Annie Tooley

Erin Eckard

Assistant project manager

Erin grew up in a family-owned excavation business and began operating “all types of equipment from skid loaders to a CAT 963 since I was old enough to walk.”

But Erin didn't start her career in construction right away. She worked as a licensed veterinary medical technician for over a decade. She married her high school sweetheart, Chris, in 2011. Seven years later, she began working for Southern Site—becoming the third generation of her family to work in this industry.

Q: What brought you to Southern Site Contractors?

A: Will Grimes, my god-brother, worked at Southern Site. He was the one who said, “We really need some help, and I think your organizational skills are something we need.” So I went to work there and absolutely loved it.

Q: What was your background before you came to Southern Site?

A: I grew up in excavating. It’s what my dad always did, from the time he was about 19 years old. His father started a business, and my dad took it over when he was 21. I originally went to school and became a certified vet tech. After doing that for about 10 years, I decided I was just ready to do something different.

Q: What set Southern Site apart from other companies in the industry?

A: This company was a complete 180 from the excavation world I grew up in. My dad never had more than three or four employees at any time, and he had no marketing. There was no logo; it was just a name. The thing that I really liked about Southern Site was that this company was known for its great people. We had customers who continued to come back for work. They liked the way they were treated the first time, so they wanted to do business again.

Q: How was the internal culture for employees there?

A: It was awesome. I worked with several different groups of people in my career, and this group just got along so well, from management all the way through the laborers. We had good communication from step to step.

Q: Why should someone come to work for Southern Site?

A: We gew by leaps and bounds all the time. I started in April 2019, and I think I was the 70th employee. Less than a year later, I believe we were up to 143 employees. It was amazing for me to think about where we’d be six months or five years after that. Also, because we fell under Berkshire Hathaway’s corporate umbrella, as far as I’d been told, our benefit plan was basically hand-picked by Warren Buffett. We had a medical insurance benefit plan that was really good value for what you got. We also had short-term and long-term disability, everybody got $30,000 worth of life insurance, and they matched our 401k up to 4% after one year.

So, what do project managers and project engineers do? Learn more about these roles in the Dirt World.

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