Faces of Freese and Nichols: David Webb, PE
David Webb, PE, isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty picking up trash in a local stream.
The stream cleanups he does with Freese and Nichols not only help the environment but also the communities he partners with every day as a project manager in Raleigh.
Born and raised in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, he graduated from North Carolina State University in 1999 and worked the North Carolina Department of Transportation and other consultants before joining Freese and Nichols in 2017. He’s a member of the American Public Works Association (APWA), Professional Engineers of North Carolina (PENC) and is recently coming off a six-year term as a member of the Stormwater Management Advisory Commission for the City of Raleigh.
Outside of the office, he likes going to concerts, trying new restaurants, camping in the North Carolina mountains and watching his two boys participate in after-school activities ranging from baseball to theater.
“Everywhere I go throughout the state, the friendly people are what keep me here,” he said.
What kind of projects do you typically work on?
I’m a stormwater engineer who also works on program management and transportation projects. Program management has been my biggest focus, helping our clients recover from hurricanes in recent years.
How does Freese and Nichols compare to other firms in NC?
We’re unique in the fact we’re a municipal-focused firm that pursues clients, not just projects. Because of this, many of our clients see us as a trusted advisor and will call on us when they need help with something, big or small. The fact we can come in and provide expertise they may not have internally with a project or program, it’s very rewarding. At the end of the day, we’re partners with our clients and there’s a mutual respect.
I also enjoy traveling throughout the state and knowing I worked on a project in this city, or that town. I take pride in knowing I’m helping clients throughout the state.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
I like knowing at the end of the day that you’re helping the community and leaving something better than when you found it. For example, our work with the City Fayetteville in response to recent hurricanes has been very rewarding. I love knowing that roads are reopened after a disaster, or a bridge is safe to drive on because of work I’m doing.
As program manager, I have been able to work with other engineering firms to review their designs and progress while maintaining very aggressive schedules from design all the way through construction.
How do you handle adversity?
It’s best to face adversity head on. Ultimately, I break things down incrementally and start with addressing what I can control. Don’t let the problem overwhelm you. Take things in pieces until you either come through the adversity or live to fight another day learning valuable lessons from a defeat.
What’s your favorite part about working at Freese and Nichols?
My favorite part is the people. When I first came on board, I could call anyone in the company – people whom I’ve never met and all they see is a face on Skype. Not a single person said they didn’t have time to talk or help me. It’s very refreshing place to work because of that.
What’s your advice for young professionals trying to get into the industry?
If you are an intern or a recent graduate, ask for as much as diverse project work as you can. It’s important to get a broad sense of what we do in our industry. You need to be open to other experiences outside of your major concentration in school, or what you “think” you want to do – whether it’s stormwater, transportation, construction services, treatment, etc. A working knowledge of how all the pieces fit together will serve you well with time.