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2017 Ward Lecture will Address Business and Professional Ethics

Nicholas DeNichilo, PE, FASCE, NAC
Nicholas DeNichilo, PE, FASCE, NAC

On Friday, February 17, 2017 at 2:30 p.m. in the Villanova Room of the Connolly Center, Villanova’s College of Engineering will welcome Nicholas DeNichilo, PE, FASCE, NAC, president and CEO of global engineering, management and development firm Mott MacDonald. As part of the annual Patrick J. Cunningham, Jr. and Susan Ward '80 Endowed Lecture Series in Engineering, DeNichilo will address the Villanova community on the topic of “Business and Professional Ethics—Managing with Integrity.”

Numerous studies demonstrate that ethical business practices and long-term business success are intrinsically linked. Companies that adhere to high ethical standards not only protect their brands and reputations, they can attract and retain quality employees who want to work for mission-driven employers. And it’s good for the bottom line, because ethical companies establish customer trust and are more successful in attracting new business.

Conversely, a lack of individual or corporate ethics can have far-reaching consequences, from the economic collapse of the late 2000s to a physical collapse of engineered infrastructure. Poor ethical behavior will damage a company’s standing in the community, destroy credibility and ultimately impact the ability to conduct business. The good news is that 80% of respondents in a recent survey conducted by the American Management Association believe that ethics can be taught.

At Villanova, ethics are a natural extension of the core Augustinian value of veritas—the pursuit of truth—a commitment to mutuality, equality, justice and respect for the sacredness of all creation. The College’s mission statement reinforces this notion: “As a community of scholars, we seek to educate students to pursue both knowledge and wisdom, and to aspire to ethical and moral leadership within their chosen careers, their community, and the world.” Each year at commencement, College graduates also recite the Engineer’s Creed, in which they pledge in part to “place service before profit, the honor and standing of the profession before personal advantage, and the public welfare above all other consideration” (National Society of Professional Engineers, June 1954).

Based on his experience leading Mott MacDonald—a company committed to the highest standards of ethical behavior—DeNichilo will share the importance of establishing and following ethical standards and providing tools to help people do the “right things the right way.” He will also address organizational codes of conduct, which clarify an organization's mission, values and principles, linking them with standards of professional conduct.

The Patrick J. Cunningham, Jr. and Susan Ward '80 Endowed Lecture Series in Engineering was established in 2009 by Villanova Engineering alumnus Susan Ward ’80 ChE and her husband Patrick Cunningham, Jr. to offer students exposure to experts from various engineering fields and educational opportunities outside the classroom. The lecture is part of the College’s professional development program, Career Compass.