2017 - Year in Review

2017 at The Wooten Company was a banner year with the help of newly recruited top talent, an invigorated dedication to client-relationships, and a much-needed focus on infrastructure across the country.


As we look back over the past 12 months, it feels like last week that our firm stormed into 2017 with more bookings and backlog than we can remember, but judging by what has been accomplished the company’s dedicated staff never batted an eye.  From gaining footholds in new geographic markets to ushering in a new era of proactive asset management and even receiving awards for outstanding design work, the year has been a blur and we’re ever-grateful to share some of its highlights.

A Growing Family

Competition for talent in our industry is more intense than ever, and this means that the caliber of people who joined us this year is equally impressive. Many new faces were added to our team in 2017, and even several familiar ones returned from other endeavors. We are proud to say that this diverse and highly-qualified group brings education and experience from across the nation (and even overseas) to our clients as they provide for the health and welfare of their communities. In addition to new leadership in both Lester Lowe and Ed Reams who are leading our Site Civil Practice Group and Utility Coordination Teams, respectively, we welcomed more than a dozen others to the Wooten Family.

Tackling New Challenges for New Clients

The Strategic Plan Update that began in 2014 prescribed some very aggressive goals for the company to achieve. Not the least of which was an expansion into South Carolina to offer our expertise in water and sewer infrastructure. Thanks to the commitment of Regional Manager Chad Easter and the trust of devoted community leaders, we began working on projects throughout the State and are delighted to say that 2017 was a terrific success.

On top of this excitement, each of our Regional Offices and both Departments have been equally tireless, deepening our relationships with existing customers and building trust with new ones. All told the company began work on projects for more than 20 new clients in 2017.

Keeping up with the Changes

At both the State and Federal level, 2017 was full of twists and turns in legislature, keeping our resident policy watchers hard at work. And although there are always some areas where work needs to be done, there are also plenty of opportunities to celebrate.

It has been a productive year for many local governments in regards to asset management and investing in proactive maintenance with the help of Asset Inventory and Assessment funds from NCDEQ. Our teams put in countless hours assisting with applications for these grants, and this year those teams began working on plans for over a dozen communities - many of which are now in the implementation phase of adopting Wooten Technologies’ AMOS software (as a side note, look for big news on this front early in 2018).

The momentum behind the healthy and happy cities trend also barreled forward in 2017, and with the help of new Site Civil Practice Manager Lester Lowe, the company has been helping carry this torch for many of our clients. Lester brings to the firm a career in designing the parks, trails and community amenities that support this vision and his team is working hard to promote and develop assets that our friends and neighbors can be proud to have in their backyards.

NCDOT experienced some radical changes, and under the leadership of Secretary Jim Trogdon and COO Bobby Lewis, the amount of let contracts doubled in 2017. This means that right-of-ways need to be acquired and existing water, sewer, gas and telecommunications infrastructure relocated to allow for road improvements and aging bridge replacements. Under the leadership of Utility Coordination Manager Ed Reams, we are positioned to help our clients and other engineering firms with these difficult utility relocation and coordination efforts.

Of course happy and healthy citizens also need to pay the bills, and just this week Governor Cooper announced a landmark occasion introducing the first client of the Kingsboro Megasite in Edgecombe County. Triangle Tyre, a Chinese tire manufacturer, will build their first manufacturing facility in the U.S. bringing more than 800 jobs and over $2.4 billion in economic impact to the State’s economy. As the engineering firm selected to provide water and sewer infrastructure to this new industrial park, we couldn’t be more proud of our involvement with such an impactful project.  This was not the only jobs-related announcement this year either, as Billie Hansen will attest, and because we are fortunate to live in one of the most desirable parts of the country, every department and office of the company has rolled up their sleeves in the planning and design efforts associated with economic development.

With clients aggressively investing in new growth-related infrastructure, regular repair and maintenance, and preventative planning for the future, it would be easy to assume that our teams couldn’t handle much more, but 2017 also revolved around one more challenge: cleaning up after Hurricane Matthew. Matthew may have devastated the Southeast U.S. almost a year and a half ago, but the storm targeted some of the company’s longest standing clients and our dedicated staff put in whatever time it took this year to help get them back on their feet. It is our commitment as a profession to care and look out for the public welfare and we know that clients depend on us for that. We are grateful to be in a position to help.

Giving Thanks

So during this joyous time of year, we would like to give thanks to our employees, our clients, and our partners for their shared devotion, and we wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for the New Year. 

Imagine A Day Without Water


A Brief History

North Carolina’s first public water system was developed in the Town of Salem (now Winston-Salem) in 1778. By 1888 there were still only 12 cities with water supply systems in North Carolina, a mix of private water companies and publicly-owned utilities.

