Todd Warren, PE, brings 17 years of engineering expertise to Davis & Floyd, a leading South Carolina-based, multidisciplinary engineering firm known for working collaboratively with its clients to design and build innovative projects that improve communities. Warren serves as Vice President, based out of the Columbia office, leading the Structural Engineering Group. During his time at Davis & Floyd, Warren has designed and managed a multitude of projects crossing many markets.
Warren provides services for road improvements, bridge inspections, bridge replacements, design-build projects, water/wastewater treatment facilities, and building expansions/replacements for various private, state and local agencies. He also serves in program management roles for sales tax-funded infrastructure programs, where he directs all aspects of projects involving bridges, buildings and other structures, drainage and stormwater design, water and sewer design, traffic/transportation engineering, utility coordination/SUE, public involvement, and contract management.
GroundBreak Carolinas recently chatted with Warren about his recent promotion to Vice President, his goals for the structural group at Davis & Floyd, and how his background sets him apart as an innovator in the world of engineering.
Davis & Floyd is known as a professional engineering firm, offering multiple services. Give us an overview of the Structural Group and what your department offers.
Structural engineering has been a discipline offered by the firm for over 20 years. The structural team has the capacity to support our other disciplines, including civil, highway/roadway, bridge, water/wastewater, and stormwater. Now we want to expand our services beyond a supporting role within the company and move towards strategic partnerships where we focus on providing structural engineering services independently.
What specific expertise do you bring to your Group as it pertains to structural engineering?
In college, I worked for SCDOT providing construction engineering and inspection services and spent a lot of time observing the way that bridges and roadways are built. I started my professional career with Davis & Floyd in our Greenwood office, gaining technical design experience by delivering various projects including healthcare facilities, libraries, high schools, and bridges. When I moved to our Charleston office, I gained extensive experience working with seismic design and analysis, and renewed my perspective of “how things are built” through an increased involvement in the Davis & Floyd construction engineering and inspection department. In my current role in the Columbia office I have managed penny tax programs, helped get permitting through construction, and really worked the process of a project/program start to finish. This collective experience has helped me see the whole project from a more holistic view and has helped me deliver projects to clients in a more involved way.
Speaking of clients, what is the profile of your typical clients?
Our department has the unique opportunity to serve a variety of markets. I started with a lot of work for both education and healthcare facilities, such as Rivers Education Center in Charleston and Self Regional Healthcare in Greenwood. We have continued to work in these markets, primarily supporting higher education now, such as York Technical College and Lander University. We have done a ton of transportation work across the state and creating infrastructure has been a key focus for our team. Lately, we have been diving into collaborating with other AEC and CRE firms on industrial and commercial development projects and we aim to continue to expand our presence in that market.
What changes have you seen in the structural engineering field since you began your career?
Change is a constant force in any business. Advances in CAD software have always been an ever-evolving process as is the constant improvements within structural engineering design software capabilities. The REVIT platform was in its infancy when I started my career and now projects are almost exclusively delivered with this software. BIM software has a lot of capabilities, one of which is 3D modeling. Allowing our clients, team members, and partners to visualize their projects through this software provides a totally different view into the project that wasn’t available before. We have also been able to incorporate the use of drone technology. Drone use for bridge inspections has really taken off recently and is a game changer for the future of bridge inspections.
You were recently promoted to Vice President. Tell us a little about your goals for the department as you step into your new role?
I want to focus on smart expansion of our services throughout the state. I want our team to continue to provide the level of service we always have, focusing on creating resilient infrastructure for our clients. With a consistent threat of natural events and disasters mixed with aging infrastructure throughout the state, clients need to focus on mitigating threats. I want our team to be the first call to support them in doing so in a smart, safe, financially responsible way so that our neighbors throughout the state can have peace of mind.
About your background – you have two Bachelor’s degrees – one in Civil Engineering, one in Physics. Not your usual combination. Tell us about this.
I’ve always had an interest in taking things apart and trying to put them back together, so some form of engineering seemed like a good fit for a career. I also loved to play baseball and Presbyterian College gave me that opportunity. As a result, I chose to major in Physics while at Presbyterian College with the intent of transferring to Clemson to acquire a Civil Engineering degree. I spent three years at PC and two-and-a-half years at Clemson and was able to complete the requirements for both the Physics degree and the Civil Engineering Degree within that time.
How did baseball and your dual college experience help mold you and give you skills that have helped you grow and develop at Davis & Floyd?
I had a lot of different experiences and exposures by combining my educational experience with a small school and big school. The path that I have been on has given me a really well-rounded background through exposure to a variety of social and educational experiences that other students may not have. Working with SCDOT during my time as an undergrad doing construction inspections has given me a different perspective than a lot of other structural engineers whose experiences may be limited to the design/technical aspects of structural engineering.
Lastly, tell us what makes Davis & Floyd unique – how do you stand out from the competition in the world of structural engineering?
We’re problem solvers for our clients. Often, clients come to us with a problem and they need an expert solution and typically have limited budget to solve that problem. Instead of scoping a project that will solve the problem, but will completely blow their budget, we search for a solution to the entire issue. Whether that is using our large pool of resources from an in-house staff to assure no overruns on budget/scheduling, employing our team of on-staff experts who can help secure grants or government assistance to fund the project, or utilizing any of the countless tactics we have used to deliver our clients the right solution in the past. The relationships I build with my clients are extremely important to me, so designing and engineering projects that make the most positive impact on the communities affected is the best way to build relationships and stand out from the competition.
More about Todd Warren
In addition to Warren’s experience level, he has multiple certifications and licenses, including Registered Professional Engineer in SC, NC and VA, and NHI certified bridge inspector. He is a member of the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) and American Council of Engineering Companies of South Carolina (ACEC-SC).
Representative Projects | Davis & Floyd Structural Engineering Group