As structural engineers, we are wired to solve problems. In fact, that’s why Engineering Solutions was started in the first place. Co-founder Brian Koerner had a goal to be partner in a firm by the time he was 30. The firm he was working for at the time did not offer ownership to its employees. Clearly, that was a problem. His solution? Start his own firm: Engineering Solutions.
Thirteen years later, Engineering Solutions has grown beyond Brian. There are three office locations and a whole team of specialized structural engineers who tackle innovative projects in Central Virginia and the surrounding region. But none of it would be possible if Brian hadn’t ventured out on his own in 2004. As our nation celebrates Independence Day this week, we’re taking a look back at how Engineering Solutions got its independent start by talking to Brian about what it took, what he’s learned along the way, and where the company is headed in the future.
What’s one of the biggest challenges for starting your own business?
Starting my own business was important to me as someone who values the opportunity to lead. But there’s a lot that comes with that – when it’s your business, you handle everything. You can focus on engineering but you also have to take care of the administration, human resources, etc. that comes with a growing business. Entrepreneurs should be mindful of that when they start out.
What are some of the benefits of starting your own business?
We like to joke that one of the good things is only working half days: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.! On a serious note, it’s important to keep in mind that just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you’re making money. You’ve got to work hard but also work smart. Starting your own business lets you set the pace and productivity of your days, for better or worse. Ultimately, it’s been amazing to watch the company grow from two people to 12.
Over the last 13 years, what’s one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned?
The people make the business. From our teammates to our clients to our community partners, people have made us what we are today. It takes good people to ensure the projects and the company are successful. Our growth wouldn’t be possible without the support and involvement of good people along the way.
What can clients expect when working with a startup firm like Engineering Solutions?
We take pride in our team and empower them. As a leader, I don’t need to micromanage because we invest in teammates who are self-motivated disciplined. Everyone adheres to our Core Values and completes projects accordingly. You won’t necessarily find that with other firms who might be more concerned with the bottom line than their character and integrity.
What does the future of Engineering Solutions look like?
Troy Rudolph became a partner at Engineering Solutions in January 2017. Together, we’re looking forward to adding partners in the next couple of years. I expect we will continue to expand to more locations as well. More importantly, I’d like to focus on growing diversity in our skill set as a team and in our projects. We will continue to invest in developing our current team. We recently completed a great program together called Engage & Grow over the course of 12 weeks. We learned more about each other as well as ourselves. I have seen leaders emerge out of this program and I expect to see more of the same in the coming years. Engineering Solutions will continue to be shaped by the people who are a part of it, and because of that, I know there are great things to come.