LDDI: Building a Better Future for Land Development

18 July, 2019

What if you could test-drive your career choice while still attending class?

At Virginia Tech, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is tackling this challenge head on and providing an opportunity for students to explore future career options with their Land Development Design Initiative (LDDI) program.

Filling a void found in many civil engineering programs across the nation, LDDI offers classes and hands-on learning opportunities specifically focused on land development. Hoping to increase education and prepare students for a career in this specific field, Bohler helped establish the program in 2006 and continues to support LDDI through sponsorship, mentorship, and speaking engagements with students.

“LDDI empowers students to apply their classroom knowledge. Giving them real projects and mentorship provides a great opportunity to shape the future of our industry.”
Michael O’Shaughnessy, Project Manager, Herndon, VA

One of the most valuable aspects of the program is LDDI’s Senior Design Course, which creates opportunity for students to gain real-world exposure by partnering with design professionals. Student teams are paired with mentors from participating engineering firms, including Bohler, to work on real projects. The teams progress through the project from due diligence and design to final presentation for jurisdictional approval.

During the course, students and mentors meet weekly to discuss challenges and develop a plan to move forward. The final presentations are scored, and the winners are invited to present at LDDI’s annual meeting. Over the years, Bohler has mentored several winning teams.

“The Senior Design Course is a tough challenge – it’s a lot of work. The ambitious students that stick with it come out feeling empowered to take on the real world and accomplish their goals with confidence.”
Brett Buckland, Project Manager, Atlanta, GA

Bohler’s involvement in LDDI doesn’t end there. Our recruiting team helps with sponsorship drives and participates in an annual golf tournament fundraiser. We hold three seats on the Advisory Board, which plans all fundraisers, runs program-awareness events, and drives the program’s growth. Several of our alumni teach classes, give presentations, and speak with students. This affords an opportunity for LDDI graduates to return to their alma mater and share their experience on entering the professional world.

Empowering Future Leaders and Creating Opportunity

Bohler is drawn to this organization because its mission to provide growth opportunities and help students advance is closely tied to our own.

Through LDDI, we have a hand in empowering the next generation of ambitious land development professionals to become successful. With a 100% placement rate for the Senior Design Course, students land jobs right out of college. And the knowledge and experience gained throughout the program helps minimize the amount of on-the-job training required so new grads are better positioned to jump-start their careers.

One of the most rewarding parts of the LDDI program for Bohler mentors is the ability to share personal insight on the workplace. This equips students with tools and a mindset necessary to build positive working relationships, overcome career challenges, and establish their own personal brand.

“By participating in LDDI as a professional and sharing our wealth of knowledge, we create opportunity for these students to be successful no matter where they end up.”
Cody Mudd, Design Engineer, Herndon, VA

Bohler currently employs nine Virginia Tech graduates as well as one summer intern. While many of Bohler’s LDDI mentors are alumni and have experienced the benefits of the program first-hand, they are drawn back to LDDI because they see an opportunity to shape the future.

By sharing their experience, knowledge, and lessons-learned with the next generation of land development professionals, Bohler creates opportunities for them to succeed. Whether the students pursue a career in engineering or elsewhere, our mentors have helped these students realize their potential and put them on the fast track to a promising career.

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