Sergio Ortiz, Michael Chalona, and Megan Ciecior: We Are Neenan
“Integrity is the essence of everything successful.” – Richard Buckminster Fuller, US engineer & architect
In this final installment, we asked Sergio Ortiz (Assistant Project Manager), Michael Chalona (Landscape Architect), and Megan Ciecior (Accountant) to first share a little bit about themselves and how they came to be a part of the Neenan team. Their answers speak to the unique culture of Neenan and its integrity.
Sergio: “I was an intern for nine months and really just fell in love with the company and everything we do. The amount of responsibility they offered me; the trust that was created and they had a great outlook and direction for the company.”
Michael: “Prior to coming to Neenan I had my own design firm for 10 years. But an opening came up with Neenan that I had to go for based on what I had heard through reputation and what I knew of Neenan and the types of ethics and how they support clients and employees. They had always done a lot of what I was trying to do, but they do it on a much larger scale and so it allows me to do what I wanted to do with much larger impact.”
Megan: “Initially I didn’t know much about Neenan . . . I love working with David Neenan. I understand a lot of his values and really take to heart a lot of what he says, and it’s like a family. I actually enjoy being here and given the choice, I will work here for the rest of my life.”
We then asked this trio several unique questions. We present their responses below as individual collections.
Complete this sentence, “This year I want to . . .”
“It all depends if I want to speak work side or personal life side. This year I want to make a difference and it is going to be in many avenues, mostly with the company. I want to give something meaningful back to the company. Our company is so strong I have no doubt in my mind we are going to show people what it takes and that we are going to get through this tough time.”
If you could study with any Master, who would it be and why?
“Honestly, Bruce Lee. I am huge into the martial arts and he came from the base of an ancient art called ‘Wing Chun’ . . . then developed his own mixed martial art called “Jeet-Kune-Do”; an art where there really isn’t a true restricted method. He gives you the tools to be successful but everybody is unique in their approach and how they implement it.”
What has been your favorite project here at Neenan?
“I guess overall, the most challenging project was the VA Corps of Engineers project. Undoubtedly it’s the hardest project I have been on and several senior personnel that have been in the industry for 20 years would say the same thing. I am truly thankful for the learning and complexity of it. . . My favorite project to date I would say was Alamosa because of the project team had different personalities that just complemented one another. We had total trust; everybody met every single commitment… there was just a fluidity with our project team.”
Complete this sentence, “This year I don’t want to . . .”
“The thing that comes to mind is I don’t want to be stuck in the past. I want to learn from it but I am always looking to move forward, whether it is with relationships, knowledge, work, or just personal life. I think that is the beauty of life. Yesterday is over and tomorrow has not happened yet…you always have an opportunity to correct what you have done in the past.”
What trend in design and construction are you most excited about and why?
“I would say, from my discipline, it would be the recognition that people are starting to see the value of the conservation of natural resources and people are much more open to that solution and much more open to looking at the economics of it, and through the life of what you might be proposing.”
If you could magically change one thing about the industry what would it be and why?
“I wish everybody had to be educated in the art of design so that they actually understand what it takes to go into it and they would better appreciate design. Through understanding and respect, I think sometimes we would be taken more seriously than we are in the sense of when we talk about our passion and that design, that people would get it and understand . . . Design can influence people’s moods; how they act; how they interact with each other.”
Complete this sentence, “Success is . . .”
“I think success is a measure of one’s happiness in their life, their career, and just everything they are doing on a given day.”
How long have you been at Neenan and what is it about Neenan that makes you stay?
“I have been here for four years. The biggest thing for me I think is that I am aligned with everyone; the whole company; the integrity and the moral values and there are a ton of learning opportunities and career opportunities that I think I can achieve here.”
What is your favorite photograph of all time?
“It is the picture I have on my desktop of my son. He’s wearing cute little Aviator sunglasses, and he is three months old and he has the best smile on his face.”
We look forward to watching Sergio, Michael and Megan flourish now and in the future!