A Conversation With: Clayton Bubeck, president and CEO of RETTEW 

Ioannis Pashakis//February 15, 2022

A Conversation With: Clayton Bubeck, president and CEO of RETTEW 

Ioannis Pashakis//February 15, 2022

How have your many leadership roles at RETTEW prepared you to add CEO to your title? This has been in the works for some time, correct? 

In every leadership role I’ve held at RETTEW , I’ve learned something new – about the company and the industry, about our clients and our employees, and even about myself. But the biggest thing I’ve learned is the ability to empathize with people, regardless of what role you’re in. I’ve represented RETTEW at municipal meetings, run project teams, and led new divisions – all experiences that allowed me to realize that personal interactions in our business are just as important as technical expertise. Having worked for and with people at all levels of my career, I feel prepared to lead the company in new and exciting directions. 

How would you describe yourself as a leader? 

I’ve taken a lot of leadership courses in my career, so I am familiar with the most common styles of leadership. I think I’m a good mix of a few, but the one that describes me the best is Coach. I thrive in a team environment, collaborating with others and motivating them to be their best. This is so important when leading a 100% ESOP company as you want all your employee-owners to feel valued and understand they have a stake in the company’s future. 

Where is RETTEW today as a company? As you take on this new role, where can you see the company expand? 

I am taking on the role of CEO at an extremely dynamic time in our company’s history. As a team, we recently embarked on a new strategic plan, which involves rethinking our focus markets, modifying our corporate structure, and emboldening our company culture in the wake of the COVID pandemic. We are already seeing dramatic and positive shifts in all of these important areas. As these changes take root and begin to grow, I firmly believe RETTEW is poised for further success for another 50-plus years. 

What sort of education is required of a leader that manages as many services in as many markets as RETTEW? 

You can have all the degrees in the world, but at the end of the day, I believe the aptitude to lead comes from experience and empathy for others. As a leader evolves, their knowledge and intuition improve. During any given day, I may be called upon to discuss a merger or acquisition, then lead a financial accounting discussion, and later focus on developing strategic planning metrics to measure the outcomes of those plans, and so on. It is a lot to juggle, but I am fortunate to be surrounded by an impressive team at RETTEW. I am consistently amazed and proud of what I learn from the solutions our employee-owners design and engineer. 

What about the industry today excites you? 

As someone who is always looking for opportunities, I am excited about the infinite opportunities in front of us as the AEC industry evolves. Sustainability is becoming one of the most recognized trends in the industry for good reason. This focus on making the most of every resource is leading to innovative projects and opportunities we never imagined 10 or 20 years ago. 

The evolution of technology is also making way for an exciting future. Projects are becoming safer and more efficient around every corner. For instance, RETTEW created a robotic surveying device combining multiple technologies to help our surveyors navigate and gather information in dangerous areas. 

Finally, I’m excited to see the influx of new generations entering the industry. For the longest time, there was a shortage of college graduates entering STEM fields, but we are starting to see this change. New, diverse faces are bringing fresh ideas to our industry and I’m eager to see how things evolve. 

About Clayton Bubeck 

Bubeck joined RETTEW in 2000 as an environmental engineer and has held many leadership positions, eventually advancing to president in 2019 and taking on the additional role of CEO in 2022.  

He is a Professional Engineer licensed in 28 states and has a diverse background in environmental engineering, oil and gas, and renewable energy services.   

Bubeck’s team-oriented leadership style and proven track record of business development has helped evolve RETTEW from a mid-Atlantic firm to one now developing and delivering services throughout the United States.  

His expertise drives the company’s aggressive growth strategies in its focus markets.  

Bubeck is always at the forefront of relevant market trends and is a leader in strategic discussions with both in-house staff and key clients and partners.  He is a graduate of the American Council of Engineering Companies’ Senior Executive Institute and received a certificate from the Wharton School of Executive Education.