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Career Lessons from UES’s Sheila Norden: Managing Change | Novid Parsi

In an HR career spanning 25 years, Sheila Norden has helped navigate many mergers and acquisitions (M&As)—and their profound effects on workers. “That’s a stressful time,” Norden says of a consolidation’s impact on people. She knows because she’s seen it from both sides: as an HR leader and an employee.

Since March 2022, Norden has served as CHRO for Universal Engineering Sciences (UES), an Orlando, Fla.-based engineering and consulting firm. UES has acquired more than 15 companies in just the past few years—doubling its employee count and tripling its revenue. UES now employs more than 3,400 people across the country, with plans to add 1,500 new roles by 2025. For the past two years, the Zweig Group Hot Firm List, which annually recognizes the fastest-growing architecture, engineering and construction firms in the U.S. and Canada, has put UES at the top of its list.

For Norden, that’s a lot of change to manage. She oversees not only the HR function but also UES’ marketing and communications. To head both functions, Norden says she relies on the strong leadership of her five departmental heads across HR and marketing.

Norden and her 50-member team focus on attracting and retaining talent while nurturing the company’s culture. With employees coming together from so many distinct companies, Norden and the rest of the executive team have helped build the organization’s culture in part by defining its values, as summed up by the acronym STRIVE: safety,…

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