Six Questions with Brad Hammond

Joe Duggan

August 06, 2020

Brad Hammond’s roots run deep in engineering and Northwest Arkansas. That combination, along with his extensive design experience, market knowledge, and strategic vision, made him the ideal person to lead our office in Fayetteville.

We recently caught up with Brad to learn more about what led him to the profession, his leadership approach, and how he devotes time away from work. Here’s what he had to say.

What sparked your interest in engineering?

I was always interested in math, science, and problem solving, so I naturally gravitated toward the engineering field. It also helped that my uncle, Carl Yates, had a consulting engineering firm called McGoodwin Williams & Yates (MWY), and I tagged along with him to his office from an early age. I remember playing with the electric drafting erasers and pilfering sodas from the break room refrigerator when I was about 5 years old.  Of course, I later joined MWY as a student intern and continued my career there until our acquisition with Olsson in 2018. Carl served as a mentor to me until he passed away that same year. 

What is your management philosophy?

I believe good leaders make the people around them better, so that is always my goal. I think you begin by understanding everyone’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as their passions, which requires good communication and a little bit of empathy. Ultimately, I try to give them the support they need while placing them in situations where they are challenged but can be successful. Good leadership is really knowing how to be a servant while still holding people accountable.

What do you hope to achieve over the next year in your role? For your office?

I want to help our office continue to grow our breadth of services. Because of our history in Arkansas, many people still think of our office as a municipal water/wastewater team. But we have a great opportunity to grow transportation, land development, power transmission, and field services. I’m really excited to see these new teams begin to develop and succeed! And as our growth in Fayetteville continues, I want to explore opportunities to expand to other locations in Arkansas.

What excites you about the Fayetteville/Arkansas market?

The growth potential. Northwest Arkansas has been experiencing growth for years, and we do not expect things to slow down in the future. Some people may not know that Northwest Arkansas is the headquarters of several Fortune 500 companies – Walmart, Tyson, JB Hunt, and others – that are both successful and community-minded. This has really helped drive and sustain both public and private growth in our area. Plus, there are additional markets in Arkansas that are attractive for expansion.

What would you consider your greatest professional achievement so far?

Serving as president of MWY was a great honor, but I consider helping with MWY’s acquisition and transition to Olsson as my greatest achievement. Going through an acquisition was at times challenging, but I truly believe it was the best decision for our employees, our clients, and Olsson. We now have the resources and support necessary to grow, and I am excited to see people around me have more opportunities for personal and professional development. Plus, with our depth and breadth of services, we are winning projects that we would not have even pursued before.

When not working, what activities do you enjoy?

Most of my time revolves around my three wonderful kids, ages 4, 7, and 9. I am a huge Razorback fan and love attending games with my kids. I am also a hack golfer and love reading fiction, when I can squeeze them in.