As Kumbi Nzenza has risen in the world of consultancy he’s found it important to think as an entrepreneur as well as an engineer.
As Director of CDSE Consulting, Kumbi Nzenza CPEng finds his mind must travel two ways throughout the day: there is a business path as well as an engineering one.
“I’m responsible for the overall strategy of the business — the business development of new client relationships, engagements, and new projects,” he told create.
“I [also] look after the construction management, project management; the delivery arm of the business.” That has charged him with delivering some substantial projects, including Victoria’s North East Link, on which he is currently working. But he said he has also found fulfilment in the smaller bespoke projects for which he has consulted.
This pride is reflected in Nzenza’s enthusiasm for his work, and his appreciation for how he can balance engineering — “the fun bit,” as he describes it — with his business responsibilities.
“Even as my career has progressed into more leadership roles and management roles, the technical is still very, very important; it adds another layer and an aspect that makes me a more well-rounded professional,” he said.
“It gives me a different perspective from just being entrenched on projects or just working from a business point of view.”
Know your own strengths and weaknesses.
Without self awareness, you will stagnate — and you will feel like you have a job rather than a career.
And straddling these roles means he can offer clients technical expertise, such as reviewing constructability, assessing engineering designs or determining how a project can be built cheaper and more efficiently. But he acknowledges the challenges in uniting these mindsets.
“It does stretch you and it does require putting on different hats at different points in time,” he said.
“If you’ve got that self-awareness, you can stay on top of it and you can excel, but if you try to do more than you’re capable of or you don’t lean on your partners in terms of people that work for you and people that work with you, you ultimately fail.”
As CDSE Director, Nzenza has been an enthusiastic promoter of Chartership among the engineers he employs. His company has partnered with Engineers Australia to ensure every one of its engineers can become Chartered.
“From a company perspective, it was a no-brainer in terms of how we provide value to our clients and for them to see that the people that they’re getting are Chartered, they’re recognised by a professional body,” he said. “If you work for CDSE, we pay for and create the time for you to get your Chartership. That’s us investing in our employees.”
Learn more about the Engineers Australia Chartered credential.