Civil engineering alumnus building community through entrepreneurship

After trying his hand at biochemistry en route to becoming a doctor, Keith Meyer decided a more suitable career path was civil engineering. Receiving the 2017 Civil Engineering Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), it seems he made the right choice.

Keith Meyer
Keith Meyer received the 2017 Civil Engineering Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Meyer is president of Ditesco, a program, project, and construction management and engineering company. The company uses a hybrid approach to integrate design and building, using a total project delivery philosophy. The ASCE award recognized Meyer for his non-traditional and innovative approach to running the company. Focusing on project delivery, one won’t find a traditional engineering design workshop at Ditesco’s Fort Collins office. Instead, Meyer has implemented an open, collaborative environment to ensure communication and innovation are at the forefront of company culture.

“Awards are great, but for me, it’s important to be a good engineer and make a difference,” said Meyer.

Putting an emphasis on hands-on learning and common-sense practice, Ditesco employees spend most of their time in the field, learning construction and helping projects get built. While an engineering degree teaches students how to solve problems, Meyer is interested in encouraging employees to build on their practical skillsets, mentoring employees to help them understand projects from the ground up and to finesse their writing and communication skills. Meyer has a firm company ideal that engineers should know “how things get built” so they can be more effective designers and project managers.

CSU connections

Meyer, a first-generation college student, came to Colorado State University from Pueblo in 1989 because he felt the campus environment was welcoming. While pursuing his degree, he worked in a biochemistry lab on campus. At the same time, he was able to experience aspects of civil engineering by working with his hometown water utility fixing broken water mains. By exploring both industries, Meyer came to realize his preferred career path, and continues to encourage students to do the same today through hands-on experiences and internships.

“Testing the waters of industry is important for students,” said Meyer. “Ditesco has a pay-it-forward philosophy when it comes to our future engineers.”

The majority of Ditesco employees are CSU graduates, and many start with the company as interns. The company values building and maintaining quality relationships, serving clients like Colorado State University, City of Fort Collins, City of Loveland, Larimer Humane Society, and others.

“As engineers we have a unique responsibility to enrich and improve the lives and welfare of our fellow citizens,” said Meyer. “Whether it’s the campus community, Fort Collins, or northern Colorado, we care deeply about making positive changes that provide cleaner water, safer roads, quality recreation, or greater flood protection. It’s simply who we are.”