A Q&A with Judd Dayton, PE

07 March, 2023

How Bohler’s Shaping Harrisburg’s Land Development Industry

Judd Dayton, PE, brings more than 30 years of land development industry experience and a diverse project background to Bohler’s newest office in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Over the past decade, Judd has observed the uptick in warehousing, distribution, and manufacturing development and is focused on leveraging the opportunities it has created for developers.

In his new position as Senior Project Manager, Judd and the Harrisburg team will be helping owners, developers, and end users navigate site complexities, rising construction costs, and expanding entitlements timelines.

We recently caught up with Judd to talk about what developers need to know to successfully bring their central Pennsylvania projects to life.

Warehousing, distribution, and manufacturing are booming markets for Harrisburg. Where do you see that trend leading in the next five years?

Central Pennsylvania’s unique accessibility to all major metropolitan areas in the Mid-Atlantic makes it a prime location for the industrial sector. As a result, it draws an impressive mix of both national and international developers and end users. A few Fortune 500 companies’ manufacturing plants have been in Harrisburg for 100 years and with a fast-increasing need for additional warehouse and distribution space across the country, I foresee the market remaining strong in Harrisburg for years to come.

What are some land development challenges facing the industry in Harrisburg today, and how can developers take control?

It’s not unique to Harrisburg, but the biggest challenge is that most of the so-called “easy sites” are gone. Available developable space today is typically riddled with environmental challenges, so we have to get creative with our site planning and entitlements strategies.

For example, more stringent stormwater management regulations are now in place across Pennsylvania and we’re working with clients to assess how the new requirements impact site layout, density, timeline, and overall project cost.

Construction slowdowns can really throw a wrench in a project timeline. How can developers work with their design teams to streamline the construction process?

Thorough site civil due diligence is the key to staying on track through construction. Bohler designs with constructability in mind from the start, which streamlines the bidding and construction process in the end. Strategies for setting the contractor up for success include utility profiling, early geotechnical due diligence, and documentation that’s quality, detailed and easy to understand. I also recommend in-person, on-site kick-off meetings with the general contractor to review the construction documents and hash out any uncertainties before the first shovel hits the ground.

You joined Bohler five months ago. In your experience, how is Bohler different from other land development consulting firms in Harrisburg?

One of the reasons I joined Bohler is the availability of engineering support from other offices. Other consultancies say they can do it, but Bohler truly has the infrastructure in place to apply additional support routinely and efficiently to other locations.

What’s most important to me, however, is the way Bohler approaches relationships. A lot of businesses talk about building relationships, but Bohler takes that philosophy further. Rather than limiting relationship-building to a small customer satisfaction group, Bohler empowers the people who are part of a project on a day-to-day basis to cultivate relationships, both professionally and personally. It’s a unique culture, and one that I believe fosters better collaboration, increases creativity, and ultimately, leads to more successful projects.

What are you most excited about accomplishing this year?

I am excited for the opportunity to help Bohler expand its footprint into Harrisburg. We have great talent here, so I’m looking forward to helping to build a strong team of individuals who are as committed to Bohler’s unique approach and culture as I am.

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