The Problem Solver

Asha Singh (EMDC '22) saw a need and founded a company to meet it; she turned to EMDC to help ensure it would be successful.

Asha Singh (EMDC ‘22) doesn’t let problems stay unsolved for long. 

Early in her career as a civil engineer and cost estimator, she saw  there weren’t many companies specializing in project and budget controls for large building and transportation projects. To fill that gap, she started one herself. 

Asha SinghWhen she looked around the construction industry and noticed women were under-represented in its ranks, Singh committed to expanding her company and growing that representation herself. And when Singh realized she needed to improve her business and leadership skills to take her company and its employees to even greater heights, she chose to enroll in Northwestern Engineering's Master of Science in Executive Management for Design and Construction (EMDC) program. 

“This program was a perfect fit and helped me create a path for exactly what I needed to do to become a successful business owner,” said Singh, who started Synnov Group Inc. in 2012 and serves as president and CEO. “This program provides a clear roadmap for how the CEO of a company can become a better leader.”

Synnov Group takes its name from the combination of two words – synergy and innovation – that serve as a foundation for Singh’s approach to business. 

“I believe in teamwork. Together as a team we can always achieve more,” she said. “Working in synergy creates a very friendly and motivating environment, and this synergy brings innovative ideas.” 

The company, which has 30 employees – more than 60 percent of whom are women – focuses on managing all phases of rail, highway, roadway, aviation, and building projects. Her client list includes the Chicago Transit Authority, the Cook County (Illinois) Housing Authority, the Obama Presidential Library, the Chicago Department of Transportation, and the Illinois Department of Transportation. 

To handle her responsibilities as Synnov Group’s CEO while completing the EMDC program took effective time management, but there was frequent crossover between what Singh was learning and what she was doing with her business. 

“I was able to practically apply the learning from the class in my work, which made me more efficient,” she said. 

Beyond enhancing efficiency, the EMDC program improved her business and leadership skills. It also helped her create a hiring and retention program and develop a forecasting model to ensure the future profitability of her business. 

“I have grown both professionally and personally and feel more confident by having a clear knowledge and understanding of the various business processes,” she said. “I use a more holistic approach and am more confident in my decision-making. Now I know that the action and plan that I am making will lead me to success.” 

That’s why Singh recommends the program to fellow business leaders. 

“This program provides a holistic perspective in every part of your executive-level work,” she said. “The EMDC curriculum is well designed to enhance the knowledge, skills, and strategy that helps create a better leader who is looking to take their work and business to the next level in the construction industry.”

McCormick News Article