore inherent in the work that we do through the development of affordable housing strategies, promoting walkable and cyclable environments that reduce reliance on private vehicles and conserving urban water consumption.

Why is it important to you personally to leave a sustainable legacy?

Hazel Cheng

Resources are limited but human wants are not – sustainable living is the way to go.

Ioana Price

With a rising global population, the building floor area in the world is expected to double by 2060. Double! As a structural engineer I feel directly responsible for driving the change to a more sustainable future and ensuring that the construction industry reduces its carbon emissions and minimizes its detrimental impact on our planet.

Devon Waters

It is important for me to leave a sustainability legacy because I want to contribute to innovative projects which allow our clients to meet their objectives while preserving the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

Aneesh Karlekar

Sustainability and energy conservation are often ignored in our daily lives and we tend to forget that climate change is probably the single biggest problem that our world is facing. To me sustainability is important to solve this problem of climate change. Additionally, with sustainability and energy efficiency I can create a positive impact on the lives of people. This gives me great joy to know that someone out there is benefiting from the work I am putting in.

Emma Hulse

I’ve already witnessed widespread biodiversity loss and even extinction in my time and to think about this continuing for future generations is absolutely heartbreaking. We’ve got the innovation and technical expertise to make a difference, so we must act.

Rob Larkin

I believe passionately in achieving sustainable solutions that truly address environmental justice goals and can be achieved in effective ways.

Kathryn Brown

We need to move away from short-term thinking and realize that the decisions we make today will affect future generations. I think it is important to ensure we leave a legacy that allows our successors to enjoy the same quality of life that we enjoy.

Barker Fariss

I have two boys, one almost an adult, many nephews and nieces and even a grandniece already. When it is time for them to hold my hand and tell me it is OK to let go, as I did with my mother not so long ago, I need to believe that I will have left the world in a better state than I found it, for them.

Jennifer Routhier

I live in the same province, often the same city as many of our projects. Improving public transit services helps not just me, but my neighbors and friends. Working as an air quality specialist, I have a specific interest in the contamination of the air we breathe and it’s satisfying to know that perhaps my work is helping to improve that quality for generations to come.

Abdallah Najia

Sustainability is a holistic concept that is built on preserving environments and nature, promoting social equality and encouraging economic development. Ultimately, these pillars should work together to provide everyone with a fair chance of experiencing a high quality of life while ensuring future generations have the ability to do the same.

How does being at AECOM enable you to deliver sustainable legacies?

Hazel Cheng

AECOM works with clients exploring ways to minimize impacts on the environment and bring positive environmental and social change.

Ioana Price

Being part of AECOM enables me to link with like-minded people across the globe. This offers opportunities to be involved with sustainability initiatives that I care about and provides me with a platform to realize new ideas and projects and drive the change to a net-zero future.

Devon Waters

AECOM is well positioned to deliver the comprehensive set of services required for infrastructure design. With its long operational lifespan, the way the infrastructure is constructed, operated and maintained can have a significant environmental impact. Working at AECOM affords me the opportunity to contribute to the integration of sustainability considerations in infrastructure that may be in use 50-100 years from now.

Aneesh Karlekar

Being part of the energy team allows me to focus on opportunities and projects that provide energy-efficient solutions to clients. I consider myself privileged to be a part of this team delivering sustainability solutions every day.

Emma Hulse

The fact that AECOM in Australia and New Zealand has a dedicated corporate responsibility team means that I can contribute to direct action every day within my role. Not to mention the various other technical teams who make a difference for our clients.

Rob Larkin

AECOM enables interdisciplinary collaboration between a wide range of top-tier professionals to deliver comprehensive climate change mitigation solutions.

Kathryn Brown

AECOM provides a fantastic platform to become a change agent, not just for the industry but for society. So much of our work is so impactful and it’s great to be a part of the story.

Barker Fariss

The Office of Native Sovereign and Tribal Relations (ONSTR) was established in 2018 with a singular focus on improving outcomes for our clients and community partners. For our clients, we keep up with an ever-evolving regulatory environment, as well as current events and variable socio-economic situations which might impact projects such that we are able to assist with planning and production and quickly respond with efficient remedies. For our community partners, the ONSTR builds productive relationships by interacting with community members to enhance mutual trust and commitment. We work collaboratively with agencies, partners and clients to improve communication and identify solutions; and our personnel communicate proactively to influence the appropriate level of detail, tone and opportunities for feedback to benefit each group.

Abdallah Najia

AECOM has given me the opportunity to work on exciting urban development projects that are actively seeking to address some of the world’s common urban challenges. It has also built a culture where innovation and passion for sustainability is welcomed and encouraged.

Jennifer Routhier

AECOM has provided me the opportunity to participate on major transportation design projects. I get to be a part of something bigger than me, something that makes a real and positive difference in the lives of Canadians.