But as of 2015, the number of public water systems had exploded to approximately 6,151 in North Carolina alone, with a significant percentage of these systems (88%) dedicated to serving less than 500 people. This decentralization, intended to provide elements of control to these communities, makes it very difficult to cover costs, as water treatment plants and distribution systems benefit greatly from operational efficiencies of scale. These often unsustainable costs mean that reliable and high quality potable water, while not exactly thought of as a scarcity in our area of the country, is in fact a hard-earned luxury that is sometimes subsidized with Federal or State funds and carefully managed to continue meeting water quality standards.  

So What Can We Do About It?

In our ‘imagining a day without water’ series, our engineers continue to develop solutions to protect the communities we call home. As we work with many systems spread across river basins and groundwater aquifers throughout the State, we’ve come to know the devoted operators who ensure that their water treatment plants remain sophisticated in their operation and perform to exacting standards. Since small system operators work equally hard to maintain their plants’ performance levels, many of their communities are considering mergers or structured, formal, sharing relationships to improve the quantity, quality and cost of water. And to help facilitate this, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality provides grant funds to assist these communities with a professional evaluation of potential mergers or regionalization of water and sewer systems. These are invaluable financial resources that should be recognized and protected.

Over the past 80 years, we have watched the ecological and political environments change as we help both large and small communities provide for their citizens, and we have performed many feasibility studies of water system mergers or regionalization efforts in response to those evolutions. The efforts of water advocates such as the US Water Alliance  makes a world of difference, but the truth is we still fall short of depicting water in our great country as a precious resource. So on this Imagine A Day Without Water, we think it is appropriate to give thanks to the hard-work and dedication of the advocates, the staff, and the legislators who understand and promote partnerships to prepare for the future of water in North Carolina. In return, we will continue to imagine a day without water, so you don’t have to. 

The Wooten Company stands with Rural America on the “America First” budget

Rural America is the backbone of our great Country. It is where our ancestral roots began, it is where we look to find our food, it is where urban centers flock to on long weekends, and it is where many of us live, work and raise our families today.

Since 1936, The Wooten Company has focused our efforts on infrastructure in Rural America, and we have long viewed the federal government as one of our strongest partners in looking out for the health and welfare of these communities. Communities where tax bases often rely on less than 5,000 residents, and where many of those families survive below the poverty line.

Announced in early May, President Trump outlined his “America First” Fiscal Year 2018 budget. Under this plan, the Administration has proposed eliminating many programs that are essential resources for Rural America. These resources include the Under Secretary for Rural Development at USDA (the only sub-cabinet position focused exclusively on assisting low-income rural and farming communities) and the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program of the USDA (the financing life-line for rural infrastructure needs).  Such eliminations are in addition to dramatic cuts to rural development programs that will severely impact people from economically distressed rural communities.

To put it in numbers, our firm alone has been able to improve the safety and cleanliness of water and sewer infrastructure in more than 30 North Carolina communities where ratepayers simply cannot afford to stomach the rates necessary to maintain this infrastructure, due in a very large part to USDA Rural Development staff and programs.

The Wooten Company, alongside thousands of rural communities throughout the country, is concerned that without this critical financing source, our hometowns will not be able to provide the resources essential for healthy families and economic development.

These vital tools protect and enhance economic health and vitality. USDA has been our partner for decades and we must protect the institution that it is and the role it plays in our hometowns. We stand beside our clients and neighbors in insisting that the USDA remain supported by the Trump Administration.  Removing this invaluable asset will negatively impact the families of Rural America, the very people looking for help the most.

Over our 80 years we have worked with communities to leverage hundreds of millions of dollars in USDA funds. More importantly, these funds have allowed for matching other resources including Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, Clean Water State Revolving Fund, Rural Economic Development, Clean Water Management Trust Fund and Community Development Block Grants. Every dollar of support taken away from these communities is amplified across every resource currently available to them.

The Fiscal Year 2018 budget is not an “America First” proposal, and The Wooten Company is standing united with Rural America as we work tirelessly with representatives at both the State and Federal levels to ensure it receives the support it deserves.

Fuquay-Varina Breaks Ground For Second High School

Willow Springs High School 

With a population that’s expected to grow by over 10,000 people within the next few years, it’s no surprise that the Town of Fuquay-Varina is excited about breaking ground on their second high school, Willow Springs High.

With the project now in the construction phase, The Wooten Company provided the engineering design for plumbing, mechanical, and electrical systems, water and sewer utilities and roadway improvements that will support the 59-acre site. Our long history of working with public schools means that the students of Willow Springs High will learn in state-of-the-art classrooms, athletes will practice under brilliant field lights and on resilient turf, parents will arrive through safely designed traffic flows, and taxpayers will save with low life-cycle cost designs throughout the campus. When we do our job well, it means that few notice we were there at all – and we wouldn’t have it any other way. It is our mission to allow the students and staff of Willow Springs High School to focus on raising our next generations without technical woes or safety issues. As we celebrated their groundbreaking ceremony last week, we couldn’t be more excited to watch as Willow Springs makes its mark on the community.

