A Little Luck, A Lot of Work:
Pamela L. Dingman '91
|Pamela L. Dingman, '91
Photo by Ashley Washburn
Company: Engineering Design Consultants LLC
Number of Employees: 10
Offices: Omaha and Lincoln
Distinction: EDC is the only woman-owned civil engineering firm in Nebraska.
Unofficial Motto: “We do anything you can bury or walk on.”
Awards: In 2006, the American Business Women’s Association named Dingman one of the Top 10 Women in Business. She was named to the Midlands Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 in 2003 and received the Society of Women Engineers’ Distinguished New Engineer award in 2002.
EDC was founded in 1998 by a group of engineering and construction professionals. Dingman opened the firm’s Omaha office in 2003 and has gradually become EDC’s primary owner. The company specializes in municipal design, land development, land planning, construction administration and surveying. EDC has worked on 4,000 residential projects including Vintage Heights and Wilderness Ridge in Lincoln, Waterford in Omaha, Lincoln Place in Gretna, and nearly 1,000 commercial projects including the I-80 Auto Mall and Lincoln Industrial Business Park.
Why did you start EDC?
At 35, I wanted to continue to grow. I did not want to be 55 years old and wondering if I could have my own company and my own office. It was important for me to go out there and see if I could do it.
What has been one of your biggest business risks?
I got into this the old-fashioned way and bought the company in pieces over time. As a single mother, there is extreme concern when there’s only one income. There’s something to be said when you drain an account or refinance a house to get a business going. In the land development market, there also are questions as to how it will go in the future.
How has your company changed over the years?
There is more competition and we have become more computerized and specialized. Whoever can figure out the best way to run that software will be the winner in the market. I also have a lot more clients talking about environmentally friendly developments. There seems to be more acceptance of green developments than there used to be.
What is satisfying about being an entrepreneur?
It’s always satisfying when you can see an employee grow under your leadership. Having a client express satisfaction in what we’ve done for them. The ability to influence decisions with your value system rather than following someone else’s value system.
What is one of your greatest successes?
Transitioning our presence in the market from a development engineering firm to one that does a fair amount of municipal work too. You have to be willing to adapt to the marketplace and be proactive, not reactive. You have to anticipate where the work will be at in the future.
Who has been your mentor?
I started my career in Colorado at a small manufacturing firm that was woman-owned (Schloss Engineered Equipment). That gave me a lot of knowledge and depth. I was fortunate to stumble upon an ACCE (American Council of Consulting Engineers) committee that works with new, smaller companies. I talked to lots of women about insurance, financing and marketing. They were from all over the country and weren’t in competition with me so they were fairly open.
What do you look for in an employee?
Someone who is driven. We look for employees who have the ability to be extremely versatile, can work with the team and who have a positive attitude.
Do you have any last words for readers?
As a corporate leader, I do think it’s important to remember to have a sense of civic duty in the community you work. I think that’s something not everybody thinks about when they’re starting a company. We highly encourage employees to be active in the community.