Derek L. Clyburn, P.E., M.B.A. is Senior Vice President and North Region Manager for ECS Southeast, LLP — a premier provider of geotechnical, construction materials, environmental and facilities services across North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. ECS Southeast is an operating entity of Engineering Consulting Services (ECS), one of the largest and rapidly growing engineering and consulting companies in the country.
During Clyburn’s more than two decades with ECS, his duties have included serving as a project engineer, department manager, branch manager and now regional manager with operations in three states. Currently based in Raleigh, N.C., Clyburn exemplifies how ECS provides dynamic career opportunities for its employees.
GroundBreak Carolinas got some first-hand insight from Clyburn about his areas of responsibility within ECS Southeast, the people who are key to the region’s success, his own professional journey, and more.
Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you arrive at ECS?
After earning my civil engineering degree at Clemson, I spent the early part of my career working in the Charlotte office of a national geotechnical, environmental, construction materials testing and facilities consulting firm. After four years with this then iconic engineering firm that I thought that I would never leave, I made the best decision of my professional career and joined ECS. I was looking for the opportunity to join a new company that had robust growth plans that would provide me the ability to grow as a technical professional. Not only did ECS provide that to me, but the ECS culture and vision aligned with my core values and long-term goals.
Why is Raleigh a high priority market?
It wasn’t until I moved to Raleigh two years ago and became part of the business community that I fully understood how robust and dynamic the Triangle region really is. The market is filled with energy and amazing project opportunities. ECS has completed some of the largest industrial, manufacturing, transportation and institutional projects in the Southeastern US. The Triangle region has a loaded backlog of similar sized projects of equal complexity and an incredible number of projects in the works to keep up with the region’s surging population growth.
We understand that you’ve transformed ECS’ Raleigh business unit. What has been the key to this successful transformation?
Our great people and great clients that entrust ECS with their projects are the keys to our success. Our Raleigh operation has indeed gone through a complete transformation. Even though we have a really, really long way to go, it is very exciting to be part of an operation that has grown by over 50 percent. My primary goal for Raleigh was to seek as many opportunities as possible, to listen to marketplace participants, and find ways to address their needs and concerns; and then deliver value to them by providing client-focused, cost effective innovative engineering solutions. By looking at projects through the lens of our clients first and developing solutions accordingly, we have been able to stand out in the marketplace, obtain market share and grow our business. In order to accomplish this, we had to develop our existing talent by providing them access to skill enhancement opportunities and by recruiting new highly skilled talent that fits our culture. Similar to the construction industry, finding talent is our biggest challenge. Fortunately, we’ve added 10 new engineers to the Raleigh business unit who have brought our enhanced technical capabilities to an unprecedented level. The Raleigh office now brings over 200 years of combined engineering experience to deliver value to our clients and our capacity to serve is off the charts.
Describe your recruiting efforts.
One thing that has helped me recruit extremely talented engineers with advanced degrees is the great market and awesome projects that we are working on. The ECS Raleigh team has worked on numerous critical health care projects such as North Carolina Heart and Vascular Center, mixed-use projects at North Hills, numerous pharmaceutical projects, transportation projects such as the next phase of Interstate 540, and an upcoming light rail project that will connect two of the Triangle’s most highly recognized institutions of higher learning.
Your team recently won three American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) awards! That’s quite an accomplishment.
Each year the ACEC of North Carolina holds the Engineering Excellence Awards program (EEA) — ‘the Academy Awards of the engineering industry’ — honoring the year’s most outstanding engineering accomplishments. This past November ECS was recognized with several awards, including the 2018 Honor Award for the new FedEx Ground Distribution Facility, Durham, N.C. and the 2018 People’s Choice Award, chosen by fellow ACEC award winners for the FedEx Ground Distribution Facility. This year’s EEA was especially gratifying because it was the first time that ECS Raleigh’s new engineering team won an award and it was the second year in a row that an ECS project in the Triangle has won the ACEC People’s Choice Award.
What does winning these awards mean to employees, clients, the company?
Our engineers strive for excellence every day, so it’s a nice pat on the back for them to be recognized with awards for the sound solutions they bring to the industry and the value they bring to our clients. The awards also demonstrate to our clients that we take pride in our work and it affords us the opportunity to develop closer bonds with our clients. The awards also serve as a way to let our clients know that we are doing our part to bring them recognition for developing and building projects that bring value to the citizens of the Triangle Region.
How’s 2018 looking for ECS Raleigh?
Now with nearly 80 people housed in Raleigh, ECS’ team consists of technical staff, laboratory personnel, project managers, principals, scientists, geologists, building envelope consultants, IT professionals, and administrative professionals. Everyone has a critical role in helping us support our clients each and every day. ECS has experienced explosive growth and tremendous success coming into 2018 and there’s more to come. We can’t wait for what’s next.
About ECS – ECS currently operates in the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Southeast and Southwest. With more than 1,600 employees, 50 offices, and 30 years of experience, ECS delivers responsiveness, accomplishment, and growth to both the private and public sectors. For more information on ECS and our career opportunities, please visit: www.ecslimited.com.