Listening to Shailesh Patel, founder of Port Orange company Dredging & Marine Consultants, speak about his many business, community and volunteer activities, one is tempted to ask whether he has discovered a way to squeeze 26 hours into a day. Patel heads a successful civil engineering and environmental consulting company, is active on community and educational boards, volunteers in high school athletics and also operates two non-profit companies to boot. “One of our company’s core values is giving back to the communities that we serve,” Patel said. “Wherever we are, we want to make the community a better place.”
Dredging & Marine Consultants has four offices in Florida with another planned to open in South Florida in 2017. The firm has been growing ever since Patel launched it in 2002. “We consider the area of dredging and waterfront or marine structures as a unique capability,” he said. “We understand the harsh salt water environments and the impacts of corrosion on structures and so we are always looking to learn of new materials that can help our clients build amenities that last longer, yet have strong aesthetic appeal.”
Patel partly credits the firm’s success to the strategic decision to occupy a market niche. “The name Dredging & Marine Consultants was selected to give us a niche market within the field of civil and coastal engineering,” he said. “When we conceptualized the company, we knew that having both the engineering and environmental capabilities was important to our success as it would enables us to offer a holistic approach to all our planning, design and permitting projects for both our municipal and private clients. So we are a coastal engineering firm, but we also have capabilities that include site planning, stormwater and drainage design, and environmental assessments as we have ecologists and biologists, besides the stormwater, civil and geotechnical engineers.”
Patel has picked up a few pointers he likes to share with aspiring entrepreneurs. “Speak to other business owners,” he said. “All business people love to share their experiences and you can learn a lot from that. In addition, be willing to commit the time. If starting a business was easy, everyone would do it. Lastly, reduce unnecessary expenditures and manage your limited finances well. Look at ways to save every penny. Make your dream a reality. We live in the greatest country in the world.”
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