Aditya Ramamurthy, Director-Utility Management – Kennedy Jenks
Kennedy Jenks embraces water and everything that water makes possible. The 102-year-old firm is a leader in water and wastewater for public and industrial clients, and its 400 employees seek out agile technologies and alliances to promote the industry into the future. Originally a design engineering firm, Kennedy Jenks now offers alternative delivery approaches such as design-build, construction management, and is a key proponent of utility management services.
Can you describe the Kennedy Jenks’ Utility Management Approach and its significance for water utilities?
The digital space is moving at a revolutionary pace. Water agencies can be the primary beneficiaries of this exciting digital transformation that can optimise performance and reduce costs. We have developed a “people-technology-process-data” centric utility management approach that works to integrate the utilities’ assets and data management from end-to-end, enabling our clients to manage the operations of all their organisational functions in an effective manner. Additionally, with active utility engagement, participation, and ownership from the get-go, our clients are able to establish and drive an effective, agile, scalable, and sustainable utility management programme.
Kennedy Jenks joined the SWAN Forum and quickly got involved with the Americas Alliance. What has your experience been collaborating with regional and global smart water leaders?
Joining the SWAN Forum gives us an opportunity to actively participate and contribute to the water industry. We want to get our staff involved in smart water developments and innovation and to learn what others are doing on the digital front. This creates an opportunity to engage with like-minded individuals on pioneering projects and ideas.
With SWAN, there is also the international front, so we can hear about fresh perspectives, challenges, and lessons learned on a global scale. This type of active learning helps us develop well rounded innovative solutions for our clients.
Recently, members of our team led the development of dynamic performance reporting dashboards (to democratise survey results) that are part of the “Value of Smart Water during a Crisis” America’s Alliance report that provides SWAN members an overview of current utility digital trends as a result of the pandemic.
Kennedy Jenks operates several Communities of Practice. What is the value of these internal initiatives?
Communities of Practice (CoP) achieve several purposes, but the ultimate goal is to bring people and ideas together in a collaborative manner to achieve a greater purpose. In many organisations, CoP are gatherings of Subject Matter Experts without any inherent succession planning built in. In our CoP, experts from all different levels can join these forums to advance knowledge around specific topics or challenges. Any employee can request more information and get an almost immediate response and relevant contact for additional information. Kennedy Jenks’ CoP’s are designed for technical agility to solve complex client problems as well as an opportunity for our staff to actively learn and progress in their careers and get trained as the next generation of water leaders.
What is your advice for young professionals interested in joining the smart water sector?
Be a life-long learner with an “infinite mindset”. Engage, Ideate, Participate, and Learn from everyone around you. You got to where you are because of your education and qualifications, but the industry is evolving and there will always be new perspectives on our approaches. The challenges never remain the same and as an industry, we need to be prepared and position ourselves for creative problem solving. It is great to see really sharp and motivated young professionals entering our industry each year who are eager to make an impact within their own organisations as well as their respective communities.