Charlie Davis Elected to Board of Directors

Charlie Davis, PE

Charlie Davis, PE

For more than 22 years, Charlie Davis has worked alongside our clients to perform long range municipal plans, countless collection system projects and numerous award winning water and wastewater treatment plant upgrades, including several Engineering Excellence Awards over the past few years. 

In addition to developing innovative solutions to some of the Carolinas' most critical infrastructure challenges, Charlie has also earned a reputation as an industry leader in implementing economical solutions for smaller communities where addressing aging utilities amidst growing populations is often challenged by limited funding options.

In February at The Wooten Company's annual Stockholders Meeting, with these invaluable contributions in mind, Charlie was elected to join Bucky Moore, Ralph Mobley, Bob Egan, Gary Hartong and Brian Johnson on the Board of Directors.  The stockholders all agreed that Charlie's dedication to the health and wellness of the company's clients, as well as the unwavering leadership he portrays on a daily basis had earned him a seat on the Board. 

The employees of The Wooten Company congratulate Charlie on his new position and are looking forward to his continued leadership. 

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day: An Interview With Courtney Gamble, PE

Courtney Gamble, PE - The Wooten Company

Courtney Gamble, PE - The Wooten Company

How were you introduced to engineering?  I stumbled upon it in my 3rd year of college.

What was your initial impression of engineering/engineers? I thought it was some mystical science for the Stephen Hawkings of the world. “Rocket Science”.  (And I still think that about electrical engineering, I just can’t wrap my head around anything past the V over IR triangle).

What made you decide to pursue engineering after being introduced to it? I was struggling to find the right major in college and was rejected the 1st time I applied to my college’s engineering program because I honestly didn’t have a good reason to sell myself as a candidate for the program. When the professor asked me why I wanted to begin an engineering curriculum my answer was along the lines of “because I have all the pre-req’s for it?” After a warranted rejection I started to research engineering and watching shows on the discovery and history channel about engineering marvels. I learned how cool and also challenging engineering was and how it made so many things in our world possible.  I fell in love with the challenge and the problem solving.

Is there anyone in particular who really supported your pursuit of an engineering degree? Oh gosh I’ve had so many. I’d say my grandma, she’s the only one in my family who knew I was pursuing engineering until late in my 4th year  and she would take all my tearful phone calls after a differential equations test or whenI was generally convinced I couldn’t hack it. She would assure me that I belonged in that program just as much as the next person and not to give up.

What are you most proud of in your career so far? Obtaining my professional license.

Can you think of a girl you can/should “introduce to engineering? I get asked all the time by family friends to talk to their daughters about STEM majors and I’m always surprised how many girls know it exists now compared to my youth. I cannot think of a girl specifically but I never shy away from sharing stories of my profession and how it has become such a thought provoking career that rarely feels stagnant.

What has been the biggest challenge so far in your career? How did you overcome it?  Leaving the regulatory arena for the private sector. It’s a steep learning curve and it was clear that I had to prove myself to keep my new private sector position. I worked hard, asked a lot of questions and tried to learn everything I could. Eventually I was profitable and had earned my employers trust.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far in your career?  Get in the field. So many change orders and lost time can be avoided by doing a thorough pre-design site visit and visiting the site throughout the project. You learn a lot by witnessing the construction first hand, chatting with foremen and operators, and helping solve problems if/when they arise.

Have you ever had anyone say anything negative/positive about being a woman in the engineering world?  I’ve heard both. It’s mostly been positive feedback from men and women I have crossed paths with. In general our profession is highly respected and I’ve been afforded that respect. I have had a few men suggest nursing or teaching as a “better career for women”, but that was all in college.

If so, how did you respond? Kill ‘em with kindness as grandma always said.

Have you ever felt like your work or voice was looked over or underappreciated because you’re a female? Only on isolated occasions working with a few clients or coworkers. I don’t let it phase me. I keep the conversation on the task at hand, maybe speak a little firmer and clearer, and make it apparent (without explicitly saying it of course) that working together respectfully is the best way to reach our goal.

Do you feel like you’ve had to work harder than your male colleagues to get to where you are today? Honestly, no. In my eyes my male colleagues who have reached my same level professionally have put in the same sweat equity that I have.

What advice would you give other women or young girls who are interested in learning more about engineering or becoming an engineer? Engineering is an exciting career with opportunities that can take you anywhere you want to go. You can achieve many goals. Mine was stability/job security. But if yours is to travel, or be able to work from home, or to be a CEO one day, all of these things are possible as an engineer.

