Bharat Kumar Peddu, PE, PMP, ENV SP
PROJECT TRACK ENGINEER
LOCATION: BALTIMORE, MD.
Bharat Kumar Peddu, PE, PMP, ENV SP
PROJECT TRACK ENGINEER
LOCATION: BALTIMORE, MD.
“Life is a celebration. Live it up! It’s important to live a life that is selfless, grand, and adventurous.”
Multifaceted. Selfless. Ambitious. Renaissance man. The list goes on to describe Bharat Kumar Peddu, who’s driven to leave this world a better place. His contributions to the railway engineering industry are just some of the many ways he’s making a positive impact on our society. And we’re fortunate to have Bharat Kumar representing Gannett Fleming as a panelist at the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association (AREMA) 2022 Annual Conference’s “Meet the Next Generation” session in August.
“I’m looking forward to meeting and interacting with future railroaders,” he said. “I’m always happy to give back to this industry that is so close to my heart.”
We asked Bharat Kumar a few questions. Get to know him here:
Tell us about your experience in the transit and rail industry.
Nearly 17 years ago, I started as a track designer on streetcar projects across the U.S. before becoming a project engineer, designing railways for multi-million-dollar freight and passenger rail projects for various agencies. I’ve also been a project manager and a track QA/QC engineer on state agency-owned freight and passenger railway projects.
Tell us about your role and responsibilities.
As a project track engineer with our Transit & Rail team, I provide design, engineering, and project management expertise for a wide range of railway projects. Public transportation increases economic mobility, decreases carbon footprints, and increases economic development. As a trusted advisor to my clients, I’m committed to developing more rail infrastructure.
Why Gannett Fleming?
The relationships I’ve built along with the opportunities for personal and career growth, continued education, and our senior leadership’s policies and stellar management practices are some of the main reasons I’m here. I landed a great supervisor in Rodney Miller. He’s admirable, approachable, honest, direct, and encouraging. I consider myself lucky!
Mental peace of mind, a skilled team, work-life balance, open communication, and mutual trust and admiration between team members are some of the additional benefits of being a Gannett Fleming employee.
How does Gannett Fleming support your professional development and career growth?
The firm sponsored my preparation for my Professional Engineer (PE), Project Management Professional (PMP), and Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) licenses and offered tuition assistance toward my master’s in business administration (MBA). Gannett Fleming also supports my involvement and leadership in organizations like AREMA, Washington Area Railway Engineering Society (WARES), and American Council of Engineering Companies/Maryland (ACEC/MD). And the firm encourages my future aspirations regarding talent acquisition, marketing, management, leadership roles, and involvement in other professional organizations.
What’s the most interesting project you’re working on right now?
I’m working on a multi-million-dollar Maryland Transit Administration work order that will require developing contract documents for construction advertisement. The design work involves the replacement of special trackwork, roadway grade crossings, and restraining rail curve replacement at several locations along the light rail link corridor.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Working on projects that positively impact public service, welfare, safety, and quality of life. I enjoy solving engineering challenges, learning and experiencing new things, and bettering myself. I take pride in working alongside talented individuals, conserving Mother Earth, enhancing my technical and business acumen, and teaching and paying it forward for future generations.
What do you see for the next generation of employees at Gannett Fleming?
I see the next generation working in a diverse and inclusive environment with well-defined career paths augmented with continuous learning, growth, and development, where employees engage and collaborate across various disciplines and work locations in a hybrid work environment. They’ll use continuously evolving digital tools, technology, workflows, and processes to produce quality deliverables that exemplify Gannett Fleming’s tagline, Excellence Delivered as Promised.
How does your work contribute to our firm’s vision of creating a better future, together?
Innovation, resiliency, and sustainability are embedded into conversations with our clients involving asset management, value engineering, capital project improvements, operations and maintenance, storm event design criteria, and switching to newer, more efficient, and alternate fuel-powered technologies. I also work with lawmakers on creating sound policies that govern the creation of a better future for all of us.
What professional achievements are you especially proud of?
Being named Engineer of the Year from a Mid-Large Size Firm by ACEC/MD in 2022, Young Civil Engineer of the Year by the University of Kentucky in 2020, and Young Engineer of the Year by the Engineering Society of Baltimore in 2018.
What leadership characteristics do you rely on most?
Emotional intelligence, communication, accountability, resourcefulness, conflict management, objectiveness, perseverance, transparency, active listening, loyalty, integrity, servant leadership, and a can-do attitude are just a few.
What’s the best professional advice you’ve received?
To become a trusted advisor to your clients, listen closely to their needs, anticipate any shortcomings or risks, and offer effective and efficient solutions.
Why are diverse project teams important?
Diversity raises the cumulative “smartness quotient” of the entire workgroup. Diverse minds and perspectives paint a big picture encapsulating potential risks, windows of opportunity, systems integration, and time- and money-saving mechanisms. Nonhomogeneous workgroups encourage team members to work outside of their comfort zone in ways that challenge them, yielding better project results and performance. Simply put, diversity dodges conformity while boosting innovation.
