May 2015

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May 2015 Newsletter
From Anthony Sartor & John Sartor

From the Corner Office

“Great vision without great people is irrelevant.” – Author Jim Collins

“A small company depends on great people much more than a big company does.” - Apple’s Steve Jobs

These two quotes speak volumes about why PS&S is so passionate about recruiting and hiring the best people. We are a relatively small company with great vision, but without great people we will not succeed. That’s why this month, as thousands of college graduates take their first career steps, we are focusing our newsletter on how PS&S recruits, hires and retains top talent.

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We’ll hear from our Vice President of Human Resources Jamie McDonald, a critical member of our Management Committee, who will detail what he looks for in entry level candidates. We’ll also introduce you to three of our most recent hires, all of whom have been at the company for less than two years. Rita Exposito, Brian Liebeskind and Kevin Kaufman brought different experiences and backgrounds to PS&S, but they all share one common trait (besides growing up in New Jersey): They are proof-positive that our passion for hiring great people is on target and vital to our vision for PS&S’s future.

For more information, please contact Anthony Sartor at or John Sartor at

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Finding the best new talent is a challenging but critical component of any organization’s growth and long-term success. At PS&S, Vice President of Human Resources Jamie McDonald knows hiring is as much an art as a science.


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“Sometimes you have to make a commitment to integrate new talent even if you don’t necessarily have a clearly defined opening. A couple of years ago, we made a decision to infuse newly graduated, entry level talent into the company in all of our disciplines. While we’re fortunate to not have a lot of turnover at PS&S, we are growing. Our unique vertical capabilities enable us to attract talented individuals from all disciplines.”

In a constantly evolving industry, McDonald has certainly seen a lot of change in his 14 years at PS&S, most notably the huge advancement in the skill-level of recent college graduates. The ability to step right in and make an immediate difference in the company is directly related to the technological advances in college programs and high-level computer skills.

“Current grads don’t need as much ramp up time as in the past – that’s good for them to get acclimated and it’s good for the company to shorten the learning curve,” said McDonald. “I’m also glad PS&S is headquartered in a geographic region known for its excellent engineering and science schools. We know the programs at colleges such as NJIT, Rutgers and Stevens. And while good candidates can come from any school, we’ve had success recruiting candidates from these three New Jersey programs.”

When the resume of an entry level candidate comes across his desk, McDonald is not only looking for the best G.P.A. He also wants to see what type of initiative the candidate has taken with regards to internships and co-ops. An internship is good: a student spends eight weeks learning the ropes inside PS&S. But a co-op gives the student six months of professional training in a production environment and makes them a top candidate for future employment. Quality co-ops, whether at PS&S or a like firm, give a candidate a leg up in a competitive pool.

“Our co-op students receive a true hands-on, interactive opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of architecture and engineering,” explains McDonald. “At the end of the term, they are much more advanced in their field and have a truer sense of the profession. When possible, we look to hire former co-op participants or interns. When you combine a solid college program with the inside knowledge former co-op students and interns possess, you get a seamless transition into the workplace.”

For more information, please contact Jamie McDonald at

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Employee Spotlights

Employee Spotlights: Rita Exposito, Brian Liebeskind, and Kevin Kaufman

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Rita Exposito, a civil engineer in the Environmental Department who has been with PS&S since July 2014.

Q: Where are you from and where do you live now?

A: I was born in Cuba and came to the United States when I was four years old. I grew up (and still live) in West New York.

Rita Exposito

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Q: What kind of work experience did you have prior to PS&S?

A: My father exposed me to contracting/construction at an early age because he has his own company in North Jersey. While I didn’t have any co-ops or internships, I gained valuable field experience working for my dad. Being bilingual was an advantage because I would translate documents and contracts for him since he mostly only speaks Spanish.

Q: How did you become interested in engineering?

A: Well, growing up I didn’t go home after school and play regular videogames. I always had an interest in this “game” (a computer program that I treated as a game) – it was a program that architects used to model homes on computers. I just loved designing things. One day I was flipping through my older sister’s book; it was about which careers suited which personality types. I was intrigued that I matched up with civil engineering, so from that moment it was always in the back of my mind. Originally, I went to school to study physics, but after realizing how much I love design (and recalling that career book), I decided I wanted to be able to apply physics, so I pursued engineering.

Q: Where did you go to school and what did you study?

A: I studied civil engineering at NJIT. While I wasn’t studying, I kept myself busy with clubs and activities. I was on the Steel Bridge team and also the secretary of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) student team.

Q: How did you hear about PS&S – what attracted you to the company?

A: Through NJIT, I had met Joe Fleming, who continues to be an active alumnus with the school. When he received the Distinguished Alumni Award, he delivered a speech that really resonated with me. He’s a wealth of knowledge and I realized that’s the type of person I would love to learn from.

