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updated: 11/30/2016 4:46 PM

'I'm a huge believer in once-in-a-lifetime experiences'

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Q: Describe your company.

A: RTM Engineering Consultants was founded in 1981 by Ramesh Mirchandani. It has become a nationally recognized, full-service mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection and civil firm dedicated to providing sustainable, quality designs and engineering solutions to industrial, commercial, and retail builds as well as other complex building types such as health care and laboratory facilities. We are licensed in all 50 states, with a portfolio that spans major markets nationwide.

Q: Do you plan to hire staff or make significant capital investments?

A: With our recent merger with Lippe and Associates, we've expanded our team and deepened our expertise. We'll add more staff in Dallas to take advantage of opportunities and big wins in that market.

Q: What will your company's main challenges be in the next year?

A: It's all about striking the right balance between providing our clients the attention of a local boutique firm while maximizing the resources and reach of a larger multidiscipline engineering firm. With multiple office locations, our team continues to provide reliable and innovative designs to local clients as we expand our footprint and serve customers on a national scale.

Q: What's the hottest trend in your industry?

A: Definitely sustainability. Particularly, developing high-level sustainability studios that can support different parts of the country in different market verticals.

RTM launched its Sustainability Studio earlier this year to strengthen our firm's commitment to green building and to accelerate sustainable and energy-efficient designs.

Q: If you had one tip to give to a rookie CEO, what would it be?

A: Surround yourself by people smarter than you. To provide superior engineering services to clients, I advocate for both internal and external lifelong learning -- we never stop learning.

Q: Do you have a business mantra?

A: Always over serve clients. Our commitment to providing efficient and innovative MEP/FP and civil services to clients in every major market has allowed us to ultimately improve each client's business beyond a single-project scope.

Q: What is one interesting fact about you that most people may not know?

A: I'm a huge believer in once-in-a-lifetime experiences, so if it qualifies as such, I definitely add it to my bucket list, which I hope to complete by the age of 50. I've hiked and camped out on a glacier in Alaska, and recently I did a seven-day bike trip through the Pyrenees Mountains. We traveled 50-70 miles a day.

Q: What do you do in your free time?

A: I have two young kids, an eight-year-old and a two-year-old. Like business, I'm learning that you don't get back time in your day, so I'm living my life to the fullest and spending as much quality time with my family as I can.

Q: What keeps you up at night?

A: The real estate industry. We have no control over what's going to happen and the real estate industry oftentimes has little control over its own destiny because it's so closely tied to the international financial markets. Regardless, if we make the right or wrong move, it can either be incredibly beneficial or terribly detrimental to our entire industry.

Q: If you were not doing this job, what do you think you would be doing?

A: I'd be building. I'm a passionate builder of businesses. Just like engineers and general contractors enjoy the art of building and designing structures, I love to build businesses. Because of my passion for what I do, I've been able to build a tremendously talented team and I'm proud of our shared commitment to serve our clients with excellence.

Q: What was your first paying job?

A: I was a bag boy at Jewel Osco, so I pushed carts in snow and I bagged groceries. It wasn't the most glamorous job, but I gained incredible skills that I carry with me today.

Q: What book is on your nightstand?

A: "Deep Survival" by Laurence Gonzalez.

Q: If you could put your company name on a sports venue, which one would you choose?

A: We'd be up there with GoPro at the X-Games. I'd imagine we'd create our own new sport and compete within our own marketplace that we'd also create for ourselves.

Q: What is one funny thing that has happened to you in your career?

A: The boss that I had right out of college in Iowa ended up retiring and about 15 years later, I hired him as my executive coach. It was like my career had come full circle in a sense.

-- Kim Mikus