In This Episode:
Building an Enduring Organization
Karen Jensen, President and Chief Executive Officer of Farnsworth Group, came into engineering with an aptitude for math and science. That soon developed into a passion for civil engineering, particularly water and wastewater treatment plants. Her love for problem solving extended to the business side of things as well. She served in a variety of technical and management roles throughout her career before joining Farnsworth Group in 2002.
One of the oldest engineering and architecture firms in central Illinois, Farnsworth Group has a rich history dating back to the late 1800s. Through an intentional focus on finding the right people with diverse perspectives and skill sets, the firm has grown to include 500 professionals throughout a nationwide network of offices.
Diversity, equity and inclusion is deeply ingrained in the culture at Farnsworth Group. Even before the formation of a formal DEI policy, the firm recognized the value unique thoughts and experiences bring to the table when designing solutions for clients. They’ve continued to grow in the space with expanded efforts to make a positive impact in the engineering and architecture industry.
In this episode, Karen shares some of her experiences in the industry, how technology has impacted the legacy brand and how Farnsworth Group has painstakingly built an enduring organization with a keen focus on their people. She also shares some of her leadership philosophies and passes along a few words of wisdom for women building their careers in the engineering and architecture industry.
We’re excited to share this episode of yet another powerful female leader with a long and successful career in a male-dominated industry.
“When you go out to the field and you see that concrete being poured, it takes on a real significant meaning. It’s not just drawings. It’s the importance of what’s done there and how accurate that needs to be to be transformed. And to also see what an impact the projects that we do – in terms of infrastructure projects – and the impact that they can make on communities and really the greater good.”
About Karen Jensen
Karen Jensen, P.E., is President & Chief Executive Officer of Farnsworth Group, Inc., a national full-service engineering, architecture and survey firm. Under her leadership of the past twenty years, the company has enjoyed steady growth both organically and through acquisitions. Today, Farnsworth Group has more than 500 employees located in a nationwide network of offices and is ranked as one of the nation’s top design firms (Engineering News-Record) with a client base that ranges from small municipalities to the federal government and Fortune 100 companies. The Company recently earned its seventh consecutive Great Places to Work certification by the Great Place to Work Institute.
Karen is a registered Professional Engineer who earned her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Nebraska and later earned a Master of Business Administration from Illinois State University.
She has been involved in leadership roles for numerous and varied corporate, professional and community activities for many years and was recently honored with multiple awards. Karen received the Women’s Fund Community Foundation of Central IL Business and Professional Leader Award, was selected as a Central Illinois Junior Achievement Hall of Fame Laureate and was also recognized with the Illinois State University Alumni Achievement Award. To learn more about Karen, connect with her on LinkedIn.