DOWL has several “lifers” at the firm; people whose progression of professional photographs for the company seems to show that life has been lived, pies have been consumed, and gravity is real. They found their home from day one and it’s been a joy ride ever since.
Then, there’s another type who are stuck on DOWL: the ba-ba-ba-boomerangers. They work at DOWL for a few years, take opportunities they can’t resist elsewhere, and then their axis shifts and the magnetic force of DOWL brings them back. We’d like to introduce you to three project managers who left and then found DOWL’s gravitational pull too strong to withstand. These people, like the lifers, are now intent on growing old with us.
Their stories are different, but the reason given for returning makes it sound like they all cheated off each other’s test. “It’s the people,” they said, almost as if in unison.
“I came back because I wanted to work with… my people,” said Jovie Garcia, DOWL’s public involvement (PI) manager, Karaoke enthusiast, and serious life of the party.
Jovie’s easy laugh and too-loud-for-the-office voice (that literally no one complains about) are just some of the reasons that other DOWLies give her the love right back.
Her special brand of humor and care has built a small but mighty Anchorage PI group that, coupled with DOWL’s larger PI presence, makes DOWL one of Alaska’s premier PI groups.
“There’s so much team collaboration,” said Jovie “Everyone pitches in to help you. It’s just that kind of place.”
Russ Reed is a senior water resources engineer out of DOWL’s Billings, Montana office. Like Jovie, he sees the people as the stitching and the exciting projects as the fabric.
His first stint with the company was way back in 2002, when the firm was HKM Engineering in Montana. When he came back, HKM had merged with DOWL and DOWL HKM (as it was then called) was his foray back into the company.
“What keeps me here now is that DOWL is small enough to be treated like people, not just a number,” said Russ, “But we are large enough to have some really exciting projects and to work with premier talent.”
The small-enough-to-care and big-enough-to-take-you-there message resonates with the three boomerangers and all admit DOWL has also evolved in positive ways.
LaQuita Chmielowski, a senior land use planning manager from the Anchorage office, said things have been a little different the second time around.
“DOWL is more supportive of parents and especially of women,” said LaQuita. “I think there’s more recognition that hours worked is not the only measure of contribution, and for a working mom like me, it’s really critical that my company understands and accommodates that we have important lives outside of DOWL.”
This new-and-improved firm has made these boomerangers think of DOWL more like Velcro. When asked if she’ll leave again, LaQuita answered emphatically, “No! Only when I retire.”
When it comes to superstar employees like LaQuita, Russ, and Jovie, it doesn’t matter to us what it took to figure out DOWL is where they want to be, as long as we know they’ll stay.