Join us at Raleigh's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Gardens Dedication

We are proud to have had the privilege of working alongside the City of Raleigh over the past few years on such an iconic element of the Southeast Raleigh Community, and are looking forward to the Garden's ribbon cutting Saturday morning.

You can learn more about the park here - http://www.raleighnc.gov/parks/content/ParksRec/Articles/Projects/MLKJrMemorialGardenExpansion.html

From the City of Raleigh's website:

The City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department invites you to the dedication of the newly renovated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Gardens on Saturday, January 14, 2017 at 11:00am The park is located at 900 Rock Quarry Road, Raleigh, NC 27610 at the corner of MLK Jr Boulevard and Rock Quarry Road.

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Gardens was originally constructed in 1990 through the efforts of a number of park advocates including the Martin Luther King Committee. In 2003, the City acquired 1.67 acres of vacant land adjacent to the park for the purpose of expanding the existing Memorial Gardens. The additional amenities are intended to make the park more user and family-friendly through better meeting the needs of the visiting public, including school children, college students and elderly citizens.

Please RSVP to rsvp@raleighnc.gov or 919-996-4818


North Carolina's Water Problem

Water is a problem in North Carolina. Too much of it in the east, too little in the west - From Hurricane Matthew’s devastating floods to the increasingly threatening forest fires in the Appalachian Mountains, the environmental disasters we face today are a sobering reminder of just how delicate our ecosystem truly is.

As infrastructure engineers who spend day-after-day, year-after-year focusing on these challenges, our hearts ache with our neighbors and friends when infrastructure (often times that we helped build) is substantially damaged and cannot provide necessary support for the community.

As a result of Hurricane Matthew’s flooding, 47 North Carolina counties have been approved for public assistance by Federal Emergency declarations. In response to forest fires fueled by drought in western North Carolina, 25 more counties were recently declared a State of Emergency.  Seven water systems are currently under mandatory water conservation with an additional 32 water systems under voluntary efforts, according to the North Carolina Drought Management Council.

All told, 72 of North Carolina’s 100 counties are currently categorized as states of emergency from having too much or too little water over the past 30 days. 

While there is no singular simple answer, there are several actions communities have and are taking to prepare for extreme conditions. 

Water systems interconnected with each other provide quicker response and greater reserve capability. Loss of water from leaks in distribution systems between treatment plants and customers can be identified and corrected. A culture of water conservation encouraged and incentivized for residential and business customers can provide dramatic savings. The hardening and protection of individual system components from storm damage can improve reliability and minimize repair costs. And often times multiple raw water supply sources for a system are feasible, such as the Martin County Regional Water and Sewer Authority’s combination of surface water intake and groundwater wells designed to protect the aquifers in North Carolina’s Central Coastal Plan Capacity Use Area.   

Public or Private, Residential, Industrial or Commercial, our challenge is clear. During extreme and normal conditions alike, we cannot underestimate the volatility of our environment.  Preparedness is a daily activity and The Wooten Company has been helping communities prepare to meet these challenges for the past 80 years. We are here to walk you through the steps to recovery and preparation for the next event, no matter how big or small the challenge. 

FEMA/NCEM Disaster Recovery Important Info

To all of our friends in Central and Eastern North Carolina:

The Wooten Company would like to be sure that you have as much flood recovery information as possible. You may already be aware of the information below, but we feel it is important to ensure that all available information is in your hands.

This week FEMA is hosting a number of Kickoff Meetings

FEMA/NCEM kickoff meetings began Friday afternoon in Wilson County and will continue next week with 23 meetings scheduled for specific counties. Meeting times, locations and information can be found at the bottom of this email.

You will need to bring with you a Request for Public Assistance (RPA). It is a simple form and the necessary first step in starting the FEMA application process for local governments. If you can bring this form with you to your respective kickoff meeting, already completed, that would be beneficial to you.

FEMA will begin with Category A (Debris Removal)  and Category B (Emergency Protective Measures). Remember that documentation of your jurisdiction’s personnel work hours by employee/day/time worked on activity, and a short description of the activities they were/are performing is extremely important for reimbursement.

FEMA/NCEM will schedule meetings with you to discuss flood damages for Categories C to G.  These are damages to items such as infrastructure and buildings (see link below for information).  It is most important that you identify all items that are damaged.  Do not overlook items you cannot see or items that have not failed yet but are likely to fail in the future due to flooding. Identifying the full scope and cost of these items initially with the FEMA project officer is a critical step.

