Feb 19

Consultants frequently use the phrases “On time and on budget” and “Providing solutions to challenges” as selling points. These are commonly made promises, and rightfully so – being on time and on budget with solutions is a given if a consultant wants to be successful.


You may already work with an engineering or environmental consultant, and maybe their solutions are, in fact, delivered on time and on budget. But would you describe your consultant as “great?” How would you go about arriving at that determination? What do you truly value in a business relationship? At the end of the day, what would assure you that you’re working with the best consultant for your needs?


Ask yourself the following 3 questions:


Question no. 1: Do they have specialized expertise?

If your business requires fast-paced, well-informed decisions regarding property transactions (maybe you’re engaged in a land development project or looking to minimize or mitigate environmental liabilities) or if you’re required to comply with local, state, or federal regulations (such as air quality, stormwater management, or ADA), your consultant should specialize in those specific areas. And ideally that expertise would go beyond the technical aspects to also include direct knowledge of your industry. A consultant with expertise from both sides of the business understands your objectives.


Question no. 2: Is their process highly collaborative?

Is your input considered throughout your project’s lifecycle? Is the consultant working with you or for you? If the firm is multi-disciplined, are they taking advantage of the unique perspectives and insights available through collaboration to find fresh solutions to routine challenges? If your consultant functions in silos, are you truly getting the highest-quality deliverable? Also, collaboration isn’t limited to the above – superior collaboration skills go a long way toward reaching mutually beneficial outcomes with regulatory agencies. A consultant that has built a strong rapport with decision-makers can help expedite approval processes or lead to flexibility in the interpretation of regulations.


Question no. 3: Are they easy to work with?

You have a project. Maybe you need expert insights, design solutions, compliance strategies, or construction oversight. If your only choice is to charge forward, isn’t it better to do so with a partner who will provide the best possible service? Are you able to easily call someone if you need their expertise? Do their response times allow you to keep things moving? Would they bend over backwards to get answers for you? Establishing an effortless rapport with your consultant simply works better.


A “great” among many “goods”

Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc. (CEC) is an engineering and environmental consulting firm that is consistently ranked on Engineering News-Record’s annual lists of the Top Design and Environmental Firms. Founded in 1989 by four individuals in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, CEC has grown to more than 1,000 employees in 23 offices over 30+ years of operation. With an already robust presence in Ohio with offices in Cincinnati, Columbus, and Toledo, CEC expanded its coverage and capabilities with the launch of Cleveland operations in 2019. The office, led by 20-year industry veteran Jim Cooper, provides integrated services in air quality, civil engineering, ecological sciences, environmental engineering and sciences, survey/geospatial, waste management, and water resources to the public and private sectors. The team of local experts is backed by the resources and expertise you’d expect from a successful, growing nationwide firm.


What sets CEC apart is our ability to tackle projects from the owner’s perspective, thanks to our strategic hiring of industry professionals; strong relationships with regulators and deep knowledge of the local regulatory landscape; and perhaps most importantly, the people you’ll work with every day. Our clients tell us they work well with all of us, not just one or two of us. It’s because we’re approachable, accessible, responsive, and accountable. Our empowered, engaged, and passionate professionals listen more and work harder to understand the needs of our clients in the manufacturing, mining, oil & gas, power, public sector, real estate, and solid waste industries.


If you’re looking to go from good to great, stop by our website to learn more. But just so you know that we practice what we preach, you can easily reach right out to Jim Cooper at (216) 310-9394 or by emailing him at jcooper@cecinc.com. We’re proud members of the Greater Cleveland Partnership!