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Q&A: Talking with our ENR Top Young Professionals, John Parham

ENR Top Young Professional and Jacobs VP and Deputy GM John Parham talks career, telecommunications and work-life integration.

This year, Jacobs is proud to have six Engineering News-Record (ENR) Top Young Professionals to congratulate.

We're so proud of how they're each bringing our tagline: challenging today, reinventing tomorrow to their roles at Jacobs. Join us in celebrating John Parham, Chitwan Saluja, Menzer Pehlivan, Katie Warner, Robert Poche and Amirpasha Peyvandi with a series of interviews with these young pros.

We connected virtually with Jacobs Vice President and Deputy General Manager of Telecommunications John Parham and ENR MidAtlantic 2020 Top Young Professional honoree to talk career, the growth of telecommunications and work-life integration.

What’s your favorite part of your role?

Working with the talented workforce across Jacobs, in alignment with our customers, to deliver successful outcomes for our projects and our people in new and innovative ways.

What sparked your interest in a STEAM career? 

My grandfather worked as a master electrician in Local 3 IBEW and counseled me many times growing up to learn a trade so that I’d always have a skill to rely upon.  Although subjects like History and English were among my favorites, when it came time to choose a field of study, I continued in his, and pursued Electrical Engineering, and I’m glad I did.  The critical thinking and problem-solving skills initially developed in engineering school continue to serve me today.

Tell us a bit about where you see the telecommunications industry heading in the next five years.

Data is the oil of the modern economy and it lives on telecommunications networks.  As the demand and volume of data grows, so too will the networks that support it.  Connectivity will continue to evolve from being relied upon for convenience to being relied upon as life/commerce essential.  To accomplish this, networks will be densified to make more efficient use of available spectrum in establishing ubiquitous high-quality coverage.  These new network layers will bring our work off remote structures and closer to end users, effectively growing the number of access points established over the past 30 years by a factor of 10 over the next 10 years.  Jacobs is primely positioned to lead this evolution as we leverage our technical services expertise in CMS and our core infrastructure presence in PPS.

If you aren’t in the office, what would we be most likely to find you doing?

Spending time with my 4 daughters (Olivia, Madeleine, Eloise and Amelia), wife (Melissa) and rescue dog, Copper. 

On that note, what’s a story that your family always tells about you?

I plead the fifth!

Most interesting career moment?

Implementing a virtual innovation laboratory which continues to produce new products, improved processes and automation tools that deliver best-in-class results for our customers and projects.

What’s something you learned in the last week?

A peanut is a legume, not a nut.

Most proud career moment?

Delivering business results is table stakes.  It’s a privilege to be a part of something bigger than an annual metric, and one that must be earned by delivering those results while embodying our vision and values.  So I’m most proud of the culture we cultivate in our group, one of collaboration, inclusivity, performance and accountability.  This is has become the foundation of all our achievement and with it, together, there’s no challenge we can’t handle!

People would be surprised to know that I….

Grew up in Beijing, China.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Jacobs family?

The fact that Jacobs is a technology company that knows project execution.  Technology and product development are key, but without the means to dynamically implement them to solve real world problems, you’re limited in your opportunity to (directly) contribute to applying them for a better tomorrow.  At Jacobs, you have the opportunity to engage technology as well as utilize it on a wide range of active projects.  Employees have access to every element of the technology/implementation life cycle in a goals-orientated, inclusive, collaborative environment that makes every day rewarding.  There’s no place I’d rather be.

John Parham is a believer in the old adage that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. From supporting a first-of-its-kind high-speed, nationwide wireless broadband public safety network that’s keeping first responders they’re protected and connected to aiding in the race to deploy 5G networks, he’s living this belief everyday as Jacobs VP and Deputy General Manager of Telecommunications. Meet John.


About Jacobs

What drives you drives us as we work to build a better world – together. At Jacobs, every day is an opportunity to make the world better, more connected, more sustainable. We’re powered by more than 55,000 people across the globe who deliver innovative scientific, technical, professional and program-management solutions for public and private clients around the world.

At Jacobs, we’re always looking for dynamic and engaged people to join our team. Bring your passion, your ingenuity and your vision. Let’s see the impact we can create, together.

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