Best practice for small engineering businesses

By Shawn Gama, CEO, Zimile Consulting Engineers

11 March 2022: Experienced engineers are crucial within such a critical and technically-minded sector such as engineering, and it is consequently not surprising that the industry players place a premium on the employment of those who have the years under their belts.    

I am an experienced engineer turned business leader with engineering consulting and civil engineering being my particular area of expertise.  In my view, what this focus on experience tends to miss is that talented young engineers can play an equally important role in the development of projects and inject new ideas, perspectives and dynamism into these projects. In other words, young blood can bring greater diversity of thinking to the organisation and meaningfully assist to drive innovation.

In order for small businesses to fully embrace this young talent, and  the dynamism that young engineers bring , it is very crucial that innovation and autonomy within the work space be at the centre of the business strategy.  

Experience of your workforce

In my time as CEO of Zimile Consulting Engineers, I have noticed that there is a lot of untapped potential in our young engineers. While the industry tends to focus on hiring seasoned professionals “guaranteed to get the job done”, we have been placing  emphasis on fostering a young and dynamic workforce who can offer us a new perspectives under the leadership and guidance of these seasoned engineers.. By leveraging the hunger to learn, the energy, flexibility and agility of these young professionals, we have found that we can deliver faster, with greater levels of innovation and commitment. 

This is not to say we don’t need experienced engineers with their years of institutional knowledge. Rather, we bridge the generational divide to reach a diversity of perspectives, experience and know-how, which enables us to get the best out of our people – no matter whether they are new to the industry, or have decades of experience. Each of these groups then have their value. And it’s time the value of our youth is more widely appreciated. At any rate, our approach has helped us thrive in what is currently a very difficult business landscape.  

Experience of your offerings

Small businesses also need to be ready to pivot into new offerings and move out of their comfort zones. At some point, you had to build that first road. Well, maybe now it’s time you build your first pipeline and start offering solutions for water and sanitation infrastructure as well! 

This is what we did, and now we have a more diversified portfolio and wider experience, which boosts the range of projects we can undertake – giving us a steadier and more secure project pipeline.  

Gone are the days where you can pick and choose your projects. The civil and construction sector is under pressure as we await improved public sector spending and infrastructure roll out. The time is now to explore what more you can do with the talents you have. This is the beauty of a small business – you should be able to pivot yourself to meet market needs, rather than looking for projects that suit your speciality. 

About Zimile Consulting Engineers

Zimile Consulting Engineers (ZCE) is a multi-disciplinary consulting engineering company and built environment company, offering engineering and construction management and project management services. ZCE seeks to offer value adding and innovative engineering solutions by embracing the dynamism that is in the built environment through technological advancement. 


Abimbola Sole | Business Operations Manager

Zimile Consulting Engineers


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