Editor's note: This is one in a weekly series of profiles on locally owned and operated businesses in Southern Oregon.
What do you do and how long have you been doing it? We do civil and structural engineering. I started Dew Engineering in 1999 and have been in the engineering field since 1985. I'm licensed in Washington and Colorado as well as Oregon. I started my own company because I wanted to stay in the community. My favorite projects are educational and medical facilities.
Business: Dew Engineering Inc.
How long have you lived in the Rogue Valley? I was born here and attended Ashland High School and graduated in 1982.
What inspired you to go into this line of work? I've always had an interest in carpentry. When I looked at different colleges, I had a chance to meet with the department head for structural engineering at Oregon Institute of Technology. After a long conversation, he told me my personality was more toward designing something than actually building it. My personality is more to make something work, not to create something. So an engineering profession fit me far better than building. In short, that's how God made me.
What decision or action would you change if you could do it again? If I wanted to enhance what I've done, I would have had to spend time and energy marketing. Everything I do comes through the door. Marketing would have increased business, but I couldn't have handled increased business during the boom time.
What's the toughest business decision you've made? Letting go an employee. They are a person with a life and family, but the employee was not compatible with the position.
Who are your competitors? Thorton Engineering in Jacksonville, Hardy Engineering in Medford and Structural Solutions in Medford.
Instead of having competitors, we tend to collaborate. If a project is bigger than I can handle, I will enlist a competitor to handle it, or if a competitor has a greater expertise in an area, I will go to them. That's unique to our community. People in other areas don't like to expose clients to a competitor in other areas for fear of losing them.
What are your goals? I do work in Klamath Falls, Roseburg and Brookings. I don't go into California. My goal is to maintain a high level of service to an existing clientele. As their work increases, I will need to meet that demand. My clients are architectural firms, school districts and hospitals, as well as builders. The lion's share of my work comes from local architects and contractors. R.A. Murphy Construction is my largest client.
What training or education did you need? To become an engineer requires four years of accredited engineering education, and I did that at Oregon Tech. Then you are required to have four years under a licensed engineer. I worked at the city of Ashland and then Marquess and Associates. Then you have to pass two eight-hour exams, as well.
What's your advice for budding entrepreneurs? Make sure it's something you are passionate about. Seek advice and follow your heart. I would talk to anybody who had started their own business. In my case, I talked with a half-dozen engineers who had started their own businesses to find out about their headaches and rewards.
To suggest ideas for this column, about businesses that are at least five years old, contact reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.