Smart growth: Dave Witsken

Jul 23, 2023


CEO of UES (Orlando, FL), a privately held, rapidly growing engineering and consulting firm and No. 1 Hot Firm three years in a row.

By Liisa Andreassen

It’s happened three years in a row now and it’s something that UES, a privately held, rapidly growing engineering and consulting firm, is pretty proud of too. As the No. 1 firm on Zweig Group’s Hot Firm List three years in a row, Witsken says this achievement is a testament to the exceptional efforts of UES’s talented team across the country as well as the customers they are lucky enough to serve.

The Hot Firm List ranks the 100 fastest-growing AEC firms in the United States and Canada – based on both dollar and percentage revenue growth rate over a three-year period.

Internal and external growth. “It’s a great honor just to be nominated amongst our peer group, and, of course, it’s great to see our team’s hard work and focused growth strategy recognized as No. 1 on the Zweig Group Hot Firm List again in 2023,” Witsken says. “We’re proud to have held our position as a leader in the AEC industry, and we remain focused on further expanding our capabilities, continuing to provide differentiated customer service, and to make a positive impact on the communities we serve.”

With nearly six decades of experience in geotechnical engineering, construction materials testing, building code compliance, threshold inspections, and environmental consulting, UES has more than 3,500 employees across the country who are located in high-growth markets.

“These professionals are working every day to solve, serve, and succeed for our clients and stakeholders,” Witsken says.

And, UES is always on the hunt for more. It’s currently hiring for as many as 300 open positions around the country.

“We consider one of our greatest strengths to be our investment in recruiting and retention in such a highly competitive industry,” he says. “We’re intentional about providing opportunities that improve our team members’ experience and career development too.”

That’s why UES is now offering more advanced training programs, paid certifications, and expanded employee career path development that, when coupled with its six-decade reputation, attracts some of the most knowledgeable professionals in the industry.

UES is also always on the lookout for well-run businesses with trusted industry relationships, rich resources and knowledge, and a commitment to client success to join the UES network of companies.

“We’re highly conscious of our expansion pace and are focused on smart growth that will enable – not hinder – exceptional value for our customers,” Witsken shares. “We’ll continue to look for additional opportunities to grow organically and through additional M&A partnerships to strengthen our national footprint.”

Striving for success. UES’s results-driven culture is directly tied to its core values which it calls STRIVE (safety, teamwork, responsiveness, integrity, value, and excellence). These core values serve as a guide to how staff should act, treat others, and go about their daily work.

“Every day, I’m inspired by our people and the #TeamUES culture we share,” Witsken shares.

He reports that UES has grown through a steady mix of organic growth and acquisitions. Last year, in particular, they realized strong organic growth, and over the past three years, they’ve acquired more than 20 companies.

And they continue to be awarded and recognized for supporting exciting projects across the country. Recent projects include work with FedEx to expand their distribution network via a new 250,000-square-foot, tilt-up panel facility in Montgomery, Alabama; providing quality control and construction materials testing services to multiple project teams in support of the North Texas Municipal Water District’s Bois d’Arc Lake project in Fannin County, Texas; and serving two solar farm builds near Reno, Nevada: The Fish Springs Ranch Solar Energy Center and the Dodge Flat Solar Energy Center.

The UES team has also provided geotechnical data and engineering, exploration services, and site-specific seismic response analysis services to assist HDR Inc. and Fisher & Arnold for the Tennessee Department of Transportation in support of Ford Motor Company’s most advanced auto production complex, Blue Oval City, which is scheduled to be operational in 2025.

Margaritaville Beach Resort in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, is another project they’re excited about. It’s scheduled to open in late 2023 and UES completed the materials testing, geo drilling, and pile monitoring on the project, as well as all structural, fire stops, and M.E.P. inspections. The 254-guest resort will include a four-story main hotel building, a four-story restaurant building, a three-story mixed use building, and a one-story amenity building, totaling approximately 220,849 square feet.

“I’m confident in the path we are on. We’re positioned well to deliver on the needs of our customers while prioritizing safety, integrity, and sustainability in all that we do,” Witsken says. 

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About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.