Publication: The Mercury
Issue: November 30, 2018
World-class South African consulting engineering firm is helping achieve country’s economic transformation aims
MULTI award-winning civil engineering consultancy, Knight Piésold has proved that it is possible to become a truly transformed multi-national organisation that embraces South Africa’s B-BBEE imperatives as responsible corporate citizens. Having recently achieved Level 1 B-BBEE accreditation through the training and development of local staff and shareholders as well as enterprise development and participation in meaningful CSI initiatives, the 97-year old firm is a proudly South African company that invests its profits locally.
Knight Piésold achieved Level 1 B-BBEE and 57% black shareholding through organic change and meaningful, sustainable transformation. All the company’s shareholders are full-time employees, having grown and developed into leadership positions in the firm. Although smaller in size than its foreign-owned competitors, the company has significant global reach through its branch offices across the world.
Despite being the oldest civil engineering consultancy in South Africa, Knight Piésold is young at heart, with the average age of its employees being just 39 years. This youthfulness is also reflected in the company’s management structures, with its Exco having an average age of just 39.
In 2018, Knight Piésold won 14 awards from industry associations including Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA), the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) and the Institute of Municipal Engineers (IMESA). This is the highest number of awards won by a firm this year and is recognition of the company’s excellence in engineering, business and mentorship.
Knight Piésold has proved that it is possible for a world-class South African-owned consulting engineering firm to thrive in the global arena, while operating in harmony with the transformation goals of its home country.
Vishal Haripersad, managing director of Knight Piésold states: “We are proud of our transformational journey; we believe in the scorecard we have attained; we believe in empowering businesses and people; we have never believed in buying shortcuts to transformation within our organization; we do not see it as a mere cost on the balance sheet but as an imperative for the sustainable economic growth of the country. We have taken a measured approach to achieving real, sustainable transformation within our organisation and through a carefully managed journey, achieved Level 2 B-BBEE in 2010 and now Level 1 in terms of the revised Construction Codes. We are proud to say that all our shareholders are not only full-time employees of the organization, but real assets in our business.”
In an initiative aimed at improving the lives of future generations, Knight Piésold has focused on developing the next generation of South African engineers through investments in mathematics and science at secondary schools throughout South Africa.
Haripersad says that we cannot complain about the lack or quality of engineering students if we have not played a role in their development. In 2019, Knight Piésold will make 10 bursaries available to first-year civil engineering students. The qualifying criteria are tough but fair, with deserving students required to achieve a minimum of 75% in pure mathematics and science.
Haripersad believes that much work is needed to change the attitude, values and mindsets of our children to bring them to the understanding that success is within their reach and can be achieved with hard work, dedication and support from caring benefactors such as Knight Piésold. The company is working on a number of exciting initiatives in order to achieve this.
Haripersad passionately states: “There is no shortcut to success! We are working together with stakeholders that include the general public, business and government to create a culture of respect, performance and hard work. We have asked ourselves what we as an industry should be doing to create the future we want to see - and have implemented the actions required to achieve this goal.”
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