The Importance of Being Engaged in Your Community

For much of the first part of my career with Inberg-Miller Engineers (IME), my job consisted of showing up when and where I was supposed to in order to service our client’s needs to the best of my ability.  IME is an Civil, Geotechnical, Environmental, Materials Testing and Land Surveying consulting firm founded in Wyoming with offices in Riverton, Casper, Gillette, Douglas, Cheyenne, and Green River.  Being in Wyoming, servicing our client’s needs often calls for long hours, in remote parts of our state, and sometimes in adverse weather conditions.  I took pride in the work I did, but at the end of the day there was a sense of something missing.  Not being from Wyoming, my wife and I sometimes struggled to connect with our community outside of work relationships.  IME is a company that encourages a work life balance, which I appreciate.  It is also a company that supports self-improvement through continuing education and community involvement.  IME provides the support in the form of covering dues, fees, sponsorships, and time away from ordinary work duties.  I see the benefits of becoming involved in my community outside or work as mutually beneficial for me personally and for Inberg-Miller.

On the personal side, I have been able to connect with other civically minded people, who I now call friends.  These are folks that I might not otherwise have crossed paths.  My first step into community involvement was to join the Cheyenne Rotary Club when we first moved to Cheyenne.  Rotary International is a service organization that focuses on “service above self”.  They do this in a multitude of ways by focusing on projects at both the local and international level.   Becoming involved on several rotary committees eventually lead to a Directorship, which subsequently lead to other opportunities outside of Rotary, including with the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, Children’s Museum of Cheyenne and the Cheyenne Soccer Club.  The wonderful thing about getting involved, is that you can choose opportunities that fit your interests.    My primary motivation is to improve the community that I live in, the place where I’ve chosen to raise my family.

You may be asking yourself, what does IME get out of supporting employee community engagement?  The answer here is twofold.  The first is by putting our money where our mouth is when it comes to prioritizing the work life balance of our employees.  The second is by making connections with people.  You never know where these connections may lead in the future.  I have personally been able to leverage connections into opportunities to professionally participate in projects on multiple occasions.  By becoming involved with other community leaders, they become aware that I am a licensed Wyoming Professional Engineer.  It’s only a matter of time before these attorneys, bankers, contractors, real estate professionals, etc. have a need for a Wyoming firm that can provide environmental consulting services, land surveying, geotechnical site surveys, etc.  It is human nature that these decision makers will seek out someone who they know and trust to fill this need.  When the call comes, I will have a relationship built with them through our mutual community involvement efforts.  While this is not my primary motivating factor for involvement, it is a natural progression and benefit of being involved.  I’ll take it.

About Derek Baker

Derek Baker's background includes geotechnical engineering and geology, with technical experience in subsurface explorations and geotechnical engineering for residential, commercial, industrial, municipal, and transportation development projects. Additionally, his expertise includes field and laboratory testing of soil, aggregate, concrete, asphalt, and construction observation of both shallow and deep foundation installation. Mr. Baker is a licensed Professional Engineer in Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, and Nebraska, and a licensed Professional Geologist in Wyoming. His position with Inberg-Miller Engineers requires performing all technical duties and responsibilities, while managing a branch office with a staff of engineers, technicians, and administrative support.