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Inside The Firm - Monday Morning Coffee with Eric Burtzlaff



Inside The Firm Presents

Inside The Firm is a podcast which it dedicates to architects, entrepreneurs, builders, and professionals. Lance Cayko and Alex Gore, hope to give insight into various industries where new up-and-coming businesses can use their platform to deep dive into the nitty-gritty of starting, operations, and growing a successful model. With this latest episode, aired on May 24th, 2021, the pair of hosts from Inside The Firm sit down with our Eric Burtzlaff PE of Raptor Civil Engineering to get his perspective on what it took to build this awesome 7-figure architecture firm!


Streamlining the SDP Submittal Process

Raptor Civil Engineering has had great success with streamlining the SDP Submittal Process for many projects and many more to come. Eric Burtzlaff makes note that this feat in itself was from looking inside the current steps firms have been using and identifying the problems. "I feel like I was able to diagnose so many problems within this industry. In general, the SDP submittal process for development is not a fluid, start-to-finish process [sic], and that is driven by a number of different jurisdictions, project types. However, streamlined we have it right now it is not a perfect process yet and is in still beta testing."


In a perfect world

The host, Lance Cayko, poses a question, "In a perfect world, what would it take to pulling in all the expertise of these engineers to make a project go smoothly, start-to-finish, and to have a permit in 4 months?"


Expertise in Civil Engineering with Denver

To answer this in part, Raptor Civil's Eric Burtzlaff states that a lot of success for navigating the SDP process in Denver is having expertise that comes from experience being immersed in the industry. It is stated, that expertise comes from experience that was paid for in time and exposure to the various nuances, timelines, and holdups that come with developing commercial construction in Denver. Culminating all these individual factors and establishing a baseline understanding for this intensive process for the industry allows Raptor Civil Engineering to set reasonable expectations and achieve a more accurate forecasting per job. While not all projects are made equal, the relevance of Eric and Raptor Civil Engineering's expertise is what provides their clients with a reliable partner in navigating the City and County of Denver (as well as other municipalities) SDP Submittal Process.


A Higher Level of Communication

During the interview, it is noted that Raptor Civil is a breath of fresh in regards to their level of service. This is due in part to having a higher level of communication, Eric Burtzlaff mentions, "The two biggest complaints I have heard from clients is that other civil engineers are too busy and don't respond to me and that they have a ton of ad service we aren't banking on right now." The industry seems to agree that returning calls and inquires in 24 hours is the standard. But Raptor Civil Engineering challenges that concept by having their team respond to emails and calls within 1-hour and then 24-hours. Even if it's a small reply such as, "Hey I'm on a call right now, can I please call you back?", Eric illustrates how far that little bit of communication goes and provides a higher level of communication that gives a better customer service experience.


What advice would you give to your younger self?

Pay attention. Ask more questions. When starting out with any project or business, it is easy to have tunnel vision on what is in front of you - what needs to be done first. "If you are a young civil engineer listening to this and you're not asking questions - I think the principal is taking notice of that, your managers are taking notice of that - If you are interested in the work they are doing [principal and managers], they will put you under their wing." In other words, humanize them. Get a better understanding of your higher-ups and learn more about their vision, goals, and process based on a mutual interest of the company you are stationed at. Having a human conversation with them both about what they do for the job 'their day-to-day' but also what do you do for fun?"


If you are interested, take a peek at the interview with the link above and see how Raptor Civil Engineering is making waves in the Denver development scene.

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