2022 NUCA Ditchdigger of the Year Award: Lauren Atwell, Petticoat-Schmitt Civil Contractors

Lauren Atwell accepting award from  Fred Chesney

Lauren Atwell of Petticoat-Schmitt Civil Contractors (right) accepts the Ditchdigger of the Year Award from Fred Chesney

The National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA) awarded former chairman Lauren Atwell the prestigious “Ditchdigger of the Year” Award, honoring his many years of service to the American underground utility industry and his years of support for NUCA’s membership programs.

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In his time with NUCA, Atwell has been active in many areas, including participating in the annual Washington Summit.

“Lauren has served as a mentor to many at NUCA and his company,” said Doug Carlson, NUCA Chief Executive Officer. “Sharing what he has learned has helped many in our industry reach their goals. His steady voice as Chairman and in his Florida chapter always sought to ensure our association’s decisions were well-thought out and benefitted the industry and our membership. Lauren has enthusiastically merited this award and the recognition fitting a true champion of America’s infrastructure.”

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Atwell is the chief operating officer at Petticoat-Schmitt Civil Contractors, Inc., located in Jacksonville, Florida. He has been part of the company’s executive team for this large Southeast regional construction company since 2014. In Atwell’s time at Petticoat-Schmitt, the firm has grown experienced substantial growth.

Atwell with NUCA leadership team

Atwell has been part of the industry since as a young man, going to his grandfather’s jobsites in western New York and learning the industry from the ground up. Since graduating from Clarkson University with a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Atwell has spent nearly four decades in the construction industry.

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Atwell at NUCA meeting

Atwell has been an outspoken advocate for the utility construction industry and NUCA for many years. Serving as NUCA’s Chairman in 2021, under his leadership the landmark infrastructure bill was lobbied for and ultimately signed into law, as well as personally testifying before Congress on the vaccine mandate and its effect on the nation’s construction industry.

Atwell at NUCA golf event

Atwell’s years of service to the industry include experience both on the National and Chapter levels. He served as president of the North Florida Chapter for a two-year term in 2007-08. He later served a stint as president for the state association, NUCA of Florida. It was at that time that he began attending national NUCA meetings, and joined the national executive committee in 2018, forging his path to
the chairmanship.

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Atwell at NUCA Convention

In addition to his service with NUCA and its chapters, Atwell continues to serve as a trusted member of the Construction Management Advisory Board for the University of North Florida.

This national award is awarded to a NUCA contractor member who has made a significant contribution to NUCA and the underground utility construction and excavation industry. The 2022 “Ditchdigger of the Year” Award was presented to former Chairman Atwell at the association’s Annual Meeting held March 13 at the MGM Grand Hotel located in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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