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ESP Announces Newest Executive Team Members

ESP is pleased to announce, recognize, and congratulate our newest executive team members. Joining CEO Dave Dickey and CFO Travis Engelke, the following new members complete an executive team with deep roots at ESP, our team of firms, and within the industry.

“Promoting from within is an important personal value that I share with ESP, and I am proud to bring so many valued and tenured team members to these new roles,” said CEO Dave Dickey. “The establishment of this executive team positions ESP for continued growth and success as we move forward with a clear and unified vision to best serve our clients and partners.”

Meet ESP's Newest Executive Team Members

Organization-Wide Goal Setting, Lead Performance Management, Annual Operations Strategy Planning

Danis Simmons joined ESP over 20 years ago and has served as a Director of Engineering since 2016. His detail-oriented and hands on nature, combined with his passion for operational leadership, has led him down a successful career path with ESP that continues to flourish. Danis has used his real-world practice of engineering and design to provide leadership for residential, commercial, institutional, and municipal projects. He has managed multiple departments and divisions, including responsibility for organizational leadership, design management, contract reviews, coordination with governmental review agencies, and client relationships and communication. Danis is a licensed professional engineer in multiple states and graduated with a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech. His experience in the field as well as tenure with ESP will be invaluable in his success in this role.

Organization-Wide Compliance, Legal/ Contracts, Risk, Safety/EHS

Brian Welch has been a respected leader at ESP since joining the firm in 1997, and becoming Director of Construction and Transportation services in 2016. In his 26+ year tenure, Brian has built and expanded ESP’s multi-disciplinary geo-environmental services across the Carolinas, including geotechnical engineering, construction materials testing, special inspections, construction engineering and inspection, geophysical, and environmental consulting services. His experience as Director will help him lead as CCO, where he can leverage his experience in leadership, direction, internal QA/QC oversight, and strategic planning to keep ESP’s growth sustainable. Brian holds professional engineering licensure in ten states across the U.S. and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech.

Innovation, Integration, Client Account Management, Professional Development Training, PM Program

Mike Schnell has admirably steered Pickett and Associates as CEO for nearly a decade. With over 30 years of expertise in engineering and business management, his dedication has always been towards fostering business expansion, ensuring operational excellence, and creating cohesive teams. Mike’s career journey began as a proud Virginia Tech Hokie alum, graduating with a degree in electrical engineering, followed by an MBA from the University of Tampa. Leveraging this engineering background, he continues to drive strategic planning, operational enhancements, and pioneering solutions to propel business growth, streamline operations, and optimize profitability. Mike’s vision and execution in his role as Chief Transformation Officer will undoubtedly revolutionize the trajectory of our companies for years to come.

People, Talent, Corporate Culture Initiatives, Benefits, Career Pathing & Leadership Development, Succession Planning

Kayci Wilson has advanced through progressive responsibilities since joining ESP in 2017 and has shaped the HR Department into what it is today. She has a Business Administration and Management degree from Winthrop University and holds certifications such as HRCI Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP). Originally joining ESP as a recruiter, Kayci soon advanced to HR management, then operations management, and now as our Chief People Officer. Kayci is an integral part of operations, HR and benefits, recruiting, safety, fleet, and more. Her HR background allows her to tackle challenges with ease and provide leadership at ESP with confidence and clear direction in this new role.

Marketing, Branding, Communications, Proposals, Capture Planning, CRM Administration

Christina Mehl has spent the past decade remarkably growing the ESP Marketing Department into a responsive, full-service team that supports business development, proposal positioning and production, branding, marketing, and communications across the enterprise. She has spent her 23+ year career in progressive marketing roles for A/E/C and geospatial firms, driving growth through strategic approaches to market research, business analysis, strategic planning, public relations, multi-channel media strategies, and complex project coordination. Christina will leverage this experience as she continues to take a leading role in the development of marketing strategy and vision that align with corporate growth initiatives and strategies. Christina holds a B.F.A. in Design from The University of Texas at Austin.

Technology Initiatives & Vision, IT & Cyber Security Strategies

Jim Compton joined ESP’s Raleigh office over 20 years ago when it was a team of just two. Carrying roles supporting design, office operations, and eventually Branch Manager, Jim has always been engaged in ESP’s technology planning. Since 2020, Jim has served as ESP’s Corporate IT Director. His chief responsibilities in this role have been the design, implementation, and management of companywide IT systems and staffing. In support of mergers and acquisitions, Jim has also provided IT systems analysis and integration. Prior to joining ESP, he held several ownership and management positions within the engineering software industry, preparing him for the IT challenges and needs our company faces. Jim is a licensed professional engineer and certified Project Management Professional. He holds an M.B.A in Business Management and B.S. in Civil Engineering from NC State University.

M&A Activity, Investor Relations

John Barrett has been an essential “behind the scenes” leader at ESP since he joined the firm in 2019 as Director of Corporate Development. Following Strength Capital’s investment in ESP, John has led ESP’s merger and acquisition (M&A) activity, including deal sourcing, evaluation, due diligence, and transaction execution. Prior to joining ESP, John was Director of Corporate Development at Cooper Standard and worked in the Corporate Development group at General Motors. Additionally, John has held investment banking roles with Donnelly Penman & Partners, Doeren Mayhew, and Oppenheimer & Co., where he provided merger, acquisition, and financing advisory to public and private companies across a wide range of industries. John graduated with a B.A. in Finance from Michigan State University and received his M.B.A. from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.