President of Davis & Floyd, a firm with more than six decades of experience solving complex engineering, planning, and landscape architecture challenges.
By Liisa Andreassen
Fowler has a passion for growing people, teams, and communities. Since he became president of Davis & Floyd (Greenwood, SC) at the end of 2022 he’s committed himself to ensuring the company has the right people in the right roles accompanied by the tools they need to thrive. He applies that same philosophy to their clients. As a whole, the company wants their clients to succeed, so they emphasize a true understanding of what drives their clients’ success. And, for communities, he tries to stay as engaged as possible where “we work, live, and play.”
Over the years, he has learned that a tremendous amount of “soft skills” are required to run a successful organization of any kind.
“They don’t teach you that in school,” he says. “And it’s easier for some than others to learn these soft skills.”
Fortunately, Fowler shares that he was able to develop those skills early in his career and continues to do so today. He also learned, early on, the power of “building your network and working your network.” That has helped him to find success – professionally and personally.
“The bridges we plan, buildings we design, and systems we engineer are all a symbol of the commitment that we have to enhancing the quality of life for our community and every person who lives here,” he says.
Acquisitions drive growth. Fowler shares that the most exciting accomplishment since becoming president was a recent acquisition in Beaufort, South Carolina.
“We believe that the deep Lowcountry (the South Carolina counties of Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper) is poised for tremendous growth over the next couple of decades. We wanted to position ourselves to help those communities realize their potential, so we acquired a long-time partner, Andrews Engineering, to help us bolster our presence in the Lowcountry,” he says.
In addition to better serving clients, this acquisition also provides additional professional opportunities for their team.
“The nice thing about our acquisition is that the Andrews Engineering team has a very similar DNA to Davis & Floyd,” Fowler says. “They’re a great group of talented people who are passionate about what they do, and care tremendously for each other and their communities.”
That ideal fit has made the transition easier and they will continue to thoughtfully and collaboratively integrate the team into Davis & Floyd. The integration team has provided consistent communication throughout the process, so they’re quickly able to handle any challenges should they arise.
So, what’s on the top of Fowler’s to-do list right now? He says it looks pretty similar for each day – to make sure the team is taken care of in terms of having adequate resources, training, and supervisory support to maintain their high-quality work and client service. They empower staff to use their strengths, experiences, and good judgment to lead and manage their teams. And they coach and encourage them to build and nurture complementary teams to drive successful outcomes.
Fun and flexibility fuels retention. Fowler says that Davis & Floyd is a place where people want to be because they offer a flexible work schedule, with a set of core office hours, but employees can fill out the balance of their work week however they choose – including work-from-home.
Davis & Floyd staff use words like fun, creative, diverse, and family-oriented when asked how to describe the work environment. They enjoy working on different projects that arise from the various market sectors such as transportation and civil and are grateful they can work in a place that’s making an impact.
Beyond keeping staff happy, Fowler is focused on internal growth and organizational optimization. In addition to other future acquisitions, he’s working with the firm’s leadership to add strategic hires to drive organic growth. From an optimization standpoint, they’re implementing some new systems and technologies to help them be more efficient and improve client service.
Since the company’s founding in 1954, Davis & Floyd has offered a unique perspective and reports that its approach has literally laid the groundwork in the state and built a framework for generations to come.
Fowler says that this perspective is closely tied to their interest in communities and families.
“We’re very intentional about making sure the solutions we provide will have a sustainable impact that will span generations,” he shares.
For example, Davis & Floyd is assisting their coastal communities to develop long-term strategies and solutions for managing sea level rise and other water-related environmental impacts.
“We plan and implement these strategies to protect future generations,” he says. “Additionally, we partner with other like-minded organizations, such as Sustain South Carolina, to build synergies in order to ensure we’re leaving behind a sustainable legacy.”