FEMA has prepared a handbook “Public Assistance Applicant Handbook” which will be very useful to you in this process. The link to this handbook is here: https://www.fema.gov/pdf/government/grant/pa/fema323_app_handbk.pdf

The Wooten Company truly wishes for your community to successfully recover from these floods.  We are already helping severaljurisdictions withspecific needs and would be glad to assist you in making your recovery the best it can be.                      


Applicant Briefings Schedule:

Fri, 10/28/16 @ 1:00 PM

Wilson, Nash, Edgecombe, Harnett, Johnston Counties

Wilson County Administrative Building, Commissioner’s Meeting Room

2201 Miller Rd South

Wilson, NC


Monday, 10/31/16 @ 9:30 AM

Duplin County

Dept. of Social Services Bldg

423 N. Main St.

Kenansville, NC 28349


Monday, 10/31/16 @ 9:30 AM

Lenoir County

Lenoir Community College

231 Hwy 58 South

Kinston, NC 28502


Monday, 10/31/16 @ 2:00 PM

Brunswick, New Hanover Counties

Brunswick Community College, Odell Williamson Auditorium Events Center

150 College Rd NE

Bolivia, NC 28422


Monday, 10/31/16 @ 2:00 PM

Pender County

Pender County Emergency Operations Center

805 Ridgewood Avenue

Burgaw, NC 28425


Tues, 11/1/16 @ 9:30 AM

Jones County

County Communications Bldg

110 S. Market St.

Trenton, NC


Tues, 11/1/16 @ 9:30 AM

Cumberland, Hoke Counties

The Crown Theater

1960 Coliseum Dr.

Fayetteville, NC 28306


Tues, 11/1/16 @ 9:30 AM

Robeson County

Robeson County Emergency Operations Center

38 Legend Drive

Lumberton, NC28358


Tues, 11/1/16 @ 2:00 PM

Greene, Wayne Counties

Wayne County Emergency Operations Center

134 N John Street

Goldsboro, NC 27530


Tues, 11/1/16 @ 2:00 PM

Columbus County

Boys & Girls Home of NC

400 Flemington Drive

Lake Waccamaw, NC 28450


Tues, 11/1/16 @ 2:00 PM

Bladen County

Bladen County Community College, Dublin Campus, Building 9 Auditorium

7148 NC 41 W

Dublin 28332


Wed, 11/2/16 @ 9:30 AM

Craven, Pamlico Counties

Riverfront Convention Center

203 S. Front St.

New Bern, NC 28560


Wed, 11/2/16 @ 9:30 AM

Sampson County

Sampson County Auditorium , Building A

435 Rowan Road

Clinton, NC 28328


Wed, 11/2/16 @ 2:00 PM

Dare, Hyde Counties

Dare County Administration Building, Room 238

954 Marshall Collins Dr.

Manteo, NC 27954


Wed, 11/2/16 @ 2:00 PM

Carteret County

Carteret County Emergency Operations Center

3820 Bridges St. Suite D

Morehead City, NC 28557


Wed, 11/2/16 @ 2:00 PM

Onslow County

Onslow County Government Center

234 NW Corridor Blvd

Jacksonville, NC


Thurs, 11/3/16 @ 9:00 AM

Chowan, Bertie, Tyrrell, Washington, Martin Counties

Vernon James Center

207 Research Station Rd

Plymouth, NC 27962

Going for Gold

Weren’t the Rio  2016 Olympics great, watching the athletes giving it their all to get to the “finish line” in their individual sports?

Projects, in a way are like that. How do we give it our all to get to the finish line to see this project built?

Recently, The Wooten Company met with a group of County Commissioners  and County Mangers on this very topic. How do we get funding for our projects to get them to the ‘finish line?”

Grants are the preferred method but there are generally less grants now than a decade ago. Applicants for available grants face greater competition from other applicants than ever before. It is like going to the bank to get a loan or a home mortgage, Many questions and documents follow the initial meeting.

With the County officials we discussed current trends occurring in grants. We discussed twenty four specific grants and preferred rate loans in which counties may be interested.   Many times, these awards are the impetus to getting to the finish line with your project.

The Wooten Company can help you get to the finish line with our engineering and project funding capabilities. After all, we have been doing this for 80 years. Give us a call and see how we can help you.

What Makes a Carolina Summer?

What makes a Carolina summer? Is it defined by cookouts, movies, fireflies, an ice cold soda while fishing or just plain crazy heat?! Growing up, I know my summers were defined by the moments my best friend and I spent playing around in the creek by our house. We’d fill up some water balloons, run down to the creek and try and see how far we could float them downstream before they popped. At the time, I had no idea that the creek water we played in was connected to the Neuse River system.

