An Extension of the Team

Max Grogan, PE

What matters to you? I’ve asked myself this question many times since starting my career at LandDesign and the answer has always remained the same—to be the best engineer I can be. While refining my technical skills and proficiency with CAD were at the forefront of my focus, the more experience I gained, my understanding of the role designers play in delivering value to our clients began to evolve.

From project kick-off to construction closeout, it is our responsibility to be our clients’ champion—anticipating challenges, uncovering the right solutions for their projects, and being their trusted partner every step of the way. To put it simply, we are an extension of their team, working together to achieve a common goal. Through the encouragement of my mentors, I became motivated to expand my role in a project’s lifecycle and give deeper meaning to the client relationships I was developing.

Luckily, an opportunity arose to support a long-time client of LandDesign’s, the City of Charlotte, in a new way. While we tend to service our clients from behind our four walls, the city proposed a new contract that would embed employees from their consultant partners into their offices, allowing for streamlined communication, elevated efficiency, and enhanced collaboration. My passion for land development has driven me to find opportunities for my expertise as an engineer, whether it be infrastructure planning or stormwater solutions, to support the growth of Charlotte—this program was the perfect marriage of my passion and technical ability.

From my desk at LandDesign to my temporary space at the Stormwater Services Department, I embraced my new role as a client liaison to the city, providing my expertise as an engineer who was acutely attuned to their needs. Immersed in this new work environment, I had direct access to city-wide resources from the City Arborist Group to the Water Quality team, making for effortless multi-disciplinary collaboration and simultaneous review and approvals across departments.

While I’ve learned to juggle multiple projects in various stages and gained knowledge of the construction process from existing conditions to final site walk, the ultimate takeaway from this experience is that the role of an engineer goes far beyond production. As a consultant, we have a vested interest in our client’s success—whether we are designing roadways to accommodate multiple modes of transportation or alleviating environmental impact through stormwater solutions.

At the beginning of my career, I had a narrow view of the impact I had on our clients and realized that the solutions we provide only skim the surface of the value we offer. Through my time working with the city in such proximity, I see the expanded role engineers play in making sure their clients feel supported and their needs met. While it is still my goal to be the best technical engineer I can be, I will strive to be an engineer who is also a dependable consultant, trusted partner, and fierce advocate for my client’s needs.

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