Carter & Sloope: A Career Conversation with Mark Hain

What motivated you to join Carter & Sloope?
I joined Carter & Sloope to be part of a mid-size company that was big enough to have the resources to work on exciting projects and cutting-edge technology and small enough to have the flexibility to take on more responsibility and grow within the company. I felt ready for it and did not want to wait for a specific job/role to open.

How does Carter & Sloope convey to employees a sense of belonging?
Each office has their own unique events and activities. As a company, we have done professional sporting events (Braves / ATL United) with our families. Our Canton office does regular “office lunches” where staff will all go out to lunch together to provide space to get to know each other without talking about work. One of my favorite events is our annual Engineer and Project Manager meetings, where all offices come together for updates on the company including a Q&A session in a relaxed environment. We are nearly all in the office full-time, so each day you are interacting with coworkers, not just through Teams.

In what ways has Carter & Sloope supported your professional development and growth?
Carter & Sloope encouraged me to get my PE license. Through the training materials available to all staff, including PE prep books, and the ability to use office space to study, and especially the real-world preparation of applying our engineering skills to each project in our everyday work. Carter & Sloope has also provided me the opportunity to grow as a leader by involving me in project management duties at an early stage of my career. Recently, I was enabled to become a better leader by attending ACEC’s Future Leaders Program, which I will be graduating from in May.

Carter & Sloope also has internal professional development opportunities, such as C&S University, which is a monthly event where employees, industry experts, or a combination of both give presentations on various topics that our company is involved in. These 90-minute courses include Q&A and are recorded for future reference. I was honored to give the December 2022 course and had a great time.

In what ways are you supported in maintaining a healthy work-life balance?
Most consulting engineering firms deal with deadlines and ours is no different, but we strive to meet those deadlines by staying on track and providing additional resources, via shifting workloads, vs requiring extra hours. There are exceptions, but our company has always emphasized a work-life balance and values family time. This was a selling point when I graduated, as I already had a wife and two children, and the company has delivered on my expectations. Being able to work in Canton and live within Cherokee County, means my commute does not take away time with my family and I can make it to school functions and doctor appointments with relative ease.

How do you know that you’re making a difference/having an impact with the work that you do?
Working with water resources, sometimes it’s difficult to visualize your impact on the community you serve. If I design and oversee construction on a new water line, there’s not much to see afterwards, except new hydrants. The impact is felt when you go back to pictures and the documents prior to the project and realize that that community was dealing with failing wells, or water with substandard quality or pressure. Many take for granted the water that comes from their tap, until it’s not available. Growing communities and underserved communities are a big part of who we serve, and it is rewarding to know that they were constantly having water main breaks and boil water advisories regularly, and afterwards, clean, reliable water.

What makes you proud to represent Carter & Sloope?
Carter & Sloope is known throughout the state as an industry leader. Our clients, who are mostly comprised of cities, counties and authorities know that we provide quality work, whether that is design for construction projects, or other types of consulting, such as utility rate studies. We are there to serve the communities we work for and repeat business is the majority of our workload. As our reputation grows and we attract more clients, we have the need for more staff, but are setup to maintain a small company feel, where employees are people and not ID numbers.

In what ways do you feel like you’ve grown since working for Carter & Sloope?
I joined C&S after graduation with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. The program at UGA was great and gave me the basis I needed to succeed. That said, I learned more in the first six months of my career than my engineering education. I feel like this is true for most engineering careers, because there is so much variety in what you can do upon graduation. Carter & Sloope, specifically my supervisors in Canton, pushed and guided my experience, giving me the space to learn and make mistakes, while overseeing and reviewing my work. Providing feedback and constructive criticisms, which I appreciate, has made me a better engineer and more confident member of my community by understanding the complexities of problems.

What do you wish you had known about the professional world when you were a student?
There wasn’t anything that surprised me. The faculty in the College of Engineering, and especially our Environmental Engineering faculty, emphasized the importance of public speaking. It was important to be able to problem solve and “do the math,” but it was equally important to be able to explain your solutions in writing and by presenting. I regularly speak with clients and in front of directors, council members, and/or commissioners, and use the skills I practiced while at UGA giving presentations on my landfill design in Dr. Jambeck’s class.

In thinking about emerging young professionals, what advice would you share to those seeking their first opportunities?
I would say that as you grow, each decision you make gains importance. Understand what is important to you, not just right now, but in the future. If you make decisions for the long-term, you will be working toward your goal every day. Making decisions for an immediate reward is tempting and can have its positive outcomes, but I’ve never regretted a decision I made when I considered the long-term consequences, even if it wasn’t the easy choice at the time. I would also encourage young professionals to have patience, each of us wants to be the best at what we do, but there’s a learning curve to most professions. Ask questions, challenge old thought processes, don’t settle for the status quo, but also listen to those with experience, there really is no substitute for experience.

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