Case Studies

DRMP Inc.: Establishing a Lasting Legacy Through Diversity and Experience

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Florida-based DRMP Inc. (DRMP) is still standing, while companies throughout the industry have been forced to shut down. The privately held, employee-owned firm has offered innovative solutions in the engineering, surveying, planning and environmental science fields for both the public and private sectors for the past three decades. DRMP attributes its resilience to diversified service, as well as the longevity of its talented team. The team at DRMP believes that the core of the company’s success begins with its founding principles: trust, respect, leadership, expertise and quality. To the staff at DRMP, work isn’t merely a job; it is a lifelong career, as many employees have been with the company for over 25 years.

Larry Smith, principal, vice president and COO of DRMP, joined the company in 1987 as a civil engineer. Smith then left to work at another nearby firm, but a few short years later he was back. “When I left, I realized the culture at DRMP was something I really missed,” details Smith. “I missed the people.” According to Smith, all DRMP employees represent the same attitude.

Four partners founded DRMP, originally a land development company, in 1977. William B. Dyer, PE; Robert A. Riddle, PE; Russel L. Mills, PE; and Armand Precourt, RLS, came together to introduce DRMP. Joining forces as a group of engineers, surveyors and previous business owners, the men recognized a trend in the growing Florida marketplace.

“After Disney opened there was a land boom,” explains Smith. “The guys happened to be in the right place at the right time, and they were good at what they did.”

As the original founding partners began to retire, the current managing principals had all began to achieve positions on the board of directors after having put in time as technical project managers. “The firm’s leadership has always been represented by individuals who came up through the ranks at DRMP,” says Smith. “That will always be our culture at DRMP, and our firm is well known for having that reputation.”

DRMP opened its doors with just 25 employees, and today the company employs over 240 professionals. In the early 1980s the company flourished, expanding into the transportation, environmental, utilities and water resources disciplines. After DRMP reached its 24-year mark, expansion into the Carolinas provided a greater geographic spectrum and increased employee base.

In 2006 DRMP built a brand-new corporate headquarters in Orlando, Fla., which remains the company’s home base today. DRMP now has 14 locations in total, 12 of which are in Florida, in addition to one in North Carolina and one in South Carolina. DRMP remains 100-percent employee-owned, which allows for flexibility and a team decision-making approach while the company services primarily the southeastern United States and Florida.

Diversified Service

“One of the things that sets us apart is the fact we’re so diversified,” describes Smith. “We’re involved in so many different markets, and have good people working in them.” DRMP is divided into six main divisions: transportation, structures, water resources, general civil, surveying and mapping and Construction Engineering Inspection (CEI).

DRMP’s highly capable team only subcontracts out geotechnical, landscaping and planning work. “There aren’t too many projects we can’t do from a basic civil-engineering perspective,” says Smith. Clients can expect to receive a project team that works to ensure each project is delivered on schedule, within budget and meets sustainable guidelines.

The project portfolio at DRMP is extensive. DRMP has recently had a hand in civil engineering an intermodal rail facility for CSX in Winter Haven Polk County, Fla., and just recently won the contract for the Wekiva Parkway, a limited-access transportation design project in Orlando. In addition, an $8.5 million CEI contract in North Carolina will double the DRMP staff over the course of the next four years. Another recently completed high-profile project includes structural engineering for the A. Max Brewer Bridge replacement, which recently won DRMP several awards.

The company boasts a long list of awards from years of successful designs. DRMP is proud to be ranked annually in Engineering News Record’s Top 500 Design Firms. Also in 2012, DRMP ranked No. 4 on the Orlando Business Journal’s Largest Engineering Firms. In 2010 the company received the Outstanding Large Organization of the Year Award in the private sector from the American Society of Civil Engineers, Central Florida Chapter during Engineers’ Week. The firm was also awarded Project of the Year in the historical restoration/preservation category by the Florida Chapter Awards Committee of the American Public Works Association (APWA) for the work on the city of Fort Myers’ downtown utility and streetscape project. The company’s reputation for success has helped propel DRMP through rough economic times.

Economically Sound

The many divisions that make up DRMP result in a cyclical work pattern, giving the company means to spring back under economic pressure. “We’ve always been able to weather the storm,” says Smith. “When one group isn’t doing well we can rally around them, sending support staff from other branches. We take turns taking care of each other.”

DRMP’s ability to adapt doesn’t come without a cost. The team has been forced to implement some pay and benefit cuts over the past few years, doing whatever it takes to survive. “If we want to stay in business and keep our people, we have to do what’s necessary,” explains Smith. Fortunately, the company remains afloat with a good, healthy backlog of work to keep busy.

Wayne D. Chalifoux, president and CEO of DRMP, highlights how the company remains a constant for clients despite a challenging economic situation. “One of the themes we’ve used this last year is resilient,” Chalifoux explains. “We are always here for clients despite the ups and downs of the economy. Many of other firms our size were acquired or closed their doors during the last economic downturn, but we overcame the obstacles and took appropriate steps to remain as one of the leading engineering and surveying firms headquartered in the heart of Florida.”

DRMP Inc. remains a steadfast figure in the industry, furthering its legacy built on diversity and years of success.

Published on: April 19, 2013

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