ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Bobby Downes, Summit Design and Engineering Services Construction Engineering and Inspection (CEI) Manager, and Michelle Long, PE, North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Bridge Construction Estimates & Claims Engineer, presented on CEI contracts to over 120 attendees at the 19th Annual Southeast Audit and Engineering Meeting in Asheville, N.C.
Representatives from over 15 state departments of transportation, along with consultants and engineering firms, throughout the southeast were in attendance at this four-day event. This was the first year consultants and engineering firms were encouraged to attend the event. Presentation topics varied from engineering procurement in North Carolina to risk assessments and audit processes. To view the full agenda, please visit the event on NCDOT's website.
In his current role, Mr. Downes manages 55 transportation technicians in Summit’s CEI branch and works with NCDOT and local municipalities. Prior to joining Summit in 2006, he worked 36 years in NCDOT’s Division 5 as an assistant resident engineer and resident engineer in construction with Mrs. Long.
Working with NCDOT for over 21 years, Mrs. Long has worked in Division 12 as an assistant resident engineer and in Division 5 as a resident engineer. She joined the Construction Unit in 2002 and has served in various positions since.
In their presentation, Mrs. Long discussed NCDOT’s increasing utilization of private engineering firms on CEI contracts. With a drastic decrease in NCDOT construction technicians recently, over 40 percent of the technicians on current NCDOT contracts are from private engineering firms. She explained the process of negotiating CEI contracts with the Department, including reimbursables such as cell phones, fuel rates and testing equipment. Consistent with the rest of the Department’s digital progression, Mrs. Long explained a future requirement for all technicians on NCDOT CEI contracts to utilize iPads/tablets.
Providing a contrasting perspective, Mr. Downes described the role of Small Professional Services Firms (SPSF), an NCDOT classification, on Department CEI contracts and gave insight on getting state work. “Begin with the end in mind,” is a useful philosophy to live and work by, Downes advised, referencing Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” From invoice format to attention to detail, “beginning with the end in mind” allows firms and its technicians to deliver exceptional services to satisfied clients.
After being awarded state work, Mr. Downes described the challenge of staffing jobs due to a shortage of transportation technicians, which many firms throughout the southeast are facing. Explore Summit CEI career opportunities and other job postings here.