Jon Ford named NC Young Professional of the Year
When Jon Ford studied engineering in college, he didn’t know that his career would take a few twists and turns before leading him to the top as quickly as it did.
“I thought I wanted to build bridges,” says Ford from his Charlotte office. “But I eventually gravitated toward storm water resource management instead. I liked the idea of keeping communities safe from dangerous flood waters.”
Ford received his Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of South Carolina. He began working for a company as a hydrolics design engineer. But when that firm was purchased by a large multinational, he found himself at a crossroads.
“I really didn’t like the direction the new company was taking us,” he said. “It felt like I was just becoming a number.”
Ford accepted a job at Vaughn & Melton Consulting Engineers, Inc., instead, which was comparable in size to the previous company. This Southeastern engineering firm was more to Ford’s tastes, so he and his wife Joscelyn packed up their Columbia, SC, home and moved to Charlotte where Vaughn & Melton needed a hydrolics engineer.
“I really liked the family feel at Vaughn & Melton,” says Ford. “The Charlotte office is centrally located, so it gave me a chance to really focus on improving outdated infrastructures, helping cities across this coastal state handle dangerous flood waters more successfully.”
But Ford’s future took an even bigger turn when the Charlotte Office manager, Reece Schuler, was promoted to Vice President of the Carolinas operations. That left the office manager position at the Charlotte office available.
“Jon was a great fit for the role of Office Manager,” says Schuler. “After working with him and seeing how personable and professional he was, I made the recommendation that he take that role. His personality and his skills help him oversee every project in the region in a wide variety of disciplines while giving him a chance to continue work in his specialty.” Ford says he was surprised at the offer but was honored and confident in his leadership abilities. He knew he was ready to step up to the responsibilities of the role.
“There are lots of challenges,” says Ford. “And I am learning every day as different things come along. But I couldn’t ask for a better group of folks to work with. And that’s not just in the Charlotte office, but across the entire company. I’m proud to work for V&M.”
Vaughn & Melton has 14 offices in five states across the Southeast including North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Georgia. The employee-owned company has more than 275 professionals working in multiple engineering disciplines. They offer services such as Water Resource Management, Civil Engineering, Surveying, Geographic Information Systems, Construction Engineering and Inspection, Right of Way Acquisition, Subsurface Utility Engineering, Transportation and Structures as well as Bridge Design.