Well, it’s been several years since I waded through that creek, but I found myself reminiscing about water balloons, loud squeals, and lots of giggles this past weekend as my fellow Wootenites and I volunteered at “Loose on the Neuse.” Led by Matthew Starr, Upper Neuse Riverkeeper, a group of around 100 volunteers spent a Carolina Saturday morning cleaning up the Neuse River between Anderson Point Park and Milburnie Dam.

You know it’s going to be a hot one when you arrive at 7:30 AM and you’re already ready to run down to the river and jump in; however, 63 bags of garbage, one cash register and a mattress later, our team unanimously declared that the satisfaction that came with volunteering was well worth the early start and hot weather.

 Now, don’t tell them I’m sharing this, but I think the best part had to be watching two of our very own capsize their canoe. The look of disbelief on their faces as they surfaced was absolutely priceless! It seems that the Neuse River can still make adults squeal and giggle just the same as it can for two girls with some water balloons.

That being said, its engineers like Brian Oschwald, PE, and BIM designers like Trey Taylor who are willing to give up a Saturday morning, fall out of a canoe, and pick up trash for four hours that make The Wooten Company what it is. Our staff’s commitment to the health and welfare of the communities we serve doesn’t just exist during normal business hours. We are dedicated to serving the communities we love all the time.

Regardless of your definition of what makes a Carolina summer, we hope that the idea of knowing you can make a positive difference in the community inspires you to spend some time (indoors or out) giving back to your community! 

Why Keep Coming Back?

Do you find yourself repeatedly shopping at the same handful of places? I know I sure do. At one point I might have shopped at the same few places because they were in a convenient location, but now, with a plethora of options and the ease of online shopping, there are seemingly endless places for me to pick and choose where I want to shop. So if it’s not the location that keeps me coming back, then what is driving my loyalty to these stores?

While “shopping” for engineering or architectural services like ours is a little different than perusing the aisles of Target, there’s a reason that we celebrated our 13th annual client appreciation barbeque in Greenville this week – loyalty. A loyalty that’s built on much more than location. With new firms popping up almost as frequently as your local Starbucks, our clients certainly aren’t limited by the number of firms to choose from.

Having only worked for The Wooten Company for eight months, the parallel between my commitment to places like Target and our clients’ commitment to us struck me while I was sitting in my office. Dependability. Just like I know I can count on the stores I go to for great customer service, reasonable prices, and a great product, our clients know that they can depend on The Wooten Company to deliver the same.

The best part is, our clients know that our commitment to them is so much more than that. The Wooten Company prides itself on building real relationships with our clients, which is part of the reason the client appreciation barbeque was started. Our annual barbeque is based on our belief that good business is founded upon more than flashy advertising and empty promises; good business is founded on a genuine commitment to helping the communities you are a part of. With 80 years of experience behind us, we can confidently say that investing in our clients has served us just as much as it has them and we are excited about continuing to use one of our founding principles to grow and further support our valued clients. Our client appreciation barbeque is a simple way for us to give back to the clients that we are so thankful for!

Thank you to everyone who was able to make it, and to those who weren’t, we hope to see you next year, same time, and same place.

-Danielle Smith, Marketing Coordinator

The Wooten Company Opens New Winston-Salem Regional Office

Coinciding with celebrating our 80th anniversary this year, The Wooten Company has opened a new Regional Office in the Old Salem Historic District of downtown Winston-Salem, NC.

Overseen by Regional Manager John Grey, PE, this office was previously located in Asheboro, NC, from where it served the towns, cities and counties of the Piedmont over the past 18 years. While we will always look back on our time in Asheboro fondly, the move was initiated as we continue to grow amidst strong economic momentum in North Carolina. The City of Winston-Salem was chosen for our new location as it offers a centralized location along several primary transportation corridors, as well as amenities of all variety for its citizens to enjoy.

The Wooten Company has moved into the Lower Level Suite of this adapted Fire Station in the historic Old Salem neighborhood.

Vice-President, Gary Hartong, said of the move, “We are proud of our reputation for designing critical infrastructure that supports the exciting economic growth in our state, and are equally proud of the close personal relationships that our employees build with our clients. For this office, we sought after the Old Salem area for its proximity to a vibrant downtown, its immediacy to the sister City of Greensboro, and its unequaled access to both our metropolitan and rural clients so that we can provide them our engineering and construction administration services promptly and reliably.”

We are celebrating this milestone anniversary by investing heavily in our geographic coverage to better assist communities in the Carolinas and Virginia as they address today’s demands and prepare for future growth. Since 1936, we have proudly provided critical infrastructure engineering to support the health and happiness of the families who call these communities Home.

For more information on the services we provide from our new office located at 300 S Main Street, Lower Level Suite, in Winston-Salem, contact Regional Manager, John Grey, PE at jgrey@thewootencompany.com.

