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President’s Corner: Investing in Employee Development

President and CEO Steve Lefton discusses Kimley-Horn's extensive internal training programs and how the firm invests in our people's success.
Steve Lefton - Kimley-Horn President
Steve Lefton, PLA, AICP
Kimley-Horn President
Next month, I’ll join 100 Kimley-Horn teammates here in Reston, VA at Consultant Training, and in November, I’ll join a group in Dallas at our Culture and Philosophy course for our new senior hires. These are just two of the firm’s many in-house training programs. I’ve attended Kimley-Horn trainings throughout my career: as a young professional eager to learn new technical skills; as a mid-level professional seeking ways to improve my project management skills; and as a practice leader who wanted to more effectively guide my team in their roles. I’ll attend next month’s Consultant Training as an instructor, speaking on the topic of Kimley-Horn’s growth. Preparing for this event has reminded me of the positive impact my professional development opportunities have had on me as a landscape architect, project manager, and now in my current leadership role—it has also reminded why providing training for employees is so important.


Creating, implementing, and maintaining training programs at a firm is an investment. It’s an investment in the firm’s future success, reputation, and people. From a financial standpoint alone, the costs associated with poor retention rates, project mistakes, and low company morale far outweigh the costs of developing employees’ skills. Kimley-Horn’s core purpose is to provide an environment for our people to flourish, and providing opportunities for professional development is a direct reflection of this commitment. Our extensive training programs are largely in-person and supplemented with a growing online training program we have developed in-house. These programs help employees build confidence, network with their partners across the country, stay on top of industry trends, increase productivity, and understand that the firm values their professional development. While our technical trainings are focused on providing the building blocks within different areas of expertise, Kimley-Horn also offers majors trainings focused on our culture, people and project management, career development for emerging female leaders, relationship-building, marketing, and more.

Our training programs are continuously evolving, with input from company leadership, discipline specialists, and training attendees. More than 1,900 employees have attended an in-house training in 2018, and as our firm and client needs continue to grow, we expect the number and types of trainings we offer to grow as well. It is incredible to know that individuals who I’ll teach at Consultant Training next month will one day be instructors to their peers and younger staff at the firm. The best investment a professional services firm can make is in its people. Those that you train today will be the leaders of tomorrow. To learn more about Kimley-Horn’s current training offerings, visit our website:

President and CEO Steve Lefton discusses Kimley-Horn's extensive internal training programs and how the firm invests in our people's success.

This photo was taken at a recent training—Fundamentals of Practice—where I joined employees for an open discussion about our firm.

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