June 1st marks a significant milestone for Matt Rogers, PE, Vice President and Director of Business Development at Century West Engineering, as he celebrates his 30th anniversary with the company. We took a moment to speak with Matt about his experiences, accomplishments, and insights gained over three decades with Century West.
Q: Can you take us back to the beginning of your journey at Century West Engineering? How did it all start for you?
A: “I started out as an intern when I was in college. I worked as an intern for three summers in the materials testing lab that we used to have in our Bend office. When I graduated from college, I started working in the Geotech group (another element of the past). After a couple of years, I moved to Portland and joined the Transportation group there. I spent 8-9 years in Portland before returning to Bend. Growing up in Bend and having family here, my wife and I wanted to raise our kids here and had the opportunity to do so. It was a move that made sense and has been a good one.”
Q: As the VP and Director of Business Development, what are some of the most exciting projects you’ve been involved in? Could you highlight a few notable ones?
A: “Early on in my career, establishing a relationship with the Bend airport and undertaking municipal work for the City of Bend were significant milestones. I would say developing strong relationships with the Oregon Department of Aviation and WSDOT Aviation and really expanding our planning footprint in Oregon and Washington was significant. The continued On-Call and other project work with the port of Portland including the South Runway project that we were just selected for. Working on the team for that project was a fun one and a great win for the company.”
Q: Building relationships is a crucial aspect of business development. How have you approached fostering and maintaining strong client partnerships throughout your tenure?
A: “I believe in being deliberate about setting up routine conversations with clients, ensuring regular communication on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. By understanding their needs and finding ways to help them achieve their goals, we can cultivate strong client partnerships.”
Q: What would you say are some of the key factors that have contributed to your success and longevity with Century West Engineering?
A: “I have stayed at Century West because I’ve always seen the opportunity to realize my career goals here while working for great clients on interesting projects. Because of that, I’ve never felt the need to look elsewhere. I think throughout my career, saying ‘yes’ to opportunities, making myself useful to people at the company, and constantly identifying ways to improve what we do have helped me be successful here.”
Q: Apart from your professional accomplishments, are there any personal passions or hobbies that have influenced your approach to work or added depth to your career?
A: “Well, I’ve played in a band for about 15 years. Working to book and promote the band has given me a perspective on marketing and the importance of presentation. It has also taught me how to build teams. We would put together bills for shows that we knew the booking agents would like to see, its very similar to the process of assembling teams for projects. [The band is called Jonah]
Q: With your extensive experience, what advice would you give to aspiring professionals looking to thrive in the engineering field?
A: “I’ve received a lot of good advice along the way. Starting out, don’t be afraid to ask questions, Don’t assume you know everything, and look for advice from people who are doing what you want to do in your career.”
Q: Behind every successful professional, there are often mentors or individuals who have made a significant impact. Can you share the names of a few people who have played a crucial role in your journey?
A: “Ron Weigel and Ned Dempsey. Ron really mentored me in the technical side of becoming a good engineer but he also modeled how to manage projects and how to interact with clients. I think that was very crucial to my career development. Seeing how he operated, his willingness to bring me along to clients meetings, site visits, and just share the process.
Ned Dempsey [founder and former Century West President] also had a big impact on my career. Ned routinely provided guidance on the business aspects of the firm and how important building relationships is to the success of the company. He also encouraged me to pursue project management and business development opportunities. I’m grateful to both of them, and many others along the way.”
Q: June 1st marks your 30th anniversary with Century West Engineering. What are your thoughts and reflections as you approach this significant milestone?
A: “It’s been a fun career thus far working with great people. Really just having the opportunity to see and help facilitate the growth of the company has been very rewarding. I’m excited about where the companies headed and I think we’ve got incredible opportunity in front of us and a great team to get us there.”
Q: That’s all of my questions, anything you’d like to add?
A: “Nobody does anything alone. I firmly believe that collaboration is the key to success. Throughout my career I’ve looked at building teams to accomplish tasks. By working together, we can accomplish remarkable feats. It’s been one of the things that has allowed me to be successful – surrounding myself with really talented people who all wanted to contribute.”