Keeping communication lines open

Gary Brennen, the Co-president of Syska Hennessy Group in Los Angeles, talks about his experiences with the company and his hopes for the future.

10/18/2011


Who: Gary Brennen, PE, LEED AP, CRM

What: Co-president, Syska Hennessy Group

Where: Los Angeles

Gary Brennen bonding with Syska Hennessy Group, LA team members during employee and family night.About: With a career spanning 29 years of engineering experience, Brennen has worked on and managed a multitude of diverse and technically driven projects for the firm. In his current role of co-president, he continues to grow Syska Hennessy’s national and international presence to bring innovative, high-performance solutions to clients globally. Brennen, an electrical engineer, obtained his Bachelor of Architectural Engineering degree from Pennsylvania State University and is a licensed Professional Engineer in California, New York, Arizona, Florida, and Kansas. He has been with Syska Hennessy Group from the beginning of his career in 1982 to the present.

Q: You are a graduate of Penn State University. How has that changed your outlook on life?

A: I’m very thankful that I was able to get a good education at great college. With that said, there are certain things you can’t learn in books. There are other types of knowledge that come with experience as you grow into your job and career.

Q: What or who led you down your career path?

A: After taking a drafting class in high school, I thought I would go into architecture when I entered college. After being enrolled in a core architecture class for one day, I realized I really wanted to be in architectural engineering, which would have the creativity of architecture but would allow me to leverage my math and science abilities, as well as problem-solving skills.

Q: What things are missing from engineering education? What did you not learn in engineering school that you know you should have learned?

A: Well, school definitely does not teach you about the business side of engineering, nor do they teach you about how to develop and maintain client relationships. These are acquired skills learned along the way, through listening, learning, and practicing.

Q: What surprises you the most when you are engineering building systems?

A: There’s not one specific thing, but sometimes even with meticulous planning and designing, and the use of the latest and greatest in technology, there’s something that comes up that you didn’t expect. So always be flexible and ready to roll with possible solutions or options. One thing that doesn’t surprise me is the rapid rate and speed of technology today. It’s always changing, growing, and evolving. As an engineer, that’s exciting to see and experience.

Q: You’re the co-president of a large engineering/consulting firm. How does job sharing work for you?

A: It actually works quite well. Both Cyrus Izzo (my fellow co-president) and I make it work through effective communication, which is also another acquired skill. Sometimes we compromise in certain areas, but when we do this, we both know that intentions are always for the good of the company and will make it better. Having support and the ability to bounce ideas off of someone is invaluable, but being able to do so successfully through good communication is priceless. Our relationship also emulates how our clients demand we work and how we would like other team members in the firm to work—collaboratively.

Q: You’ve worked for one firm your whole professional life. Most engineers today won’t have that experience. What professional recommendations do you have for recent grads?

A: Be ready to take on challenges…this is what Syska Hennessy has always offered me—new challenges. Be flexible and open to ideas from others, whether they are dealing with technical solutions or business solutions. Success is a constant work in progress and doesn’t happen overnight. So continually work on learning new things and cultivating relationships in the industry.

Q: How would your co-workers or clients describe you?

A: Conscientious, dedicated, assertive, smart, curious, fair, flexible, and patient.

Q: What makes you laugh?

A: Knock-knock jokes. But truthfully, people make me laugh. They do the funniest things (including myself).

Q: What life adventure is still on your list?

A: I wouldn’t term it as an adventure but I would love to get back into playing tennis more often. I recently joined a tennis league after not playing for 30 years. It turns out I am older and slower now.

Gary Brennen at the forefront, putting at a golf course.Q: Where is the best place you’ve traveled to, and who were you with?

A: The best trip I took was to China with my wife of 24 years. Simply incredible to watch a great civilization rooted in its history, while also transforming itself into a growing dynamic, modern country.

Q: What do you wish you knew more about?

A: Everything! How to cure cancer, speak five languages, and develop a repeatable and good golf swing.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
World-class maintenance: The three keys to success - Deploy people, process and technology; 2016 Lubrication Guide; Why hydraulic systems get hot
Your leaks start here: Take a disciplined approach with your hydraulic system; U.S. presence at Hannover Messe a rousing success
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Improving flowmeter calibration; Selecting flowmeters for natural gas; Case study: Streamlining assembly systems using PC-based control; CLPM: Improving process efficiency, throughput
Putting COPS into context; Designing medium-voltage electrical systems; Planning and designing resilient, efficient data centers; The nine steps of designing generator fuel systems
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me