Building North Carolina’s Future with the Connect NC bond

Congratulations to North Carolina on the passing of the 2016 Connect NC Bond!

It’s been 15 years since the last general obligation bond was approved to upgrade North Carolina’s infrastructure and since then 2 million people have been added to our population. To keep up with this growth, voters overwhelmingly approved a $2 billion bond to provide statewide investments in education, parks, agriculture, safety, recreation, and water and sewer infrastructure. The bond will be structured through a 20-year debt instrument with no tax increases necessary to finance it. With historically low interest rates, Connect NC will not jeopardize our strong credit ratings and will pay for assets that will provide North Carolina with returns on its investment for generations to come!

As you can see in the chart below, the bond’s inclusive nature provides opportunities for each region in North Carolina. The statewide reach of the bond will ensure that North Carolina remains a state to which no other compares.

The Wooten Company is proud to have joined with the American Council of Engineering Companies of North Carolina in supporting the passing of this critical investment.  The Wooten Company looks forward to helping our clients across North Carolina in securing some of the Connect NC bond proceeds. The Wooten Company invites you to reach out to learn more about how you can take advantage of the buildings and infrastructure investment opportunities available to you. With over 80 years of experience working with schools, local government, and water and sewer authorities across North Carolina, The Wooten Company is completely equipped to help you with any bond proceeds.

Project Spotlight: Contentnea Metropolitan Sewerage District Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrades

On Thursday, February 18th, the Eastern Professional Wastewater Operators Committee (PWOC) was hosted by the Contentnea Metropolitan Sewerage District (CMSD) with a catered lunch from The Skylight Inn and provided by The Wooten Company. The lunch was followed by a tour of the District’s wastewater treatment plant led by Chuck Smithwick, District Manager, CMSD and Charlie Davis, P.E of The Wooten Company. We felt that this was a great excuse to showcase some of Mr. Smithwick and Mr. Davis’ hard work on this great project.

The CMSD plant began operation in 1976 as a 2.0 MGD facility and was recently expanded and upgraded to 3.5 MGD. The current plant includes screening, grit removal, 5-Stage BNR, tertiary filtration, and UV disinfection prior to its discharge to the Contentnea Creek. Aerobic sludge is dewatered with Huber Incline Screw Presses which is transported off-site for composting and also land applied (in liquid form) to CMSD owned land application sites.

The CMSD is comprised of Pitt and Lenoir Counties in North Carolina and maintains pump stations in Winterville, Ayden, along Highway 11 and in Grifton. A few years ago, the decision was made to perform improvements to these stations and also perform an upgrade to its 2.85 MGD wastewater plant.

For this, The Wooten Company provided a full range of engineering services that included a study and report phase, design, bidding and negotiation assistance, construction contract administration, construction observation and post-construction operation and maintenance training. The plant’s construction occurred in 3 phases over a 3 ½ year period and involved over $30 million dollars in grant/ loan funding from four separate funding agencies. The project included the design and installation of new influent headworks, denitrification filters, an Ultra-Violet disinfection system, a post-aeration system and all the necessary piping modifications for flexible and improved plant operation. Since the denitrification filter was placed online, the plant’s effluent Total Nitrogen (TN) has consistently averaged around 1 mg/l allowing CMSD to be well within their TN Discharge Limit of 32,000 lb/yr.

Additionally, the improvements required the construction of an effluent outfall for the discharge of effluent to the Contentnea Creek, a tributary of the nutrient-sensitive Neuse River. Mr. Davis and his staff provided grant administration for the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and NC Rural Center funding assistance for the project.

The Promise of a New Year

All things relative, 1936 was not all that long ago. In fact, many of us are fortunate to still spend holidays and the occasional Sunday brunch soaking up stories of “back in the day” with the parents and grandparents who remember these times well.

But as our world spins at a seemingly ever-increasing rate, 80 years ago can also look lightyears away from where we are today, overlooking the sunrise of 2016.

Consider some of the landmark occurrences that 1936 saw:

• The Hoover Dam was completed
• Joe DiMaggio made his Major League Baseball debut
• The doomed Hindenburg airship took its first flight
• The Volkswagen car company was created
• Italy joined the Axis Powers

These types of headlines, combined with a lingering depression and average yearly wages of around $1,713 mean it is often hard to imagine everyday life back then, let alone the business environment. But there was another headline in 1936 that, while not as monumental as some of those previously mentioned, we are quite proud of here at The Wooten Company, and that is the founding of our wonderful firm by its namesake, Louis E. Wooten himself.

As the story goes, the visionary Mr. Wooten saw amazing opportunity in the growing reliability of personal transportation and the development sprawl that it would enable, and so he went to work designing the electrification of rural communities across North Carolina and up the East Coast. To this day, 80 years after those first projects, we still embrace Mr. Wooten’s vision of bringing safe and reliable infrastructure to the communities that make up this great country. There has been no shortage of highs and lows along the way, but as we celebrate our 80th Anniversary this year, we couldn’t be prouder of who we are.

