Casey Tompkins, PHR, SHRM-CP is Talent Resource Manager at Davis & Floyd (D|F), a multidisciplinary engineering, planning, and landscape architecture firm that focuses on community development, transportation, and water resources projects across South Carolina. Prior to joining D|F six years ago this month, Tompkins had an 18-year career with StaffSource Inc. as Vice President of Operations. In her role with D|F, Tompkins is responsible for recruiting new team members while focusing on retaining current talent.
Tompkins is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and a Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP). She earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina – home to D|F headquarters.
When it comes to recruiting the next generation of engineers, Tompkins collaborates with her D|F colleague Will Balentine, P.E., a civil engineer/project manager who coordinates D|F’s higher education Co-Op and Internship Programs in place at several schools in the region, including Clemson University, The Citadel, and the University of South Carolina. Balentine is a 2016 graduate of Clemson’s civil engineering program and was a summer intern with D|F before joining the company full time upon graduation.
GroundBreak Carolinas recently chatted with Tompkins about the current state of recruiting and how D|F maintains its competitive edge in attracting new hires – both recent graduates and seasoned professionals – in today’s challenging market.
Tell us about your co-op and intern programs.
D|F’s Co-Op and Internship Programs were created by Greg McElhannon, associate/senior project manager, who has been with D|F for more than 25 years and founded the program to help develop our next generation of engineers. As integral parts our of design team, students use what they learn in the classroom and apply it to real projects; therefore, jumpstarting their engineering careers.
Because civil engineering is so broad, there are many career paths students can take once they earn their degrees. Our Co-Op and Internship Programs are designed to help students figure out which discipline they want to focus on once they graduate. Our Co-Op Program allows students to work three semesters throughout college, obtaining real-world experience and ultimately earning an entire year of experience before they graduate, setting themselves apart from their peers. Similarly, our Internship Program allows students to work part-time in the summer between school semesters.
Our structured training program utilizes completed projects as examples for students to learn from. Once trained, they become part of the design team and are given opportunities to solve problems and observe the impact of civil engineering in our world. An analogy we like to tell our co-ops and interns is: College helps you fill your toolbox with tools, but, at D|F, we teach you how to use and apply those tools.
How do you and Will Balentine help new employees find their passion at D|F?
One of the great things about D|F is that we are a multidisciplinary firm that provides professional services in structural, transportation, water/wastewater, hydrology & hydraulics, environmental, and site design across South Carolina. Because of this, we can offer employees opportunities in the various disciplines of civil engineering throughout all regions. Additionally, we have our own planning, landscape architecture, surveying, and construction engineering and inspection teams. This really allows our employees the ability to see every stage of a project from conception through completion.
We find many new employees are unsure of the exact career path they want to take right out of school. Unless they had the opportunity to participate in a co-op or internship program, it can be hard for students to narrow down a specific discipline of civil engineering to pursue through coursework alone. If this is the case, we often start them in our civil site group. Because site design tends to touch every discipline of civil engineering, it is a great place for new employees to start and see which aspects of design they prefer. On the contrary, if employees enjoy the variety that site design offers, they pursue a career there.
At D|F, we recognize that our employees are most likely to succeed in something they are passionate about. We really live by the motto that if you find a job you love, you will never work a day in your life. Through our company culture, various departments, and strategic locations, we offer our employees the unique ability to grow and stay with the company from graduation through retirement.Will Balentine, P.E.
In today’s job market, applicants seem to have the leverage. When potential employees ask you why they should come to work at D|F, what do you tell them?
When candidates ask why they should work at D|F, I share all the reasons why I joined the company and the perks that we have to offer. I tell them how blown away I am by the number of employees who have spent their entire career at D|F from college through retirement. I let them know what great employees they will get to work alongside. We employ some of the most amazing people who are extremely passionate about the work they do.
I also have candidates meet with other employees in our firm so that they can hear firsthand what a great company culture we have at D|F. We also tell them about our super cool projects. Our employees love the diverse projects they get to work on. It is rewarding to know what a positive impact you have on the communities where we live, work, and play. And if work-life balance is important to candidates, then they will love our flexible work schedule.
We hear the words “teamwork, family, fun, caring, and passion” from D|F employees. How do you and the management team create this kind of culture in a firm of 150 employees across 6 offices?
Our culture at D|F has been built over many years. Of course, we have loads of fun with our office events and quarterly gatherings, but that family atmosphere is something that has been there from the start. We have a leadership team that genuinely cares about us. When you work with amazing people and are plugged into fun projects that you enjoy, that’s when you find that passion that our employees talk about.
Davis & Floyd is always plugged in to the communities where you all work and play. Tell us about one of charities in which you’ve been involved.
D|F supports various charities statewide and I really enjoy being part of our local Greenwood Kiwanis Club. I have been a member since I graduated college and currently serve as Membership Chair. I love our service projects, getting to see the smiles of the children we assist, and the fact that helping kids grow and succeed is at the heart of everything we do!
What do you like the most about your job?
I really enjoy the people I get to work with at D|F. I like interacting with candidates as well as our awesome team members. When I interviewed at D|F, they pointed out the fact that we spend more waking hours with our work family than we do our own family, so while there is plenty of hard work to be done, we like to have fun while we do it! I also love the flexibility that allows us to enjoy other things that we are passionate about outside of work.
Beyond the Workday
Outside her role with D|F, Tompkins serves on the board of directors for Greenwood Chamber of Commerce, Greenwood Kiwanis Club, and Piedmont Area Human Resource Association. Tompkins has been recognized with the following awards: Greenwood Chamber’s Under 40 Star, Distinguished Kiwanian Award, and Chamber of Commerce Ambassador of the Year. In addition to teaching Sunday school, Tompkins’s community involvement includes serving as past chair for Self Regional Healthcare Foundation’s Hospital Ball and Silent Auction.