In 2016 a new group was established within the Dewberry community called Emerging Professionals. Its mission is to network, advance, socialize, thrive, and promote diversity of thought within Dewberry. There are currently seven offices that have an Emerging Professionals chapter, with more in the process of being formed.

Each office typically hosts one to three events per month that focus on three pillars - networking, professional development, and social activities. The events range from leadership talks, volunteering in the community, holding canned food drives, happy hours, pot lucks, and lunchtime events.

Dewberry Vice President Cliff Wilson III gave a leadership talk for the Emerging Professionals in the Fairfax office.

How has Emerging Professionals been beneficial to your career growth?

Kimberly Meersma, Staff Environmental Scientist, Parsippany, New Jersey

The Parsippany office has held several professional development events, such as a panel where the department heads shared stories about their career paths and what they do now. It was useful to hear their perspectives and lessons learned. I also think having the support of the group has made me more confident in my work and abilities.

Meagan Judge, Staff Engineer, Fairfax, Virginia
The connections I've made with my fellow coworkers and the knowledge I receive both about Dewberry and as an engineer have helped my career growth significantly. I feel like I'm able to learn more about Dewberry and our services, market trends, and engineering practices faster and more in depth than I would if I did not participate. There are numerous resources and endless support from all levels within Dewberry that I wouldn't have been exposed to otherwise.

The Fairfax Emerging Professionals held a career panel with Dewberry's Executive Director of Human Resources Dave Francis, Vice President Steven Kuntz, and Associate Principal Marlene Shade.

What is your favorite Emerging Professionals event you have attended and why?

Manosh Varghese, Project Engineer, New York, New York

My favorite event so far was the City Harvest canned food drive we held. We were able to collect more than 393 items for those in need, while turning it into a friendly competition for each department, as each department worked together to gather as many canned goods and non-perishables as they could. It was a great team building activity, and I was proud to be part of that effort.

Brittany Capra, Geospatial Analyst, Tampa, Florida
All of our events have been a blast so far, but I love our pot lucks. We have a creative and talented office when it comes to cooking and baking. We even incorporated a durian fruit challenge in conjunction with one of our recent ones!

The Tampa Emerging Professionals host pot lucks as a networking event.

What are the benefits of Dewberry offering a program like this to its employees?

Rafal Wojcik, Staff Engineer, Bloomfield, New Jersey

I think the main benefits are personal and professional growth.

By interacting with colleagues in non-work environments, you have the opportunity to expand your personal network and make lasting connections. These connections often can present opportunities, both professionally and personally, in the future.

Professionally, the emerging professionals offer opportunities to grow your key soft skills. The experience of learning to cultivate event ideas, planning the events, corresponding with third parties or vendors, and leading a team of colleagues “across the finish line” has limitless potential to help in your development as a professional.

The Bloomfield Emerging Professionals host outings outside the office to bond as colleagues.

Ben Stormer, Staff Engineer, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

I think there are a number of benefits, but the biggest one is that any employee can utilize the program. Entry-level employees are able to meet with their co-workers and develop a sense of belonging, mid-level employees are able to connect with employees from other service lines, and senior-level employees have the opportunity to get to know their subordinates. The structure of the program allows each office to customize their events, while developing an overall sense of community.

The Mechanicsburg Emerging Professionals hosted a lunch with retired Dewberry Senior Vice President Bill Brown, where he discussed his career, offered advice, and answered questions.