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Ulteig Defines Valuability: A New Term for Creating and Measuring Value Across Lifeline Sectors

woman with trees and lake behind her
August 11, 2022

In an age of accelerated change, Valuability is a powerful mindset designed to drive intentional, measurable impact in every relationship in which Ulteig engages. These relationships — those between Ulteig and our employees, clients and communities — form the three pillars on which valuability stands. It brings new context to “We Listen. We Solve.”

Read more on Sarah and valuability in the March 2023 issue of Region 5 IEEE Newsletter.

The drive to create success for Ulteig’s clients, employees and communities – our three relationship pillars – is at the heart of everything we do.

But what fuels that drive?

In evaluating our commitments and how we go about business, we’ve developed a new concept that better defines what drives us as a firm. It’s the term Valuability. Our firm relies on an intentional and measurable ability to create value within the three pillars of our business — our clients, employees and communities – who are the lifeblood of why we exist as a firm. In an age of accelerated and oftentimes, disruptive change, it’s a mindset that distinguishes Ulteig from our competition.

In a new video, Program Director for Key Clients, Sarah Beckman, PE, explains why the firm decided to introduce the term into its company vernacular.  To Beckman, it’s about putting people first – a value at the core of everything Ulteig does.

“Value creation is about finding trackable metrics that enable us to maximize positive impact across those three pillars, which are inseparably linked,” said Beckman. In more detail terms, this means:

  • For clients – Creating solutions that meet our clients’ broader strategic objectives in a manner that exceeds expectations, keeping future costs in mind so that the project is successful in the short-term and remains resilient and reliable while minimizing maintenance costs in the long-term.
  • For employees – Ensuring that our employees are happy, engaged and have the space to create better solutions that bring value to the client and communities.
  • For communities – Understanding that everything we accomplish impacts the greater population. We know that better solutions create better community infrastructure and Improved quality of life

When the health of each of these important pillars is prioritized, the sum value equals more than that of its parts. This means that Ulteig can produce cumulative value that reflects and optimizes the strength of these individual trusted relationships.

Valuability in Numbers: What Valuability Means to a Client

Valuability is intrinsically tied to real, measurable project outputs and successes. It is intentional. It doesn’t just happen. We drive for it. For example, when one of Ulteig’s major utility clients was experiencing challenges integrating renewables generation on time, Ulteig acted as both a sounding board and a think tank to help them filter through various options and identify a solution. It’s about listening and then solving.

“For this project, we were able to develop automation processes that streamline interconnect applications through the utility’s system,” said Beckman. “This new automation process cut project delays from 15% to less than 3%.”

This outcome could not have been accomplished without employees who were all hands-on-deck passionate about their work and feeling supported in finding unique solutions. As one of the three pillars on which valuability stands, employee valuability is critical to the firm’s aptitude to deliver outcomes that exceed clients’ expectations.

“In these circumstances, we are able to see the results of having engaged employees who are thinking outside the box, feeling empowered to do things differently and who understand client objectives,” said Beckman. “This is just one example of how we see valuability at work in a tangible way.”

Global Transformation Informs the Scope of Valuability

Beckman’s definition and implementation of valuability as an active, day-to-day practice stems from an understanding that what worked yesterday may no longer apply in a transforming world.

Between a rapidly evolving work environment, fluctuating access to construction materials (supply chain issues), the transition to a carbon-neutral future, the advancement of new technology and more, the world needs leaders to set a positive, ethical example to approach these unprecedented challenges.

“When I was developing the concept of valuability, I knew it was about this nexus of the rapidly changing environment that we are working in,” said Beckman. “I saw these challenges as an opportunity for Ulteig, with our experience and with our drive for excellence, to be a leader in this regard.”

Showing up and delivering value for clients has always been at the forefront of Ulteig’s work. Though the concept of valuability is far from new for the firm, Beckman notes that coining the term has aided in effectively communicating a new mindset to Ulteig’s clients, team members and communities. As a result of the term, Beckman has noticed a new drive among clients that is exciting for her as a collaboration-oriented leader.

“Externally, we are encouraging clients to move beyond the mindset of delivering a successful project to thinking about how their project will have short-term and long-term impact on communities,” said Beckman. “It’s about working closely with our clients to deliver on carbon-free objectives, to get electric vehicles on the road, to create a network that enables electrification and more. In short, it’s about having intentional and long-lasting impact.”

Valuability Creates Impact You Can See

When grappling with broad concepts such as ‘change’ and ‘social impact,’ it is easy to fall into the trap of abstraction or generalization. But it is no secret to Beckman that valuability is often rooted in work that can be seen and touched.

“It is so amazing when I have family members driving from the Midwest out to Colorado and when they see wind farms, I can say, ‘The Ulteig team helped design those wind farms,’” said Beckman. “These wind farms bring power to the Western United States and to whom I pay my own utility bill.”

Though prioritizing valuability in every project is challenging work, Beckman believes it is one of the most worthwhile components of her role at Ulteig.

“Valuability is about pride in our work, collaborating with our clients and helping people think about our work in a much broader perspective,” said Beckman. “We operate in complex environments that will only grow more challenging, but we have the best and the brightest to help us navigate and transform where we are going as an industry. While there is no perfect blueprint for this work, we are up for that challenge.”

  • Company, Program & Project Management


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