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Q&A: Talking with Darpan Jethi

Jacobs Associate Director Ports and Marine & Program Management Darpan Jethi discusses his career, our program management team in India and his ongoing mission to help strengthen critical marine defense infrastructure as part of a major federal program.

At Jacobs, we're challenging today to reinvent tomorrow by solving the world's most critical problems, and Associate Director Ports and Marine & Program Management Darpan Jethi is one of our visionaries, thinkers and doers who thrives on missions to help secure the future.

In this jacobs.com interview, Darpan discusses his career, our program management team in India and his ongoing mission to help strengthen critical marine defense infrastructure as part of a major federal program.

Tell us about your career background and role at Jacobs.

I manage Jacobs Ports & Marine and program management portfolio in India. I have over 21 years’ experience across the infrastructure industry, from engineering and infrastructure consultancy, project operations, project management as well as procurement and contracts. In the past, I have led consultancy organizations in leadership roles, and I am fortunate to have had a successful career progression to continuously build on both my business and technical skills.

What sparked your interest in the field you’re pursuing?

Since my early days as an engineering student, I am drawn to the complexities of both design and construction of infrastructure development. Every facet of the project lifecycle is a complex network of ecosystems that brings unique challenges and I find the opportunity to tackle these most intriguing. Even after decades of experience in the field, every project offers a unique learning experience and continues to challenge my approach and thinking.

What are you most passionate about and what’s the favorite part of your role?

I enjoy analyzing complex problems and I am always moving out of my comfort zone by innovating and exploring new ways to optimize project outcomes. The quest to pursue the unknown keeps me motivated and the challenge to deliver fresh and bold solutions to our clients keeps me on my toes – all while I get to play a small part in contributing to positive and meaningful change for businesses and communities.

What are you working on now?

Currently, we’re supporting a major defense infrastructure program to help strengthen critical marine defense in India. It is a national project of significance and upon its completion, will be one of the largest marine greenfield development in the eastern hemisphere. We’re managing the design and construction management aspects of the project including highly technical and some of the most complex military installations. It has been quite fascinating experience for me!

Tell us more about our program management team in India.

We have an energetic team of urban planners, engineers, architects and technical specialists working on various major programs in India. In addition to the greenfield marine infrastructure, our team is helping to deliver a new  metro system for one of the largest and populous cities in India, the nation’s first industrial smart city as well as the augmentation of national defense airfields in the region.

Around the world, our diverse talent brings multiple perspectives and wide-ranging capabilities, coupled with the latest project management tools to operationalize priorities and increase project efficiencies. More than that, our global network of subject matter expertise and deep domain knowledge across markets are widely accessible to all our projects, no matter the challenge or where they are.

What’s key to delivering successful programs?

Irrespective of sector, the ultimate challenge for mega infrastructure programs is strict adherence to the budget, schedule and contract administration, regardless of scale or changing circumstances. This is most evident in major federal government programs, where there is limited flexibility in both program and budget – in addition to the complexities involved in managing multiple stakeholders across federal and regional political structures.

What’s key is a motivated and unified project team who works toward a common goal. From the onset, a key priority is to align all project stakeholders including designer, contractors, vendors, clients and public authorities to a common vision and ensure they are always part of the progress and success story. In addition to this is establishing a core set of processes and tried-and-tested framework, while leveraging the latest tools and technologies to increase productivity, efficiency, and project excellence across the entire lifecycle.

What’s your proudest moment at Jacobs?

To be entrusted with the responsibility to manage both our Ports & Marine and program management portfolios in India. It is a fantastic opportunity for me to step up and take on a broader responsibility.

People would be surprised to know that …. 

At work, I am always perceived to be the serious guy when I am in fact quite an easy-going and jovial person to hang out with! This often surprised most people when I meet colleagues outside of work.

When you’re not at work, you enjoy…

Playing cricket or tennis as well as writing poems.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Jacobs family?

Teamwork is deeply embedded in our work culture and the opportunity to contribute to meaningful solutions for the long-term benefit of our communities and societies is limitless. Across our projects, we’re empowered with the tools and resources we need to design and conceive the very best solutions for our clients and deliver enduring value while maximizing returns on investments.

I aspire to…

Embed a culture of sustainability across our projects to help improve resilience, environmental conservation while bringing long-term social value benefits for communities near and far.

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