ECS Employees Have GRIT: Meet Corey

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In celebration of National Engineers Week (Feb. 16 – Feb. 22, 2020), meet one of ECS’ rising stars, Corey Dunlap.


When did you start with ECS, and in what position?

In August 2019, I was hired as Operations Manager to open a new office in Gainesville, FL. We will have full service capabilities to assist our clients in the North Central Florida region.


How did you decide to enter this industry?

Although I have no civil engineers in my family, I had many family friends who worked in construction. Discussions with them led me to believe civil engineering would be a great choice for my career. So I moved to Gainesville in 2005 to attend the University of Florida and study civil engineering. My focus in school was water resources, but while attending classes, I interned with a local geotechnical firm specializing in subsurface evaluations and sinkhole studies. I became passionate about geotechnical engineering during that internship and decided to pursue this discipline.


What education helped your career?

While my college education was a necessary step, I have always looked at education as a continuous process. Teaching myself through trial and error, learning from experienced engineers, working in the field with the various construction disciplines, and attending as many technical discussions and industry meetings as possible has proven invaluable to my career. I strive to admit when I’m not an expert on a certain topic, and to dive deep into technical resources and peer knowledge to learn about that topic as best as I can.


What was your biggest challenge along the way? How did you overcome it?

Our industry faces constant pressure to lower our standards for various reasons. This pressure comes from project budgets, but also from our competitors. Convincing clients and the construction industry as a whole to invest in quality geotechnical, materials testing, environmental, and observation services can be challenging at times. Presenting examples of past project risks that were avoided due to quality studies helps communicate the benefits of our services to clients.


What advice would you give someone just coming into the industry?

Situations arise daily that you will be unfamiliar with, and the more time wasted worrying about your lack of knowledge the unhappier managers and clients will be. Ask for advice quickly. Remember that even the best ideas aren’t worth anything unless they can be effectively communicated to the client. Maintaining successful client relationships are just as important as the engineering itself.


Tell us about the new Gainesville office. What’s your number one goal?

Gainesville is a smaller city where most design professionals know one another well. My hope is for ECS Gainesville to mimic the city. I believe fostering an environment for my team to develop and maintain good client relations is the best path to achieve that goal.


Please tell us why you have made ECS your company of choice:

I worked and grew with a local firm for 10 years, starting as an intern and working up to a department manager role. When ECS approached me with an opportunity, I had reservations stepping outside a comfortable role with my old firm. That is until I started researching ECS. The growth the firm has achieved and the general happiness exhibited by ECS employees quickly led me to believe this is the best company to launch the next phase of my career.