TZL 1424 (web)



Encouraging and engaging: Darren Conner President of Dewberry (Fairfax, VA), a nationwide planning, design, and construction firmwith more than 50 locations and more than 2,000 professionals nationwide.


A fter 33 years of moving up through the ranks of nationwide engineering firm Dewberry, Conner was promoted to firm president in 2018. Today, he oversees operations within more than 50 offices from coast to coast, with services that include environmental, site/civil, structural, mechanical/electrical, energy, and transportation engineering. “Encouraging and engaging staff requires direct interaction. I visit a lot of offices, and I’m constantly picking up the phone to check in with staff,” Conner says. “This is emphasized throughout our leadership training, and I practice this every day. It’s the best part of my job.” A CONVERSATIONWITH DARREN CONNER. The Zweig Letter: What sets your marketing apart? To what do you attribute your Marketing Excellence Award and can you provide an example of some unique marketing your firm has done? Darren Conner: The Marketing Excellence Award recognized our recent video series entitled “My Project Story.” Each of these short videos is narrated by a project manager or senior

staff member providing an overview of a challenging project. In addition to the voiceover description, the videos include custom graphics, hand-drawn illustrations, photos, and captions that help provide a lively, easy-to-follow introduction to the project. The series has been produced entirely in-house, and employees are encouraged to share the videos via their LinkedIn and other social media accounts. This was an interesting and successful marketing initiative for several reasons. First, it enabled our communications team to continue to showcase important projects despite the challenges of the pandemic. The project managers were able to create the voiceovers remotely. While the firm’s ability to secure on-site photography was curtailed during this time, our graphic designers and writers were able to step in to help tell the stories with illustrations and animations that supplemented available photography and set a friendlier, more accessible tone than some of the more technical CAD images or other project graphics. This proved especially effective in enabling us to highlight projects that would have been difficult to photograph in any case, including studies and complex construction efforts or underground utility systems.


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