Innovator Spotlight - Cason Atkinson

a woman and man wearing hard hats standing in front of a crane

Cason Atkinson, Project Engineer

As a Project Engineer, Cason Atkinson gets to see buildings come to life from the ground up. He has been at DAVIS since graduating last year, and he’s already making a huge impact. Read more about Cason’s journey below!

Cason, you graduated from college last year. Where did you go to school?
So, I went to the University of Alabama--Roll Tide--and I got my degree in Construction Engineering.

When did you know you wanted to go into construction?
I loved fixing things around the house with my dad, and playing with Legos as a kid!

Why did you choose DAVIS?
Being from the area, I knew about DAVIS. We’ve made a huge impact on the DMV, and I wanted to start my career in a place that was established—a place that takes on incredible projects. But DAVIS is small enough that we still have a personal environment where you can have a relationship with most of the people you work with.

What has the transition from student life to work life been like?
Finding my voice on site was a big learning curve. I was coming from an internship position where you can walk around site asking questions, to a role where others are asking me questions, too. Over time, though, I’ve learned how to work with the rest of the team and figure out the best solutions.

What has been a good strategy for you to keep focused in the office?
Taking the time to still go out in the field helps me put things in perspective, and understand the work that gets done. It’s a great feeling to be on the site at the St. Elizabeths Campus, look out and see the tangible results—that keeps me focused on my work.

Speaking of St. Elizabeths, you helped implement the Pix4D software on that job. This is a pretty new program for DAVIS—can you tell us what that’s like?

So, we’ve used the Pix4D software to map out key reference points and coordinate locations for future work—basically, we attached cameras to tower cranes on our project site, and as the crane rotates, the cameras automatically take hundreds of photos. We then stitch those photos together to create a 3D image with comprehensive site details—dirt measurements, metal cables, anything that’s there. It’s kind of like an X-ray, and we use that knowledge to make future moves. It’s really cool.

How does DAVIS help you grow in your position?
As a company, we’re always approaching problems together, and everyone wants to help one another. That type of approach makes recent hires like me much more comfortable in our roles.

My superiors have also helped me use my time productively—even my personal time. They’ll tell me that if I’m not at work, then I shouldn’t be thinking about work. We can actually deliver a better product because we can focus more when we are working.

What’s it like to work in Base Building?
I love being able to be part of something, looking back on it and remembering the plot of land it used to be. I remember digging at St. Elizabeth’s a year ago, and now we’re building this awesome façade. It’s an amazing process.

What is one piece of advice you would give College Cason?
Work on developing relationships! It’s an important skill and really contributes to success in the industry. As general contractors, we can help owners and hands-on people work seamlessly together.