Client experience and employee experience were our top priorities in 2022, and we have 10 milestones that show we reached our goals:
1. Expanded Asset Management Activities to 20 States
The passage of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) made focusing on asset management an obvious choice for WithersRavenel and our clients. The unprecedented influx of funding enabled many communities to address longstanding infrastructure concerns, including asset management planning. We reached beyond North Carolina to help 20 states across the U.S., from Yelm, WA, to Ayer, MA, and from Portsmouth, NH, to Plantation, FL. To date, we’ve done lifecycle planning for:
Our Funding & Finance team worked hand-in-hand with our Asset Management team to make sure clients successfully applied for, received, and administered the funding available for critical projects. They handle grants and no-interest/low-interest loans from federal, regional, and state sources for water, wastewater, stormwaters, park and recreation, and other project types. In the past year, they secured more than $92 million dollars in grant funding, bringing their funding total to $899,763,835.
Employee ownership is a unique experience that we want to share with as many people as possible. In 2022, we introduced more than 100 staff to the benefits of being an ESOP. These included our first Product Manager for Asset Management, Becca Ruffin; our first Business Analyst, Lorraine Smart; and our first Senior Advisor on Quality Control, Ben Bothell.
Visit our Careers portal to learn more about the benefits of employee ownership.
Like Owners’ Day, our client experience workshop was put on pause by the pandemic. But this December, we hosted our second Exceptional Service by Design event. A panel of local government and private developer clients spoke to our project managers about how they can provide better service throughout project lifespans and avoid the pitfalls that make clients think twice about hiring us again. We also heard from keynote speaker Ryan Suydam, CXO and Co-Founder of Client Savvy and a long-time partner on our CX journey.
6. Debuted WithersRavenel Podcast
Business Development Representative Jed Byrne is a man of many talents, one of which is a knack for drawing out the stories of our employee-owners. Jed launched the WithersRavenel podcast to uncover the professional histories, secret passions, and hidden talents of our colleagues. Since March, Jed has released an episode about every two weeks, available for free via Buzzsprout or your preferred podcast listening service.
7. Amplified Inclusivity and Accessibility Efforts
Creating a more equitable firm is an ongoing process of reflection, discovery, action, and evaluation. We initially launched the President’s Task Force for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in 2020; in 2022, we recommitted to this effort with Human Resources Generalist Lee Anna Maness at the helm. The Task Force held a four-part learning and conversation series that covered the history of the Lumbee Tribe in North Carolina, the challenges of collaboration between introverts and extroverts, understanding neurodiversity in the workplace, and tackling unconscious bias.
At the same time, our Human Resources team implemented a military friendly workplace program to help veterans and military spouses adapt to work in the private sector. Benefits include a paid day off for Veteran’s Day, an additional floating day off for VA visits or other physical/mental health needs, and accommodation for deployments and military leave.
In addition to championing the IDE and military friendly programs, the Human Resources team has been hard at work on creating opportunities for greater workplace wellness at WithersRavenel. The Thrive Committee, for example, hosted a staggering 23 lunch and learn sessions throughout the year. Topics ranged from reducing stress through budgeting, time management, and sleep to strategies for supporting struggling kids and aging parents.
Bottom-up initiatives are also a big part of our workplace wellness success. This year, a few of our employee-owners teamed up to form a Run/Walk Club to encourage healthy exercise habits on breaks and outside office hours. The club participated in their first marathon relay in Charlotte in November.
WithersRavenel and its employee-owners have been involved with the American Public Works Association for many years, but in 2022 we stepped up our contribution to this awesome volunteer organization. The highlight of the year was the 2022 Public Works Expo held in Charlotte, which provides unparalleled education and networking opportunities for public works professionals from across the country. At the event, our very own Keith Pugh accepted the mantle of APWA National President.
10. Celebrated CEO Jim Canfield’s Birthday
Jim Canfield works hard to make every employee-owner feel seen, included, and appreciated at WithersRavenel. Every year he handwrites a personal birthday card to each of our staff, and this year, we thought it only fitting to show him the same love. Together, we filled his office with more than 100 birthday cards to show him how grateful we are for his compassionate and employee-centered leadership.
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