What can AEC firms do internally to celebrate diversity and create a stronger sense of belonging?
Senior leadership support is essential. Organizational culture also plays an important role in celebrating diversity. Firms should encourage employees to have meaningful and honest communication through various mediums and platforms, create and promote employee resource groups, endorse diversity education, and develop culturally immersive company events. Continuously and consciously celebrating all cultures and perspectives helps instill a sense of understanding and acceptance.
Describe the mindset that has gotten you to where you are today.
Education has always been a top priority. Every certification, degree, class, and meeting has added value. I’m very driven and must constantly learn new things to satiate my curious mind. I believe in having role models and mentors to guide and advise me along the way. I invest heavily in my relationships, and they’ve proven invaluable to my personal and professional growth. I believe in sharing knowledge, time, and resources and in planning and execution by design. Success or failure, I reflect on past events so that I’m consistently improving as a person and a professional.
What are your favorite hobbies?
Volunteering, traveling, mentoring future generations, hiking, motorcycling, scuba diving, aviation, photography, gardening, cooking, learning new languages, dancing, camping, and anything outdoors.
Could you tell us about your family as well as your cultural and educational background?
I come from a lower middle-class, Telugu-speaking, Hindu-practicing family of farmers, engineers, and educators, where education, service, and good virtues are held in the highest regard. I hail from the city of Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, India, located on the banks of the River Krishna. As the son of a science teacher, who’s been an educator for nearly 45 years and is currently a school director, I was expected to perform well in academics and sports from a young age. My mom sacrificed her career to raise my sister and me, and my family immigrated to the Kingdom of Bahrain in the mid-1990s, an island nation in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf. Living internationally in the Middle East exposed me to many religions, including Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism, Judaism, and Buddhism.
Later, I returned to India to finish high school and earn my bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. My mother wanted me to pursue post-graduate studies in the U.S., so I took the required exams and applied to colleges. In 2004, I attended the University of Kentucky for my master’s degree. Since then, I’ve obtained my PE license in Maryland along with my ENV SP and PMP certifications. In 2020, I earned an MBA as well. One day, I will complement my technical and business expertise with education in legal studies.
What’s your favorite family tradition?
Growing up, we celebrated all the Indian holidays by feasting on special holiday delicacies, shooting fireworks, performing rituals and honoring our ancestors, exchanging and donating gifts, and praying and receiving blessings from the elders. Also, for each of our birthdays, my three family members generously donate time, money, and clothes to those in need, orphans, and elderly citizens in their cities. All these traditions are still my favorites.
What’s the best piece of personal advice you’ve ever received?
Life is a celebration. Live it up! It’s more important to live a life that is selfless, grand, and adventurous than one that’s boring and uneventful.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I’ve acted in movies and was selected for a role in the Netflix series House of Cards.
What’s your favorite way to unwind after a busy day?
Making Sorbet’s Stix; exercising; cooking; eating a nourishing meal; various self-care activities; checking in on my thoughts, family, and friends; and getting a good night’s rest are some of the things I do to ensure I can continue to perform at my best in my professional and personal lives.
If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would you choose and why?
In no specific order, I’d trade places with N. T. Rama Rao, A.P.J. Adbul Kalam, Bhagat Singh, General Eisenhower, Rani Lakshmibai, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tipu Sultan, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Ratan Tata, Zig Zigler, Desmond Tutu, and so many other greats to learn from them about tenacity, grit, failure, compassion, sacrifice, statesmanship, conflict management, civil rights, art, humility, sports, valor, sales, psychology, entrepreneurship, leadership, negotiation, patience, innovation, strategy, loss, winning, war, perseverance, courage, love, and so many other aspects of life and qualities that make us human.
If you could live in any city, where would it be and why?
I love living right here in Charm City. It’s the greatest city there is, in a state that is a mini representation of the U.S., from its mountains to its beaches and everything in between. Also, Baltimore is only a stone’s throw away from the political scene of the state’s and the nation’s capitals.
Volunteering is a passion of yours. What activities are you involved in?
Since immigrating to the U.S., I’ve volunteered as a STEM mentor for inner city kids, for which I was recognized as a Living Classrooms Rising Star. I’ve also served as an aviculturist and dolphin discovery diver at the National Aquarium, and at a horse rescue farm. Over the past few years, I’ve raised puppies for service dog training organizations, like Warrior Canine Connection, which trains dogs exclusively for veterans. I’m also a volunteer firefighter and have participated as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for neglected, abused, and abandoned children. As soon as I became a permanent U.S. resident, I enlisted in the Delaware Air National Guard as an Air Force air transportation specialist. Lastly, I volunteer at the Community Crisis Center and recently became the president-elect of the Rotary Club of Pikesville-Owings Mills. I’m proud to say that I currently volunteer on community, local, state, and federal levels. Perhaps international is next.
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