Engineering stability

| Print |  Email
Articles - April 2013
Monday, April 01, 2013

0413 Tactics 04

0413 Tactics 03

// Photos by Sierra Breshears

“With the economy, life changed quite a bit,” says Barkouli, adding that the company’s tagline in 2007 was “one company excellence.” When he took over, “it was clear we needed to do something to translate this nice slogan into something real.”

Barkouli says the post-recession reorganization was “painful” but successful. DEA was forced to become better at collaborating internally and pulling together to focus externally. However, that meant a strong, consistent corporate culture was indispensable.

The company’s ethical grounding and continual quest for excellence felt solid, Barkouli says. But expectations, communication, accountability and trust in leadership needed more attention. So the DEA team came up with six “cultural drivers” and 24 corresponding actions — for example, openly admitting mistakes when they happen — to reinforce the drivers.

In addition to making cultural drivers part of employee evaluations and encouraging leadership through an internal program, Barkouli sharpened his own perspectives by going back to school for a Ph.D. in leadership and change from Antioch University.

“It is partly to learn but partly to give back,” Barkouli says. He adds that DEA wants to retain its employee ownership and independence, especially now that he feels a recovery is underway. “We’ve started to see demand firm up,” Barkouli says. “It’s a gradual climb, and it’s going to take time. But it’s not going down, so that’s good.” Barkouli says a measured increase in private-sector land development will help the company grow its workforce 10% this year.

Barkouli, the father of six children ages 8 to 13, is clearly a patient man. That patience may help DEA on one of its current endeavors — the firm is oversight engineer on the controversy-laden Columbia River Crossing project. Getting asked about the CRC is the only time during questioning when Barkouli pauses a bit longer than seems his norm.

“Do I think it is going to get built?” he asks. “Yes, I hope so. It’s an honor for us to be involved in the project. But it’s probably also something I should just not say too much about.”



 

More Articles

Carbon Power

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Researchers in a multitude of disciplines are searching for ways to soak up excess carbon dioxide, the compound that contributes to global warming.


Read more...

10 Twitter highlights from #OR100Best

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015
100bestBY OB STAFF

Oregon Business held its  22nd annual 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon celebration Thursday night in the Oregon Convention Center.


Read more...

How a Utah-based essential oils company cornered the Oregon market

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Multilevel marketing, health claims and zyto scanner biofeedback machines: How dōTERRA thrives in Oregon. 


Read more...

10 quotes explaining crisis at Port of Portland

The Latest
Friday, February 20, 2015
022015 port portland OBM-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The ongoing labor disputes at the Port of Portland came to a head two weeks ago when Hanjin, the container port's largest client, notified its customers it would be ending its direct route to Oregon.


Read more...

Help Wanted: Poached Jobs aids restaurateurs

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

“We thought there was room for something new.”


Read more...

4 winners and losers in the Kitzhaber scandal

The Latest
Thursday, February 12, 2015
021315-govorno-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Examining the governor's rapid fall from grace in a "bizarre" and "unprecedented" saga.


Read more...

Game On

March 2015
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

The big news at Oregon Business is we’re getting a ping pong table. After reading the descriptions of the 2015 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon, a disproportionate number of which feature table tennis in the office, I decided it was time to bring our own workplace into the 21st century. It was a tough call, but it’s lonely at the top, and someone has to make the hard decisions.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS