GEORGIA – Justin Holmes carved his niche among Franklin County civil engineers by keeping small projects affordable, and helping clients find cost-effective and time saving ways to navigate Vermont’s regulatory process.
Justin, 39, opened Pinnacle Engineering in February 2007 at his previous Berkshire home. He now has a spacious home office in Georgia, where he lives with his wife, Kamie, and two sons, ages 8 and 10.
Justin has more than 15 years of experience on residential, commercial and municipal projects. He provides consulting and design services for permitting on subdivisions, water supply, stormwater management, erosion control and wastewater disposal, which he considers a specialty.
Over the last two years, Justin has played a major role in a 2-mile waterline project in Sheldon and a major upgrade of the Alburgh water treatment facility, one of the oldest in Vermont. On these projects, Justin served as a resident project representative (RPR), meaning lead engineers subcontracted him for on-site inspection during construction.
He is a one-man show with subcontracted surveying, landscaping, and lighting design services, when needed.
“No project is too small,” he said.
On smaller projects, Justin aims to help his clients avoid going through the Act 250 process – whenever possible – to keep development affordable and predictable.
“I’ve looked to develop land, and the one thing we forget – no matter where you stand politically – is that regulations have an impact on the value of land, no matter the impact of the project,” Justin said.
Working at previous firms, Justin billed clients more than $100 an hour for services, but working for less now – about half – does not mean he is less happy; that attitude might be a product of his upbringing.
“I just enjoy helping people,” he said.
When Justin was in high school at BFA-St. Albans, while living in Richford, his late father, Clifton, a dairy farmer, opened a roadside produce stand with extremely low prices, because he wanted his neighbors to afford his fresh goods.
“He was the hardest worker that I ever knew,” Justin said of his father. His mother, Sonia, still lives in Richford. “He taught me how to work hard with honesty and integrity, which is important when you’re an engineer.”
Justin played football at BFA and wanted to do the same in college, while studying engineering. He started his postsecondary career at Widener University, playing defensive back for the Division III team, and eventually earned his engineering degree from the University of Vermont, in 1998.
Upon graduation, Justin earned a position in Pennsylvania with Bohler Engineering Inc., which has 12 offices on the East Coast. He worked 60 hours a week on Fortune 500 projects and garnered important corporate engineering experience.
The money was great, but Justin missed his family. He returned to Vermont and worked at engineering firms in Colchester and Williston until he opened Pinnacle.
Justin hopes to become more involved in local residential and commercial developments.
“With the recent developments in St. Albans City and Town, I see the region as primed for future growth,” he said.
And he plans on keeping the home office as he and Kamie try to grow their family.
“It makes it that much more convenient,” he said.