Matt Amonette Recognized With ACEC Next Generation Award

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Matt Amonette, PE, a Geotechnical Associate Principal with ECS’ Special Projects Group (SPG), has been honored with the Next Generation Award by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Virginia chapter.

Matt Amonette stands with three people while holding glass plaque for ACEC 2024 Next Generation Award

This award recognizes member firms’ employees who significantly contribute to their company’s success in the engineering industry. Nominees should meet the following essential criteria:

  • Ten years or less of engineering industry experience
  • Demonstrate leadership in their area of expertise
  • Involved in professional organizations 
  • Involved in civic and community activities


We’re thrilled about Matt’s achievement and sat with him to learn more about his career, professional and community involvement and what led him to earn this award.

Q: Tell us a little about your professional background and experience.

A: I came to ECS in 2014 right after graduating from Virginia Tech’s master’s program and went straight into ECS’ SPG where I’ve worked for Randy Wirt. It has been a great opportunity because I’ve been able to work on some really large design-build projects.

Pretty early on, I was pulled into a new quality assurance and quality control program in 2015-2016 for Dominion Energy’s transmission line construction. I started out as a quality assurance inspector and that sparked a relationship that morphed into a national account and multiple master service agreements with Dominion. However, SPG has typically worked on transportation-related projects and as the relationship grew with Dominion, our SPG team grew a power and utilities arm. As a result, we broke into two parts: transportation and power and utilities. Shortly thereafter, I became the power and utilities lead within the SPG team.

Q: What do you think set you apart from the other individuals who submitted for the award?

A: I think it’s pretty competitive, and working on large design-build projects was probably consistent across all the applicants. However, I think a couple of things might have set me apart. I believe my national accounts management experience, contributions to local engineering organizations and my extracurricular activities helped me in this process. As far as the national account contributions, my Dominion Energy account started at $10,000 a year in sales and just last year we hit $1.9 million in sales.

Another thing that I believe set me apart was being a part of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Over the years, I have been heavily involved with the organization’s Richmond, VA, branch, serving on the board of directors, first as the outreach chair and moving all the way to president.

Lastly, my joy for trail running and being involved with the Charlottesville Area Trail Runners (CATs), also could have set me apart, due to my strong dedication and ability to balance it with work.

Q: Will you go into detail about trail running and what that means to you?

Matt Amonette smiles at camera while trail running in woodsA: I started running in 2020. As I slowly got in shape, the mileage started increasing. I decided to run my first ultramarathon in late 2021. It was a 50K race and it destroyed me. I loved it! Since then, I have run 13 ultras ranging from 50K to 100 miles. I am currently training for the Old Dominion 100 Endurance Run in June 2024. 

Through getting involved in the running community I discovered CATs and joined the board of directors in 2023. That same year, I co-founded and currently serve as co-race director for the Naked Creek 10K and 25K with the support of CATs. In 2024 we had more than 200 racers. It’s such a rewarding way to engage with the community and spread the love of trail running.

Q: What shaped you on your journey to the award?

A: Randy Wirt; I feel like I learned a lot from him because he’s a technically sound geotechnical engineer, but he also has really strong business-development and marketing skills. In my opinion, he’s a perfect example of a doer-seller engineer. I’ve tried to adopt as many of his qualities as I can. Observing him over the years has helped me develop technically, but also develop relationship-building skills that have translated into success with many clients.

Also, my son also shaped me over the years. My first son was born in February 2020, right before the COVID-19 pandemic. He was the main reason why I started trail running. I didn’t want my son to get to know the guy who was living an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle. I would sit at a desk eight hours a day, commuting two hours each way and come home super tired. Once we had him, it motivated me to make some personal changes with my health and start running.

Q: How does this award make you feel?

A: It’s a real honor to win the award because I think it’s a pretty competitive field of nominees. I was honestly surprised when I won because I also know some of the nominees and it’s just a big honor to even be nominated for the award. I’m thankful for the win; it has been exciting and surprising.