• 2016 - 2017 ACEC/VA President

  • Paul E. Diggs, PE
    Principal
    Schnabel Engineering

  • Who is Paul Diggs?

    Paul was born in Baltimore, MD as the youngest of four (three older sisters). He grew up in West Point, VA as the son of a seafood retailer/wholesaler and retired nurse. He graduated from UVA in 1984 with a BSCE and moved to Richmond to work as a Staff Engineer with Schnabel Engineering. He recently celebrated his 32nd year with the firm and is currently a Principal and Branch Leader with responsibility for the Richmond, Newport News, and Charlottesville offices.     

    Paul is married (Mary) with four children, including a 24 yr old son mostly off of the parental dole; a 16 yr son about to become a junior at West Point High School; and two upcoming 7th grade girls. They moved back to West Point several years ago and recently completed building their last house at the confluence of the Mattaponi, Pamunky, and York Rivers.

    Paul is a charter member of the Rotary Club of West Point, served on the West Point Planning Commission for 15 yrs, and is currently serving on the School Board for the public school district that is ranked #1 on schooldigger.com. He believes in eating right and staying fit (12 yr old twins will do that to you) and enjoys soccer, watersports, golf, and reading.

  • What do you hope to accomplish as President of ACEC/VA?

    Over the past several years Staff and volunteer leadership have made good progress toward codifying the processes and plans that can help ensure the sustainability of the organization and its mission.  We still have work to do to get that effort wrapped up in a bow.  I would like to see that process through to a successful end as President. 

  • What are your plans for ACEC/VA this year?  

    To see us flesh out the new strategic plan so that it is ready for full implementation, including revamping the bylaws and reorganizing / reshaping the committees, at least by the time Bob Burkholder takes over as President in 2017.

  • Where do you see ACEC/VA in five years?  

    Seen as the recognized voice, by members and nonmembers alike, of the engineering community in Virginia

  • What is the biggest challenge you see for leaders in today’s engineering industry? How can ACEC/VA help?  

    There are several, but one that most of our members identify is the availability of talent.  ACEC/VA can help by continuing and expanding our outreach to the K-12 community to expose middle school, and even elementary school kids to how cool engineering can be; so we help fill the pipeline for the future.

  • What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?  

    Listen, and realize that while you have worked hard to get there, the work has really just begun. Don’t expect folks to do what you ask them to do unless they believe you will support them in their effort.  It is another way of saying “Lead by example.”

  • What are your personal goals for ensuring you grow/develop as a leader?

    If I don’t learn something each day I worry about the value of my effort that day. In my role as a public school board member we often talk about teaching kids how to be lifelong learners. As a leader, one needs to realize that you have learned enough to demonstrate a competency at that point in your career. However, life is not static, there is always change; and if you are not stridently pursuing continuous learning you may find that other leaders are leaving you behind.

  • As a professional engineer, if you were stranded on an island and could bring any 3 items (or people) what would they be and why?  

    The idea of spending several days on a deserted tropical island with my wife sounds pretty good. I would bring a solar powered GPS tracking device, a plastic tarp for shade and rainwater collection, and my wife, Mary. We have four kids and a puppy.

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