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

Reader Input: Fair Play

May 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Former Governor John Kitzhaber's resignation in February prompted some soul searching in this state about ethical behavior in industry and government.


Read more...

Fueling Up for the Climb

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY GREGG MORRIS

Rita Hansen aims to scale natural gas vehicle innovation.


Read more...

The Cover Story

Linda Baker
Thursday, August 27, 2015
01-cover-0915-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

How do you put a baby on the cover of a business magazine without it looking too cutesy?


Read more...

Photo Log: Waterfront Blues Festival

The Latest
Thursday, July 09, 2015
bluesfestthumbBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

The sweltering weather didn't keep the crowds away. Although the numbers were down slightly from last year, the Oregon Food Bank raised $850,636 to fight hunger.  About 80,000 people attended despite temperatures in the upper 90s.


Read more...

Greenpeace (temporarily) prevents Shell oil ship from leaving Portland

The Latest
Thursday, July 30, 2015
hangersBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Greenpeace activists suspended themselves from the St. John's Bridge in an attempt to prevent a ship from heading to the Arctic.


Read more...

Quake as metaphor

Linda Baker
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
071515-earthquakia-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

The Big One serves as an allegory for Portland, a city that earns plaudits for lifestyle and amenities but whose infrastructure is, literally, crumbling.


Read more...

Light Reading

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Ask any college student: Textbook prices have skyrocketed out of control. Online education startup Lumen Learning aims to bring them down to earth.


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