I applied to a few different companies, but I decided on PS&S because of the people. From the moment I interviewed with Sanjay Patel, I had a good feeling. Sanjay has been an amazing mentor that really looks out for everyone on the team. I always want to work with people like this.

Q: What do you think you bring to PS&S?

A: I think I bring eagerness to the team. I am always looking to get involved in a lot of different things. The ability to speak two languages fluently is also something unique I can do for our team.

Q: Any advice for current college students looking to follow your footsteps?

A: Study hard. Take opportunities. Participate. The more school activities you can get involved with, the more people you’ll meet and you’ll be able to improve your networking skills.

Q: What do you do outside of work?

A: I like a little bit of everything. I enjoy playing the guitar (mostly indie music) and the piano (classical and movie soundtracks). In the summer, I like to skimboard and I also love to paint/draw.

Brian Liebeskind

Brian Liebeskind, a civil engineer in the Civil Department who has been working full-time with PS&S since July 2013.

Q: Tell us about your path to PS&S:

A: I studied at Stevens Institute where I earned my Bachelor of Engineering in Civil Engineering. In May of 2011, I began my co-op here at PS&S. It was a unique opportunity that really enabled me to dive deep into the company culture and work directly with project engineers on a lot of different aspects of engineering: civil, structural and field surveying.

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Having great relationships with the people I worked with was a big part of my experience at PS&S. Patti Ruskan was a great mentor during my co-op and she continues to be today. Working side by side with such a well-rounded engineer has been very educational and enlightening. I joined the team full-time in July of 2013.

Q: Did you have experience elsewhere as well?

A: Before I came to PS&S, I completed co-ops at construction companies, so I was able to gain a relatively well-rounded work experience in the field.

Q: How did you know civil engineering was for you?

A: At age five, I was always playing the videogame SimCity. I loved the idea of designing and building things – defining development zones in a videogame was definitely the beginning of my passion for engineering. Also, while I was completing my co-ops, I was able to take advantage of free elective classes at Stevens. Having the opportunity to explore the different areas at my own leisure really helped me refine my interests and concentrate on civil.

Q: You mentioned taking extra electives that helped you narrow your concentration; did anything else play a role in that?

A: Sure – I’m also a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). While in school, I was treasurer of the student chapter – and currently, we are working on a resurging of the Younger Members group in our area as well.

Q: What do you believe you bring to PS&S?

A: I think I bring a certain level of enthusiasm that’s unique. I take great pride in the work we produce and always want to see the clients succeed. It’s rewarding to see your work positively impact your community, too.

Q: Any advice to current students?

A: Get exposed. Get experience. Be proactive. There are truly so many different directions you can go – I suggest taking as many classes as you can to get a sense of the different corners of the field, even if they’re not required.

Q: Tell us something interesting about yourself.

A: I played varsity tennis in college and try to play as often as I can. I am also an avid chess player and am always on the hunt to find new players.

Kevin Kaufman, a structural engineer in the Structural Department who has been working full-time with PS&S since June 2013.

Q: Where are you from and where are you living now?

A: I grew up in Warren County and currently reside in Piscataway.

Kevin Kaufman

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Q: Were you always certain structural engineering was the direction you wanted to go in?

A: I always had an interest in engineering and I was inspired along the way to focus on structural. During school, I worked as an Engineering Aide in the Warren County Engineering Department. Interacting with the team of engineers gave me insight and first-hand experience on multiple types of projects.

Q: Did you complete any internships/co-ops?

A: I did a construction internship with Tilcon where I was in the field and involved in running a long-term construction project. During this time I gained experience interpreting plans and the logistics of road construction.

Q: What attracted you to PS&S?

A: I think the size was a leading influencer. Being part of a smaller company gives you more insight and opportunity. Another huge factor is the people. Working closely with team members that truly care to see you succeed is something you don’t see everywhere – it’s a good feeling being recognized for your efforts.

At a large firm, you may not get to be involved in all phases of a project – but at PS&S, you really get the hands-on experience, which ultimately allows you to continue learning and growing as a professional. In fact, on my very first day, I was able to dive right in on a six-story school building project.

Q: You mentioned continuously learning – does PS&S have any programs to help support that?

A: Yes. PS&S has a Tuition Reimbursement Program for continuing education. I’m actually enrolled in an online Masters of Science Civil Engineering program through the University of Illinois.

Q: Do you have a favorite or most memorable project?

A: I really enjoyed being involved on the Novartis account. The project was supporting a new steam line in their East Hanover location. What I enjoyed most about the project was being able to step up – I was visiting the field site and trusted to interact with the client, which was really great.

Q: What is your advice to students and recent grads?

A: Have a thirst to learn, and ask questions. There’s no such thing as a dumb question. And “quality over quantity” is a quote to live by.

Q: What do you enjoy outside of work?

A: During the winter, you’ll find me in the mountains – I love snowboarding. But I like staying active all year-round, so I bike along the Raritan River canal, go to indoor rock climbing facilities, and I also compete in Tough Mudder races.

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