WithersRavenel is saddened to observe the passing of Kevin Eason, PE, Director of Utilities and an unmatched engineer, teacher, and colleague.
A North Carolina native, Kevin was born on February 14, 1963, in Fuquay-Varina, NC. He earned an Associate’s degree in Civil Engineering Technology from Wake Technical Community College, a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
In 1989, he went to work for the City of Greensboro, NC, where he served as a Water Resources Engineer and then Engineering Manager for 20 years. He went on to work as the Public Works Director for the City of Reidsville, NC, for just shy of 10 years. After nearly three decades in local government, he transitioned to private consulting, doing a brief stint with another engineering firm before accepting a position with WithersRavenel.
Director of Transportation Ted Kallam, who also worked for the City of Greensboro, knew Kevin from their shared time there, but didn’t have an opportunity to work with him until they met at WithersRavenel. Ted describes Kevin as “very conscientious and helpful,” and he points to his own onboarding as an example: “My first week in the office, Kevin was heading to Home Depot to get a few office supplies and offered to pick up a space heater for me since the office I had was very cold.”
Kevin’s kind, caring, and generous nature made an impression on everyone in the Greensboro office, and many noted how he went out of his way to connect with people on a personal level. Devin Owen, a Utilities Staff Professional, says, “Regularly, he would come around the corner, to my cubicle, around 11 AM with a simple, ‘We’re going to lunch, get in the truck.'” About these lunchtime get-togethers, Devin goes on to say: “We would often talk about our hobbies and how our families were doing. When Kevin learned that I did not know how to golf, he took me to the driving range after work and gifted me his old set of golf clubs.”
Casey Dolan, a Funding & Asset Management Staff Professional, echoes Devin’s sentiments. “No matter how busy he was, Kevin would always ask how my family was doing, making sure I was taking time off to visit them. He took a special interest in learning about our lives outside of work, asking about our hobbies and sharing a personal connection with each one, whether it was discussing music and his saxophone collection or suggesting new running or hiking paths in the local parks.”
Kevin’s ability to connect with anyone, along with his wealth of knowledge about the engineering field and local government, was a key part of why he chosen for the role of Director of Utilities. He oversaw more than 200 projects led by the Utilities Department, as well as coordinating the involvement of his staff on projects led by other disciplines. He was highly sought after by engineers and non-engineers alike for his technical expertise and his ability to explain complex ideas simply. As Marketing Coordinator Mohsin Syed puts it, “Kevin was the most helpful person in the company, someone who never made us non-engineers/non-technical people feel intimidated whenever we got involved in a conversation that touched upon engineering issues.”
Like Casey, Mohsin was always impressed by how giving Kevin was with his time: “Despite his responsibilities and tight schedule, he would find the time to respond to any questions or queries. All of this while retaining a good sense of humor. Once, a desperate email was sent to him asking if he could provide project information for a proposal ‘if possible.’ His response? ‘For you, my friend, all is possible.'”
These qualities also made Kevin an exceptional teacher, and several of our employee-owners were fortunate to learn from him directly. When asked about his experience, Devin says, “Kevin was my biggest mentor at WithersRavenel, and most of what I’ve learned here came from him. He always made a point to ensure that I was growing both as a person and in my career. He truly wanted those around him to succeed.”
Kyle Pohle, a Utilities Staff Professional who worked for Kevin from the Wilmington office, had this to say about Kevin’s management: “In the short time I spent working with Kevin, I learned that he was a strong leader, sharp as a tack, and truly cared about his employees and the company. No leader has been a source of encouragement for me more than Kevin was. He will be truly missed, but I will never forget the positive impact he had on my professional life.”
“One thing was very apparent in my experience working with him,” says Lena Richards, Director of Marketing, “he cared deeply about his department, his employees, and his clients. I always appreciated his no-nonsense, get-it-done approach.” His personable demeanor, however, meant that he often accomplished his work with a smile, and Lena is quick to add that they “always ribbed each other during the 2+ years [they] worked together.”
In additions to his many contributions to WithersRavenel, Kevin volunteered with both the American Water Works Association and the Water Environment Federation. Robbie Bald, a fellow former employee from the City of Greensboro, shares how Kevin brought a sense of humor to his volunteer work: “We were instructors at one of the AWWA certification schools held each year. We were sitting around the hotel pool after classes and dinner, having beers and getting caught up with folks from other towns, which we often did. Kevin sits back and wonders out loud about all the vehicles with permanent license plates parked in the lot. He then asks, what did we think would happen if we went out in the parking lot and just randomly start swapping all of the plates? We all looked at each other, and the laughter was uncontrollable. We all sat there realizing how something so simple could create confusion across the state. Leave it the Kevin’s sense of humor to shine like it did that evening!”
It is difficult to capture the complexity of a life that touched so many others, and harder still to express how one person’s kindness, generosity, and grace can make all the difference in the day-to-day experiences of work. But if we at WithersRavenel had to put our feelings into a single thought, it would be this one from Mohsin: “I wish in the short and limited time we got interact, I could have conveyed to him what a wonderful coworker and human being he was.”
We will remember Kevin, and we will hold his family, friends, and coworkers in our thoughts and prayers.
Kevin’s family held a celebration of his life at Wilkerson Funeral Home with Dr. Ron Tuck officiating. Details related to his burial and memorials can be found on here.
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