Chairman, CEO and president of H2M architects + engineers, a diversified consulting firm based in Melville, N.Y. and the 2013 NYIT Alumni Employer of the Year. A mainstay of the Long Island business community for over 80 years, H2M’s portfolio reflects its people-first approach.
From the Field to the Lab
A high school soccer standout, Humann was recruited by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and spent a year playing the midfield before an injury forced him to re-evaluate. Determined to return to Long Island, he was immediately taken with NYIT’s intense academics, flexible schedule, and tight-knit community. “I took 17 or 18 credits a semester at night while working full time,” Humann says. “And I was able to quickly develop relationships with the department heads, easily transfer my credits, and dive right into the engineering program.”
One of his most influential instructors was also one of his first—physics professor Gabe Sunshine, Ph.D., who still teaches at NYIT. “He made me understand that I wasn’t just taking courses for the sake of getting credits,” Humann says. “I understood that if I was going to become an engineer, physics is a fundamental aspect of that. From then on, it just clicked.” Twenty-five years later, this passion is still evident. “I love coming to work every day. That’s really the secret—if you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re much more likely to be successful at it.”
An Uncommon Path
In an era of frequent career changes, Humann’s path to CEO is remarkable. He worked his way up through the ranks, starting at H2M as a college intern while studying at NYIT. “The person I worked for then—who is still at H2M—was a fantastic mentor to me,“ he says. “I was exposed to many different kinds of work and saw early on that if you wanted to carve your own path here, you could.” The 2008 recession challenged H2M to rethink its business model, and Humann oversaw the integration of the firm’s diversified services shortly after assuming the role of CEO in 2013. Today, H2M employs more than 310 people and operates satellite offices in New York City, Albany, Suffern, and White Plains, N.Y., as well as Parsippany and Howell, N.J., in addition to its Melville headquarters. Recent projects include the PSEG-LI FEMA Hazard Mitigation and System Storm Hardening project, the NYC Superstorm Sandy Residential Build It Back program, and the GOSR Flood Hazard Mitigation program.
If you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re much more likely to be successful at it.
As CEO, Humann is primarily concerned with making sure “the boat is being steered right, performance is where it needs to be, and clients are satisfied.” He is dedicated to creating a supportive work environment, and he constantly evaluates successes and failures to figure out how to better serve both clients and employees. “Ask any leader and they’ll tell you: when you have good people, your job is easier,” Humann says. “I’m very fortunate that my senior leadership understands the company’s vision. I couldn’t ask for a better team.”
To encourage a strong work/life balance, Humann practices what he preaches, finding time to get back on the soccer field as a player and coach. A longtime Liverpool F.C. supporter, he sees many parallels between the game and the boardroom. “The strategy, the speed of play—it’s all there,” he says. And his enthusiasm is contagious. “I even converted our old CEO into a soccer fan.”