July 12, 2019

A Smarter Future is a Smart Investment: An Interview with Clark's Chief Financial Officer

Sameer Bhargava, executive vice president and chief financial officer, is part of Clark’s executive leadership team responsible for the company’s overall growth and financial health. Among his other responsibilities, Sameer oversees Clark’s Strategic Investment Committee, a crossfunctional team dedicated to supporting the company’s innovation efforts.

Describe how your role as CFO aligns with innovation at Clark.

Part of my responsibility is carefully managing the valuable resources of our company. Our capital provides us with the opportunity to invest in our future. As CFO, I am of course focused on generating the highest financial returns on our investments, but we are also evaluating how our investments are paying off in other ways – by improving the day-to-day lives of our team, adding value for our clients, or reducing risk for our company. Looking at our company and the industry, I see the potential for very attractive returns if we invest our resources wisely. That potential – paired with our experience and expertise – keeps me excited about the future.

What have you seen in other industries that can be applied to the construction industry to increase the rate and adoption of innovation?

I’ve been privileged to work with many successful companies and have learned that great companies follow best practices that are transferrable to every industry. Innovative companies have robust yet flexible plans that guide the work they do today and the decisions they make affecting tomorrow. At Clark, we are guided by our strategic roadmap, which ensures that we invest in the right ideas and commit the right resources so that our innovation efforts yield impactful and timely results aligned with our long-term vision.

What do you think are the biggest areas of opportunity for innovation in the construction industry? 

We think there is a great opportunity to transform productivity and operational excellence through digitization, 5D modeling, supply chain management, modular construction, internet of things, predictive analytics, and more. At Clark, we have dedicated teams working on some exciting initiatives tied to each of these areas – we’re very optimistic about how these developments will positively impact our clients and our people, as well as the larger construction community.

How can our innovation efforts help our clients? 

Our clients are the lifeblood of our business and developing a robust, partnership-driven approach for them is one of our key strategic goals. Innovation is a critical component in getting us there. We are exploring ways to further leverage data, along with our broad, deep experience, to predict – and address – potential issues before they arise in the field. Similarly, we are capitalizing on the advancement of BIM capabilities. We are using robust models that allow all project stakeholders – designers, engineers, trade contractors, et al. – to work together to optimize the schedule and budget. Lastly, our innovation efforts are increasing transparency and enhancing communication so that our clients have a clear, real-time understanding of how we are addressing their needs.

What are some of the most exciting innovations that Clark has implemented since you joined the company? 

Safety is always top of mind for us. We have recently invested in some leading-edge enhancements to keep everyone on the jobsite safer – specifically, safety helmets and equipment seatbelt technology. It’s been exciting to see the rest of the industry follow our lead and adopt these best-in-class standards.

Sameer Bhargava joined Clark in 2016 from the Carlyle Group, a publicly-held global alternative asset manager, where he served as managing director and director of corporate development. He received his MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School and graduated from Harvard University with an honors degree in biology