Barge Annual Meeting Celebrates People, Projects, and Innovation

16 / May / 2023

Barge Design Solutions (Barge) held our annual meeting in downtown Nashville at the JW Marriott. Each year, this event gives our team the opportunity to celebrate our accomplishments, look forward to the future, and reconnect to both our purpose and one another.

The 2023 event focused on our innovative culture and how we positively impact communities across our footprint. We heard an inspiring keynote presentation from CEO Bob Higgins during which he spotlighted our firm’s recent successes and outlined a bold future for Barge. In our ‘FutureWalk’ exhibit, employees were given the opportunity to experience modern technologies, including artificial intelligence and virtual reality, and learn about how they are impacting our industry and how they can be applied to our work.

In addition to celebrating employees’ milestone anniversaries, we presented the firm’s most prestigious peer-nominated awards: the Dan Barge, Jr. Award of Merit and the Jack L. Wood Excellence in Service Award. This year, Barge is proud to honor three outstanding employees for their contributions, which have helped the firm to be selected when it matters most.


The Dan Barge, Jr. Award of Merit recognizes an employee for distinctive performance in a specific situation during the prior year, in which they demonstrated extraordinary initiative beyond their position or role.

VP, Director, Business Development

Scott DeGaro joined Barge in 2009. Over the past 14 years, he has become an indispensable part of Barge’s Federal Client Center through his leadership, commitment to our clients, and depth of knowledge of how to perform work for federal entities.

The Federal team spent three years working to secure a large Federal entity as a client. In 2021, our work came to fruition when Barge successfully won a five-year, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract to become one of five pre-approved A/E firms that can fulfill task orders requested by the entity.

In January 2022, we were awarded our first task order from the contract. Scott went above and beyond to become a trusted resource for the client. He offered training to their team members and provided advice on various projects, including risk assessment/mitigation, scoping, navigation of the bidding market, and more. In just over a year, the client decided to engage Barge for four additional projects with more on the way.

According to Chris Brown, VP, Director - Federal Client Center, “The relationships Scott has built with this client over the past year has accelerated our growth with the client and helped position us to receive several additional contracts. Scott’s work in 2022 with this client undoubtedly positioned our team to be selected when it matters most.”  

Congratulations, Scott!


 DeGaro is presented with the Dan Barge, Jr. Award of Merit.


The Jack L. Wood Excellence in Service Award represents Barge’s purpose and recognizes an employee who has demonstrated superior services throughout a lengthy career with the firm, contributing to the creation of a better life for our people, clients, and communities.

Nelson Elam, RLS
VP, Director, Client Service Team Leader

Thirty-five years ago, Nelson Elam became one of the first data collectors supporting the survey field crews at Barge. Over the years, he has embraced a servant leadership style, always putting clients and his team first as he expanded his responsibilities. Now as a vice president, client service leader (CSL), and the Tri-Cities office leader, Nelson continues to support our employees in any way possible, motivating them to succeed and empowering them to become leaders too.

When he became Tri-Cities office lead in 2015, Nelson pledged to grow their team, expand service offerings, and diversify the client base. A testament to his commitment to these efforts, the Tri-Cities office had a record year in 2022 – providing services for more clients while continuing to strengthen our relationships with existing clients. Throughout the years, he has remained motivated by the work we do and the people we serve. And whether for a new or longstanding relationship, Nelson strives to make sure all clients receive the highest level of service and personalized attention.

One of our clients said it best, "Nelson does not just work on projects for us… he lives the projects and is constantly looking out for our best interest, and the interest of the people that live in our communities.”

Congratulations, Nelson!

 Elam is presented with the Jack L. Wood Excellence in Service Award.

David Humes
Digital Media - Marketing & Communications

David Humes started his career as a CAD Designer in 1998. Instead of sticking with the technical route, he opted for a role within Barge’s corporate team. As a member of Barge’s marketing and communications teams, David has played an integral part in promoting the company and our people in various forms of corporate communication, including videos, emails, presentations, proposals, and events. His work has included photography, graphic design, video production/editing, event coordination, and more.

As Barge and the world around us have evolved over the past 25 years, so too has David. Though he remains protective of our brand, he has participated in – and even spearheaded – much of the innovation behind initiatives to keep internal and external audiences connected with Barge’s purpose and vision.

Barge CEO Bob Higgins gave resounding support for David’s recognition, stating, "For more than 15 years, David has been the go-to person we call on when we need to communicate something critical. Whether it is a client or employee presentation or internal communication, David is chosen to bring the wow factor he's known for. His work on graphics, videos, communications, slides, and proposals has helped Barge win major projects, inspire employees, and communicate to our community what Barge is all about."

Congratulations, David!

 Humes is presented with the Jack L. Wood Excellence in Service Award.