When Mike Weeks and Phil Dalpiaz formed DWG Consulting Engineers in 2008, the Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, engineering firm employed 12 associates. In 2022, this Good Company has grown that number to 34, but Weeks is quick to point out that a much stronger metric by which to measure his company’s growth isn’t so much the number of associates, but rather their quality.
“If there’s one message that might be loud and clear, it’s hire well,” Weeks said. “Don’t hire what’s available, hire who and what you need. Too many mistakes are made when you don’t hire the right person for the right position, or you’ve had the wrong person sitting in the wrong chair.”
For the right candidate sitting in any DWG chair, Weeks counted self-motivation and results-focused creativity among his most desired attributes, along with well-roundedness.
“You’re combining the creativity part of it with the science part of it,” he said. “From a technical standpoint, that’s sort of the ideal person. From a personality standpoint, we’re looking for people who can communicate well. Engineers are typically not people that you would think of that are the best communicators. We’re not looking for the guy who looks down at his feet and just looks at his shoes. We’re looking for the guy who looks down and sees your shoes and says, ‘Hey, I like those shoes!’ Somebody who appreciates something that they see, and just not a shy person, but somebody who can really communicate and work well in a team.”
For its part, DWG creates the ideal atmosphere in which such people may thrive.
“I’d say DWG in particular puts a lot of autonomy in its engineers,” said Project Manager Christian Gaeta, “so we’re given the resources we need to succeed, but also a lot of freedom to explore and learn for ourselves, and given guidance from the upper engineers. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to dive in and figure something out for myself, while also relying on the experience of some of the older engineers who have done it before, so I’m not reinventing the wheel every time.”
And from the time they assembled their first team, Weeks and Dalpiaz began to harness their powers to effect change.
“We started looking in 2008 for ways to make sure that we were reaching back into the community,” Weeks said, “and the first place we went to was Water Missions, which is a non-profit that does fundraisers in this area, and to go build wells and do clean water projects in third world countries.”
From there, team members became active participants in deciding which causes to pursue, and eventually the DWG Cares initiative was born.
“We found different ways to donate to organizations for leukemia or cancer, things that were very important to our employee-owners,” Weeks said. “Our DWG Cares developed a plan that we would do things on a quarterly basis. We would identify some specific organizations to give to, and that would basically come from our grass roots. People who had some attachment to a particular type of giving arrangement, be it Alzheimer’s, special needs or things like that.”
By recognizing exceptional talent and putting it to work as a force for good, DWG contributes engineering not just to the community’s structures, but to a better tomorrow for the people within.
“It’s cool to go around town, and I have worked on a lot of projects in Charleston, and eating in a restaurant, talking to my friends, just saying, ‘Yeah, yeah. I designed the sprinkler system for this building,’” Gaeta said. “And I notice all the things that I wouldn’t have noticed before, having designed them. It gives me joy in my city to know that I’m contributing in that way, and it’s a good feeling.”