Small Business WPE: Core Engineering
Colin Sterns began working for Core Engineering Group soon after it opened in 2004. As a civil engineer in training, Sterns says that Core's working environment fosters open communication and a positive atmosphere where “the management asks for, rather than demands, results,” Sterns wrote in his nomination of the firm for a Workplace Excellence Award.
And with that endorsement, after two years as runner-up, Core Engineering Group, PLLC has vaulted into the top spot as the Small Business category winner.
Started in February 2004, the firm has 10 employees and provides civil engineering and land surveying services in a team culture, as is evident in the approach it takes to all projects. For example, the same CAD (computer-aided design) group works on its project from start to finish, “creating a professional product in which we all have pride.”
The team also spends time on project sites to get a feel for the overall construction and design process while management encourages employees to attend continuing education workshops and seminars. In addition, a library of construction and design tutorials are available in the office.
Outside of the workplace, the Core family participates in team-building paintball tournaments, bowling leagues and, most recently, a day at a shooting range. Management is currently planning a corporate retreat — Core's third. These departures from the office give employees a chance to discuss where the company can improve and, more importantly, how they can improve.
“I have an open-door policy,” stated Douglas Nicholls, CEO of Core.
Core is facing the current economic climate head-on by addressing the issue honestly with employees while simultaneously giving workers a chance to increase responsibilities and master new skills. Core also encourages its staff, particularly the senior leadership, to join professional societies where they can further their knowledge and understanding of the engineering industry.
“We share in the hope of future projects, commiserate the loss of a project, and celebrate each win together,” states the team's nomination application.
Jonathan Klein, who also nominated Core for the Workplace Excellence honor, agrees Core folks have found the silver lining in a decidedly negative economic climate. “It has been a joy to go to work with the group we have assembled and find ways to improve ourselves and our product.”
— By Molly Blake, Special to Yuma Sun