GRIT Awards Winner Spotlight: Dakota Skutka

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Dakota Lead Award

We are very excited to introduce our 2023 Lead Award Winner Dakota Skutka from our Columbia, SC office. The GRIT Awards recognize employees who go above and beyond in demonstrating ECS core values of collaborate, focus and lead. We caught up with Dakota to learn a little more about what has inspired him.


Q: How did you come to ECS?

A: I started college as Mechanical Engineering but finished school with a degree in Corrections and Criminal Justice. A high school and college friend was interning at ECS when I was finishing up school and he told me it could be a good opportunity to get into engineering without having finished engineering in school. I started as a field technician with the intent of moving up.

Q: What motivates you to work hard?

A: My number one motive for working hard in life and excelling in anything has always come from one family motto: “Remember who you represent.” I have always tried to work hard to show and share my faith in Jesus as a Christian. I always want to be the person that can be dependable and trustworthy in all conditions. And secondly, to provide for my wife and now first child who is on the way, due in June. I always strive to move up and make enough so that my wife can raise our kids and does not feel the need to work full time but instead pursue her goal of owning a successful wedding planning company.

Q: What was your first job?

A: ECS was technically my first full time job. My father is a contractor who owned his own company and I have been working in construction since I was 12 when he made me start working for him. Didn’t enjoy it then but I appreciate it now. And then in college I worked 3 part time jobs to pay for as much as I could at a coffee shop, the USC gym, and a classical dance teacher.

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment?

A: I don’t really know how to answer this because many of the things that come to mind I would not really consider accomplishments, but yet things I am incredibly grateful to God for allowing me to experience. Like getting married to my wife, having a healthy daughter on the way, getting our first home this year, and being successful within ECS over the past six years now. I think the biggest soon to be goal that I am excited for is getting my MSI—which I am one certification away from and pushing hard for.

Q: What advice would you give to someone entering the industry?

A: It would be that this type of work can be extremely challenging and testing some days. But it gets better. If you put in good and honest work, you will be rewarded at this company. It’s a good career and like everything worth having in life, it takes a little bit of time and learning the trade before you may begin to see payout.

Q: What does winning the GRIT Award mean to you?

A: It has been a huge goal of mine since I heard about the award and found out I was nominated two years ago by a former colleague. It means a lot to know that all the long days and nights have been noticed. Not that being noticed makes the hard work worth it in itself, but it is definitely nice. Now I am excited to continue training others and working hard looking for the next person to nominate for the GRIT award next year.