2016 promises to be an exciting year for The Wooten Company, with new leadership rising up from within, our newly developed Geomatics group hitting their stride and our expansion into South Carolina taking off as examples of just a few reasons why. One of our most valued characteristics for both our clients and employees is the close family atmosphere cultivated day after day here, and it is from this that these accomplishments are born.

Over the course of this year, we look forward to continuing to expand our geographic reach but also to standing by our long-time clients as we push together for smart growth by providing the funding assistance, studies, planning, design and construction management services essential to creating great places.

Thank you to everyone whose passion for the work we do made 2015 great, and stay tuned for what 2016 has in store.

Derrick Smith, PE, Named Greenville Branch Manager

Derrick Smith, PE, Named Greenville Branch Manager for Engineering, Planning, Architectural and Geomatics Firm, The Wooten Company

The Wooten Company, an engineering, planning, architectural and geomatics firm, is pleased to announce that Derrick Smith, PE, was recently named Branch Manager of the Greenville Office replacing Gary Hartong who will be relocating to the company’s corporate Raleigh office.

“Derrick’s previous civil engineering experience in both the construction and private development sectors balances with his most recent years of local government experience with The Wooten Company,” said Hartong. “During his tenure in our Greenville Office, Derrick has become well-accustomed to our culture of providing client-focused engineering and planning services and we are confident that he will continue establishing and maintaining strong client relationships in Eastern North Carolina.”

Smith joined the Civil Engineering team in the Greenville Office in 2011 bringing 10 years of experience in civil engineering design, environmental permitting, and land development. Prior to joining The Wooten Company, he was the owner of East Carolina Consulting, LLC and worked with Timberline Development Corporation/National Land Partners.  

We congratulate Derrick on his new position, and we look forward to seeing continued great things coming from our Greenville office.

Employee Spotlight: Vice President Gary Hartong, PE, looks back on 18 years with The Wooten Company

“18 and Life”
Not only a famous song by the rock band Skid Row but hopefully a prophecy about my career with The Wooten Company. Looking back 18 years to 1998, I was downright lucky to put my left foot through the front door of The Wooten Company. After seeing an advertisement hanging in the student lounge at NC State’s Mann Hall, it took two phone calls plus an interview where my academic transcript, and more particularly my CE 382 Hydraulics grade, was closely scrutinized before I was offered a part-time student position with the firm…6,570 days have since passed.

Fast forward 18 years. So why am I sitting in an office 77 miles east of my originally-beloved Raleigh employed by the same EAP firm where I work with many of the same employees and deal with a vast number of the same clients? Why haven’t I jumped ship when the talking heads say “you need to jump companies every 4-5 years to advance your career”? Well, it is these same employees and clients that have nurtured, educated, encouraged, and developed me into a better co-worker, engineer, husband, and father. And yes, they still continue to do it every day.

In the last 18 years, I have been given incredible opportunities for internal and external training, graduate level college education assistance and steady career advancement. Sure, I have made some personal sacrifices along the way and experienced temporary dissatisfaction at times, but when I step back and breathe it all in I quickly realize that this firm cares about its clients, its employees and their families. These are a few of the intangibles that make The Wooten Company a unique and rewarding place to develop and spend a career.

If you ask me to look into my crystal ball and project the next 18 years, then I would have to tell you that our horizon is bright. I am confident that The Wooten Company has made a great decision to promote Derrick Smith to fill my position in Greenville. I am confident that this firm’s leadership will continue to strategize to expand our technical services in both breadth (geographically) and depth (service lines) so that we can be a valuable resource and partner for our clients. And most of all, I am confident that The Wooten Company will continue to have dedicated, motivated and good-natured employees who will continue to step up to the challenge when called upon to move this firm ahead in the coming years. Cheers to the next 18!

Celebrating The Wooten Company’s Newest Professional Engineer, Miles Galloway, PE!

Miles Galloway has a lot to toast to this coming New Year’s. Not only did Miles get married this year, but he recently became The Wooten Company’s newest Professional Engineer! After graduating from North Carolina State University with a degree in Biological Engineering, Miles joined The Wooten Company as an Engineering Intern in May of 2011 and has been an integral part of many water and wastewater projects over the past four years. Miles’ understanding of the fundamentals of engineering and biology gives him a unique approach to the biological systems challenges that our Environmental Practice Group tackles on a daily basis. The Wooten Company is lucky to have Miles as one of our brilliant engineers and we couldn’t be more excited to congratulate him on his fantastic accomplishment!