Zack Wilkins: From Project Manager to Principal at Townes Site Engineering 

Townes Site Engineering’s newest Principal is all about the fast-paced industrial projects. Zack Wilkins loves the challenge of a quick turn around and large scope. He’s been responsible for the success of numerous industrial land development projects during his 8 years with Townes.

He’s well-known in the office for tackling big economy driving initiatives like massive Quality Technology Services (QTS) data centers in Henrico County.

This father of three boys stays busy. During the week he’s working with developers to carry projects from inception to construction. You can find him collaborating with other departments in the office and helping out the newest members of the Townes team. On the weekend, you might spot him taking a hike with his family, an equally big undertaking when there’s three little ones involved.

His drive to take on challenging designs and appreciation for his team are part of what has made Wilkins a great fit for managing team members and projects.

Building a Foundation for Engineering Leadership

Wilkins’ journey to Townes Site Engineering all started with a natural knack for math and science. Watching his brother Jason Wilkins study civil engineering at Virginia Tech planted the inspiration for doing the same.

Fresh off the graduation stage, his goal was to work as many big jobs as possible. Wilkins worked hard to learn the ropes of land development – something he only got a taste of at Virginia Tech. It all started to come together as he worked with architects, developers, environmental engineers and geotechnical engineers.

Initially that real life experience came from a smaller civil engineering firm, followed by time tackling large-scale tasks at the Timmons Group.

When the phone rang in 2015 about a project manager opportunity at Townes Site Engineering, Wilkins knew he was ready. His brother was already employed with Townes and they had always hoped for the opportunity to work together. Now, 8 years later they are both leading the way as principals at Townes.

Getting the Job Done In House

When Wilkins has a question about a project, he says he can just walk down the hall for the answer he needs. Townes employs a great multi-disciplinary team that prides themselves on handling everything in house.

Outside of the office walls, Wilkins is working with clients, architects and developers to make land development possible. The principals at Townes are all about getting involved with the day-to-day of projects.

For Wilkins, those are typically in the industrial market. He looks forward to the impactful tasks that are a major investment in the community. These job and commerce driving work sites often come with quick turnarounds, meticulous budgets and a large group effort.

When thinking of favorites, Wilkins says he particularly enjoyed leading civil engineering efforts for the QTS Data Center in Henrico. Now QTS is taking their massive footprint even further, with Townes helping them bring four more data centers to the county.

As Wilkins dives into large tasks, he focuses on using his past experiences to see him through the end of each project.

Designing Plans for the Future

Wilkins has quite a few long term projects lined up. His client-focused goals are key to successful projects, some with timelines spanning more than 5 years.

“I just want to make sure our projects continue to meet the needs of all our clients,” Wilkins said.

He’s excited about the current challenges on Townes’ docket and ready to develop new client relationships as well.

For Wilkins it isn’t exclusively about completing designs and getting projects to construction. He shared that he also has a passion for helping young professionals advance their career. Wilkins said he enjoys working with the younger members of the Townes team as well as college students at his alma mater – Virginia Tech.

Wilkins is part of the Townes team helping with Tech’s Land Development Design Initiative that gives students the chance to apply their civil engineering skills in the land development field. This class helps students prepare for exactly the kind of work the Townes Site Engineering team takes on each day.

Whether it’s getting a large project up and running or helping a young engineer launch their career, Wilkins is there to help. If you see him on the job site, in the office or even virtually, give congratulations for his promotion to Principal!