Ajay Prabhu (AP) is the Chief Operating Officer and Sonia Kutty (SK) is General Manager – Human Resources at QuEST. In this interview, they share their experiences in the transformation brought about at QuEST, through the People CMM® initiative.
QuEST (OBU – India, Bangalore) was appraised and rated at maturity level 3 of the People CMM® in June 2012, using the SCAMPI-A (v1.2) appraisal methodology. Read more details here.
Q: Please tell us something about your professional history/ background
Ajay Prabhu (AP): Oh well, it started off with a flight from Bombay-to-Boston back in 1990. After graduating from National Institute of Technology, I joined a Masters program in the University of Massachusetts. Seven memorable and intellectually-enriching years later, I graduated with a PhD in high frequency electronics and joined Hewlett Packard in Sonoma County, California. Unlike most others with a PhD, I joined the manufacturing part of HP’s Test & Measurement Division. It was a great experience, going from a research environment to the hustle and bustle of the manufacturing floor. After a couple of years into the job, HP divested our division into an independent company – Agilent Technologies. It was an exhilarating time when the company was transforming; I too transformed alongside. In 2002, I decided to move back to India and have been with QuEST ever since. I have had a fantastic journey while learning and contributing to QuEST’s transformation from a small 200 people company to 4000 people fast-growing global enterprise.
Sonia Kutty (SK): Well, you could say I am a thoroughbred “Questian” since a major part of my career has been with QuEST. When I joined QuEST way back in 2002 we were a small company with 300 employees or so. Today we touch 4000 and it has been a tremendous journey.
Prior to QuEST, I worked with Toyota Kirloskar Motors in the Human Resource Planning Department.
Q: Please tell us something about your organization, QuEST.
AP: QuEST is indeed a nice story. Started by college graduates, who spotted an opportunity to build a business around better ‘customer focus’. This central theme has been the mainstay of QuEST growth since inception in 1997 in New York, USA.
The company was an early adopter of offshoring of Engineering Services when QuEST set up its India presence in 1998. QuEST is ‘Born to Engineer’; we are completely focused on providing engineering services to a few marquee customers in Power Generation, Oil & Gas, Aerospace, Transport and Industrial verticals. QuEST is busy bringing engineers of many nationalities to work together as one seamless team to bring unprecedented value to our customers – “Great quality at competitive pricing”. Today, QuEST employs close to 1000 American, 250 English, 250 Spanish, 100 Australian, 100 Italian and 2300 Indians working out of 29 different cities spread across the world. QuEST is a truly global engineering company. We have been doubling our staff every 24 months for quite a few years now.