Getting to Know Matt Jones, PE, LEED AP BD+C, Project Manager in Pinehurst
Courtney Hayden recently sat down with Matt Jones, PE, LEED AP BD+C, Project Manager in McGill’s Pinehurst office. With eight years of experience in the field and the last four years at McGill, he sheds some light on his daily experience and what keeps him motivated.
Matt earned his Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from North Carolina State University (NC State). After graduating from NC State, he began working for the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). He worked for USACE for about five years and then taught engineering electives at a high school in Southern Pines for two years. After this, he knew he wanted to transition to the water and wastewater engineering design field, so he put his information out for recruitment. Seeing his talent, McGill approached Matt to work in the Pinehurst office, and he ended up only 2.3 miles from his home. Matt earned his professional engineering (PE) license previously and was able to jump into projects with the former office manager, Mike Apke, and David Honeycutt, a project engineer at that time. It is important to Matt to feel like he is making a difference through his work; and he has found that at McGill, supporting local communities with their water and wastewater projects.
Finding Support Among Teammates Across Offices
Because McGill works across offices and together as one team, each staff member has the opportunity to work with a wide range of engineers and specialists. Although the Pinehurst office is only made up of eight to ten individuals at any one time, it is as easy as picking up the phone or getting on a video call to ask a question to those in other McGill offices. McGill has what Matt calls a “deep bench,” created by supportive staff members who are always willing to help. The breadth of experience and depth of skill in the combined team makes it easy to move projects forward. For example, Matt has called on Drew Hubbard in the Asheville office, multiple times, to help with mechanical engineering questions related to the water and wastewater engineering projects that Matt works on day to day.
Mentor and Mentee
Our Pinehurst office recently hired two new graduates. When working with less experienced engineering staff, Matt uses his previous experience as a teacher. He explains what he is doing and asks them to explain what they are working on to help guide the learning process. Matt also considers himself a learner, growing his skills under Pinehurst Office Manager and Principal, David Honeycutt, as a part of the team. Matt focuses on asking the “why” questions to the younger engineers. In this season of working remotely, the team talks through what they have been working on over video conference. It is clear that all ideas are on equal footing. Despite having different roles, each team member has the same level of ownership of the project and his or her ideas are respected.
Exciting Projects and Opportunities
Matt is currently working as the primary engineer for on-call projects with Cumberland County. He has enjoyed developing the relationship as the trusted guide for engineering projects and representing McGill. Matt has found that having additional specialties is extremely helpful to the County and that McGill’s deep bench ensures that there are backups and cross checks.
In his role as an on-call engineer, Matt is presenting project updates to County management monthly. He also had the pleasure of supporting County staff with projects at the Crown Coliseum and several other capital improvement projects (paving, ADA accessibility, water, and security projects).
Matt has worked on several exciting design projects, including a 30,000-linear-foot sewer project to provide greater sewer access to the Town of Vass, utilizing USDA-Rural Development funding. This project provides sewer access to up to 165 residents that did not have this access before.
Matt says he does not have a specific “five-year plan,” but his goal is to finish his Master of Divinity degree and see how it will fit with his engineering career. He wants to continue to use his gifts to make a difference in underserved communities and, perhaps, be part of a volunteer effort to improve impoverished communities through engineering. He would like to see if there are ways to partner with communities to provide greater assistance and direct philanthropy.
Pinehurst: A Great Place to Work and Live
Matt explains that Moore County is a special place to call home. With so many people choosing to retire here from all over the country, it is also full of opportunity for meeting new people and learning from their previous careers and experiences. Being only one hour from Raleigh and a short drive to the coast, it is convenient to have a weekend getaway but still call the Sandhills home. Matt loves that he feels like a part of the community. He was recently voted onto the Pinehurst Planning and Zoning Board, a volunteer role where he will serve a three-year term. Living in this community, you can have a big footprint.
If you’d like to work with Matt in the Pinehurst office, check out our open positions. Or if you’d like to learn more about the type of water and wastewater engineering work that McGill does, please read about the water treatment plant upgrades McGill has been working on with the City of Lenoir.