Garver expands with 4th water design center, first on East Coast

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,262 views 

Arkansas engineering firm Garver is expanding its footprint on the East Coast.

The company is bringing a new water design center (WDC) online in Greenville, S.C., joining existing facilities in Fayetteville, Harlingen, Texas, and College Station, Texas.

Founded in 1919, Garver is the state’s oldest and largest engineering firm and one of the country’s leading multi-disciplined engineering, planning and environmental services firms. Its WDCs are centers of excellence that combine various engineering disciplines to focus solely on complex water and wastewater designs. The company describes them on its website as “where academia meets industry and where research meets application.”

John Cutright, Garver’s WDC director, said the staffing plan in South Carolina is to progress to a 36-member team “as quickly as possible” and then grow the office to at least 100 over the next three years combining internal transfers and new hires. The office will support new and existing water and wastewater clients in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.

Cutright said Garver’s WDCs invest in strategic relationships with local universities, such as the University of Arkansas and Texas A&M University and will do the same in Greenville.

The company has promoted Fayetteville engineer Chris Gatling to manage the South Carolina office. He started working in Greenville on Oct. 3. He’ll be back and forth to Fayetteville through the end of the year with the intent of being permanently relocated by January.

John Cutright

Gatling, 35, is a civil engineer with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas and a master’s degree from Missouri S&T. He joined Garver in March 2016 as a project manager, and the firm promoted him in 2017 to lead the civil engineering group for Garver’s WDC in Fayetteville. His job was responsible for all aspects of site and civil engineering design relating to water and wastewater treatment facilities and other water-related infrastructure projects.

Gatling said creating and staffing a new design center while maintaining company culture and delivering high-quality work will be a significant professional challenge, but he looks forward to it.

“Since I have been at Garver, I’ve seen numerous colleagues take opportunities within the company to grow themselves personally and in their careers. In all cases, it has made Garver a better place to work for all of us,” he said. “The success of the company, in my opinion, is a direct reflection of Garver’s investments in people, who help keep the Garver culture that I’m very proud of.

“I am incredibly excited about the opportunity to introduce Garver and that culture to a new region, new prospective team members, and new clients as we grow in the east.”

A Van Buren native, Gatling said he is also excited about plugging his young family into a new community. He and his wife Kelci have a 2-year-old daughter.

Chris Gatling

“Moving far from home to a new area will be a personal challenge,” he said. “But everything my wife and I have seen and heard about Greenville makes us very excited to experience the area firsthand. President Kennedy was talking about going to the moon, and not the East Coast when he said, ‘not because they are easy, but because they are hard’, but I’m excited about being able to look back in a few years and see how much we have accomplished.”

Garver is an employee-owned firm based in North Little Rock that’s more than doubled in size in the past seven years, with more than 1,000 employees nationally.

“We’ve been able to invest in new markets while also promoting from within and providing new opportunities to current employees as a result of that growth, which we intend to continue,” Gatling said.

With its first South Carolina office, Garver now has 40 offices in 17 states. The company maintains its Arkansas headquarters in North Little Rock. President and CEO Brock Hoskins is based in Northwest Arkansas, where the company has offices in Fayetteville and Rogers.