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Episode 021: Building a Better Future Through Modern Leadership

Today’s episode of the AEC Leadership Today podcast features Mitch Fortner. Mitch is the President of KSA Engineers serving Texas and the surrounding areas, and he shares how we can advance our collective success by building people who build the future. 


Building a Better Future Through Modern Leadership

In this episode, we have a wide-ranging discussion about how we as leaders and leadership teams can move our organizations, clients, and communities forward through strategic planning, talent development, and the implementation of new approaches and initiatives. 


“We are big believers in the strategic planning process… If you don’t know where you’re going, there is a real chance you’ll never get there.”

— Mitch Fortner


In this episode, we discuss:

  • How our world and industry are shrinking and being shaped through social media. 
  • How Mitch was able to progress in his career to become President of KSA and how the firm has evolved over the years. 
  • The importance of strategic planning and management and what that looks like in practice. 
  • How to implement effective training and learning programs for career development and employee engagement, growth, and retention across a company.  We really need to invest in our employees and their futures to ensure the success of our clients and organizations. 
  • The power of having a meaningful mission and vision – especially one that benefits both employees and clients. 
  • How higher-level analyses can lead to better decisions, as well as greater and faster ROI’s.
  • The benefits and mechanics of open-book management.  Done well, OBM helps to create a culture of understanding and trust through increased transparency and accountability.  Dealing with facts is so much better than trying to overcome assumptions and speculation that would otherwise dominate. OBM can also fuel employee development and increase employee ownership of results. 
  • How to build on the past and overcome the fear of change as our organizations grow and evolve. 
  • How having a purpose beyond profits alone helps drive organization, team, individual, client, and community success. Having a great impact can often start within our immediate sphere of influence.  
  • The tremendous difference our industry makes day-to-day on public health and safety and community growth and development, and why we should be in a prime position to attract purpose-driven professionals – especially those entering and newer to the workforce.  
  • What has changed in terms of how we work versus the past and why we need to do things differently to maintain our and our employees’ growth and success without burnout. 

“We build people who build the future.”

— Mitch Fortner


Mitch is a truly inspired and effective leader willing to share his knowledge and insights to help advance others and the industry.  In this episode, Mitch provides us with an insider’s “seat at the table” for how to begin to build a better future through modern leadership. 

About Mitch Fortner

Mitch is leading KSA with over 34 years of experience in the A/E/C Industry. 

A professional engineer in Texas since 1988, Mitch’s career has been widely varied and has involved engineering design, construction administration, and project management on airports, water systems, wastewater systems, streets and drainage, parks, industrial facilities, and many other types of projects.  

Since joining KSA, he has served as a design engineer, project engineer, project manager, division manager, director of marketing, executive vice president, and now president.  


Thanks for listening to the AEC Leadership Today Podcast!

I sincerely hope you enjoyed today’s episode. Be sure to check out Mitch Fortner’s contact information and the KSA website links in the resources section below for more information. If you like what you heard, leave a review on iTunes and share the podcast with your friends and colleagues. Look forward to seeing you in the next episode!  

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

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About the Host

Peter C. Atherton, P.E. is an AEC industry insider having spent more than 20 years as a successful professional civil engineer, principal, major owner, and member of the board of directors for high-achieving firms.  Pete is now the President and Founder of ActionsProve, LLC, author of Reversing Burnout. How to Immediately Engage Top Talent and Grow! A Blueprint for Professionals and Business Owners, and the creator of the I.M.P.A.C.T. process. Pete works with AEC firms and leaders to grow and advance their success through better strategic planning and implementation, executive coaching, leadership and management development, performance-based employee engagement, and corporate impact design.

Episode 021: Building a Better Future Through Modern Leadership