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Interview with Project Manager Michael Dant

EQR President Liam O'Meara (left) with Project Manager Michael Dant (right) at EQR's annual Company Picnic

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in Maryland mostly in the Montgomery County area. After high school, I spent several years in Morgantown, WV studying soil science and hydrogeology. I lived in Colorado for three years after college spending most of my time working to support my weekend ski habit. I then moved back to Maryland with the intent of getting serious about using my college degrees. Before joining EQR, I worked as an environmental consultant for many years investigating and remediating contaminated industrial sites. I’ve been working for EQR for about 4 years as a Project Manager. I’m married to my beautiful wife Christi, have three kids and several grand kids with a new granddaughter due any day. I’m still nurturing that weekend ski habit which has evolved into multi-day trips, when we can, to the mountains of the western US and Canada.

2. What is your role at EQR?

I spend my time at EQR implementing projects, managing risk and solving problems.

3. What advice do you have for prospective EQR candidates?

Environmental Construction is a hard fast-paced, never boring, rewarding business. If you like to build things and like to work outside you can find a lot of enjoyment in this business. You would have a hard time finding a better group of people to work with and work for.

4. What do you like most about EQR?

I think EQR is a great place to work in large part because of the company philosophy and how that’s implemented by the senior management team. I’m provided the autonomy to do my job without having someone looking over my shoulder all the time, yet they are always available when I need help to move a project forward or solve an issue. I’ve learned that Environmental Construction is a tough business, same as environmental consulting, but in different ways. I like that EQR has demonstrated many times over that they have my back when I’m faced with a new or challenging issue where I need help. I also like that the work we do has a positive, visible, and measurable impact on the Chesapeake Bay. I’ve spent a lot of my life on/in the local waters windsurfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, fishing, etc. and it feels good to work each day on something that is directly contributing to the restoration of our local waterways.

5. What has been your favorite project at EQR?

Windmill Hill, located in downtown Alexandria, has been my favorite project. Yes, I said Windmill Hill. Located in downtown Alexandria immediately adjacent to multi-million dollar homes and the Potomac River. It was a high profile project that received a lot of attention and feedback. It included a living shoreline and typical stream restoration components, but also included a lot of park components that were new to me, which I found challenging. The project had many unplanned issues/challenges, but in the end was a success, which was extremely rewarding. Windmill Hill is different than my past projects in that it’s a public park in a high traffic residential neighborhood so it’s highly visible and heavily used each day. I find it very satisfying seeing how many people enjoy what we as a team did to improve a park which so many people use on a daily basis.

6. What are your hobbies outside of work?

When I’m not working at EQR, my wife Christi and I are typically outdoors or planning a new outdoor adventure. Our kids are grown and have successfully launched, so we go outside and play every chance we get and follow the mantra that there’s no such thing as bad weather - just bad gear. The stuff we do, mostly together, includes alpine and back country skiing, snowshoeing, mountain/road biking, bike-touring, stand-up paddle surfing/boarding, hiking, etc. I’ve been accused of having a used sporting goods store in our garage. Lately, we have focused on long-distance organized bike events which we do on our tandem mountain bike. I also frequent long-distance mountain bike and sup races. I’m usually not a contender for the podium, but always seem to have fun doing it and it keeps me in shape. One of my latest adventures a few weekends ago was riding/racing my fat tire bike on groomed cross-country ski trails in West Virginia. We try to include family, kids, grand kids, our dog Tucker, and friends into these outdoor adventures whenever we can.

7. What have you gained from working at EQR?

I’ve gained an appreciation for how hard everyone works both in the field and in the office to make EQR a successful company. I’ve gained wonderment for the stream restorations that we’ve built with mostly natural materials, and how impressive it looks once finished. I’ve gained additional project management experience that I could not have gained had I remained in the environmental consulting business.

Mike Dant at the Mountain State Fat Bike Race 2019

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