AECOM Impact Blog: Excellence Awards — River of Life Project Brings Together a Diverse Team

AECOM Impact Blog: Excellence Awards — River of Life Project Brings Together a Diverse Team

AECOM is tasked with developing a world-class, sustainable solution for the urban transformation of the Klang River and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

AECOM's multidisciplinary team working on the River of Life project demonstrates cohesiveness in collaboration and passion for excellence.

Masjid Jamek, the historical mosque and landmark at the center of Kuala Lumpur's historical district.

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Read #AECOMImpact blog post on @AECOM team's progress transforming the River of Life in #Malaysia: #Sustainability
Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 9:05am

CAMPAIGN: Managing complexity, building better lives.


AECOM Impact blog

Scott Dunn, AECOM director of development, Southeast Asia, discusses his team's progress implementing a sustainable solution for the urban transformation of the Klang River and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

We began working on the River of Life in 2012 when Kuala Lumpur City Hall opened the original design competition to international participants with the goal of finding a world-class, sustainable and contextually relevant solution for the iconic urban-transformation project.

The project provided an opportunity to demonstrate our strengths while being involved in creating an important urban landmark for Malaysia — not just for today’s generation, but also for those in years to come. It was a chance to step forward with progressive and executable ideas. Potentially, the River of Life project will impact many lives positively and will bring enduring benefits to the city as a whole.

As the winning firm tasked to deliver the project, today, we have teams from Malaysia and Singapore working on it — from the points of design, master planning, architecture, engineering, infrastructure, environment and economics — demonstrating cohesiveness in collaboration and passion for delivery excellence.

The works are progressing well, and the team is a highly motivated bunch — motivated to do well for themselves, their team, the client, and the communities that will benefit from the project.

As director of the overall project, I often interact with team members of all levels. In our conversations, we also talk about what motivates them to succeed and deliver excellence.

What I keep hearing is that their involvement since the conceptual development stage of the project has increased their commitment to seeing the many unique pieces coming together and how each of the team members plays a role in making that happen. It is worth noting that the scale and complex nature of this project means different team members have unique views of the “big picture.”

For example, Mark Vergara, technical director, environment, who leads a group that oversees the environmental aspects, believes that the client’s trust in AECOM makes him proud of the work we are doing and motivates him to challenge the norm. For instance, the client’s receptiveness to innovative ideas allows team members to take their creativity several notches above standard solutions for the design. Mark’s work in this process includes flood modelling, water-sensitive urban design, biodiversity enhancement, habitat creation and sustainability.

The lead for signage and wayfinding, Giles Clement, associate, landscape design, design + planning, economics, looks forward to seeing how his work will be used by residents and visitors and how the community will benefit from them. He states that AECOM’s wayfinding system, which covers the entire site, will be the most comprehensive ever found in the Malaysian capital. Designed with the community in mind, the system makes it easy for people to find their way around the river, a noteworthy achievement for the team.

Seetha Raghupathy, project manager for River of Life Urban Design Guidelines (Package 1A), believes the team’s work has enduring importance, since what we are delivering addresses not just existing but also future conditions. She also encourages team members to continually think for the client and the community. She expressed that our involvement in developing a robust set of urban-design guidelines means AECOM has the opportunity to meaningfully steer the nature of private developments within this iconic piece of public space in Kuala Lumpur, ensuring that urban progress and community development go hand in hand.

Michael Barry, who is responsible for appointing subconsultants and is project manager for four of the 10 construction packages, finds the level of collaboration and diversity within the project a powerful factor. To him, this has resulted in a continuous transfer of knowledge between the local and international team members — from the standpoints of technical know-how to the culture and history of the project site.

Our collective passion and winning attitude towards this project are reflected in some of the recent accolades that it has received, including AECOM’s 2014 Excellence Award for Best Win and the Awards for Excellence 2014 at the 50th International Society of City and Regional Planners congress in Gdynia, Poland. Needless to say, this is the kind of enthusiasm expected for something as positively transformational as the River of Life.

Check out more blog posts on employee excellence on the AECOM Impact blog!

With nearly 100,000 employees — including architects, engineers, designers, planners, scientists and management and construction services professionals — serving clients in more than 150 countries around the world following the acquisition of URS, AECOM is a premier, fully integrated infrastructure and support services firm. AECOM is ranked as the #1 engineering design firm by revenue in Engineering News-Record magazine’s annual industry rankings. The company is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, oil and gas, water, high-rise buildings and government. AECOM provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world’s built, natural and social environments. A Fortune 500 company, AECOM companies, including URS Corporation and Hunt Construction Group, had revenue of approximately $19.5 billion during the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2014. More information on AECOM and its services can be found at

AECOM Technology Corporation
Ed Mayer, +1.732.564.3380
Director, Corporate Communications