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TCEP 180: From Employee to Owner of a Civil Engineering Company (In Just 60 Days)

In this episode, the eighth episode in our Civil Engineering Entrepreneurs Series, I talk to Kevin Riggs, P.E., President & CEO at Cole Design Group, Inc. about growing a civil engineering company and developing your team. He also shares a very interesting story of how he went from an employee to owner of a large firm in just 60 days. Engineering Quotes: Here Are Some of the Questions I Ask Kevin: How did you end up starting your firm? What made you want to be an entrepreneur? What were the challenges to getting to the point of owning a company? What is your general philosophy of growing a successful firm? What is the importance of how you view the services that you provide? Explain the importance of putting people in the right position to be successful. How do you define the success of these individuals? How do you apply those principles to the clients of the firm? How do you turn that into growth? Do you have any advice for civil engineers who are trying to grow their companies, or who are considering pursuing a career like yours? Here Are Some Key Points Discussed in This Episode About Transitioning From Employee to Owner of a Civil Engineering Company: Having a feeling that you want to do more than you currently are is a great motivator for starting a civil engineering company. You must feel the need to share your vision of what the industry could look like. Ensure that your networking has been done so that you have people who will follow and join you in your endeavors. Your network should be compiled of a vast array of talent like engineers, mentors, business owners, business professionals, banking professionals, and so on. It will help you when you need to ask questions and you already have an expert in your network who you can depend on. There is no magic recipe, wrong way, or 100% correct way to growing a civil engineering company. You must find what works for your civil engineering company at that time. What works today may not work tomorrow. You need a team that can work with you and generate new ideas and things to try to keep your civil engineering company growing. You must start with the intent that your company will be the best at doing things that others do not like doing. It must permeate down from the leadership of the company to all the employees for it to be successful. Ensure everything that your company does is in line with the company’s mission and vision statement. You need to grow and cultivate the people in your company. Continue to hire the best of the best and give them all the room they need to make mistakes. Being comfortable enough to push themselves so far that they make a mistake will also give them the room to be successful. Culture has two words that go with it that leaders must adopt. Culture comes with cultivating, but it also comes with culling. Sometimes you hire somebody who is not a good fit for your company. If you have tried to get the person to fit in with your company, but they are reluctant to do so, then it is time to cull. Many times, this is a leadership fault for hiring someone who does not fit in, or they are assigned tasks that do not fit their skill set. Culture, cultivation, and culling are the three C's that makes the biggest difference in your company. From a service standpoint, do not do anything that your company cannot be the best it possibly can be at unless you can provide true value to the customer or client. Always expect perfection from your team but realize it is not possible because they are all human. If you do not start off expecting perfection, you are never going to see it. Putting people in the correct positions is an important aspect of any company. If you are going to grow people, once you get them into the correct position,

Om Podcasten

The Civil Engineering Podcast provides engineering career advice and success stories specifically for civil engineers. Civil engineers Anthony Fasano, PE and Christian Knutson, PE host the show and showcase civil engineering projects and professionals. Each show includes an overview of an interesting civil engineering project and an interview with a successful civil engineering professional.